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Babies Chewing on Crib? — Why Baby Crib Teething Happens

Babies Chewing on Crib

Are your babies chewing on the crib?

If yes, you should be SERIOUSLY concerned because your baby could accidentally consume paint or wood. And as far as we know, those are NOT edible.

So we’d like you to be aware of why babies like to chew on the crib. And in the end, we’ll teach you the right way to prevent them from feeding on these harmful substances.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Baby Chewing on Their Crib: Why Does It Happen in the First Place?

For babies, chewing on the crib rail is more than just some absurd childish fetish or behavior. There are 3 possible reasons as to why they could be crib-chewing.

Cause #1: Baby Teething

Checking baby's teeth

People may want to pay ATTENTION to the teeth of their baby at an early age.

Here’s why: It’s because teething could be one reason why their baby keeps chewing paints from crib railing.

A baby will most likely begin to develop teeth when they’re 4 to 7 months old. This will go on until they become 3 years old. And it is fairly common for them to be chewing things at this age.

It’s because babies have this great urge to answer their questions about the shape, texture, and taste of different objects they come in contact with. They want to experience the sensation of chewing.

This involves not just toys. They will basically be chewing ANYTHING they SEE.

Surely, you remember what it was like to be a curious cat right?

So yes, we’re also talking about the baby’s crib rails that they hold onto every time you put them in bed. This is why they like chewing cribs.

How Your Child Feels

That aside, teething also poses DISCOMFORT for a child. And this could be another reason to blame as this forces your kids to chew on the crib railings where paint could come off easily.

And in case there’s any parent who’s not familiar with teething pain…

Babies chew on the crib because it actually soothes the teething distress they’re feeling. It is a heavenly feeling for their mouth — all thanks to the pressure being applied to their swelling gums.

How would you know when your child is already teething?

  • Irritability
  • Constant chewing
  • Drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Touching mouth
  • Rubbing cheeks
  • Pulling ears

All these are the common symptoms of teething. And these are fairly EASY to spot as long as you keep an eye on your children during their first year.

But if they are having a reaction like…

  • Vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • High fever
  • Diarrhea

These also suggest your babies are teething… But these could mean something much more dangerous too. So you might want to APPROACH a pediatrician right away if your toddler starts having all these.

Cause #2: Your Baby Could Have Anxiety

Scared baby standing in crib

This is not just all about your children teething at a young age.

There’s another serious problem parents need to address — baby anxiety. And people wouldn’t want to miss out on this one as this can GROW on their child.

You should know that your baby chewing on crib railings and other things can be seen as one way to COMMUNICATE their complex feelings to people around them.

So babies chew MORE on cribs when something is lacking. And they tend to act out (like crying) at the same time to have their parents provide what’s missing.

And this missing thing can be anything:

  • Playthings
  • Food or milk
  • Attention
  • Comfortability

Baby anxiety is difficult to recognize since its symptoms are vague. You would occasionally question yourself if “this is it”. But you still wouldn’t be able to find a clear answer to it.

So the best way to stop this baby-chewing-on-crib-railing problem is to reach out to a pediatrician if you’re not sure about this one as well.

Cause #3: Sensory Processing Disorder

Stressed father and baby

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a kind of illness that makes it DIFFICULT for babies to process and properly respond to what their senses pick up from the environment.

SPD affects EVERYTHING — the sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. And a baby can be either overly sensitive or under-sensitive about this.

Here’s how to tell whether your baby is under or over-sensitive:

  • In the case of under-sensitivity, babies chew on the crib railing more often than normal. Or it could be things too than just all cribs. They don’t care if it’s toys, furniture, or any other objects they’re playing with. A baby is satisfied as long as he/she is chewing something regardless of the hazardous paint the object is made of.
  • On the other hand, babies might show messy, uncontrollable behavior if they’re overly sensitive. Even just changing diapers will automatically throw them off.

WATCH over the SPD signs during your early parenting as well if you don’t want your baby chewing everything hazardous from cribs.

Your child could be under-sensitive if he/she is…

  • Aggressively chewing and biting
  • Reacting to movements way slowly
  • Struggling to lift up things

And your child could be overly sensitive if he/she is…

  • Having problem sleeping in his/her crib
  • In distress when changing clothes
  • Picky with foods
  • Crying when hugged
  • Throwing tantrums when hearing loud noises

Is a Baby Chewing on the Crib Dangerous?

Baby chewing on crib

The Dangers of a Baby Chewing on Crib Paint

You should NEVER ever let your baby leave teeth marks on dirty, unprotected crib railings.

It can be dangerous with all the wood stain and paint that’s embedded on the baby’s crib rails. And even an OLD bed railing can be harmful too since it could be made of lead-based paint.

Failure to make time to check on your baby might make wood stain poisoning real since they could be chewing cribs anytime.

Unless you have one of the safest non-toxic baby cribs, this is something you have to be scared of since it affects literally EVERY part of your baby’s body.

These are the poisonous ingredients wood stains have:

  • Alcohol
  • Alkanes
  • Cyclo alkanes
  • Glycol ether
  • And corrosive

And if you let your baby chew these, your baby might experience…

  • Pain in most body parts
  • Loss of vision
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Brain damage
  • Skin burns

And the horror is not over yet.

