When you become a parent, everything becomes about your little bundle(or bundles!) of joy.
Your priorities shift to protecting and nurturing your child, and you want nothing but the best for them. However, you can’t watch over them 24/7, even with the help of your spouse.
This is especially true when your baby needs to sleep, which makes choosing the right crib for your child essential to both their safety and your peace of mind so you can get some well-earned rest.
Unfortunately, choosing the perfect bed for your home, budget, and child isn’t as simple as you may think.
There are hundreds of brands, dozens of styles, and a wide array of colors to choose from.
Not only that but the features each bed offers vary as well.
Do you want an ornate model that will survive as an heirloom and can become a headboard; a cheaper option for a single child; or one that offers the versatility of transforming to a daybed or bed for a toddler to sleep in?
The possibilities are endless, and only you know what is best.
Taking all of this into consideration, choosing the best baby crib for your child can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, we have assembled a list of the best baby crib you can buy in 2018, as well as a buying guide to help you narrow your search and make your decision.
By the end of this piece, you’ll be able to confidently pick a crib and know that your baby is happy and safe.
Let’s dive in…
Our Top Picks for Best Baby Cribs 2018
|Baby Crib||Best For||Price|
|Dream On Me 5-in-1 Ashton Crib (Editor’s Pick)||Budget and Classic Look||Price|
|Delta Children Emery 4-in-1 Crib (Editor’s Pick)||Higher End Contemporary||Price|
|Graco Benton 5-in-1 Crib (Editor’s Pick)||Sturdy and Budget||Price|
|Union 3-in-1 Crib||Best Value For Baby and Toddler||Price|
|DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Crib||Wide Range of Color Options||Price|
|Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Crib||Natural Luxury Look||Price|
|Storkcraft Rosland 3-in-1 Crib||Best For Babies and Toddlers||Price|
|Carter’s by DaVinci Colby 4-in-1||Best for Storage Capacity||Price|
|L.A. Baby Deluxe Holiday Folding Crib||Best Portable Baby Crib||Price|
|Thomasville Kids Southern Dunes Lifestyle 4-in-1||Extravagant Luxury Baby Crib||Price|
1. Dream On Me 5-in-1 Ashton Crib – Best For a Classic Look On a Budget
A crib doesn’t have to sacrifice beauty for safety and affordability.
If you’re looking for a beautiful crib with 5-in-1 versatility at a mid-tier price range, this Ashton model from Dream On Me may be for you.
The Ashton crib is made of finished solid pine wood that comes in 3 colors (cherry, espresso, black) and is extensively tested for toxins and safety checked for your peace of mind and your baby’s health and safety.
This model has a variety of conversions available, including a crib, daybed, toddler’s bed, and a full-sized bed when you use a separate conversion set and frame.
As a crib and daybed, it can hold up to 40 pounds so that your child can continue to use it after infancy.
Once they outgrow it, you can then convert it to a larger bed by attaching a frame to the two guard rails, creating an attractive headboard with ease.
The mattress positioning in the crib is also adjustable, allowing you to raise or lower the mattress so that the guard rails are high enough for your child’s size and climbing intentions.
As per safety regulations, the rails cannot raise or lower, making multiple mattress positions very convenient for growing kids and the longevity of the crib.
Unfortunately, as with most models, this product comes strictly with the crib. To take advantage of the conversions, you need to buy a conversion kit and additional pieces, increasing the cost.
Depending on if you plan to use the toddler and full-size bed features, you may end up forking over more money than the base price for the additional usage.
It also doesn’t come with a mattress, another expense to add to the cost.
According to some owners, this crib has a higher chance of occurring with manufacturing or cosmetic errors as well, so look it over closely when it comes to making sure it is perfect.
This crib is for those looking for a stylish and relatively affordable option (before the extras) that offers versatility in use and can be used from infancy to teen years with a conversion kit.
The quality also would allow it to last and be used for future children once the oldest grows out of it.
Whether it’s your first or last baby, this crib offers just about everything you can ask for without costing you too much.
It isn’t quite heirloom quality, but should easily last through a few children or from infant to toddler.
- Versatile mattress positioning
- No conversion set included
- No mattress included
- Inconsistent production quality
2. Delta Children Emery 4-in-1 Crib – Best for Higher-End Contemporary
If pure white, grey, or chocolate elegance is your thing, you’ve come across a solid contender for your child’s crib.
This product from Delta Children offers an impressive look as well as reliable quality, with remarkable consumer reviews, so you know it’s a great crib.
It has a decorative headboard on one side and a linear bar style for the guard rails and decals, giving it an old school look.
