Let Baby Rest Safely With The Best Cribs (2018 Guide)
There's no way around it: a crib is one of the top two or three items that you will buy for your baby.
A crib is your baby’s home and provides them with comfort and safety as they sleep and play.
For a tiny newborn, a crib may seem like a big, scary place.
But, with some training (and luck), your baby will love being placed in it for each nap and overnight.
There are many crib models and some are much better (and safer) than others, and because the right crib is vital to your child’s comfort, it’s smart to shop around for “the one.”
Read on to learn about the best baby cribs, things to consider before buying one, and safety tips for having your baby sleep in a crib.
Why You Need a Crib
You need a crib for your baby to sleep in when they outgrow their bassinet.
Cribs are used for naps, overnight, and as a safe space for your baby to rest and sometimes play.
Your baby is able to sleep in a bassinet until they are about two months of age, so a crib isn’t needed right away, unless you’ve decided to place your newborn in one from the get go.
However, many parents prefer to have their child close to them for the first few weeks before transitioning into their own nursery into something bigger.
When Do You Need a Crib?
If you plan on placing your child is a crib right away, you obviously need one set up before your baby is born.
Even parents who choose to go the bassinet route have a crib ready and waiting to be used.
A baby can bring quite a bit of chaos into your home environment, and the last thing tired parents want to do is fiddle around with a crib.
Different Types of Cribs
There are a few different kinds of cribs to consider.
When I was registering for one, I had no idea that there were so many different kinds.
Weighing out each’s pros and cons helped me make my selection. The different types of cribs include:
A standard crib is your “traditional” baby crib.
It's designed solely for a baby and has adjustable levels (generally 2 or 3) and can be used on a newborn all the way up to two years or so (depending on how low the lowest setting goes).
Convertible cribs are a popular choice and allow for one stop shopping.
They combine a crib, toddler, and day bed all in one.
Portable cribs are lighter in weight, have legs that fold up and down, and they mimic a bassinet, but are larger to accommodate a bigger baby.
A travel crib is able to totally fold up and then re-setup. It can serve as a changing station, playpen, and crib all in one! It’s easy to pack and travel with because they usually come complete with a strapped carrying case.
When to Transition to a Toddler Bed
I decided to purchase a convertible crib because I loved the fact that I only had to make one major bedding purpose until my son hit nursery school!
So, I adhered to safety standards when it came to adjusting his crib based on his height and activity level during his baby years.
But, right around the 18 month mark, I knew my son was ready to venture into a toddler bed.
For my son, that transition worked out very well.
But, for some of my friends, it did not. Their children needed more time in a crib, so they kept them in well after their second birthday.
For others, their kiddos were ready just after their first birthday. There isn’t a right or wrong time to do the swap!
But, there can be some signs of readiness.
I noticed that my son was getting to a point where he was trying to climb out of his crib (little bugger), and despite how low my crib was set, it was becoming a safety issue to let him in a crib with his climbing ambitions.
He was much happier in a little bed and I slept much better knowing that I didn’t have to be glued to my monitor.
My son just turned 3 and he’s still happily in his toddler bed.
I’m getting ready to remove the side rails because he’s not much of a roller and start the transition into a regular bed.
Once he masters sleeping without rails, I’m going to splurge and move on to a regular, full sized bed!
While this is my plan of action, every child is different in regard to readiness.
Watch for cues, and even initial discussions to excite your toddler to want to get out of a crib and into a “big kid bed.”
Best Places to Buy a Crib
You can find a crib at pretty much any baby chain store or big name retailer.
While some parents love being “hands on” and checking out assembled models in person, others love the convenience of shopping online.
Regardless of your preference, here are a few places that boast great cribs and offer an abundance of choices and price points:
Safety is the number one priority when buying a crib for your little one.
You'll want to look for a crib that is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
You could also shop for a crib that adheres to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations.
In addition, there are a few ways to determine if your crib is safe:
If the slats on your crib are greater than 2 and 2/8 inches wide, they are too far apart. Since many people opt to buy cribs online and this information may be missing from its specifications, measure its openings when you get home.
You should also investigate the crib fully before putting your baby in it. Human error happens, so feel around for sharp edges, protruding hardware, decorative knobs-anything that could catch your baby-especially around their neck.
