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How To Choose A Baby Crib That Suits Your Needs AND Budget!
There are so many different baby cribs available that it may seem impossible to know which one to choose.
Some are adorable, but are they safe? Some have many different features, but are they worth their high price?
And how about buying a used crib? Is it recommended and what do I need to check to make sure I buy a safe crib for my baby?
Safety, personal preference, convenience, and price are top priorities in making the right decision for your baby.
Below you’ll find a checklist for choosing the right baby crib.
7 Tips for Choosing The Right Baby Crib
Standard cribs may remind you of the days when you were a child. Not much has changed and in most cases, a standard crib is a natural choice for your baby’s main bed.
Most of these look just like what you expect from a baby crib although they come in all sorts of colors and designs. Some are very modern, like the Babyletto Mercer Crib, others have a more antique style. Which style you choose is just a matter of taste.
Another option is a crib changing table combination. These are basically a standard crib with a changing table attached. Some also have storage units included. The advantage is of course that you get the same style on the bed as on the changing table. More than that, I don’t really see the point with this sort of cribs.
Convertible beds that can be changed to a toddler bed as your child grows and even to a full size bed later. If you don’t plan for sibling any time soon, this might be a good idea.
Before deciding to choose a specific baby crib, make sure you control that the model has not been criticized (or recalled) from a safety perspective in consumer reviews.
Specific issues that you can control yourself are:
- The distance between the slates – it should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches (6 cm).
- If the rails go down on the bed, make sure it stays at least 9 inches (23 cm) above the mattress when lowered and 26 inches (66 cm) above the mattress when raised. This is to prevent your baby from falling out.
- The dropside locking mechanism needs to be secure as well as easy to handle and silent. It is not good if you need to use both hands to lock or unlock the dropside, since you might be carrying or supporting your baby with one
Of course, one thing that the expectant parents should consider is the practical side of the bed they choose:
How long do you plan on using this baby crib? If only for a couple of years then a standard bed should suffice.
Should it have rails that go down on one or both sides? A crib with at least one rail, that can be lowered, like on the Jenny Lind Baby Crib, or at least many or them, is convenient but means a risk that your baby falls out because you forgot to put up the rail.
If you do want rails that drop, make sure that they are quiet. Squeaking rails are incredibly annoying, and might actually wake your baby up. A new bed is not likely to have squeaking rails, but old cribs might be very noisy!
Most beds have adjustments for different heights for the mattress. You need at least two heights, three is better.
Do you have a small space and need a bed with storage underneath?
Does the bed have wheels for easy moving? In such case look for wheels that can be locked if you don’t want your toddler to start moving the bed around the house later on…
And last but not least consider your budget. Cribs are priced at reasonable for a basic to quite pricey.
Another part of the crib that should be inspected is the mattress. It should be firm to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and fit the bed snugly leaving no spaces between the mattress and the rails of the crib. A quality mattress is for example the Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Crib Mattresss. (Link to Amazon)
Also, check to see what the mattress itself is composed of. Babies have sensitive skin and natural materials are best.
The rest of the bed ensemble can be really fun to shop for. There are many themes to choose from when decorating your child’s room. If you don’t know the sex of your baby to be yet, or if you plan for more than one child, a unisex bedding is ideal.
Make sure when choosing the bedding that you purchase a bumper pad that fastens to the rails of the crib, sheets that fit the mattress firmly enough to stay on, and don’t put blankets, stuffed animals or anything in the crib that the baby could get tangled in or pull over their face.
Avoid fluffy blankets and pillows. Again, your baby can easily crawl under a light, fluffy blanket or pull it over his face, and increase the risk of SIDS. Often, even quite small, apparently immobile babies can somehow move around in the crib.
In my view, the best option really is a baby sleep bag like this one and no blankets at all.
Buying a used crib
Should you decide to buy or borrow a used crib, don’t buy one that is very old.
Chipped paint, slats that are too far apart, decorative cutouts, screws that are missing or a mattress that does not fit snugly are all causes of accidents. Newer cribs are less likely to have these problems.
Teething rails should also be intact or purchase one to replace an old or missing one.
Older painted beds could have paint containing lead which can be hazardous to children.
That said, borrowing or buying a used baby crib works just fine if done with some common sense. Buying a new mattress and an old bed can be a good compromise.
Compare prices online
You can purchase your baby bed from a local store or order online. If you want to buy one online (often a lot better prices), one possibility is to first go to a store and check the bed out. Otherwise, make sure you read reviews about the bed before buying.
When buying online, since beds can be heavy, make sure you check to see how much the shipping charges are and how long it takes for delivery.
Regardless of where you buy your bed, check return policy if it would turn out for example that the bed won’t fit into your bedroom or if you change your mind for any reason at all.
Here are some great online store for baby cribs:
- Amazon has a huge selection of baby cribs
- The Land of Nods have great designers cribs and ship globally
- Modern Nursery has a nice selection of modern style cribs