It is made with a high-quality wood that is stained with non-toxic and environment-friendly paints to ensure your child is safe, and thankfully meets and exceeds all safety standards.
Like other convertible models, this crib can grow along with your child thanks to add-ons, some of which are included.
With this product, you will get the crib as well as a free toddler daybed rail (sold separately in many cases) so that they don’t go rolling off during naptime.
It can be adjusted to 3 different mattress positions so that your little climber doesn’t put themselves in danger.
With a bed frame, you can also extend it to a full-sized bed’s headboard. This lets you use the same crib (albeit as more of a decorative piece than anything) for your child from day one until they move on from it, possibly in college!
One problem with this crib is that the guardrails are looser than you would like, causing them to rattle and shake.
This creates a noise that can be annoying to you and your baby, possibly waking them up if it gets kicked; consider blocking direct access to them from your child’s happy feet with a breathable mesh bumper.
Additionally, customers have complained about the crib being very light, causing it to move when larger children start rocking and moving around, or it gets bumped into.
It also doesn’t include a full-size bed frame conversion kit or a mattress, so be prepared to spend a little more if you want the crib to follow your child through the years.
This product is for parents who have a little more to spend and want something that looks incredibly classy and a little old school.
They can fit in any color scheme thanks to a variety of color options, and offer plenty of usages thanks to the adjustable mattress positioning and 4-in-1 convertibility.
If you like clean-styled, old-fashioned cribs that are made with high-quality materials and are willing to pay a little more, this crib will work for you.
If your child is particularly active, consider blocking the bars or reinforcing the crib to stop movement or bar shaking.
- Works for all ages
- Adjustable mattress height
- Includes a daybed guard
- 3 color choices
- Shaky guard bars
- Lightweight and prone to moving
- No mattress or conversion kit
3. Graco Benton 5-in-1 Crib – Best Sturdy Budget Crib
No matter what your nursery looks like, Graco’s Benton crib has a color choice to match it.
With 5 colors to choose from (Pebble Gray, White, Espresso, Driftwood, and Whitewash), you can have a beautiful baby crib that fits perfectly within almost any style.
Not only is it stylish, but its affordable and well-built, earning excellent ratings from customers praising its sturdiness and quality.
It even has a changing table with storage in the same listing as a package deal if you decide to get the whole set. It will also match the color of your crib (not included with the base crib).
As with the other convertible cribs we’ve mentioned so far, this one also converts from a crib to a daybed, toddler bed, and can be used as a full-sized bed headboard or footboard if you decide to keep using it as your child grows.
You will need to buy the bed frame for a full bed or a conversion kit for the daybed, as it comes with no extras.
It includes multiple mattress positions to keep your child safely in the crib despite their best efforts to escape.
In terms of negatives, there are not many complaints that could be made about this product. It is sturdy, affordable, and looks great.
One complaint that some customers have comes from a lack of consistency in the quality.
While some customers are thrilled with their purchase and nothing goes wrong, others have received defective parts that need to be replaced before the product is at its very best, which it needs to be for your baby!
Also, remember that you will need to buy a separate mattress, but that’s true for almost every crib, so it’s hard to hold that against this crib.
Overall this product is for anyone who enjoys the colors available and the style of the piece. It is a sturdy, reliable baby crib that fits in most people’s price range.
The primary problems come from inconsistent manufacturing, but they are great when they work! Just be sure to look the pieces over when the delivery comes.
As long as your product isn’t defective, this is one of the best cribs available in its price range.
Its stylish enough to be a room feature but cheap enough that it is likely worth it to buy the conversion kit so that your child can keep using it even after they outgrow the crib.
- 5 color choices
- 5 forms of conversion
- Adjustable mattress position
- Inconsistent manufacturing
- Doesn’t include a mattress
4. Union 3-in-1 Crib – Best Baby Cribs that Turn Into Toddler Beds
It doesn’t get much more minimalist than this low-key crib from Union. As one of the cheapest and highest rated cribs we’ll review, you will want to consider this high-quality value option.
This lightweight crib is made of New Zealand pine wood that comes with a non-toxic, lead-free finish in either gray, ebony, or espresso.
It meets all ASTM and CPSC safety standards, so you can confidently put your child to bed without having to worry about fumes or injuries.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop them from crying though!
This crib comes with the standard adjustable mattress levels, offering 4 levels as well as low-profile bars to make it easy to access your child but nearly impossible for them to escape.
It can be converted to a day or toddler bed, although the conversion kit is an additional expense.
The primary limiting factor (and perhaps why it is so inexpensive for a high-quality piece) is that it cannot be converted to a full-sized bed.
This limits the longevity of the purchase and takes away from the value its price point offers.
