When it is time to pick the perfect baby crib for your bundle of joy, you will find there are hundreds of choices available. Need to remember that during the first few months of life, your baby will spend up to 20 hours each day asleep. That’s why it’s so important to buy a crib that’s comfy and safe. However, before you decide on the color or the finish you should think of safety first. There are certain guidelines you will want to follow when choosing a new baby crib. If you choose to buy an antique crib or a crib over five years old, you may need to make adjustments. However, before you make any choices you will want to consider the following guidelines.
Make Sure the Baby Crib is Safe
While baby cribs today are governed by strict codes, a baby crib that was manufactured ten years ago may not be up to today’s standards. The biggest issue is the width between the slats of the crib. Older cribs traditionally have wider spaces that a child can reach through or get their arm stuck in. Make sure the space between the bars of your new baby crib are no larger than 2-and-3/8 inches apart.
You also need to measure the distance from the top of your baby’s crib mattress to the top of the raised side; this must be at least 26 inches. If the side of the crib drops down you will want a distance of at least 9 inches from the mattress to top of the side. While it may be a pain to measure every crib, it is very important. After all, your baby’s crib is the only place you should ever leave him/her alone.
Preparing for the Future
Many cribs today can transform into toddler beds and twin beds. While these cribs may cost more than a simple baby crib, they do offer a value that will last for over twenty years. However, when choosing a bed that will last for twenty years, you need to consider the style. After all, some designs are not popular after a few years.
Instead you should choose a traditional or classic design that will last throughout the decades and not go out of style. In most cases hardwoods that are stained in traditional colors are your best bet. You also want to choose real wood in case the finish ever need to be repaired. Only real wood can be sanded and refinished. The new materials such as pressed wood or wood and cardboard combinations cannot be refinished.
Your Mattress is Very Important
When you buy a new baby crib you will want to carefully inspect the mattress that comes with it. All babies should sleep on a firm, waterproof mattress. If the mattress sags, is covered with cloth, or has stains you should not use it for your baby. When buying a used crib it is probably best to buy a new mattress from your local department or furniture store. These mattresses cost 40 to 70 dollars in most cases.
Selecting the Right Add-On
When buying a baby crib you may also want to purchase a mobile or toys for the side of the crib. Most pediatricians recommend that you use mobiles only when the child is immobile. You also need to make sure the mobile is attached correctly and will not fall into the crib. Most people today simply buy toys that are baby safe and will attach to the side of the crib. The baby can listen to music as an infant and play with the different features as he or she gets older.
Ensure That Your Baby Crib Is Safe
baby crib is one of the most important purchases a new or expecting parent makes. Babies sleep for most of their first year of life and the crib is where they spend all that time. To avoid dangerous accidents, it is crucial to ensure that your baby’s crib meets all the safety requirements.
Step 1 – Check the Crib for Missing Parts
The use of old cribs is not recommended. However, some people may receive an antique crib that has been in the family for many years, which makes it a valued commodity. In such cases, you are still better off using such a crib for ornamental purposes. If you decide to use the crib for your baby, you must thoroughly check it and rule out any broken or missing parts. If any parts or hardware are missing, the crib may come apart or fall down when your baby is in it.
Step 2 – Ensure the Space Requirements are Met
The slats in cribs keep babies from falling or rolling out of the crib. Ensure that all the slats on your crib are in the correct place and are tightly fit in place. The space between neighboring slats must be no more than 2.375 inches. A crib that has a bigger gap between the slats is dangerous, because a baby’s little head or body can become trapped in between. Another thing to look for is the gap between the crib and the mattress. Ensure that mattress is firm and tightly fitting inside the crib, and that you cannot squeeze in more than one finger in the gap. Again, if the gap is too large, the baby can get trapped in between the mattress and the crib wall. A soft mattress increases the chances of suffocation, as can a loose fitting sheet or a blanket. It is best to cover the baby in a sleeper instead of a blanket. Also ensure that the corner posts are flush with the corners of the crib, so that the baby cannot get clothing entangled in it. If the mattress is supported by hangers, check them frequently.
Step 3 – Avoid Decorative Openings and Threads
Some older cribs have decorative openings on the side. These openings are quite dangerous and must be avoided, because the baby’s head can get trapped. Also remove any decorative threads or ribbons you see on the crib, as they pose a strangulation risk. For the same reason, avoid tying toys to the crib with strings. Never place the crib close to curtains or blinds. The cords in blinds pose a significant danger, as do curtains that may suffocate the baby. Ensure that the crib side stays firmly in place when latched. Also check regularly for loose screws or parts.
Step 4 – Minimize Toxic Elements
To avoid chemicals, use an organic mattress, organic sheets and blankets in your baby’s crib. If the crib is old, it is best to strip away the paint as it may contain lead. Repaint with a paint that has no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
The different types of baby cribs
There are many different varieties of baby cribs available. Below are some of the most popular designs.
Standard baby cribs
If you were to close your eyes and image a baby crib, chances are it would look something like this. Standard cribs come with four fixed sides and slats.
Don’t let the “standard” name fool you, these baby cribs come in many different styles to suit your nursery.
- Generally the cheapest type of baby crib available.
- Simple sturdy construction
- Long lasting.
