Babies spend almost 16 hours per day in their baby cribs and it goes without saying that a crib for your baby has to be as safe as possible.
Crib safety standards have been formulated in the United States and all the newly produced cribs have to be in compliance with these regulations. However, it does not mean that the baby crib you have promises ultimate security for your bundle of joy.
Firstly, baby cribs are often recalled owing to the safety concerns. For instance, the Baby’s Dream Mattresses were recently recalled as it was reported that lead paint had been used in them. Pretty scary, huh?
Crib safety standards are updated regularly. The last update was carried out in 2011 when the drop-side baby cribs were banned. This is quite a humungous decree, to be honest, and it implies that a number of baby cribs of older models are not safe options for your babies.
So, how are you going to find out that elusive baby crib that is safe, affordable and durable out of the thousands of choices available on the market?
This is the exact reason we are here to help you out!
Our favorite baby crib: Stork Craft Tuscany
Stork Craft Tuscany is a fantastic choice when it comes to convertible baby cribs. It can be used as a crib, a toddler bed, a day bed and as a full-sized bed. It is equipped with the requisite rail that helps in its conversion into a toddler bed but you will have to purchase the rail for the full-sized bed separately.
What is great about this baby crib is that it lies in the affordable price range yet the features it boasts are equivalent to those found in the cribs lying in the above $400 price range. You might get a bit tentative while placing an order for this lovely crib but it really is a splendid piece of art and many parents unanimously agree on it.
It is a decent, formidable, safe and reliable baby crib that can be converted in to a bed as and when required. I must confess that it is way more solid than many others available on the market.
In addition, the crib is absolutely resplendent. It comprises real wood and does not include that processed or synthetic stuff. However, real wood means that the crib might get a few dings in its material here or there but they are not at all noticeable.
In contrast to the DaVinci Kalani, the wood is harder which means that it will not ding up easily and even if your child wants to become an herbivore, it won’t get damaged.
The mattress boasts a height that can be adjusted to three levels so it is an awesome contraption if you are a mother of short stature. When your baby gets mobile and begins to stand up on his own, you may lower it a notch so that he cannot climb on top of it.
Keep in mind that when you put it together, you should do it in the room since the size of the baby crib does not let it to be passed through a conventional door frame.
There were some parents who complained that the baby crib had a chemical aroma to it. This sounded quite eccentric to me since the crib is made of real wood which means that it uses a finish. It is not at all dangerous for infants as it is part of a standard manufacturing process.
Sealy Soybean Core mattress is a nice mattress to have in this baby crib as it fits snug in the crib and presents a nice sleeping space for your munchkin.
Runner Up: DaVinci Kalani
This is yet another massively popular crib that is made of real wood and boasts a bulky and formidable design. The baby crib comes with no moving parts and looks splendid to the eye.
It is absolutely gorgeous and is available in 6 different colors and patterns to suits your interior décor.
The DaVinci Kalani is also a convertible crib that comes with a rail to convert it into a toddler bed. The crib costs only $100 but you will have to purchase the full-sized bed rail separately.
In contrast to its competitors, the DaVinci Kalani comes with four different height adjustment levels which is ideal for parents of short stature. As soon as your babies start to get up on their two little feet, you may lower its height.
A drawback for me was that despite the baby crib being super-affordable, the associated furniture pieces were rather expensive. It is quite hard for mediocre parents to spend in excess of $450 for a decent baby dresser. But you can find something that matches it somewhere else.
Another gripe that I have about this baby crib is that it is not as solid as the Stork Craft crib which makes it very easy to mark up and scratch. Having said that, it will not break if your baby starts biting on it.
I would suggest you to purchase a toddler teething rail along with this baby crib once he starts erupting those little teeth from his gums.
On the whole, the DaVinci Kalani is a pretty awesome baby crib.
Different types of baby cribs
Standard Baby Cribs
This is a conventional type of crib that you will find in almost every second home with babies. These boast a simplistic design and do not come with a lot of frills. They only boast 4 walls adorned with different options.