This crib is for parents who plan to reuse the crib for additional babies or just for one-time use, as it cannot be converted to a full-sized bed like many of the other options.
It can only go from crib to toddler bed, but being priced at the bottom of the rankings, it’ll be great as a dedicated crib for those on a budget.
As long as you don’t plan to convert your crib to a headboard for a full-sized bed, this value option is sturdy enough to last through multiple children and attractive enough to keep around without ruining a room’s style.
Just don’t expect it to be a focal point of the room.
- 3 color choices
- 4 levels of mattress adjustments
- Doesn’t convert to full-size
- No mattress
5. DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Crib – Best Color Choices for Your Nursery
Leonardo Da Vinci himself couldn’t have designed a more luxurious-looking baby crib than the DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1.
This upper-mid-tier New Zealand pine crib comes in 7 (yes, seven!) different colors so that it is sure to work with any design style.
It is also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning that it is almost guaranteed to be free of any harmful toxins, chemicals, or materials like lead that could hurt your baby.
Add that to the ASTM and CPSC safety standards that the crib meets and the 1-year warranty and you’ve got a crib you can trust.
This crib is revered for its sturdiness, with customers praising the strength of the wooden rails and the weight of the base being able to stand up to even an adult’s weight.
Some models have shaky rails because of the thinner materials, but these are as solid as they come. It can be converted to a daybed, toddler bed, or a bed with a headboard/footboard with a conversion kit, but you probably knew that by now.
It comes with 4 different mattress heights and positions that are changeable in just a few minutes, so as your baby grows you can keep them safe even when they channel their inner monkey and try to climb out.
This crib does not come with the conversion kits included, despite being a higher price point.
While this takes away from the value a little bit, the quality of the materials and the peace of mind you’ll get is worth a little extra.
A complaint that has come up from current users is that it is too low, leading to back pain when reaching in and out of the crib.
However, for most average-height parents, this wouldn’t be a problem thanks to the mattress height control.
This crib is for those who are willing to spend a little bit more to get a classic-style crib that screams luxury. Every color that is available looks equally good, and with the color selections, it’ll even fit with eccentric nurseries.
If you want a crib that you can have confidence in (and are also average height), this may be for you.
With rock-solid sturdiness and a variety of color options available, this is a reliable option for those who are willing to spend a little more for a classic crib that will last through the years.
- High-quality, sustainable NZ pine
- GREENGUARD certified for toxins
- 7 color choices
- The crib is low down
- Expensive with no extras
6. Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Crib – Best Natural-Look Luxury Crib
Of the cribs reviewed thus far, this model is likely the most different.
At the tippy-top of our price range (and the only near-5-star rated crib!) at nearly double the cost of cribs 1-5, we have the Lolly model from Babyletto.
The crib itself is relatively simple; the lines are straight and clean, and the wood is high-quality pine that comes in 5 color combinations, including a beautiful natural wood color for the rails.
Like the DaVinci Kalani model, this crib is also GREENGUARD Gold Certified and ASTM & CPSC compliant so you can sleep soundly knowing it is a safe place for your sleeping angel.
This model of crib has 3 conversions (crib, toddler bed, daybed) that are possible out of the box thanks to the included conversion kit.
It comes with 4 adjustable mattress positions maxing out at 35 inches deep (mattress not included) and can raise or lower depending on the height of your child.
Once they surpass 35 inches, the crib poses a falling threat so be sure to keep an eye on them as they near 2 years.
It is also easy to assemble, with an average build time of around 30 minutes and about 15 minutes to convert it to a daybed or toddler bed with the conversion set.
A complaint about this piece is that it is shallow to the ground, taking a toll on your back if you’re exceptionally tall. The interior mattress area is also slightly larger than other cribs, leading to some mattresses not fitting perfectly.
If you buy this crib, it wouldn’t be wrong to go with Babyletto’s bedding (if you can handle the price tag) to be sure that it fits.
Otherwise, you could try a mattress larger than 27.5” by 52” and attempt to get it to cover the entirety of the interior mattress level.
Finally, at double the price of the other cribs and without full-sized conversion ability, the value doesn’t quite seem to be there.
This model is for parents who are in love with the clean, natural look of the crib and who are willing to pay a LOT more for it.
Since it cannot become a full-sized bed headboard, you will also just be buying it for the stages of an infant to toddler, so it doesn’t offer a great value overall.
If you want a crib that’ll take one or multiple children from infancy to toddler, this is an excellent option as long as you can afford it.
It comes highly regarded, with exceptional customer ratings so you can be confident it’ll be a great crib. However, there are likely comparable models out there for less, making this model a hard sell.