- Lacks the features of other baby cribs
- Not easily moved from one position to another
Convertible baby crib
Also known as lifetime cribs, convertible cribs are designed to grow with your baby. The logic behind the name is that these cribs can convert into one or more different types of furniture. The most common conversions include:
- Standard crib
- Day bed
- Toddler bed
- Single or twin sized bed
Convertible cribs are commonly expressed as ‘number-in-1′ where the number specifies the different combinations that this crib can transform into. A convertible crib that can turn into all the above combinations, for example, would be referred to as a 4-in-1 convertible crib
Be mindful that you may need to purchase a conversion kit in order to transform your crib into the single or twin sized bed. Since you will turning your crib into a bed years from now, it makes sense to purchase the conversion kit at the same time as your baby crib.
- Cost effective long term bedding solution
- Only one bed needed for the majority of your child’s life
- Built to last
- No trims or designs that can make the crib look dated as it ages
- Generally more expensive than other baby cribs
- May not fit with your future interior design
- Hands on work required to convert crib through it’s stages
- Conversion kit has to be stored away for future use
- Crib may wear out, making it unsuitable for later stage transformations
Portable baby crib
If you are short on space then you a portable baby crib may be just the solution you need. The ability to move a crib from room to room will make it easy for you to keep a watchful eye on your baby while completing household chores. Just make sure the crib will fit through your doorway.
A portable baby crib, also known as a folding crib is essentially a crib on wheels (casters). The wheels make moving the crib as simple as giving it a push. Once you have your baby crib in the desired position, you simply use the locks on each wheel to lock it into place. With the locks on, the baby crib will be unable to roll away.
One often overlooked point; you will need to take your flooring into account when looking for a portable baby crib. Wheels that glide effortlessly over carpet can scratch and damage wooden floors and vice versa. Buy choosing the correct wheels you will not only save your floor from damage but the crib will be easier to push around as well.
- Great for houses with limited space
- Allows you to easily keep an eye on your baby
- Breaks need to be checked regularly
- Less design choices than other cribs
Mattress still needs to be stored away when crib is folded up
The travel crib pictured above packs up neatly into the bag next to it. If you take your baby on holidays or often move your baby between houses then this is the baby crib for you.
Travel cribs are the lightest baby cribs available to buy. The focus on light weight materials such as mesh and aluminum, means that travel cribs are more prone to wear and tear than their sturdy wooden cousins. This makes travel cribs unsuitable to be used in place of a permanent crib.
Many travel cribs boast impressive set up times, with some taking as little as 15 seconds to put together.
- Light weight
- Quick to set up
- Easy to carry
- Can be carried onto a plane
- Not as study as a regular crib
- More prone to wear and tear
- Not suitable for a permanent crib solution
A multipurpose baby crib incorporates one or more other pieces of furniture into its design. The appeal of multipurpose baby cribs is that the cost of buying the two pieces of furniture separately.
A baby change table, dresser, or shelf storage are the most common pieces of furniture incorporated into a multipurpose crib.
In an effort to keep the crib from being too bulky, the joined piece of furniture will generally be smaller in size than if it was purchased separately.
- Eliminates the need for extra furniture
- Quick to set up
- To keep the size down, features may be sacrificed
- Larger in size than a regular crib
Round baby crib
Round baby cribs are the most uncommon type of baby crib available. Most round cribs will come with a canopy, giving the crib a medieval appearance.
Due to their lack of popularity, round crib accessories such as mattresses and crib sheets are not only difficult to find, but are also expensive compared to their standard counterparts.
Round cribs are generally smaller than rectangular cribs meaning that you may need to purchase a larger crib once it has been outgrown, an expensive option.
- Unusual design
- Option of a canopy
- Quickly outgrown
- Hard to find suitable accessories
- Unusual look does not match modern decore
Eco Baby Crib
An eco crib can take the form of any of the cribs previously mentioned.
Eco cribs, short for eco-friendly cribs, are made from materials and manufacturing processes designed to minimize harm to the environment
Eco crib manufacturers will source materials renewable sources such as sustainable forest plantations. Some eco crib manufacturers even plant a tree for every baby crib purchased.
Extra Crib Safety Advice
Destroy unsafe baby cribs
If your baby crib no longer meets safety standards then it should be destroyed in a way that it cannot be reassembled and used. This way you will prevent an unsafe baby crib from turning up at a yard sale or thrift store.
By properly disposing of unsafe cribs you may have just saved another baby’s life.
Follow the manufacturers instructions
Be sure to read and follow the manufactures instructions when setting up and using a baby crib. Failure to follow the directions may result in injury to your baby or void the cribs warranty.
Choose a safe crib location
While you can place a baby crib anywhere of your house, you don’t want your crib near the following dangers:
- Curtain or blind cords that can easily be grabbed by your baby
- In direct sunlight
- In a constant breeze
- Radiators or heaters
- Any furnutire that can be used to climb out of the crib
Watch the cribs depth
Your little one will likely still be using a crib when it starts practicing walking and getting more adventurous. Your crib needs to be deep enough to prevent attempted jail breaks.
Ensure that your crib is deep enough to prevent your baby from climbing up over the railing and falling out. Ensure no soft toys or toddler pillows are high enough to be used as a step and watch the mattress height.
Check the fit of the mattress
The cribs mattress should fit snuggly against the walls of your baby’s crib. If you use a loose fitting mattress your baby can easily get stuck between the edge of the mattress and the crib wall when wiggling around.
Fortunately you can see if the gap around the mattress is too big by simply using your fingers. Simply poke around the sides of the crib where the mattress meets the crib wall. If you cannot fit two fingers between the two then your baby will be unable to become trapped.
Don’t set and forget
Be sure to check your baby’s crib for peeling paint, splinters, loose screws and other hazards regularly.