Having a baby is a miracle but the minute you bring them home, you’ll start worrying for the rest of your life, including when they pass a certain age and are not fully potty trained or if the baby chews on crib. Not to mention the endless nights spent wondering why are they crying since they were just fed and cleaned.
Looking after a newborn can be exhausting even for experienced parents as no child is like the other, and you’ll always discover more complications and more things to worry about. Even so, you won’t be able to resist their giggles and their funny faces once they have their first teeth.
Wait. Did we mention teeth? Consider another round of endless nights of maybe fever and pain until all teeth break, then the constant terror of watching your baby getting near anything that they can chew on, mostly non-edible and non-chewing items. That being said, what do you do if your newborn loves chewing on the crib? Is it dangerous? Is it safe? Let’s take a closer look.
Why do babies chew on things?
The main reason why babies choose to chew on toys, clothes, and everything they can lay their mouths on is teething issues. Their gums may feel sore and itchy, and this is why they’ll grab everything they can and put in their mouths, regardless if these items are safe or not.
Another less common reason why babies chew on things is curiosity. Their sense of taste and hearing are more developed in the first few months of life than their sight, so this might be a way for them to explore.
However, most babies choose to chew because of teething aches, and chewing toys represent a good way to calm them down. If they also experience fever, sweat, and they can’t seem to stop crying, you should call the pediatrician to prescribe your baby some anti-inflammatories or syrups to help with the sore gums.
Is chewing the crib dangerous for babies?
The answer to this question mainly depends on the materials used to manufacture the crib but, in most cases, it is dangerous.
Babies can chew on crib railings, which often include paint and other materials that can make him or her sick. If you’re asking yourself why here are the main reasons:
- Most cribs feature a paint finish. When buying the baby’s first crib, many parents try to opt for a color that will match the baby’s gender or the rest of the nursery decor, without thinking of the consequences.
Your new baby crib painted in blue, red, yellow, or green can be toxic to the little one as most paints used contain harsh chemicals. Even when the paint says non-toxic, you cannot really tell as babies are extremely sensitive and can experience allergic reactions or poisoning. This mainly happens when you cannot afford an expensive crib and the paint easily chips off the railings.
However, spending a small fortune on a baby crib doesn’t guarantee it is 100% safe for your newborn. The best you can do is opt for one made of natural materials, without too many finishes or toxic dyes.
- Some cribs have a wood stain. To last longer and maintain its properties for more time, most wood cribs feature a layer of varnish or lacquer. This not only protects the material from harsh weather conditions but also fights dust mites and other microorganisms that feed on the wood and destroy it in time.
Unfortunately, these top layers are often toxic and we don’t recommend them anywhere near newborns or teething babies. Moreover, wood stains can also smell bad due to the chemicals contained, which may also cause allergic reactions and irritations on the nose and esophagus.
- Wood debris can chip off. No matter how much you look after your wood crib, it will deteriorate in time, which means debris or small splinters that can harm your baby.
Debris is particularly dangerous because it can cause serious respiratory problems. This is one of the main reasons why reclaimed wood or wood from less durable species is not recommended when it comes to baby cribs.
How can you prevent crib chewing?
There are a million things that can harm your baby, and this is one of the most terrifying thoughts for a parent. Even if you spend your entire day attending your baby’s needs, there are still some things that you can never take into account.
If you want to eliminate a risk factor, consider investing in a good crib and learn how to prevent your baby from chewing it.
The first thing you can try is offering him or her some soothing teething toys or rings. You can purchase them almost anywhere but you need to make sure they are safe and made of non-toxic materials.
Opt for toys made of silicone, a material deemed safe for baby use, similar to the one designed for baby bottle nipples. Teething rings are also a great choice as they can be bitten and chewed on and, thanks to their fascinating shape, colors, and designs, they will distract your child for hours.
However, don’t forget about your child’s safety, which means doing some previous research and sticking to renowned brands that offer high-quality toys for children. Generally speaking, the toys should be BPA-free, shouldn’t contain any toxic materials, dyes, or small parts that pose a choking hazard.
Babies of the right age can receive frozen treats to help with temporary pain. The cold temperature will relieve the sore symptoms of teething gums and will help your child cope better with this phase. Not to mention, frozen treats are usually sweet, which your kid will adore, especially during the summer season.
Depending on your baby’s age, you can give him or her veggie juices served chilled or small pieces of frozen fruits without seeds. Grapes, berries, and bananas are the best options as they also have a softer consistency than apple or pineapple.
You can turn your baby’s formula or breast milk into delicious homemade ice cream for your baby by adding a few drops of vanilla extract and some fruits, as long as your baby is allowed to have them.
Don’t forget to feed your kid small sips or pieces of the frozen treats to avoid a sore throat and inflammation in the future.
Use rail covers
Rail covers are another great option to prevent your baby from chewing the rails of the crib. Depending on your preferences, you can choose covers made of various materials, including plastic, rubber, and fabric.
Plastic covers are basically some plastic tubes you can place over the rails of the crib. They don’t hide the crib’s design but, once your baby has learned the trick, he or she can easily remove them and happily continue chewing on the crib.
If you’re lucky enough, your baby may not enjoy chewing plastic which, ultimately, will put an end to the habit. They are also easy to install and clean. On the other hand, plastic covers don’t absorb baby drools.
You can attach a rubber rail cover to the top of the crib’s rail with the help of an adhesive. This accessory is easy to install and clean, and won’t hide the design of your crib. What’s even better is that, unlike regular plastic rails, it will stick to the crib’s rails thanks to the adhesive.
On the downside, a rubber crib won’t absorb your baby’s drooling either and can be quite hard and messy to remove due to the same adhesive.
Finally, you also have the option of cloth or fabric rails. These are sheets of fabric placed over the crib rail and you can choose from a variety of designs, patterns, and colors. Fabric rail covers are absorbent and fit nearly any style of cribs. However, you need to carefully and constantly wash it to keep it clean. Moreover, it will hide the crib’s design.
Opt for a crib made of non-toxic materials
Our final suggestion to prevent your baby from chewing on the crib is to opt for a bed made from suitable, non-toxic materials.
That being said, you should stay away from PVC and vinyl as they are known to cause cancers, polyurethane foam that might include toluene and formaldehyde (substances usually found in adhesives), as well cribs made from fire retardants. The latter contains PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), substances linked to behavior changes.
However, no material is 100% sure and accidents may occur. To prevent them, it would be better to teach your baby to chew on the right types of items (teething toys or rings) or even consider sleeping next to your child for a couple of weeks for a calming effect.