- Exceptional customer ratings
- Natural wood features
- 5 color options
- Meets safety standards
- Includes conversion set
- Can’t convert to a full-sized bed
- Very expensive
- Standard mattresses don’t fit
7. Storkcraft Rosland 3-in-1 Crib – Best Contemporary Crib for Babies and Toddlers
If your nursery is being designed with the gender in mind, you’ve found the only cribs on this list that come in pink and blue!
Whether you’re having a boy or girl, you can cover them in pink or blue (but maybe wait for the gender reveal first), or simply try one of the 3 more standard colors (White, Espresso, and Gray).
This contemporary crib is rather basic to look at but gets good customer reviews and as usual comes with solid pine wood, a non-toxic finish, and adheres to all the safety guidelines that are necessary to keep your child safe.
To ease your mind even more, there’s a 1-year warranty, so you know they back up their products.
The rating likely comes from the build quality that owners are raving about. It is heavier and sturdy, ensuring that it will both be able to hold your baby (up to 50 lbs.!) and won’t move or break apart when being used.
It is of average height, making it convenient for most average height parents to reach in and out and even if you are struggling, the mattress can be positioned in 1 of 3 different levels to make it easier and to keep the baby inside as they grow.
It has 3 conversions, allowing you to turn the crib into a daybed or toddler bed without the need for a conversion kit, which should save you some money even though this piece is moderately priced, especially for the quality.
Unfortunately, not being able to convert to a full-size headboard limits the potential use of this crib as your child grows.
However, if you plan to have more babies, you can easily keep this crib around and reuse it because it will hold up well.
Another concern with the product is inconsistent build quality, as some customers have had problems with dings and misalignment in the assembly holes.
Be sure to look everything over before you begin assembly to make sure everything is there and working correctly; otherwise, you may end up having to take it back apart halfway through.
This crib is slightly expensive for the fact that it only has 3 conversions; however, it doesn’t require a toddler guard, which allows it to be convertible out of the box.
This would be great for parents planning to have multiple kids so that it can be reused before moving them to a new bed after they outgrow the toddler bed.
Another solid choice for contemporary nurseries, with the added benefit of gender-specific colors and a fair price tag if you aren’t planning to convert it after your child passes the toddler age.
- Toddler bed conversion set included
- Gender-specific colors
- Solid wood frame with non-toxic finish
- Cannot convert to full-size
- Inconsistent build quality
8. Carter’s by DaVinci Colby 4-in-1 Crib – Best for Storage Capacity
If you’re looking for a crib that does more than just hold your baby, this Colby model can help.
This modern minimalist crib comes in 3 color combinations (white/white, white/gray, gray/white) and while it lacks any fine detail or “pizzazz,” it makes up for that in functionality.
This crib comes in near the top of the price range (though not close to the Babyletto Lolly), but it includes something none of the others do: a storage drawer.
It is also made of New Zealand pine and recycled wood fiberboard for the drawer, making it an eco-friendly wooden crib that is sturdy enough to hold up to 50 pounds.
The Colby includes a drawer on the bottom of the crib that slides out for storage. While many cribs waste space with emptiness underneath, this model makes the most of the area it takes up.
It still has all the benefits you’d expect, including 4 conversions (daybed, toddler bed, and full-sized bed) and 4 mattress positions to keep your baby inside, with the added benefit of a diaper drawer, blanket holder, or formula closet built in immediately underneath it.
It also does not interfere with the mattress frame, allowing it to safely flex when more pressure is put on the springs without crushing the contents of the drawer.
Despite being towards the upper-tier for pricing, there is not much negative to say about this crib aside from a lack of a mattress (but all the cribs share that negative).
Customers have complained about the lack of strength the drawer offers, as well as the inconvenience of it being split down the middle.
However, it can still easily be used for lighter and smaller items, so the functionality is maintained.
The drawer is also fully exposed when the mattress is at the maximum height, so a bed skirt may be an excellent addition to complete the look.
This crib is for those who want a little bit of extra storage for their baby’s supplies.
It comes in at a higher price than most of the other models, but for those with limited space, the compact design and extra storage can be worth the money as long as you don’t overstuff the drawers.
If you’re willing to spend about 50% more than the mid-priced options or half of the Babyletto Lolly model’s price and are happy with gray and white for your nursery, this minimalist crib may work for you.
- Includes a storage drawer
- Made of sustainable and recycled wood
- 4 conversions
- 4 mattress positions
- Drawer is weak
- The drawer is exposed at max mattress height
- Minimal color choices
9. L.A. Baby Deluxe Holiday Folding Crib – Best Portable Baby Crib
Yes, you read that correctly – this is a portable crib!
