Help! Baby Ate Paint off the Crib: Should I be Worried?

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Did you just wake up and find out that your baby ate paint off the crib? Well, you are not alone!! Find out what should you do to stop the baby from chewing off the crib.

Babies don’t miss an opportunity to surprise you or scare you when you leave them unattended. It is true even when you have the safest place for them to sleep or play.

baby biting on railing of the crib

I don’t mind happy surprises, but it scares the hell out of me when I find them on the kitchen counter or playing with small objects when you leave them unattended, or find a baby chewing on a crib railing first thing in the morning.

When my 8-month-old did that for the first time I was scared to death. His face was covered with paint chips and I found tooth marks on a crib railing. I was worried about some wood splinters that might have gone down the throat.

If you are in a similar situation, keep reading. I have done a lot of research to find out whether it is dangerous for babies to eat the paint off a crib and what you can do to stop this behavior.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate and amazon associate, I earn commission on qualified purchases at no extra cost to you.

Why do Babies Chew on Crib?

There are several reasons why babies chew on the crib railing or their bed railing.

The most common reason for babies to chew on the crib or any surface is that your baby is teething. Baby’s first teeth appear when they are around 5-10 months old and the whole teething process continues until they are 2 years old.

Teething is painful for babies. They have sore gums and to find relief from the pain, they would chew on anything that they can get into their mouth including furniture, toys, clothes, and in this case crib railing.

Babies chew or bite on various objects to soothe their sore gums and this process helps those teeth cut through the gum.

Excessive chewing behavior is also associated with anxiety/stress in children.

In addition to chewing on a variety of things like toys, clothes, fingers, and furniture, if your child is showing other symptoms of anxiety, you may need to talk to your health care provider. Anxiety-related excessive chewing on objects applies to older kids.

Children with sensory processing difficulties may also exhibit excessive chewing behavior. Your child may be over or under-stimulated by touch, sound, taste, and texture senses.

Kids who have an under-stimulated sense of texture may begin to chew excessively on objects including furniture, clothes, or fingers. Again, chewing on a crib by itself is not enough to diagnose this condition.

For babies, if you suspect that there are other behavioral issues in conjunction with chewing on a crib not related to swollen gums and teething, you need to talk to your pediatrician.

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Is it Dangerous for Baby to Chew on Crib?

For the first 2-3 years of a baby’s life, they explore the world by putting everything in their mouth. They learn by exploring the texture of the things by chewing things that come their way.

When it comes to baby chewing on the crib, Ontario Poison Control Center told me that it is mostly harmless, and it cautioned parents not to use a hand-me-down crib that may have been painted with lead paint (cribs made before 1975).

With changing regulations, most new cribs available in the market uses lead-free paint or stain.

Although, caution should be taken when the baby keeps on chewing on the crib frequently.  Here are reasons why a baby chewing off a crib could be dangerous.  

Painted Crib Railings

baby biting on railing of the crib

Depending on the type of crib you have (some are painted with low VOC or no VOC paint), there are still chances that your baby is getting exposed to harmful chemical compounds by chewing on the crib railing.

If your baby ate paint off the crib, you shouldn’t worry too much. Given that you are not using your ancestor’s crib, which might be covered with lead paint, most new cribs are painted with lead-free paint.

Also, the amount of paint that your baby has eaten by chewing on the crib railing, is not significant enough to cause damage.

So, if you are worried that your baby ate paint off the crib, there is no damage done to your baby. But you should talk to your pediatrician If you are worried about lead poisoning. They will get your baby tested for it.

Having said that, paints do contain chemicals and because the baby’s system is still developing, preventive measures (discussed below) should be taken to avoid recurrence.

Stained Wooden railing of Crib

If your crib is made of raw wood, it won’t harm your baby if he chews on it (unless he is biting off splinters). But most of the wooden cribs are stained to increase their durability. Sadly, chewing on stained wood can also expose the baby to chemicals, even if it is dry.

Risk of baby Ingesting Wood Splinters

If your baby already has teeth, there are chances that your beaver-baby is biting off splinters from the wooden crib railing with his teeth.

It could harm your baby if splinters get stuck into his mouth, throat, or even get ingested into his digestive system.

How to Avoid Baby from Chewing off the Paint on the Crib?

