Ten Things to Consider When Purchasing a Baby Crib

By: J.Morgan

When expecting a new baby in the family, one of the most important purchases you will make will be the crib.  There is a myriad of styles to choose from.  How do you narrow it down to just one?  Here are ten important considerations to help you make your decision:

1. Safety standards - The first consideration for any crib that is purchased is whether or not it is safe.  Crib slats should have a span of no greater than 2 3/8 inches apart.  This will prevent the infant from accidentally getting their head stuck between the slats.

2. Style - When selecting a crib, style plays a part.  Do you want it painted or natural wood?  Light or dark?  If you have other furniture, do you want it to coordinate?  One thing to avoid is a crib with finials, as it can be a choking hazard if babies get caught on it once they begin standing.

3. Convertible - Conversion cribs are a great investment.  The crib can grow with the child.  They cost a bit more to start with, but they can be reconfigured into a toddler bed, day bed and finally a twin bed.  However, you may have to buy the supports for the twin bed and the mattress. 

4. Wheels - There are pros and cons to having wheels on the crib.  It can make it easy to move while cleaning, but you also have to make sure it has locks on the wheels to keep it from moving when you don't want it to be moved.

5. Drop sides/release - Most parents need a drop side crib, unless they are tall.  There are some cribs that have a drop on both sides, but most people only need it to be accessible from one side.  You should also look for cribs with latches that are easy for the parent, but not the child, to release.  There are two-handed or one-handed releases.  Test out the cribs in the store and make sure you can do it easily.  Also check to see if they move quietly, so it won't wake up the baby.  The side needs to be nine inches above the top of the mattress to protect the baby from accidentally rolling out before the side is back in place.

6. New vs. used - Some people want to save some money by buying a used crib.  This isn't always a problem; however, you have to make sure that it meets current standards.  Check it to make sure it doesn't wobble and has all the hardware in place. Make sure it's not too old, as many older cribs had lead paint.

7. Stability - Make sure the crib you choose is stable.  Most cribs have to be assembled once you bring them home.  Be sure to purchase one that is easy to put together but is still sturdy enough.

8. Mattress - It is important to get the right mattress for the crib you purchase.  Be sure the mattress fits snugly in the crib.  If there are any gaps around the edges, it could be a danger to the baby.  If you can fit two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the crib, it is too small.  Be sure to buy a new, firm mattress. 

9. Adjustable mattress height - In addition to the convertible cribs, it is important that you are able to adjust the height of the mattress as the child grows.  A crib with at least a 26-inch span between the top of the rail and the mattress is a good guide.

10. Where to shop - There are many options for shopping for a crib.  There are baby specialty stores, department stores, the internet, gently used baby stores, and garage sales.  You have to balance cost against customer support, returns, and shipping.  Shop around and find the best quality for the best price.

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