This crib is almost entirely unlike any other crib we have mentioned thus far and is primarily for travel, daycare, and commercial environments.
The L.A. Baby Deluxe crib is a metal crib with a scratch-resistant, non-toxic white powder-coated finish.
This crib is not really for personal use in a home, nor is it for long-term use. It is primarily used for transporting over the short term.
After all, white metal doesn’t really scream peaceful or relaxing!
This metal crib comes with only one conversion, and that is folding it up to take it somewhere else. It cannot become a daybed, toddler bed, or any other transformation, nor can any of the sides come off.
It also does not have adjustable mattress positioning, with just the single position at the bottom of the metal crib.
It comes with wheels, making transport easy. These wheels lock to keep the crib in place after it is done moving, ensuring the baby doesn’t start rolling down the hall.
When it comes to home use, this crib falls short in almost every regard.
It is not stylish, welcoming, or assumedly comfortable for long periods of time. The metal bars are a hazard for bumping heads and body parts.
However, for use in a hospital, commercial building, or other locations, it would be great for short-term use under supervision. Unfortunately, it is almost the same price as the DaVinci Colby, making it a no-brainer to go with the Colby model for home use.
This crib is for commercial purposes or shorter-term visits where you don’t have the room to set up a crib or want to be able to store it easily afterward.
As an everyday crib for a family, outside of space constraints, there is not much reason to choose this model.
If you want a commercial crib that is great for transport or short-term use, this crib could work for you.
However, there are too many comparably priced models that offer more than this model, outside of portability to choose it for home use.
- Highly portable
- No conversions
- No storage
- No mattress position adjusting
- Metal bars are a danger
10. Thomasville Kids Southern Dunes Lifestyle 4-in-1 Crib – The Best Extravagant Luxury Baby Crib
When you look at this model, all you can say is WOW!
The Thomasville Kids Southern Dunes Lifestyle Crib is a very expensive (but not the most expensive), but incredibly fancy baby crib.
Coming in espresso, white, and pebble gray, this crib is sure to spruce up any room it ends up in with its fancy backboard design and curved side rails.
When you think of family heirloom baby cribs, this is the kind of crib you would picture.
It is made of very solid and heavy wood, causing it to be very sturdy but not very portable at an estimated 90 pounds.
You don’t have to worry about your baby moving this crib, nor do you have to worry about their safety because it is fully compliant with CPSC and ASTM regulations.
This Lifestyle model has an excellent rating among consumer reviews, with no complaints about the product itself.
With the quality level of the wood, the sturdiness of the crib, and the sheer look of it, you would expect this to be one of the best cribs available.
It’s not just pretty and durable, though; it is also a 4-in-1 crib, meaning that it can convert to a daybed, toddler bed, or full-sized bed with a headboard. It doesn’t need a conversion kit for the daybed or toddler bed.
However, to use it with a full-size bed, you will need to buy the conversion kit with the metal frame to hold the mattress. The crib has 3 adjustable heights to keep the baby inside as well, making it as safe as it is stylish.
The primary knock against this luxury babe crib is the price. While it is incredibly impressive to look at and very sturdy, it doesn’t do much more than the cribs that are 30-50% of its price in terms of functionality.
There is also the additional expense of buying the conversion kit to use it as your child grows, making it an even more costly investment.
Another complaint with this piece is that the manufacturing process is inconsistent, leading to some cribs being damaged during transport.
However, as long as you check it as soon as you get it, their 1-year warranty will cover replacement parts if you need them.
This crib is for those who are looking to spend more to get a truly stunning crib that can easily double as a decorative piece.
If you make the full investment into this crib with the conversion kit, your child will have a luxurious bed for the foreseeable future from infancy to their teenage years.
If you are able to afford this crib, it is one of the best options available in terms of looks and sturdiness.
- Beautiful styles and colors
- Very sturdy and heavy duty
- Unique headboard design
- Manufacturing inconsistency
Baby Crib Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to the health, safety, and happiness of your child, it always pays to research what is best for them.
Whether it’s for food, clothes, car seats, or cribs, the more information that you arm yourself with, the easier it will be to make the perfect selection.
You’ve got a ton of options to choose from, so you’ll need all the help you can get.
Below we will provide some things to keep in mind during your crib search to save you time and money that you can spend getting the rest of your nursery prepared for your new family member.
We’ll also help you create a safe environment for your baby to prevent harm like suffocation.
The Importance of Safety Standards
Safety is your No. 1 priority as a parent, and rightfully so.
When you’re trying to do all you can to keep your baby happy and healthy, ensuring that their bed is safe should be a top priority.
