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How Safe Is Your Baby's Crib?

Decorating your baby's nursery should be a joyous time. But with the U.S. government's recall of more than two million cribs in June, parents have one more thing to worry about: How safe is your baby's crib?

Michelle Freedburg, owner of Bellini Baby & Teen Furniture in Stamford, has sound advice when it comes to shopping for the nursery. "Safety, safety, safety is the most important thing," she says. "Don't skimp when it comes to your baby."

The recall hasn't affected any of the cribs Michelle sells in her stores because Bellini doesn't make drop-sided cribs, the type recalled. After parents made complaints, the Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered that cribs with moveable side rails can malfunction, leaving a gap that can trap a baby's head, causing strangulation or suffocation.

Bellini cribs are made with a fixed side rail and an adjustable base that is lowered as the baby grows. Michelle calls them "lifestyle cribs." The crib converts to a full-size bed, with a head and footboard, for toddlers and older children. Changing tables convert to dressers. "All our furniture is designed to grow with the child," Michelle says.

Bellini, a family-owned business, was started in 1982 by Michelle's father-in-law, Irving Freedburg, whose vision was a high-end juvenile furniture line that would see a child from infancy through college.

Michelle says her business has evolved from a furniture store to a design center. Her staff helps design children's rooms, from selecting the right furniture to picking paint colors, bed linens and window treatments. Bellini also runs parenting classes, such as the recently sold-out "Sleep Training the Baby."

A mother of two, Michelle appreciates how difficult it can be to invest in a new crib, especially if you have a friend offering you a free hand-me-down. When cribs are passed along they can lose critical parts and bolts, Michelle says. "Buy a new crib that is safe," she says.

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