How to Choose A Crib

Designing a nursery is one of the most fun parts of pregnancy. From choosing a nursery theme to picking out adorable baby bedding, it’s hard not to get even more excited for your bundle of joy to arrive. However, choosing the right crib can feel like serious business. With so many questions and so many choices, it can be hard to determine the best crib for your baby. That's why we offer plenty of helpful tips on how to choose a crib in our crib buying guide.

Consider Crib Style

Modern or Classic?

Before you purchase a crib, decide if you want a timeless style that you can use again for future babies or if you want a crib that is more trendy and unique. Simple lines and solid, neutral colors are easy to incorporate into nearly any nursery design, while alternative materials, metallic finishes or bright colors are likely designed with a more specific interior style in mind.

Gender Neutral?

Similarly, you’ll need to decide if you want a gender neutral crib that can easily be reused in another nursery or if you want one that is more gender specific. A crib with a stained wood finish or white paint will coordinate easily for either gender when paired with the right crib bedding and nursery decor.

Other Nursery Furniture

You’ll also want to think about how the crib style pairs with other nursery furniture you may already have such as bookshelves, dressers, changing tables and rocking chairs. Mix and match colors for a more eclectic space or keep things more traditional by coordinating finishes.

Consider Types of Cribs & Functionality

There are multiple types of cribs that offer different benefits depending on your needs.

Standard Crib:

Standard cribs will fit a crib mattress that is 27.5’’ by 52’’. This type of crib is the most common and is available in a variety of colors and styles to match your nursery design.

Adjustable Height Crib:

An adjustable height crib makes it easier to safely move your baby in and out while they grow. The highest height makes it safe to lower a newborn into the crib, while a lower height keeps a toddler from climbing out during the night. An adjustable height crib will look like a standard crib, but it simply offers additional functionality.

Convertible Crib:

Convertible cribs offer lasting benefit because they can be converted into useful furniture for a variety of stages of your child’s life. The most basic type of convertible crib turns into a toddler bed by replacing one side of the crib with a low bed rail. Fancier convertible cribs— 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible cribs— can transform into daybeds, full-sized beds, storage and more after use as a baby crib.

Mini Crib:

Perfect for small nurseries or shared bedrooms, a mini crib is a small-profile version of a standard crib. Because mini cribs take up a smaller footprint, they are easier to fit in tight spaces. A downside to mini cribs is that it can be harder to find a crib mattress and bedding. However, some mini cribs are sold automatically with the mattress.

Folding Crib:

Another solution for small spaces, a folding crib is easy to break down when not in use. A folding crib is also easy to store if you know you want to keep it for the next baby or need to keep a spare crib handy for grandkids.

Consider Crib Safety

Your baby will be spending a considerable amount of time in the crib for almost the first two years or his or her life, so you want to make sure the materials and construction of the crib are safe for your little one.

Safety Standards

When purchasing a new crib, make sure the manufacturer states that the crib meets US, ASTM or CPSC safety standards. In addition, pay attention to what materials and finishes are used on the crib to choose ones made with non-toxic paints and stains that are tested for lead and phthalate content.

Used Cribs

If you are getting a hand-me-down crib from friends or family, make sure to check that it hasn’t been recalled for any defects. Be aware that as of June 2011, the Federal Government and the US Consumer Product Safety Commision banned all use of drop-side cribs, which are no longer deemed safe for children. Do not borrow or reuse any crib that has broken slats or missing hardware either. On older cribs, verify that the slats measure no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart, which is the maximum distance deemed safe.

Consider Crib Cost

As the crib is the place in the nursery your little one will likely spend the most time, it’s worth investing in a crib that brings you peace of mind.

Determine the Value

When deciding on your crib budget, factor in future use the crib offers. If you want to get more bang for your buck, purchasing a crib you can reuse with future babies or convert into a big kid bed makes the most sense, even if it costs a bit more upfront. If you opt to save money by buying a used crib from a thrift store or yard sale, be exceptionally vigilant about the quality and age of the crib. Carefully inspect the crib for any missing parts, even as small as a single screw. Be wary of cribs manufactured prior to June 2011, as the safety standards were not as stringent prior to that date.

Before bringing your newborn home from the hospital, have the nursery prepped and ready with everything from baby blankets and diapers to changing tables and a crib. In order to figure out how to choose a crib, just take a few pointers from our crib buying guide.

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