This is because your child will be sleeping for as many as 17 hours per day from the age of 2 weeks to 3 months (parents.com).
If you can’t trust their crib and rest when they are asleep, you won’t stand a chance of sleeping yourself.
In the past, cribs often had drop-down style guard rails on the sides. These allowed for easy access to the baby without needing to bend too much and were incredibly convenient for the parents.
However, for the mechanism to work, there was a gap left between the crib bed and the rails.
Sadly, this allowed children to become stuck in the gap, posing a suffocation risk. The drop-down sides also posed a risk of falling on the child’s head or body if they tried to fit through the slits, or allowed the child to fall out of bed if the sides dropped on their own.
These were consequently made illegal to buy or sell, effectively cutting cases of such accidents half since the ruling in 2010.
Thankfully, all of the recommendations we have made in this article adhere to and exceed the safety requirements that were mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the ASTM.
Cribs now have stricter quality standards and are not allowed to have drop-down sides so you can be confident that any crib you buy new will adhere to these standards.
Always do your due diligence when choosing a crib though, as models with drop-down rails still exist.
Steps to Ensure Your Crib is Safe
Despite the strict quality guidelines that are in place for baby cribs, there is still the possibility of something going wrong in manufacturing, transport, or assembly.
Used cribs, manufacturing errors, and more can put your child’s safety at risk, so before you choose a crib, furnish it, and put your baby to bed, go through these steps so that you can rest easy.
Only buy new cribs
Some families have an old crib that has been passed down from parent to child, and while the sentimentality of it is touching, it is probably not the best or safest thing to do for your baby.
With the danger that drop-down rail cribs pose, as well as the reasonable wear and tear from the years of sitting in storage after being used, you risk the crib having splinters, breaking, or not being up to current safety regulations.
To avoid this, buy only new cribs that meet ASTM and SPSC regulations.
Buy a crib with a non-toxic finish and GREEGUARD certification
Chemicals are often used to stain wood. That can be harmful if your baby decides to chomp down on the rail or breathes in the fumes from the bars.
In the case that the stain or paint does come off, it will be harmless to your baby, and there won’t be any damaging fumes coming from the treated wood to worry about.
Measure the space between the bars
With the variety of styles that cribs come in, you’re going to see some different bar styles with different measurements between them.
Always double check that the space between them is around 2.25” or less to avoid baby limbs getting caught.
Check for defects before assembly
The second you receive your crib, immediately open it and check for any defects in manufacturing, missing parts, or other problems that may make the crib unsafe.
If you find one, contact the company right away to get a replacement or return the crib. The hassle is worth peace of mind.
Test the crib’s sturdiness after assembly
Once all the pieces of the crib check out and you put it together, apply some weight to the various legs and rails of the crib to ensure it is strong enough to support your baby.
The last thing you want is them pulling on the top rail and it collapsing or falling and hitting them!
Perform a final defect/hazard check
Once any nails are nailed, screws are screwed, and glue is dried, it’s time to give it one last look-over.
Check for any pins that may have come through during installation or any sharp edges that the baby could hurt themselves on and fix them right away.
Be sure to perform these checks regularly to make sure that wear and tear didn’t expose something.
What to Look For When Buying a Baby Crib
Has the baby crib mumbo jumbo got you a little confused?
Not sure what 3, 4, or 5 conversions mean? For new parents especially, getting everything set up for your baby is stressful.
The last thing you need is to try to decipher listings on Amazon that are filled with buzzwords and jargon.
Fortunately, we’ve gone over basically everything you’ll need to know to help you make your final decision for your baby crib.
Some are obvious, and some may be new to you, but think of it as a checklist to make things a little easier.
When it comes to cribs, the majority will fall into the $100-400 range, with features, colors, and designs improving as you go up in range.
More expensive models (they can reach over $1,000 in some cases) will often come with conversion kits, mattresses, additional storage built in, and ornate designs built into the wood and headboards.
Some people need their cribs to match the rest of the nursery perfectly, and some don’t care too much about the looks as long as it keeps their baby safe.
There are tons of styles available, including minimalist cribs with straight lines and few designs or patterns as well as more classic models with beautiful headboards and decorative designs.
Depending on where you plan to keep your baby’s crib, the size of the crib is essential.
If you have a separate nursery, chances are that the size of the crib won’t matter much; and a bigger model is better.
However, if you have limited space or need a portable crib, there is another option.
The standard baby crib will have an interior area of 52” by 28”, which should be plenty of room to last your baby until year 2 or until they get too tall for the mattress height.
However, there are also mini cribs that are 38” by 24” that take up less room but offer less room to grow into, limiting the lifespan on the crib.
