Setting Up Your Twins' Nursery

Cribs? Check. Changing table? Check. Rocker? Check.

Now where do you put it all?

Setting up your babies' first room is one of the most exciting tasks of preparing for parenthood. Before long this room will be home to not one, but two babies! But it can also be daunting and exhausting. What goes where? What looks best? What's safest? Can both babies share one room?

You may feel like you have to have everything perfect for when the babies come home, but remember: They will probably sleep in your room for the first couple of months. Studies show that room sharing is the safest way for newborns to sleep and since multiples have a disproportionately higher risk of SIDS, this safety precaution takes on even more importance.

So if things aren't exactly where you want them on the day you go into labor, don't panic. You may find that your nursery set-up changes as your babies' schedule and needs change.

Some things about designing your nursery are entirely personal, like choosing colors and a theme and finding the perfect wall art. But when setting up a nursery, safety always comes before design choices.

Where to Put the Cribs

When you have to place two cribs instead of just one, setting up the layout gets even more complicated. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's okay for newborn twins to crib-share, but as they get bigger and squirmier, they'll need separate sleep spaces.

But there's one rule that's absolute: Never put either near a window. Babies and toddlers can get caught in drapes or window blind cords and fall through window screens. It's also a good idea just for sleep purposes -- putting the crib near an East-facing window could mean a lot of early morning wake-up calls!

The cribs should also be placed well away from all electrical cords.

Don't hang anything near either crib with strings or ribbons. These are a choking hazard. Crib mobiles are fun for little ones but should be hung out of reach and should be taken down as soon as your babies start to push up on hands and knees. For the same reason, if you have decorative shelves with tantalizing, non-baby-proof keepsakes on the walls, don't put the crib within reach.

So where should you put the cribs? Close to the door to the room, if possible. That makes it easier to get to when you're stumbling in at 2 a.m., or in case of an emergency.

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Changing Tables and Dressers

When you're arranging your nursery, you're probably envisioning sweet, tiny newborns. But remember, this will be the bedroom for your growing, ever-more-mobile babies and toddlers. And one thing many toddlers like to do is climb.

Twins tend to get into even more mischief than singletons -- because they have each other to encourage their explorations! They can accomplish a lot more, and get into a lot more dangerous situations, than singletons.

That means you should secure all tall and heavy furniture to the walls using furniture straps -- think dressers, changing tables, and bookshelves. It's much easier to do it now, when you're first putting the furniture in place, than to think you'll remember to do it later when your children start getting mobile.

Toy Storage

If you're using a toy chest for your babies' toys, make sure it has a spring-loaded support so that it can't slam down on little heads or hands. Most newly purchased toy chests will have these, but hand-me-downs may need to be retrofitted.

Other Nursery Essentials

Finally, something that isn't furniture or décor, but an essential element of any baby's or child's room: Make sure that you install a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector!

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on June 05, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

HealthyChildren.org: "AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction."

Center for Loss in Multiple Birth: "Loss to SIDS."

HealthyChildren.org: "Twins: 2 Cribs or 2 Bedrooms?"

KidsHealth from Nemours: "Choosing Safe Baby Products: Cribs."

HealthyChildren.org: "Twinproofing."

Safe Kids USA: "Nursery/Child's Bedroom."

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