Buying Guide for Baby Cribs
Why buy a baby crib?
If you’re having your first child or adding another member to your growing family, it may be time to buy a new crib. Babies sleep a lot, so they’ll need a safe, dedicated space to dream. Cribs also come in handy for grandparents, foster parents, caregivers, and in-home daycares. Baby cribs make fantastic gifts at baby showers or for new adoptive parents, too.
What should you consider in baby cribs?
- Size: Baby cribs are available in three main sizes: standard, convertible, or mini/portable. A standard crib is a larger, typical crib that offers stability and comfort and can be great if you’re planning on adding more little ones in the near future. A convertible crib can grow with your little one, usually converting into a toddler bed, a daybed, or sometimes even a full bed. And a mini or portable crib is great for small spaces or families who like to travel.
- Safety: Any crib you buy should meet all safety standards. Be sure the slats are not spaced too far apart, as this can be potentially very dangerous for your baby, especially if their head can fit through the opening.
- Mattress Adjustment: The height of the mattress should be able to be adjusted; that way, you can lower it as your little one grows taller, and it decreases the chance of them standing and falling or climbing out.
- Mattress Support: You want to make sure there is stable support for your little one’s mattress, such as a metal base (that will be able to withstand your growing and jumping little one). Also note that many cribs don’t come with the mattress included, so think about the added cost and compatibility.
- Movement: Wheels on the base of the crib can make it easy to move; just make sure they lock in place to stay stable and safe.
How do you know if a baby crib is safe?
First, crib manufacturers are held to high standards by independent agencies. They require a Children’s Product Certificate in the U.S. for safety. Other indicators of a safe crib include a tight-fitting mattress, well-made slats, smooth corners, non-toxic paint, and high-quality hardware. Other considerations to make are what you place in the crib and where you place the crib in the room. For the first 12 months of the baby’s life, it’s safest not to place anything else in the crib except the baby (in a swaddle or wearable blanket) over the firm mattress with a tight-fitting crib sheet. You should also avoid putting the crib directly against the wall underneath decor.
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Our Picks for the Best Baby Cribs
Graco Benton 5-in-1 Convertible Crib
This safe baby crib is available in a range of finishes and designed to grow with your little one.
Pros: This brand-name crib comes in a variety of non-toxic finishes; choose one that best suits your nursery style. Available as a single crib or combined with a changing table, this crib can also convert into a daybed, toddler bed, and full-sized bed. It’s made from high-quality, sustainable pinewood that’s both sturdy and environmentally friendly. There is a three-position adjustable mattress height as well as a support base, so you can create the perfect sleeping experience for your little one. And has been tested to meet all applicable federal safety standards by multiple agencies, given a high rating in all tests.
Cons: Many buyers found this crib a bit difficult to assemble. It might not fit through the doorway once assembled.
Bottom Line: This simple and stylish crib looks great in just about any nursery. You’ll need to assemble it in the nursery because it might not fit through a standard door once fully assembled. However, this is a fantastic crib because of its high marks in safety and its convertibility.
Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
This beautiful sleigh-style convertible crib is made from non-toxic materials and converts to fit your child as they grow.
Pros: Perfect for growing families, this baby crib goes beyond baby, accommodating your child throughout their young years. You can start by adjusting the mattress to three different levels as your baby grows. And when you’re ready for a big kid bed, this crib converts into a toddler bed, a daybed, and a full-sized bed with a headboard and a footboard. There are even extra bed accessories available to create any look you need or to properly fit your space. Unlike many other standard cribs, this one is a breeze to put together. Plus, this crib is built with strong and sturdy wood, and it meets or surpasses several different institutions’ safety standards.
Cons: The conversion kit for a full-size bed is sold separately, as is the guard rail for a toddler bed.
Bottom Line: This affordable crib converts to a larger bed with many options to save you even more money over time. It comes in several finishes to match your child’s nursery. And it has gone through rigorous safety testing.
Dream On Me Aden 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib
Small but mighty, this mini crib has almost everything to offer that a standard crib does.
Pros: This cute mini crib has all the convenience of a standard-sized crib, just smaller! It can easily convert from a crib into a mini daybed, then a twin-sized bed (with or without a footboard). The mattress height is adjustable into four positions, and even though this crib is mini, there will be plenty of space for your little one. The crib is made of superior quality pine wood with non-toxic finishes and is JPMA Certified to meet or exceed all safety standards. And it comes in several neutral finishes to perfectly match your beautifully decorated nursery.
Cons: There may be variances in the color of the stain.
Bottom Line: This mini baby crib offers a small footprint perfect for small spaces. It’s easy to assemble, and it’s easy to convert into a twin bed. However, you will likely need to order a mattress from the same manufacturer to get a perfect fit.
Graco Pack 'N Play On The Go Playard
For parents who love to travel, this portable crib is comfortable and safe for your little ones.
Pros: Like most pack ‘n plays, this one is designed to keep your baby comfortable and happy whether on the go or at home. However, this one is meant to sleep just like a crib at home, with all the conveniences and more. There is a full-sized removable bassinet equipped with a toy bar and soft toys for added entertainment and amusement. The crib has been made to easily pack up and go with automatic folding feet and wheels; simply pull the middle release, and it will fold up and be easy to transport just about anywhere! The frame is durable, and the sides are made of soft mesh. A convenient carrying bag makes transport even easier.
Cons: The mattress pad that comes with this pack ‘n play is not as soft as a standard crib mattress. You may consider replacing it.
Bottom Line: This deluxe pack ‘n play comes with everything you need on the go, including a changing pad, mobile, and a convenient pouch for necessities. It’s easy to fold and easy to carry in its convenient bag. And the wheels lock for extra security.
HALO Baby Bassinet Bedside Sleeper
This adjustable bedside crib offers the ability to sleep close and safe to your new baby.
Pros: Accommodating the needs of new parents, this bassinet is unlike any other with its unique swivel function, bringing your baby closer than any other brand. It’s made with safety in mind, creating a soothing co-sleeping environment without hazards. For instance, the sides are made of breathable mesh that’s both safe and easy to clean, yet they’re sturdy enough to keep your baby safe. This bassinet also comes with a mattress and a fitted sheet. For convenience, you can fully adjust the height of this bassinet to fit your bed. Plus, this bassinet converts into a portable sleeper, so you can bring your sleeping baby with you while you tackle chores around the house.
Cons: The frame of this bassinet sticks out a bit on the bottom, taking up valuable space in your bedroom. It won’t accommodate older/larger babies.
Bottom Line: For ultimate safety for co-sleeping parents, this bassinet is a must-have. It comes with dozens of features that parents love. And it’s easy to find replacement sheets as well.
Cribs come in a multitude of shapes and sizes to accommodate the needs of many different families. But the important thing to look for in any crib is safety. Be on the lookout for safety testing certificates as well as reviews and accolades from parent groups and publications. These options are all nice picks to help your little one sleep.