While most models will be wooden (specifically pine), because it absorbs paint well and they are lightweight, you will also find metal cribs that are available.
While they definitely don’t give off the most comforting vibe, they’re sturdy.
Like most furniture, there are a variety of colors you’ll find cribs in.
You’ll even see some of the same models in different colors, giving you the chance to match the rest of your décor with a crib you love.
Standard colors are white, espresso, ebony, and gray with natural wood colors sometimes mixed in for the bars or feet.
A crib is no good if your child can climb over the edges or stand above them.
Many cribs come with an adjustable mattress height (the alternative to drop-down guard rails) so that when your child grows, you can change the position to keep them corralled.
It also saves your back from bending too far down to put your baby in bed or pick them up.
You’ll commonly see “X-in-1 convertible crib” (with X being 2,3,4, or 5) in the names of the baby cribs, and at first, that may be a bit confusing.
However, it simply means that in addition to the crib functionality, it is also convertible to X other beds like a daybed, toddler bed, and in some cases a full-sized bed with a headboard, footboard, or both.
The more options it has for conversion, the more versatile the crib is; however, you will likely need to buy conversion kits to take advantage of them.
If you buy a new crib, you don’t have to worry about getting a crib with drop guardrails, as they are illegal to sell.
However, almost as important is finding a crib that doesn’t involve a toxic painting process and doesn’t use leads or phthalate.
This makes it so that your child can safely sleep without inhaling fumes or toxins, and if they decide to nibble on the wood, they won’t accidentally ingest any lead.
With a baby, you’re always going to have a lot of “stuff” – from baby clothes to towels, stuffed animals, blankets, and more.
If you don’t have ample storage, these items may spill out of your nursery into the rest of your house, or go missing when you need them.
Fortunately, some cribs come with storage attached to them on the end of the frame or underneath the mattress, allowing you to maximize your space.
Checking for a warranty on your crib is less about being entitled to a refund in case something goes wrong, and more about faith in the product.
Companies that offer better warranties have more confidence in their product and will stand behind it. This makes it easier for you to trust your baby in their products’ hands.
Many of the cribs we’ve recommended come with just the crib and minimal extras, allowing you to choose if you want the conversion kits, choose your own mattress, and match furniture yourself.
However, there are combo deals available such as a crib and baby changing station combo, or cribs that include mattresses or conversion kits.
These are usually higher priced, but give you a complete package in a single purchase.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing
As we said before, there are a ton of options in the baby crib market and deciding can be hard to do alone.
Before you even begin looking at models, brands, and prices, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions so you can save yourself the time of filtering through things as you go.
Trust us, you’ll thank us later!
Is a Crib Better Than a Bassinet?
If you’ve been researching the different options for your baby’s bed, you’ve probably come across bassinets.
They are the most popular alternative to a crib, allowing the baby to sleep comfortably in the same room as you.
They are also cheaper than cribs, generally costing less than $50 so it makes sense that some would consider using them instead of a crib. However, it may not be as good of a value as you think.
While a crib may be more expensive, the difference is not sizable
In this article, we have recommended multiple cribs that are high-quality, totally safe, and cost around $100.
While this is more than the bassinet, it doesn’t consider the longevity of the purchase. A baby will outgrow a bassinet within 6 months, with a crib lasting 2 years or more (parenting guide).
This means that for as little as double the price, you can get 4 times as much use out of the product.
Not only that but when you take conversions into account it further improves the value, as with a single conversion kit, your crib can become a bed that will likely last 10 or more years!
Now THAT is value.
If you can’t afford the initial investment of a crib, or you want the baby to sleep in your room but can’t fit a crib, there’s nothing wrong with a bassinet temporarily.
However, for the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to consider a crib like our recommendations above.
Do I Need a Convertible Crib?
Are you looking for a beautiful crib that could be an heirloom to pass down, or just a crib for your last child before you close the factory for good?
Depending on whether your goals are short- or long-term, your crib choices will vary.
These days, many cribs come with some form of conversion ability so that you can use them past infancy.
They can convert from a crib to a daybed, toddler bed, and sometimes even to full-sized bed with headboards and footboards.
By removing the guard rails on the front and adding on a daybed rail, you make an excellent place for your child to take a nap.
Taking the pieces from a full-size conversion set, you can extend the crib’s usability by 10 or more years by converting it to a bed with a headboard and/or footboard for a full-size mattress.
All you need to do is install the frame, and the bed can be converted to accommodate your child’s growth into their teen years.
These conversion kits are often sold separately and are an added expense, but if you love the style of the crib, you can easily make it last with a simple bed frame to give you a great return on your purchase.
