If possible, avoid buying or accepting a used crib. Older models might not meet current safety standards or might be in disrepair. By law, the production date of a crib must be displayed on it and on its shipping carton.
Still, be on the lookout for safety hazards. Even when you're buying a new one, bring a ruler with you when you shop to check the spaces between the slats and other places on the crib. If they're greater than 2 3/8 inches wide, they're too far apart. If you buy a crib online, measure any openings immediately when it arrives at your home.
Check for sharp edges and protruding screws, nuts, corner posts, decorative knobs, and other pieces that could catch your baby's clothing at the neck. Buying a new crib could protect your baby from such hidden dangers as drop sides, slats, or hardware that might have been weakened by rough use, as well as loose hardware or glue joints caused by changes in humidity during storage.