Being a parent is an incredible journey. Whether you are a new parent or welcoming your next child into the world, the joy and anticipation of the arrival of your little one are thrilling feelings. Aside from all the excitement, though, it can be slightly overwhelming if you are unsure where to do your shopping to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Children are a huge responsibility, but they make every second worth it. Before that tiny human arrives in your arms, you’ll need to properly plan and prepare your home, life, and surroundings to accommodate your new addition’s arrival.
This website helps parents take some of the fear and anxiety out of the tough jobs, like picking out the perfect crib. I’ve done the research and while I highly recommend you do as much research as you can, I’ve decided to prepare this guide to help save you a little bit of time and stress.
What You Should Remember
The crib is one of the most important purchases you will make for your baby. This is the focal point of your nursery and it is where your baby will spend countless hours growing, laughing, and sleeping – up to 16 hours a day! Many parents make the mistake of thinking all cribs are the same and instead focus on shopping for attractive designs or patterns that are aesthetically pleasing.
While you should find a color and style that you like, it is important to remember different cribs offer different features that may or may not be ideal for you.
Carefully inspect the features, functionality, and safety features of the cribs you are considering. There are many options to choose from, so take your time and choose wisely. Below is a guide to help you highlight the important factors and recommendations that you should keep in mind during your shopping.
Say No To Hand-Me-Downs
When I had my first child, my aunt offered me the crib that was sitting in her attic collecting dust. While it seemed tempting since it would help me save money and time, I decided to decline her offer. In 2011, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) updated its federal safety standards. Any product made before that may not meet their new standards and thus, might not be safe for your child.
Don’t cut corners with your crib. The newly established rules prohibited drop-side cribs and update the requirements for mattress strength and support. Hand-me-downs may seem like a financially smart option, but they might not cut it where it counts.
Pay Attention To Safety Standards and Certifications
Those acronyms and letters that you see on baby furniture and products are important and shouldn’t be ignored. CPSC, JPMA, and ASTM are all different associations or commissions dedicated to testing and certifying products to ensure that they meet various levels of rigorous safety standards and tests.
JPMA or the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has a five-step process in place that products need to pass in order to earn a certification. Their certification goes beyond existing requirements established by federal and state governments. If a product has a JPMA certification, you can be sure that they have met a scrutinous level of testing that is above the normal standard. This is a voluntary process, meaning that companies have to elect to submit their models for testing. A company that takes the time and effort to do so is definitely an ideal choice.
CPSC or the Consumer Products Safety Commission is a federal agency that is dedicated to testing products to eliminate any dangerous or unsafe products from falling into consumers’ hands.
The ASTM or American Society for Testing and Materials is a non-profit organization that tests various popular materials and products and publishes the results according to their standards.
Finding a crib that has earned the ASTM or CPSC certification is good. Finding a crib that has earned the JPMA certification is great.
Another qualification to consider is the GREENGUARD certification. GREENGUARD tests and certifies products to ensure that they don’t contain any harsh chemicals or materials. They are a third-party organization that has specific limits on chemical emissions.
Functionality and Design Are Extremely Important
This means you need to carefully select your crib and the accompanying furniture, like blankets or bumper pads. Mattresses are especially important as they can pose a choking or entrapment hazard if they are the wrong size. A good way to check is to try to put two fingers between the slat and the mattress.
If they can comfortably fit in that space, your mattress is too small and your little one could get stuck in that little gap. The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib. The same goes for sheets. Avoid loose-fitting sheets and large blankets, and the baby can get tangled up in them when they are moving around.
I also recommend keeping toys, bumper pads, and pillows to a minimum. Your baby doesn’t need very much to get comfortable. A small, light blanket is enough and will lower your baby’s risk of getting injured by something. Additionally, set the crib up a safe distance from any curtains, blinds, cords, or bulky monitors. Babies have a knack for creativity and mobility, and you don’t want them to get their hands on the wrong thing accidentally.
Additionally, never use a crib with any loose or broken pieces. The last thing you want is the crib becoming unstable when your precious one is inside. Before assembling your crib, check all the pieces and read the instructions thoroughly. If anything is missing or cracked, return the crib. It’s not worth the risk. If you can, getting your crib professionally installed can help you avoid any mishaps or confusion.
Mattress Shopping is Just as Important
Not every mattress is created equal! Remember, this is what your baby will be sleeping on. You wouldn’t want to sleep on an uncomfortable or low-quality mattress, so your baby certainly shouldn’t, either.
Crib mattresses usually come in two styles: innerspring or foam. An innerspring mattress is the most common and contains springs to help the mattress stay firm and comfortable.
Foam mattresses don’t have springs and are generally lighter than innerspring mattresses, but they are both equally safe choices. More important is the vinyl covering on the mattress. Avoid the thinner models, as they have a tendency to crack. A thicker vinyl may be more expensive but will last longer, and thus save you from having to replace it.
Another important factor to remember is the firmness of the mattress. Babies require more support than adults so don’t look for a mattress that feels soft and plushy. When shopping for mattresses, test them by pressing down on the mattress.
It should spring back immediately, regardless of the style. Steer clear of used mattresses. Unless you can fully confirm it has been properly cared for and cleaned, you could be looking at a mattress full of bacteria. I highly recommend getting a mattress cover that is washable and waterproof to help the mattress last longer and stay protected from spills and soils.
I have done extensive research on a number of cribs and mattresses, and below I’ve listed the Top 10 Cribs I have found.