Your babies can ALSO get lead poisoning from chewing on lead paint from crib rails. And if anyone doesn’t know, lead affects blood cells production and calcium absorption.

So your child will also have…

  • Difficulty to process everything the brain is trying to understand
  • Deadly pain in the stomach and kidneys
  • And all developmental disabilities would be present

A baby is the MOST susceptible to mind and body failure since they absorb lead faster than an adult. So he/she will be in serious trouble if you can’t find a solution to the chewing cribs problem ASAP.

But Wait! What About Wood Splinters?

Wood splinters are SHARP and tiny slivers of wood that could be embedded under the skin of a baby.

And for those who experienced this when they were a kid, you know this hurts a lot, right? And you have to treat this like it hurts a million times WORSE  since it’s a baby that might be experiencing this.

Wood splinters could come off from crib rails, especially if these railings are old. And these are hard to notice since splinters are AWFULLY small.

So it might be a real challenge to pick them up. And for all we know, they could already be under your baby’s skin as you’re looking for them (or they could start chewing them too!).

Harmful bacteria will infiltrate your baby’s blood through the open wound. And your baby could have an INFECTION if this happens. Most especially if it reaches the eyes since it’s a delicate part of the body.

How to Prevent Your Baby From Chewing on the Crib

Baby chewing toy

Use Teething Toys

You can use some teething toys to stop your baby from chewing paint chips from crib railings. They will love chewing these since it’s much SMALLER and easy to grab/hold, unlike actual furniture.

But be EXTRA mindful of the materials teethers have.  They could be made of toxic chemicals that might harm your baby like a crib. So only use teethers that are…

  • Phthalate-free
  • BPA-free 
  • Made of non-toxic paint

And NEVER buy a used or second-hand teether.

You should also CLEAN these teething toys regularly. Sanitize them and kill all those bacteria lingering on the surface. You can do this by simply washing the teething toys with water and soap AFTER use.

Frozen Treats

Frozen treats can also steal the spotlight from crib railings. These NUMB your baby’s gums and stop them from wanting to chew paint from the railing.

DON’T try to feed your baby ice cream since it can be unhealthy for their diet. And cavities could come out early too. They can only take it when they are at least 1 year old.

Instead, you can feed your baby a frozen popsicle when he/she becomes AT LEAST 6 months old. You can make it homemade so it has NO sugar, and it’s healthier too if it’s made of fruits and veggies

Try out Strawberry Cherry Yeet Popsicle if you want simpler ingredients.

You only have to prepare…

  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Cooked beets
  • Vanilla extract
  • And water

And then next would be the 4-step process:

  • Put the vanilla extract along with other ingredients into the blender.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes to pass or until the ingredients are finely grained.
  • Pour them into popsicle molds.
  • Leave the popsicle molds in the freezer overnight.

Feed them to your baby after to stop them from chewing the dirty railing of cribs.

Massage Your Baby’s Gums

You can also MASSAGE your baby’s gums for a direct remedy for teeth’ pain. This will calm your baby from chewing on the crib railing.

But make sure you’re using clean fingers or a wet gauze BEFORE you touch their gums. And you should also be gently RUBBING it in a circular motion.

And for a much more effective method, you can also try to DIP your fingers in cool water before you put them in your baby’s mouth for additional numbness.

Take note this will only stop your baby from chewing the crib for a short period of time.

Get Crib Rail Covers

If you have tried all things and you still question why the chewing behavior is still going on…

Enter crib rail covers for a better-equipped nursery. These are secured at the top of the cribs and it covers the actual furniture.

Your baby will STOP chewing paint chips and splinters from the crib with this guard.

But you should be CAREFUL with the materials too when choosing the perfect rail covers for the baby’s crib. Ensure they are…

  • PVC-free
  • Lead-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • BPA-free
  • CPSIA-certified

In fact, you should steer clear of these harmful substances whether you’re dealing with a bassinet or a crib, so keep that in mind!

Finally, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • The rail covers should also be SOFT so it doesn’t hurt your baby when he/she is gnawing at it. And make sure it doesn’t collect drool if you don’t want the rail covers to be damped all the time.
  • SKIP any bed railing covers with unnecessary accessories too like buttons. These could come loose and your baby could choke on them.  Babies chew everything they see after all.
  • You might encounter some crib bumpers as you search for crib railing covers online. AVOID this one as well even though it looks perfectly cozy for a baby.

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) DOES NOT recommend bumpers since it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Your baby could also suffer from suffocation, entrapment, and asphyxia with this kind of guard.

Remember: crib bumpers can trap your baby. And a baby likes to roll too so he/she could be out of breath if he/she’s in an upside-down position.


Mom and baby

Now you have seen how dangerous it is for a baby to chew on their crib railings.

Take IMMEDIATE action before your baby ends up chewing all paint from cribs to ensure safety in your baby’s world. Remember to observe every behavior your baby shows — don’t EVER let minor issues slide before it gets any worse.

About the author

Angelica Graham

A few years ago, Angelica found out about all the plastic and toxic ingredients that got into most children’s products. And this worried her to no end. Because of this, she began to research what the best ingredients and materials were for children and made it her mission to share this information with other mothers.