A crib is the centerpiece and most important piece of furniture in your child’s nursery. When you bring home a baby, you need to have his room ready. Here’s how to choose a crib style:
1. Check safety features. Your baby will spend a lot of time in his crib unattended so safety is paramount. Check your crib’s product code for any recalls by going to the company website or go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at cpsc.gov. Here are some safety features to look for:
- Slats should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
- The headboard and footboard should be solid (no bars or slats).
- Drop slats height should not be lower than 9” from the mattress when dropped and be at least 26” from the mattress when raised.
- The mattress should fit snugly with no more than 2 fingers width.
- No lead paint, no sharp corners, splinters.
- Wheels or rolling casters should have a locking mechanism and preferably in metal.
2. Determine the length of time it will be used. A child will sleep in a crib for around 2 years. Some cribs convert to toddler beds then later to single bed frames. This is an economical option since the crib grows with the child. However, if you are planning on having more than one child, a traditional crib may be a better choice.
3. Check the space of your nursery. Most parents choose a traditional wood crib with single drop side slat. If space is limited or you need more than one crib for twins, try a corner crib. If you have the luxury of a large nursery, you may opt for a round crib, which is more spacious for the baby.
4. Determine the budget. It may not be practical to spend $1,000 on a high-end crib you will only use for 2 years especially since having a baby already means more expenses. You may decide on a multi-purpose crib. Most cribs in the market now have attachments for a diaper changing area or one that converts to a playpen or toy storage area as the child grows. These lightweight cribs go for under $100. A convertible crib sells for about $800. It is more expensive upfront but will save you more in the long run since it converts to a toddler bed then later to an adult bed. However, if you choose a traditional wood crib, which costs about $150 to $300, buy one made of hardwood such as maple or oak to prevent warping in the future. It will make it sturdy enough to support a jumping toddler.
5. Narrow down the features you actually need. Extras such as canopies and mobiles add to your final cost so if it’s not necessary, you may choose to go without it. It’s tempting to buy the cutest designs but practicality and safety must rule. If you are having twins, there are twin cribs where babies sleep side by side but are separated by a rail. You may choose to get a teething bar for your crib. If you travel a lot, try a portable crib. It is more lightweight and packs for easy storage.
Whatever design you choose, you can customize your crib with the sheets. It is not advisable to get second hand or antique cribs as it may not meet current safety standards. Follow these guidelines and be assured your little bundle of joy will sleep safe and soundly.