How to Pick a Crib for Baby

Amisha, one of our Mommy readers who is due in the spring asked me how to pick the right crib for baby. The biggest challenge of this decision, as with many others regarding your changing family is that it is hard to predict what “system” will work for you. You can ask your friends but their lifestyle choices may not be quite in sync with yours. Do you go with one that converts from a crib to a toddler bed to a day bed? What about those ultra cool, designer round cribs? How do you even start to narrow down your choices?

May I make a suggestion? Let’s start with…

The advantage with buying new is that ALL new cribs must meet the government minimum safety requirements so even the most affordable new crib is going to fit a standard crib mattress snuggly and firmly, will have no missing/broken hardware or slats and no cutouts in the head- or foot-boards, slats will be no more than 2 3/8″ apart (the width of a soda can), and corner posts no higher than 1/16″.

If you are inheriting a crib from a friend or buying one used, make sure that it complies with these basic safely guidelines. Pass on any used cribs that have been repainted. You just can’t be assured that it is free of toxic chemicals. Saving a few bucks is just not worth it. There are plenty of great deals on new cribs that will allow you peace of mind… there’ll be lots of other things that’ll be keeping you up at night! 🙂

Even when you are buying new, make sure you are aware of any safety recalls on baby cribs. We bought our first crib and then borrowed the second, since my toddler was still in her crib when my second baby was born. The one I borrowed was relatively new and safety compliant.

Baby Crib Features
With safety considerations out of the way, now you’re going to have to select the features you think will be helpful or best for you and your family.
• Do you want wheels?
• Do you want drop sides or not?
• If one or both sides drop, how do you control it?(knee-push, foot bar, double trigger, fold down)?
• Do you want an adjustable mattress height? (available on all but the most inexpensive) And if so, how many levels? Ours had three.
• Do you want the crib to convert to a toddler bed/day bed?

A lot of people suggested that we choose a convertible crib since it is designed to grow with your child into practically adulthood! Although that appealed to my practical sensibility, I chose a traditional crib because… well, I fell in love with a sleigh (see how aesthetic wins over practicality???). Perhaps if we had gone with the convertible option, we would have transitioned our daughter into her crib-turned-toddler bed. Instead, she moved straight into a big girl bed and we’ve paid it forward… passing on our exquisite sleigh crib to a cousin. But if crib reviews are any indication, convertible cribs win lots of points from parents.

Here’s a starting point for you…

5 Great Cribs in 2008 (click to view cribs)
1. Simplicity Ellis
It’s no wonder that the Simplicity Ellis is one of the best-selling cribs around. It’s convertible design is still beautiful while providing 4 transitional stages for baby… saving you from making another purchase through toddlerhood and beyond. And it’s affordable!

2. Da Vinci Kalani
The Kalani Crib also converts from crib to toddler bed to daybed and it’s contemporary styling is a hit with today’s hip parents. One mommy says, “This crib is stunning. It has a very high-end look and feel. It’s hard to find baby furniture in this shade of espresso and it is abslolutely gorgeous, sturdy and easy to assemble.”

3. Sorelle Vicki
Yet another convertible, the Sorelle Vicki gets rave reviews for its sturdiness, which (if the reviews are any indication) seems to be a crucial factor for active toddlers. The Vicki is also easy to assemble.

4. Storkraft Regan Traditional
Both experienced and first-time parents love this crib. A mommy’s review: “My husband and I are very pleased with this crib! I was amazed at how quickly it arrived, how easy it was to assemble, and how sturdy it is. It is true to color and matches our woodwork perfectly. It is a great crib for a great price!”

5. Da Vinci Jenny Lind Baby Crib
A Jenny Lind crib offers classic styling, usually at a budget price, and this Jenny Lind crib from Da Vinci is no exception. The crib’s slats are turned and curvy rather than straight, adding visual interest. Four mattress levels, caster wheels and a “safety glide” drop side system add convenience for parents. A conversion kit is available separately to change the crib into a toddler bed. One mommy reports, “It is a simple, classic crib for a really great price. I ordered it online, it arrived quickly, and was easy to assemble. It is sturdy and easy to use — the value can’t be beat! It’s a great crib for baby.”

Tell us and others about YOUR pick!


  1. Yes its very important as to how well your crib is constructed and whether or not it withstand a 10 lb determined climber or whether or not its got paint that is toxic because babies go through a teething stage I know this cause my own two little ones chewed on theirs. I had a plastic railing on our crib thank goodness. Yes spend the money on a good crib it is worth it!

  2. My husband and I are expecting our first baby and as newly weds we are on a budget and baby furniture hunting. Since we want to spend one amount to get two functions on our crib we purchsed a Kalani crib from da vincis crib collection on we have ours in white and it goes well on our nusery walls of butter scotch yellow. Also we love that the crib features a static side rail with no moving parts and an adjustable and a four level mattress spring system that you can adjust as your child grows!

  3. Very good point, Doug. And yes, Joy, the Da Vinci Kalani crib is a best seller! In fact, all Da Vinci Cribs are really popular for their durability and style. Click to check out these pics!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I would avoid going with a drop-side crib, especially after the major Storkcraft drop-side recall that took place earlier this year. Besides, drop-side cribs are currently being phased out by most manufacturers and being replaced by convertible cribs since they’re a better value.

    Convertible cribs are the best way to go. Most convertible cribs can be used as a crib and then turned into a day bed, toddler bed, and finally a full-size bed. These types of convertible cribs are sometimes called 4-in-1 cribs because of the 4 different settings. All of the side are fixed. The rule of thumb is the less free moving parts, the safer the crib.

    A great reference to start with is the Baby Bargains Book. It rates each crib manufacturer on an A – F scale based on quality, safety, and value.

    Several of my favorite crib manufacturers are Munire, Bonavita, and Romina. All have A ratings in the Baby Bargains Book. If you’re looking for a crib or baby furniture I would suggest looking at They’ve got a great selection including the companies I listed above.

  5. Davinci always give the best for the child. Their baby crib make our child room look like a millionair..I believe if they(the child) can speak and give out their thought, every one of them will ask for davinci..Furthermore, this davinci baby crib will last long

  6. It’s also really important to remember to buy a crib mattress that fits your baby’s crib exactly with no gaps at the sides. A relative gave us their child’s old crib mattress to use but there was a 3 inch gap at the side and we were worried our daughter may get wedged in the gap. Don’t take the risk and buy a crib mattress that fits correctly.

  7. I agree that looks has a lot to do with picking out a crib for your baby.My first thing is safety. the second thing is one that I could use for years. The one that turns into 3 different beds. I think those are wonderful and save you tons of money in the long run.

  8. This is a rellay a good site.

  9. Hi Patricia,
    Besides safety anther important factor in choosing the right baby crib is the ability for the crib to be converted into toddler bed. Please visit Davinci Emily 4791 so you can read how the bed can grow together with your child.


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  2. […] expecting moms with practical and inspired tips. Visit My Mommy Manual for more tips on buying a crib for baby as well as great parenting […]