Here are several preventive measures that you might want to consider avoiding the baby from chewing off the paint on the crib.

Use Crib Railing Covers

Immediate fix to the ‘Baby ate paint off the crib’ problem is covering crib railing with non-toxic rail covers. Crib rail cover is designed to protect teething babies from harmful toxins and guard your crib rails against teeth marks and drool discoloration.

There are many different kinds of crib rail covers available in the market. Find ones like this one or this one made from baby-safe material and free from PVC, lead, phthalate, and BPA. Both rail covers are soft, breathable, thick enough for a teething baby, and meet CPSIA requirements.

There are also food-grade silicone guards. These silicone guards not only protect furniture but also protects mobile baby from sharp corners of furniture or walls and also makes it hard for babies to chew on it.

In addition to baby-proofing your kitchen, silicone guards are great for covering the corners of the coffee table or dining table.

Now that you have an immediate solution to your problem, here is what you can do to reduce your baby’s need to chew off a crib.

Offer Variety of Teething Toys

baby chewing on pacifier in a crib

The most obvious reason for babies to chew on the crib is to get relief from their aching gum. For teething babies, give them non-toxic teething toys to satisfy their cravings for chewing on things.

Provide a variety of teethers that are different in shapes and textures. Different shapes let babies engage different parts of the jaw and different textures are just interesting to them.

You may need to try different teethers until you find the right fit to meet your toddler’s needs. 

Although, a loose teether should not be left in the crib while the baby sleeps for safety reasons. Also, teething necklaces that are worn by babies, should not be used when your baby is not supervised as it could be a serious choking hazard for babies.

Offer Foods of a Variety of Textures

In addition to teething toys, incorporate a variety of textures in your baby’s meals and snacks. It will reduce a baby’s need to chew on the crib or other things.

Foods like crunchy nuts, carrots, pretzels, dried berries, or bagels provide deep pressure to the jaw. 

Massage Baby’s Gum

Use an electric toothbrush during your toddler’s hygiene routine. Vibration provides that deep pressure on their gums that they crave for.

Your toddler may or may not like the, but for those who don’t mind vibration, it is another way to incorporate oral sensory input in your daily routine. I

have used Z-vibe Oral Stimulator for sensory stimulation within and around my son’s oral cavity. Smooth and gentle vibration of this stimulator provides deep pressure on their gums.

Alternatively, you can massage your baby’s gum directly with a finger or damp toothbrush.


Is the paint on Cribs Toxic?

It really depends on the type of crib you have. Older cribs (before 1975) may have been painted with lead-based paint. Babies can get lead poisoning from chewing or gnawing on a crib.

You should not worry if you have a new crib as most of them are painted with non-toxic paint. Although, non-toxic does not mean that there are no harmful chemicals in it. So, chewing on a crib is not recommended.

Can a baby get sick from Chewing on a Crib?

Most babies start chewing on things when they are teething. Few babies end up getting sick when they are teething. So, if your baby happens to chew on the crib and fall sick, it is mostly due to teething and not because of the baby chewing on the crib.

If you see chewing on crib behavior is associated with other symptoms you may need to talk to your pediatrician.

If you are worried about the baby eating the paint off the crib, cover the rail of the crib with baby-safe rail covers.

If you think that your crib is not painted with non-toxic paint (smell of the paint from the crib for days is usually a sign), you may need to consider re-painting your crib with non-toxic, no-VOC, no-odor baby safe paint.

Several brands sell non-toxic baby-safe paints for a crib. Considering the amount of time your baby spends in the crib, maintaining air quality is crucial to prevent your baby from breathing chemicals or ingesting paints off a crib.

Baby ate Paint Off the Crib I Conclusion

Here you go, mama! I hope this article has helped you relieve your worries if your baby ate paint off the crib.

It is very common among teething babies to chew on the railing of the crib and many other things for teething gum pain relief.

And even if the baby ate paint of the crib, the amount of paint they have ingested is not significant to cause any damage to your baby.

Having said that, you should always speak to your pediatrician if you are concerned about the well-being of your baby or worried about lead poisoning.

Lastly, we should always take preventive measures to avoid the baby from chewing off the paint on the Crib.

How did you stop your baby from chewing on the crib? Leave your comment below.

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Featured Photo by luis arias on Unsplash

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