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The report's key finding: Formula DOUBLES THE DEATH RATE for American infants.
NFO Special Follow-Up Report:

Optimizing the Health of Your Formula-Fed Baby.

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Top 10 Uses For a Crib (other than sleeping!)

By Gina Ritter

I was never impressed with the new metal crib that we received for my eldest. The thing creaked endlessly, and the mattress seemed so cold and unfriendly. I thought I had to have a crib, but I hadn’t realized how unused it would be as a sleep chamber. We parted effortlessly in a moving sale three kids and eight years later. Besides some dust, the crib looked like the day it was brought home.

Whether you’ve bought a crib, asked for one or received one as a gift, you may one day step back from it and realize that this expensive hunk of wood or metal has served as anything but a crib. Despite their best intentions, millions of families consciously choose or make the transition to using their own beds and bodies for holding little sleepy babies.

But before you toss the crib out the door or refuse one at your shower, let’s take a look at what others have done with their expensive “un-beds”:

Use #1: Fireplace guard
Take one side and the mattress support off your crib, flip the whole thing over and set it up as a three-sided guard around your fireplace.

Use #2: Changing station
One of the first things I did with our crib was release the railing on one side, raise the mattress, hook up a musical mobile and use it as a changing station. Large, flat, waterproof surface … safety rails … room to grow … space for wipes, creams and diapers … a crib is a safe solution to a ready-made diaper-changing station. (Our changing table became a bookcase.).

Use #3: Laundry basket
An overwhelming majority of crib owners use their crib as laundry baskets. Clean, dirty, folded or formal wear hangs from the rails. Interiors tenderly keep clean clothes up off dusty floors, while the babe soaks up all the attention formerly devoted to the laundry. The crib becomes an all-in-one hamper, dresser and armoire!

Use #4: Play fort
Can you imagine the squeals of delight when siblings take over the crib for use as a trampoline (rails up and full adult supervision, of course)? Even just a crib mattress on the floor in a large, empty room with full riot gear (helmets and pads) can be magical. Safety first! Or transform the un-bed into a grand puppet theatre. Turn it upside down to make an awesome (and sturdy) play fort. Drape it with blankets, and you’ve got a cave. Saw the legs off that sucker and you’ve got the makings of a tea party table for your preschoolers. Now they’ll be the envy of their playgroup! Not into tea parties? Tie a steering wheel to one side and start driver’s education early.

Use #5: Storage
Who doesn’t need more storage? Cribs offer a large storage space that safely keeps things away from kids and puppies. They provide additional under-bed storage space that is easily concealed with a ruffle. Use your crib to store stuffed animals and toys, linens, pillows or whatever you cannot find closet space for. A television fits nicely inside, with plenty of room for videos and DVDs. And for the notoriously unorganized or the work-from-homers, a crib offers an awesome storage space for the papers that invade our daily lives. Clean it out only once a year, since it takes that long to fill!

Use #6: Home for the family pet
Dogs and cats will thank you when you prepare your crib as a pet bed. Some dogs have been known to whelp their puppies in a crib. One industrious mama suggests you turn the crib over to use as a rabbit hutch. You could even use it as a dog crate when you’re going to be out of the house for a few hours.

Use #7: Garage sale organizer
A crib is portability on wheels! Keep it in the garage and toss garage sale items into it year-round as they accumulate. Come summertime, haul it out and hang clothes off the rails. Toss all the 25-cent items inside and watch your neighbors fight over that hula girl from your honeymoon.

Use #8: Baby-proof Christmas tree stand
Light-strung Christmas trees are notorious for tipping over and shocking puppies and kittens with sharp teeth, babes with drooly hands and husbands with a horrible sense of electricity. Keep the tree in the crib, tie it to the rails and you’ll eliminate choking, shocking and tipping hazards.

Use #9: Home decor
Convert your crib into a table by setting wood over the top. A wooden crib with slats offers a missionary style look, making you the envy of your mom’s group. Add a top made from stained scrap wood and you have a true working piece of furniture. Drape it with a large cloth and you have storage space, as well. Take off the crib’s sides and hang them to display antique linens and quilts for a truly wonderful homey touch to your décor.

Use #10: Planter
While I personally question the use of your crib as a planter -- ladies and gentlemen, a planter was the number one suggested use for a crib when I polled a group of writers. Use it outside in the garden or front lawn. You may even opt for filling it with silk flowers indoors to keep your house blooming year round. Be careful though, if your babes are young; silk flower tops can pose a choking hazard

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Gina Ritter owns and publishes NFO under the umbrella of the Busy Family Network (BFN). See more about Gina.

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"The media have become the mainstream culture in children's lives. Parents have become the alternative. Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to it."
-- Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist

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