If you are looking for a typical baby crib that will be able to carry out its function flawlessly, a standard baby crib is the one to go for. However, when purchasing a standard crib, do go through the different styles and features available.
- Simple and solid design
- Easy to assemble
- Well-built and durable
- Most affordable baby crib available
- Not easily portable
- No options found in other more expensive cribs
These kinds of baby cribs are meant to be converted and grow with your little one. When your baby grows, you can convert it into a toddler bed and later on a full-sized bed. Such cribs can stay with you for a long time.
Sometimes separate kits are required to be bought to get the cribs converted. So, you can get them at the time of purchase or leave them for the future if you believe that you will not be needing them any time sooner.
- Reasonably priced
- Can be converted into a toddler bed and even a full sized bed as your baby grows
- Not easy to assemble in contrast to traditional cribs
- Slightly more expensive
- Not as solid as traditional cribs
- Since the décor styles and trends change so it may not gel in well with your interior décor
Portable baby cribs are designed for parents who do not have a lot of space in their home, travel a lot or are forced to move their baby’s crib a too often. The portable cribs can be folded with ease which makes them ideal for travel.
Portable cribs are easy to move from one room to another so it makes life a little easier for the parents who do not have to bank only on the baby monitor to keep an eye at their little ones.
Keep in mind that you be careful about the type of wheels your portable crib has since wheels are designed to be driven on different types of surface such as carpet of floor. So, you need to ensure that your portable crib does not come with wheels that will scratch your floor.
- Easily portable
- Ideal for homes with less space
- Perfect for parents who use cribs sparingly
- Not a compatible alternative for a full-time crib
- The mattress has to be stored away when the crib is folded up
- Limited range of designs available
These baby cribs are a tremendous choice if you travel frequently and are looking for something that can be collapsed into a little package to carry along with you wherever you go.
A travel baby crib is a wonderful choice if you are planning to spend a night over at grandma’s place.
These cribs are made of lightweight materials such as mesh and aluminum which makes it easy to transport from one place to another. However, they are solid enough and can be used a permanent cribs as well.
A convertible crib is a great one to have since it grows with your little one as it can be converted into a toddler bed and later on into a full-sized bed.
- Great for parents who travel frequently
- Easy to put together
- Light in weight and easily portable
- Not a great alternative for your full-time crib
- It is not that reliable and durable
Things to Consider when Purchasing a Crib
It is not an easy nut to crack when you go out to purchase a baby crib. There are tons of things that you ought to keep in mind. Let’s round up some of the important things so that you stay prepared to purchase your lovely baby crib.
The baby cribs can be bought at about $100 and well above $1,000 and you will find something for any price range. However, before you set out to the market, you should underline a budget for yourself which will definitely render your shopping experience easier.
A convertible crib might be a bit expensive to start with but it will last for a longer duration of time and will grow with your baby.
Lockable caster wheels
If you want a baby crib that can be moved about, then lockable caster wheels are what you should be looking for. These wheels also makes life easier to change sheets.
Wheels should be lockable since once your baby begins to stand on his feet, a crib with wheels that do not lock can be too dangerous.
Space in the home
Cribs are available in all kinds of sizes and you do not want a huge one that cannot fit inside your home. The assemble size can be determined from the crib information sheets. A baby bassinet is a nice and compatible alternative to baby cribs if you have little or cramped up space in your room.
Size of the crib
The standard size for a baby crib is 52” x 27.8” and the standard crib mattresses conform to this size. However, there are cribs that are also available in a wide array of sizes. So, you need to ensure that when you buy one, you should get a mattress that fits snug in it.
I would suggest you to purchase a crib that is of the traditional size since it will be a lot easier to deal with it in the long run.
Matching the interior décor
Cribs are available in a wide array of patterns and versions and you should purchase the one that aptly suits your interior home décor or at least the nursery. Majority of the baby cribs are made of wood while there are others that are made of metal as well. So, you should keep that in mind when purchasing them.
There are numerous things that you need to take into account in order to ensure the safety of your little one.
Baby tend to start sprouting teeth out of their gums round about the age of 4 to 6 months. This transforms them into small sized beavers or wood-peckers trying to insert their teeth into the crib railing and using it to soothe their hurting gums. This can end up in your bundle of joy chewing up on a substantial amount of wood splinter and paint. It goes without saying that you need your baby to avoid all this.
Crib manufacturers do not generally install teething rails in their baby cribs but there are manufacturers who decide to integrate them permanently in their cribs.
You can also get separate teething rails that can be attached to your crib but you will have to be careful in their usage since they can be removed by toddlers with ridiculous ease.
Crib bumpers or sleep positioners
In the yesteryears, baby crib positioners were a common fixture of all baby cribs. They were designed to ensure that the baby slept on his back.
However, numerous deaths were associated with their usage and they are no longer manufactured in the United States and are not at all recommended by experts.
Here is a post that discusses the risks associated with sleep positioners in detail.
Second hand baby crib
Some parents might go for a used baby crib in order to save some money up their sleeves. However, it is a practice not at all recommended.
They might have an inherited crib that is passed from one generation in the family to another and they want to keep the legacy going.
I do not recommend such a baby crib since there are tons of things that can potentially turn out to be wrong here. It could be recalled but you never even had any idea about it.
It could also have all the necessary precautionary instructions linked to it, missing. Similarly, an inappropriate assembly could be very dangerous for your little one. It could also have some wear and tear that is not evident from the outside.
Safety standards and regulations are updated often and the most recent update came back in 2011 which resulted in the drop-side baby cribs being banned. However, they are still available from private sellers.
Nevertheless, if you are still adamant on purchasing an already used crib, here are a few pieces of advice to ensure the safety of your child:
- See if it was recalled: If you have an older crib and do not want to spend money to get a new one, then you should go through CPSC’s crib recall database to ensure that your older crib has not been recalled by the manufacturer owing to some safety hazard. If it has been recalled, then simply dispose it off and do not even think of using it.
- Slats should be the right distance: According to the contemporary safety standards, the distance between slats should be 2 3/8” at the maximum. A distance larger than this can result in your baby having his limb or two stuck in between the chasm. This is not a real concern as far as the modern day baby cribs are concerned however, it can be an issue with the older cribs since there was no such standard in place back then.
- Height of the corner posts: Corner posts of more than 1/16” height can cause choking hazard for your little one. This is a concern that can be found in the cribs produced in the 90s but you still should watch out for it in the contemporary baby cribs. However, cribs that have corners higher than this threshold value to support canopy are not a choking hazard.
- Drop-side cribs: In the previous years, baby cribs were produced in different styles such as stationary sides, drop sides and drop gates. However, it was found out that the drop side baby cribs posed a massive safety risk for toddlers and so a blanket ban was imposed on their production. If you get your hands on one of these older drop-side cribs, we implore you not to use it. You will be a whole lot better if you purchase a new one that conforms to the modern day safety standards. These cribs are not available on the mainstream market. However, you can still get your hands on one of them via eBay, a private seller or your friend who is passing down his used items.
- Disassembled crib: You should purchase an older baby crib that has not been disassembled. This is because a disassembled crib could have components missing and there could be instructions missing as well in the absence of which you may not be able to put it together appropriately. Moreover, if it is sold in a disassembled state, you never know if it is in a good condition or not.
How to deal with an unsafe crib?
If you get your hands on a baby crib that you know is unsafe, whether it is the old drop-side crib or the one that is missing parts and components, then you should dispose it off sooner rather than later.
When you trash it, mark on it that it is unsafe to use. However, if you get your hands on a crib that was recalled recently, you may send it back to the producer to get a refund.
Mattress and sheets are mandatory
Most of the cribs do not come with a mattress so you should keep that in mind as well. Here is a comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect crib mattress.
Typically, cribs and mattress sizes are standard so it should not be much of an issue. Here is another detailed post that will help you get the best crib sheets for your little one.