Before my first child was born, I naively thought that all cribs were essentially the same and didn’t understand the fuss surrounding picking one out. I quickly learned that not all cribs are created equal, and there are some specific things to look for, especially when it comes to safety. After extensive research, I gathered the safety guidelines every parent should know and came up with some top recommendations for cribs whether you are at home or traveling so you can sleep soundly knowing your little one is safe.
Safety standards for baby cribs
Safety standards for cribs were revised in 2011
by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
to make all manufactured cribs safer and sturdier according to the regulations of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Since then, anything certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers (JPMA)
has used these guidelines. The changes included requirements for stronger mattress supports and crib slats, durable crib hardware, rigorous safety testing, and no drop-side cribs. When purchasing a crib, check for these safety certifications to ensure that your crib meets the latest requirements.
Types of baby cribs
There are several types to consider, each with slightly different characteristics that may or may not fit your needs:
Standard baby cribs
- These are simple, sturdy cribs that are typically easy to put together.
- They are generally well constructed and long lasting, as well as inexpensive.
- As with the other crib types, the mattress can adjust to different heights, but the crib as a whole won’t move easily from room to room and can be used only as a crib.
- These cribs are actually becoming more difficult to find, as most cribs can be converted into at least a daybed.
Convertible baby cribs
- These are long-lasting cribs that can be used as a standard crib, then potentially adapted as a toddler bed with a guardrail, a daybed with one open side, or even as a full-size bed with the long front and back railings of the crib becoming the headboard and footboard (the side rails are usually sold separately).
- Because these cribs are meant to be used for a long time, they are generally made with very sturdy, long-lasting materials (such as real wood).
- They may be more expensive than other types of cribs, but the long-term investment makes them a good value for the money.
- The other consideration is that styles and trends (and tastes) may change over time, so you may want to choose something neutral rather than bright, trendy colors.
Portable baby cribs
- Also known as folding cribs, portable cribs fold in on the sides so they can be collapsed and stored easily, and they are particularly used by daycare centers and hotels.
- They have wheels and are easy to move from room to room. Theoretically, this means you can keep an eye on your baby throughout the day as you move the crib to where you are, though this won’t work as well if your house has multiple levels.
- You’ll also need to consider what type of flooring you have, as some wheels work better on carpet versus hardwood floors, and be sure to check the locks on the wheels regularly to make sure they are working correctly.