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…

Safety
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!