Chewing on a crib can pose a risk of lead poisoning for babies. While most new cribs are painted with non-toxic paint, it’s important to note that non-toxic doesn’t necessarily mean being free from all harmful chemicals.
Therefore, it is generally not recommended to encourage or allow babies to chew on cribs. Lead can be present in older cribs or those with deteriorating finishes, which may pose a higher risk.
The Risks of Babies Chewing on Their Cribs
When babies chew on their cribs, they may break off small pieces that can become choking hazards. These small parts can pose a risk if swallowed or lodged in the airway.
Ingesting Lead Paint
If the crib is painted with lead-based paint, lead poisoning is likely if the baby ingests paint chips. Lead poisoning can seriously affect a child’s development, causing neurological damage and cognitive impairments.
Chewing on the crib can result in babies ingesting splinters or small wood fragments. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, including stomach pain, irritation, or blockages.
Development of Mouth Sores
Excessive chewing on the crib can cause irritation and the development of mouth sores in babies. These sores can become painful and may increase the risk of infection.
Some babies may have allergies to certain materials, such as latex or paint fumes. Chewing on the crib may result in contact with allergens, triggering allergic reactions.
How to Stop Baby from Chewing on Crib?
Provide teething toys: Offer your baby safe and appropriate toys to chew on instead of the crib. Look for toys specifically designed for teething babies made of non-toxic materials. These toys can relieve their sore gums and redirect their chewing behavior.
Use crib rail covers: Cover the crib rails with crib rail covers or teething guards. These protective covers usually create a barrier between your baby’s mouth and the crib, making it less appealing to chew on. Ensure that the covers are securely attached and meet safety standards.
Apply a taste deterrent: Some taste deterrents are specifically formulated to discourage chewing. You can apply a child-safe, non-toxic taste deterrent to the crib rails to make them less appealing. Always read and guidelines on the product carefully.
Offer soothing alternatives: Provide chilled teething rings or damp washcloths for your baby to chew on. The coolness can help soothe their gums and provide relief from teething discomfort.
Monitor closely: Keep a close eye on your baby while in the crib and redirect their attention if they chew on it. Consistency and gentle reminders can help them understand that the crib is not for chewing.
Why Do Babies Chew on the Crib?
Babies may chew on the crib or bed railing for various reasons, with teething being the most common. Teething can cause discomfort and soreness in their gums, leading them to seek relief by chewing on objects within their reach, including crib railings.
The chewing provides counter-pressure to the gums, helping to alleviate the pain and facilitate the eruption of new teeth. It’s an instinct for babies to explore the world through their mouths, especially during the teething phase.
For older children, excessive chewing on objects can sometimes be associated with anxiety or sensory processing issues.
What to do if your Baby Continues Chewing on the Crib?
If your baby persists in chewing on their crib despite your efforts to discourage the behavior, it may be necessary to consult with a pediatrician. They can help identify any underlying reasons for the behavior and provide further guidance and solutions. It’s important not to ignore persistent chewing, as it may indicate an issue that requires attention.
What to do if your baby ingests wood or lead paint?
If your baby ingests wood or lead paint, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. These substances can be toxic and pose serious health risks to your baby.
When should I be concerned about my baby’s chewing behavior?
If your baby persistently chews on the crib even when they are not teething or shows signs of distress or discomfort, it is advisable to consult their pediatrician.
Are there any safe alternatives for teething relief?
Yes, safe teething toys and products are specifically designed to provide relief for teething babies. Consult with your pediatrician or explore baby stores for appropriate teething remedies.
While babies exploring their environment through chewing is a normal part of their development but chewing on a crib can pose potential health risks. It is crucial to prioritize your baby’s safety and take preventive measures to minimize these risks.