More than anywhere else, baby cribs are perhaps where babies spend most of their time in. It is therefore absolutely important that you choose a safe and comfortable baby crib.
There are so many different types of baby cribs, and so many different brands and models to choose from. How do you choose the right crib for your baby? What should you look for in a baby crib? Read along to find out what type will best suit your needs.
1. What is a baby crib?
Also commonly called a cot, a baby crib is an infant bed designed for infants and very young children. The cage-like design intends to restrict a child to the bed for safety reasons.
A baby crib will generally last until children reach two or three years of age when they are capable of climbing out the crib themselves (and hence should be moved to a toddler bed to prevent injurious falls), though with technology nowadays, a baby crib may just last you longer if it can be converted accordingly to accommodate your child’s growth.
2. The different types of baby crib
This is the most common type of baby cribs. It is essentially what first came into your mind when you think of baby crib – a boxed-like cage with four fixed sides and slats. A standard baby crib is fixed and cannot be adjusted. The design is simple but sturdy so it may be difficult to move this around. A standard baby crib is usually the cheapest of all and is a great option for those in a tight budget.
A convertible baby crib, as its name suggests, is a crib that can be converted into different types of beds. Essentially, it accords to your baby’s growth and therefore can be used for a very long time, even when baby has became a teenager!
The usual types a convertible can be converted into are day bed and toddler bed, though some can even be transformed into a full-sized single or double bed.
Because of this, the convertible baby crib has hands down become the favourite choice of most parents, due to its versatility and cost-effective element.
It is, however, generally more expensive than others but considering it is built to last for a very long time, many are willing to shell out the extra dollars for its long-lasting functionality.
Really, this is the one bed to rule them all!
As you would know, this type of baby crib is designed with portability in mind. The easiest way to distinguish one is to see if the crib comes with wheels. The wheels enable you to move the crib from room to room so that you can always keep an eye on your baby. Do not worry, the wheels are usually lockable so you can secure it on any spot you want. One tip for you though: make sure you choose a size that can fit through your doorway!
This type of cribs usually has extra furniture attached to them, thus rendering them multi-purposeful. The most common type of extra furniture incorporated into this design is baby changing table, dresser or shelf storage. Even though they may be more expensive than a single baby crib, the price is justified by eliminating the need to buy extra furniture.
If you have limited space in your room or nursery, a multipurpose baby crib will be your best choice as you do not need extra space for a separate changing table or dresser/shelf storage.
3. What to look for in a baby crib?
The two biggest factors to look out for are Safety and Comfort.
The most common material found in a baby crib is wood. However, cheaper cribs may be wood veneer, which is much more prone to chipping when baby is teething. Buy solid wooden cribs if you can as you definitely do not want pieces of veneer in your baby’s mouth.
Other common materials found are plastic, metal and fabric.
Slats and frame size
Slats should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent baby’s head from slipping through or getting stuck.
Meanwhile, the crib interior should fit a standard-sized mattress (usually 51 ¾ inches long and 27 ¾ inches wide) snugly. To determine snugness, if you can fit more than two fingers between the side of the mattress and the crib, the mattress is too small. This can be dangerous as baby may get trapped in that space.
You may also consider getting a crib liner to protect your baby from banging his/her head on the slats.
Adjustable mattress height
Most cribs allow you to raise or lower the height for mattress support. It is best that you choose one with such function so that you can change the height accordingly for your own comfort, and to make sure baby does not climb or fall from the crib easily.
Most baby cribs adhere to the latest safety standards but you should still give the crib a good shake, whether in store or at home after assembly, to see if it wobbles or rattles. If it does, do not fret first and check if you have loose screws. If the problem still persists, you should make a refund and look for other cribs.
Last but not least, don’t forget about your budget. Before you even start shopping, you should decide how much you want to spend on a baby crib. This will save you time as you do not have to even look at cribs that are above your budget. In other words, it can make selection easier for you. Remember, most expensive does not necessarily mean the best. Instead, choose the best option that works within your budget.
4. Safety tips for your baby crib
Do not underestimate the place you choose to put your baby crib. Make sure that it is placed far away from windows, window blinds and draperies. Babies may strangle themselves from cords and draperies, and older babies may be able to climb out and fall out of windows. Do not put it near furniture which can be used to help baby climb out of the crib. And always remember to put it far away from heaters and radiators for health reasons.
Cords and decorative items
As mentioned above, babies can strangle themselves with cords so always make sure that there are no cords of any type near the baby crib. A most common oversight parents make is setting up baby monitors somewhere on the crib. There have been several cases where babies are strangled by baby monitor cords in the U.S so make sure you keep the cord well away from the crib, or switch to a wireless baby monitor. Once baby is able to stand up, remove any mobile hanging from the crib to avoid choking hazards.
One simple rule: Don’t use these. These are cribs with movable railings on the side which enable parents to move down the side to carry baby out. Once hugely popular due to such convenience, this type of crib has been banned since 2011 as it no longer conforms to safety standards. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 32 infants had died between 2000 and 2010 as a result of being entrapped, strangled or suffocated in the space between the drop side and the crib mattress. So if you are looking at second-hand cribs, stay away from these.
Watch this video to know more about safety measures around your baby crib!
5. Best baby crib
Now that you have learnt the basic 101 of baby cribs, you should feel more comfortable selecting the right baby crib for your little one. If you are on the lookout for the best convertible baby crib, heck even if you are not, why not check out our list of Top 5 Best Baby Crib?