If you’re merely looking for a temporary crib or are on a budget, you can find less-convertible or entirely non-convertible cribs for less than many of the more functional cribs.
While they may not have the ability to be a full-sized bed with a headboard, they will do more than enough to keep your child safe and comfortable until they grow out of their crib and move on to racecar or princess beds.
Just make sure you have a new bed available once they can see over the rails, as if they climb up they can fall over the side and get hurt.
What Kind of Mattress Should I Use?
As luxury as many of these cribs are, unfortunately, they don’t often come with a mattress.
This means that you will have to choose a bed, which is more important than you may think.
The size of your mattress will depend on the specifics of your crib, as there are sometimes small differences that can change how useful a bed is.
Below are 3 things to look for in a mattress to complete your baby’s new crib.
Even though you may prefer your pillowtop bed cover, you’ll want to skip that luxury when it comes to your baby’s bed.
Anything that is soft and cushy enough for a baby to roll or move from poses a risk for the baby to possibly roll over and suffocate.
Get a firm mattress that keeps your baby in place and makes it nearly impossible for them to get their face trapped on it.
As we mentioned in the previous safety section, gaps between the mattresses and edges of the cribs were one of the major hazards that drop-down rail cribs posed.
Like a soft mattress, these gaps can trap the baby if they roll into them, and without the ability to turn themselves back over, they risk suffocation.
The bed you choose should fill the entirety of the inside of the crib with no room on edge.
This is less of safety concern and more of a convenience for you.
Babies can cause messes, and a lot of those messes can stain the mattress or cover of the crib.
If possible, buy yourself a waterproof or leakproof mattress as well as waterproof protection to ensure that stains, spills, and accidents don’t ruin the bed.
Choosing Furnishings and Extras for the Crib
When you have a kid, you’ll likely begin setting up your crib and nursery far before the baby comes.
Everything needs to look just right and be prepared for their first day home. However, as you plan out the decorations and furnishings in, on, and around the crib, keep in mind that the safety and well-being of your child is the most important thing.
As we noted in the mattress section, cribs can pose suffocation risk if they are not correctly set up.
There are also some things you can get for your crib (or look for on a crib you’re buying) that will give you both convenience and peace of mind when you turn off the light for the night.
Here are some tips for creating a safe and effective crib area.
Use a tight-fitting sheet
Of course, you want your baby to be warm and comfortable, but sheets and blankets that are loose can get wrapped around a baby’s head or stifle them if they roll the wrong way.
A tight-fitting bottom sheet and your baby’s secured clothing should be enough to keep them perfectly happy without the need for any additional hazards.
Keep the crib clutter-free
As cute as stuffed animals, pillows with hearts on them, and other baby toys and furnishings are, they pose a danger to your baby.
It is recommended that your baby’s crib does not contain anything more than the mattress, a sheet, and the baby in order to limit the potential suffocation risk.
If you do include anything else, make it breathable.
Take advantage of extra storage
Whether it is attached to the crib or an additional piece of furniture, additional room for your baby’s crib can make those late-night diaper changes easier.
Keep some diapers, toys, or formula in a drawer or changing station near the crib and save yourself the trip to the closet.
Buy a teething guard
Once your baby enters the teething stage, they may begin to stand and bite the top of the rail of the crib.
While most of the time this doesn’t pose a risk to the baby (especially when you choose a toxin-free finish for the crib), it can damage the rail and is kind of gross.
Buying rubber, plastic, or fabric guards can help to protect the rail and give your child something more sanitary to chew on, without leaving bite marks on your brand-new crib.
There is a lot involved in welcoming a new member into your family. You want to do everything you can for them to keep them happy and healthy, and their crib is a great place to start.
Unfortunately, between the hundreds of different brands, styles, colors, and price ranges to consider, there are far too many options to choose from.
Luckily, you can narrow down the vast possibilities by learning more about baby cribs and discovering what you need from your crib.
You can figure out the style, color, and price range that works for you to drastically decrease the choices.
You can also calm any worries about the safety of your crib by learning the proper procedure to safety check cribs and knowing what to look for as a potential threat when assembling or decorating a crib.
This way you can rest easy knowing that your child is safe in their bed, and you can get some well-earned sleep.
In the end, as long as you choose a crib that meets safety regulations and you follow our guide to set up your crib safely, you will be fine.
If you don’t feel like doing the research yourself, you can’t go wrong with any of the recommendations above. Just choose the things that are important to you and compare our list of features to make your decision.
Now that you know practically all there is to know about baby cribs, you’re ready to start setting up that nursery and getting excited for the new arrival.
It’s an exciting time, and now you can hopefully enjoy it without worrying about their crib.