Don’t be afraid to give your crib of choice a good shake. This will help you determine you assembled it correctly and you can check to see if the frame on the bottom seems loose at all (keep in mind, display models aren’t always assembled in the most secure way).
During your investigation, also check for loose slats or any cracks in the wood. Double check that all your hardware is tight enough before putting your baby in the crib. It doesn’t hurt to tighten screws up over time either, since they can become loose.
Once you have a crib in mind, make sure it doesn’t boast drop sides. The CPSC regulations for full sized cribs declared this feature a danger and have been linked to at least 32 deaths over the past decade. Opt for a single drop gate instead, which lowers a portion, rather than the entire side of the crib.
Consider mattress height as well. Some cribs boast two kinds, while others boast three (even four). This way, your baby won’t be able to get over the side and get hurt. Because all babies start to pull themselves up at different ages and stages (the norm is between 6 and 8 months), you do want to make sure your crib is in the right position.
The Importance of Buying New
Cribs are regulated by the federal government, so when you use a used one (especially if it’s older), you run into the chance of having the crib recalled, and not being aware of it.
They may not meet current safety standards or pose a threat to your child’s safety.
And in fact, by law, the production date of a crib must be displayed on it and on its shipping carton.
Also, when you buy new, you have less of a chance of exposing your baby to weakened hardware or loose glue joints which can be caused by changes during humidity during storage.
When you buy new, you can also purchase the mattress at the same time, guaranteeing a perfect fit.
You never want any gaping around the edges because your baby could get stuck in an open crevice and suffocate. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can stick more than two fingers between your mattress and its crib frame, then the fit isn’t right!
Safe Sleeping Tips
It’s hard work keeping your baby safe and sound. But, as a parent, it’s your number one job.
Here are a few safe sleeping tips to take into consideration:
With so many things you “shouldn’t” do when it comes to putting your baby to bed safely in their crib, I believe there are certain things that you should do to help them sleep and sleep safely.
Best Convertible Crib
babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib
The babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a multifunctional crib that will actually grow with your child.
Featuring a stylish design that will transform from a newborn bed to an infant bed, once your child is ready for a daybed, there is no need to go out and purchase one because this convertible crib has you covered.
If you're looking for a crib with a modern design that will last a long time to come, this might be the one for you.
It’s sturdy. Made from high-quality materials so you can be assured of your child’s safety, the slat strength of the babyletto is a whopping 135+ pounds.
Eco-conscious design. The babyletto is one of the healthiest cribs on the market. Not only does it meet the ASTM standards, but also the CPCS safety standards and is GREENGUARD certified.
It’s low to the ground. The legs of this crib are slightly shorter than the average crib, giving you the ability to place your baby in his or her bed easily. This crib also has several different heights that you can position the mattress as your child grows.
Easy to assemble. With the help of a partner, assembling this crib should be a quick job. The instructions that come with your baby’s bed are clear and to the point. All hardware is provided, so you won’t need to go out and purchase anything additional.
Keep in mind
Can scuff your floor. If you have hardwood floors that you would like to protect, you might want to think about using a rug underneath or furniture pads for the feet. Otherwise, you may end up with unwanted markings on your flooring.
It’s pretty big. While you want your baby to be comfortable and have plenty of room to move around, a large bed can cause some problems. You will need to make sure the crib mattress you choose is big enough or else it can pose a safety risk for your little one.
Best Crib for Newborns
Dream On Me Violet 7 in 1 Convertible Life Style Crib
The Dream On Me Violet 7 in 1 Convertible Life Style Crib (click here to check the price on Amazon) is made from high-quality materials and is phthalates, latex, lead, and BPA free.
You can be confident your baby will have a healthy sleeping environment with this crib, while the stylish design is gender neutral so you can use it over the span of multiple children.
You may want to consider this crib if you are on the market for something that can easily be converted to multiple positions as your little one grows.
Toddler guard rail. Once your little one begins to stand, having a guard rail is essential. Without a guard rail, the potential for falling out of the crib is greatly increased.
