Setting Up a Safe Nursery

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 08, 2023
3 min read

Wow, your baby is going to come home soon! Are you ready?

Some of your decisions for setting up the nursery may be easy, like using your childhood dresser. But others may be harder to make. Where should everything go? What looks best? What's safest?

The best place to put the crib is near the door of your baby's room so you can quickly reach them when you're stumbling around in the middle of the night, or in case of an emergency. Also, follow these safety guidelines as you place the crib.

  • Never put your baby's crib near a window. Babies and toddlers can get caught in drapes or window blind cords -- even fall through window screens.
  • Clear the crib area. Place cribs as far away from all electrical cords as possible. Also, don't put a crib under shelves or anything heavy that could fall off the wall and onto your baby.
  • Don't hang anything near your baby's crib with strings or ribbons. These are choking hazards. That includes crib mobiles -- even they need to be hung out of your baby's reach. Remove them altogether when you baby is able to sit up.

Having twins? The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's OK for newborn twins to share a crib, but as they get bigger and squirmier, they'll need separate sleep spaces.  Be sure to use these same tips when it's time to place your second crib.

The changing table is most efficient near the crib. Don't put all your changing supplies under the table. Instead, put some in a place where they are easy to reach. You may want to have changing supplies in other areas of the house as well for convenience.

You'll probably find it most convenient if your chair or rocker is also near the crib and door. You won't have far to go to transfer your sleeping baby, and you can make a quick getaway afterwards.

Your sweet, tiny newborn won't be moving around alone. But think ahead -- your toddler will. And one thing most toddlers love to do is climb. This means you need to secure all tall and heavy furniture to the walls using furniture straps. It's much easier to do it now -- when you're first putting the furniture in place -- than to try and remember later.

Use furniture straps to secure your baby's:

  • Dresser
  • Changing table
  • Bookshelf
  • Toy box

Have a night-light so you can see how to get in and out of the room in the dark, and when you're half asleep.

If your baby's toys are in a toy box, make sure the top 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 you may need to update hand-me-downs.

Last but not least, remember these two essential elements for your baby's room: a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector!