What to Look for When Buying a Crib: Things to Consider + Safety Tips

what to look for when buying a crib

A high-quality crib will make sure your child gets her much-needed rest for healthy growth and development. Here’s what to look for when buying a crib in 2020. 

Back in the days, people used to put their babies to sleep in hollowed-out logs. Other babies were rocked to sleep in simple pine rockers. Luckily, those days are gone. Today, we have the crib.

Considering your child will spend ample time of her first two to three years in this crib, you want to make sure you buy a crib that’s high-quality, safe, and built to last. Of course, when scouting for a crib, there are other factors at play like your budget, style, and needs. 

To help save you time, I’ve compiled this article that walks you through what to consider before buying a crib, top crib features to look for, and a few baby crib safety tips.

Factors to consider before buying a crib:

Safety certifications

The safest cribs are the ones that are certified from safety groups like:

  • CPSC
  • Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

Slat distance

Slat distance is another factor to look for when buying a crib. As a rule of thumb, you have to make sure that the slats are no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart. Wider slats pose a risk where the baby’s head can become entrapped. If a soda can fit through, then the slats are too wide apart. 

Production date

All cribs made after 2011 automatically comply with safety standards. In fact, after 2011, all crib manufacturers are required to print the date of production somewhere on the crib. If you’re looking at used models, you’ll want to check for recalls and get a crib that was manufactured after 2011. Also, you’ll want to avoid cribs with drop-down sides, as millions of these types of cribs have been recalled since 2007.

Your home space

Before making a purchase, think about your square footage. If you’re living in a smaller space, you should consider getting a smaller-sized crib. In fact, many families who live in small spaces opt for a mini crib in their baby nursery. Mini cribs are larger than a bassinet but smaller than a standard crib.

Your budget

You can find cribs that range from $100 to $3,000. A great thing would be to make a list of all the functionalities you would want from a crib. Depending on the list, you can start scouting for the best crib for your needs and budget. Even if your budget is tight, don’t fret. You can find a reliable but cheaper crib that will last you for years. 

what to look for when buying a crib

Top baby crib features to look for 

Convertibility

These days, one of the most popular cribs on the market are the convertible cribs. You’ll notice them by their names, such as a 4-in-1 crib or 3-in-1 crib. This means that the crib converts from a crib to a toddler bed, and even into a daybed. These beds are a fantastic option if you want to save on costs and get a bed that will last for several years. However, keep in mind that some of these convertible cribs require conversion kits for the bed to convert into toddler bed or day bed. The conversion kits may be included in the price or purchased at an additional cost.

Mattress height adjustments

Babies start pulling themselves up when they’re around 9 to 12 months old. And they’ll use anything they can grip firmly to help with standing on their two feet – even the crib rails. For this reason, it’s a smart idea to get a crib that comes with several mattress height adjustments. When your newborn is still young, you can adjust the mattress at a higher position. And once she grows, you can lower the mattress so she can’t climb out.

Storage

Babies are messy. And babies need diapers, burb cloths, baby swaddles, sheets, and blankets. A few extra outfits are also a plus. If you’re working with compact space and need room for all of your baby’s clothes and accessories, consider getting a crib that comes with crib storage. Storage drawers will nicely store all the items your little one might require for better sleeping.

buying a crib

Baby crib safety tips:

Make sure the mattress is the right size for the crib

You want to make sure that there’s no more than two-finger space between the side of the mattress and the crib frame. The crib mattress should fit firmly against the inside of the crib so that your baby doesn’t get trapped against the rail.

Keep the crib empty

When it comes to keeping your baby safely asleep inside the crib, less is better. Take out any toys, bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals as these pose a risk of suffocating. The safest crib is the crib that has a fitted sheet over the mattress and nothing else. Also, keep the crib away from blackout curtains or chords that the child may reach.

Double-check the crib before you place your baby inside

Check for any loose or broken screws or other hardware pieces that may pose a danger to your child. If you notice any broken or missing slats, replace or repair them before letting your baby sleep inside. 

Place the baby on her back to sleep

Studies show that the risk of SIDS is greater when the baby sleeps on her tummy. That’s why you should place your child on her back until she reaches the age of 1, or until she learns how to roll over in both directions. Back-sleeping is a safer option as it increases a baby’s access to fresh air and makes her less likely to get overheated.

Ready to buy the best crib for your child? 

Buying a crib is such a significant part of every parent’s life. This will be the place where your little one will be spending most of her days and nights. That’s why investing in a high-quality crib is always a smart move. 

No matter which baby crib you buy, it’s critical that you follow the safety guidelines outlined above. Get a mattress that’s a right fit for the crib, keep the crib empty, and make sure you double-check for any broken slats or loose screws before putting your baby inside. 

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