Four height settings. Before you know it your baby will be outgrowing the first height setting and then the next. It’s nice to know you will be able to convert this crib to your child’s needs.
Options galore. With this bed, you get it all. Following the simple instructions, you can either have a crib, toddler bed, a day choice of two sized youth beds and even two sizes of full-sized bed.
Keep in mind
Tons of stickers. While you may appreciate Dream on Me’s commitment to your child’s safety with all the warning stickers, they are somewhat unsightly. They can be time-consuming to remove if you don’t have WD-40 or something similar.
Some items sold separately. Even though this bed can be easily converted last your child’s lifetime, there are extras involved. For example, if you plan to have a foot board on your youth bed or full-sized bed you will need to buy a conversion kit.
Best 4-in-1 Crib
Delta Children Emery 4-in-1 Crib
The sturdy Emery 4-in-1 Crib from Delta Children (click here to check the price on Amazon) was built to last.
It can accommodate your newborn child and develops right along with them. The sleek design is gender neutral and will fit in with just about any nursery theme.
Easy to assemble. All tools and hardware are included. Depending on which version you want, there are only several pieces to put together. Although it may take the help of a partner, putting this crib together doesn’t take a lot of effort.
Heavy-duty wood. All parts of this crib are made from durable wood that provide your baby a safe place to rest their head.
It’s gender-neutral. Whether you have a boy or a girl, this crib will be suitable. Its elegant design will pair well with any theme in your nursery.
Keep in mind
Not everything is included. For several of the conversions, you will have to purchase items separately. On the plus side, if you decide you don’t want to use a certain design, you won't have spare parts taking up valuable storage until you need them.
Slats are wide. As your little one grows, they are testing their boundaries. The slats on this crib are spaced further apart than some which can lead to trapped hands and feet of curious babies.
Best Crib for Twins
DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
The DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib (click here to check the price on Amazon) will work well for just about any family.
In compliance with ASTM and CPSC safety standards along with its GREENGUARD Gold certification take some of the guesswork out of purchasing this fashionable crib.
If you are looking for a solid crib to add to your registry, you might want to consider this 4-in-1 set.
Four stages of use. This stylish crib will last your child all the way from infancy to teen years. It converts from crib to a complete full-sized bed with limited assembly.
Low environmental impact. The Kalani is constructed from 100% New Zealand Pine in sustainable forests, and Davinci even ships their products with the lowest carbon footprint possible.
It’s sturdy. Made from a few solid pieces, this DaVinci crib holds up well. The slats are strong and can hold up to 135 pounds of weight pushed against them.
Keep in mind
Scratches and dings easily. The finish on this crib has a tendency to scratch easier than some others. If you have pets or multiple children in the home, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
Instruction manual is difficult to follow. For an item that can be assembled in a variety of ways, the instructions were lacking. Have someone handy help you with this assembly.
Best Modern Crib
#5. Graco Hayden Convertible Crib
The Graco Hayden Convertible Crib (click here to check the price on Amazon) is affordable bundle package that not only looks great but is made with the highest safety standards in mind for your little one.
You might want to think about purchasing this set if you are on the market for a high-end crib and mattress combo without the price-tag. This set also makes a perfect baby shower gift.
Bundled with the mattress. With the purchase of this convertible crib, you won’t have to worry about sizing numerous mattresses to ensure a perfect fit for your crib.
Certified safe. Not only does this Graco crib meet all the ASTM and CPSC safety standards, but it is also JPMA certified as well, so you can be confident in knowing your baby is sleeping soundly.
Easy to put together. The Hayden comes with very clear instructions and well-marked parts which make putting this crib together a breeze.
Keep in mind
It’s bulky. This crib may take up a good portion of your nursery, so you should measure beforehand to ensure it will fit your dimensions. Assembly will need to be done in the baby’s room due to the fact it won't fit through an average sized door.
Too low for an infant. The highest setting is pretty low for a newborn or infant. If you plan to have a cesarean, you might want to have your partner do the lifting in and out of this crib to start.
So many cribs to choose from, so little time!
Consider the different kinds of cribs on the market, and features to look for in regard to your top priority: your baby’s safety.
In addition, brush up on safety tips to ensure that your baby’s first experience in their crib is a positive one!