What to Look for When Purchasing a Baby Crib
Your baby will sleep in his or her crib for two to three years. It is important to select a crib that is safe, comfortable and durable. The wide variety of different crib styles can seem overwhelming at first, but there are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure that you purchase the best crib for your baby.
1. Determine your price point.
Cribs range in price from the affordable to the downright extravagant. Take a good hard look at your budget and figure out how much money you are able/want to spend before you start looking. As long as the crib meets government standards, something you should be able to find listed on its packaging or product description, you can be confident that you are purchasing a quality product for your little one, regardless of price.
2. Determine what features are important to you.
To figure out what you are looking for in a crib, you may want to ask yourself a few important questions.
- Will the crib be placed in the center of the room or against a wall? If your crib is going to be placed in the middle of the room, you may want to look for a crib that has two drop side rails instead of one.
- Can you raise and lower the side rail with one arm? Most times your baby will be in your other arm. If you can lower the side rail easily, does the crib also have a locking mechanism to prevent the side from lowering when you don't want it to?
- How long do you intend to use this crib? If you intend to keep the same crib until your child transitions to a bed, you will want to be sure that the crib has an adjustable mattress. As your child grows stronger and taller, an adjustable mattress will allow you to lower the mattress, making it more difficult for your child to climb out.
- Do you plan on expanding your family? If you are going to try for more children, you may want to steer clear of cribs that convert into toddler beds and instead recycle this crib and purchase a toddler bed down the line. If you aren't planning on more children, purchasing a convertible crib may be the best value for your dollar.
- Will you need extra storage? Soon, baby toys will be taking over your home, so if you think you may need extra storage, take advantage of cribs designed with storage underneath.
3. Be sure the crib you like meets the following safety requirements:
- Slats no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart to avoid little arms and legs getting caught between the slats.
- Corner posts do not protrude any further than 1/16 inch above the end panels. Corners that protrude further could tangle your child's clothing.
- Mattress fits snugly with no more than two finger widths between the edge of mattress and the crib
- Avoid cribs with decorative cut outs that can trap your child's limbs.
- Avoid painted hand-me-downs. Paint can contain lead, a substance that is toxic to your child.
4. Shop Smart
- Look for cribs that are made from hardwoods. Metal screws that hold your baby's crib together are less likely to come loose from hardwood cribs made of ash, maple, birch, or oak.
- Purchase the best crib mattress you can, Crib mattresses should be firm, water-proof, and fire retardant.
- Don't wait until the last moment. If you are ordering your crib online or have your heart set on a particular store model, you will want to allow several weeks for delivery. You also want to leave time for careful assembly of the crib. Many crib injuries are the result of faulty assembly. If you are unsure how to assemble the crib, you may want to look into professional assembly.