Here is a top 10 list of my favorite Baby Cribs
DaVinci Autumn 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
This is by far my favorite. As you know, babies don’t stay babies very long. My favorite thing about this crib is its ability to transform into a multitude of different bed styles to accommodate your child as he grows. The conversion kits have to be purchased separately, but the crib can transform from a stylish crib to a toddler bed, a daybed, or a full-sized bed. (Yes, really!) The design boasts a high headboard and the crib has classic slats that fit perfectly with a modern interior design.
Additionally, the DaVinci Autumn crib is certified by all the big names, ASTM, CPSC, JPMA, and GREENGUARD, which is great and makes me really feel secure with this crib. Plus, the mattress can be adjusted into different positions, which is great for shorter moms like myself who have trouble reaching into taller cribs.
Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
What can I say? I like convertibles. Like the DaVinci, the Stork Craft Tuscany crib transforms into a toddler bed, daybed, and full-sized bed along with the traditional crib design. The sleek wood design is definitely sophisticated and will match beautifully with traditional style home décor. Plus, it meets all the top safety certifications: JPMA, CPSC, and ASTM.
As far as functionality goes, the rails are stationary, so they provide awesome security and the mattress can be set up in three different positions. I’d recommend this crib for parents on the taller side, unlike the previous one. Plus, it won’t break your budget, making it my second top pick.
Dream on Me Violet 7-in-1 Convertible Life Style Crib
Dream on Me Violet is a solid wood crib that is great for the modern parent who doesn’t want to trade style for reliability. Plus, it boasts SEVEN different styles! Besides the crib, it transforms into a daybed, and two different twin AND full-sized bed positions. This crib will not only grow with your child but can also change to accommodate different furniture setups and placements.
ASTM and CPSC compliant as well as non-toxic, this incredible crib also features four different mattress positions and can be set up in the middle of the room or against the wall. As with most cribs, the conversion kits are not included and must be purchased separately.
Broyhill Kids Bowen Height 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
Another crib for the traditional style parent, this adorable crib has four different bed options: crib, daybed, twin-sized bed, and full-sized bed. Additionally, it offers three different mattress placement options and is made from beautifully crafted solid pinewood. The headboard is slightly raised and would look lovely against a wall with a contrasting color.
It’s not just pretty, either! Broyhill Kids is known for its dedication to value, safety, and quality. The crib meets JPMA certifications and has a non-toxic finish. The solid rails provide a sturdy and safe border for your child.
Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
Like the other options, this beautiful crib gives you the versatility of four different beds in one. The conversion kits are sold separately, but the guardrail for the toddler is included with your purchase. The sleek brown solid hardwood finish is a combination of both contemporary and traditional design and will be a lovely addition to any nursery.
My number five pick is elegant and functional. The Delta Canton crib is easily assembled and the hardware is hidden (because who wants to see those ugly screws?). Plus, it meets JPMA, CPSC, and ASTM standards. The mattress can be set to three different heights and, as mentioned, has four different conversion options.
Fisher-Price Providence 3-in-1 Convertible Crib
One of the simpler options on the list, this Fisher-Price Providence 3-in-1 crib transforms into a daybed and toddler bed as well, so it can be with your child well into their childhood. Because there is no headboard of specific front or back, the crib will look great in any part of the room and can adjust as your furniture selections evolve. The mattress can also be set at three different heights. This crib is perfect for the parent who admires simplicity.
Along with the conversion options, an attachable teething guardrail can be purchased to help your child when they reach the standing, jumping, and gnawing on everything stage. The material is comprised of durable New Zealand pine and is JPMA certified. Plus the manufacturer includes a one-year limited warranty with your purchase.
Sealy Bella Standard Crib
Perfect for your little prince or princess, this mid-century design crib combines elegance with comfortability and functionality. The best thing about this crib is the built-in hardware, which makes putting the crib together a cinch. It is a convertible crib and can be transformed into a toddler bed or daybed with conversion kits (sold separately). The crib has no distinguishable front or back, so it can be placed in the middle of the room or in any corner with ease.
It meets rigorous safety requirements as it’s JPMA certified and Sealy Bella includes a one-year limited warranty with your purchase. For comfortability, and to adapt as your baby learns to stand and – yikes! – climb, the mattress can be adjusted to three different heights.
Child Craft Monterey 3-in-1 Stationary Crib
Simple meets versatile with the Child Craft Monterey crib. If you are going for modern, simplistic nursery décor, this crib will fit right in. It can be a crib, toddler bed, or daybed and has two mattress heights to accommodate your little one. Plus, it’s made from real hardwood, which is incredibly durable and will last for years with proper care.
I ranked this crib at number 8 because of its limited mattress heights, but the safety standards are great and are really the most important part. It meets JPMA certification and ASTM and CPSC safety requirements. A limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty is included.
Oeuf Elephant Crib
Break away from the norm with this ultra-modern eco-friendly crib. This crib boasts a number of features, including assembly promised to be under 10 minutes. Plus it meets US, Canadian, and European standards of safety and the finish is water-based and non-toxic.
The main element of the Oeuf Elephant crib is the eco-MDF material it is made of. MDF is an engineered wood product and is made from sustainable materials. Functionality-wise the crib has three mattress heights and can be converted to a toddler bed though the parts are sold separately. It is worth noting that this crib is on the higher end of the price spectrum and lacks a JPMA certification.
Graco Bryson 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
The all-white design is timeless and the perfect combination of modern and traditional. It meets all my required certifications, including JMPA, ASTM, and CPSC, and can be easily converted from a crib to a toddler bed, daybed, or full-size bed with a gorgeous headboard and footboard.
The crib would go perfectly in the middle of the wall against a contrasting color. The mattress can be adjusted to three different heights and the hardware is hidden for a sleek, solid finish. Check out our full review here!
Remember – a crib is one of the most important purchases you will make at the beginning of your child’s life. They will spend countless hours in their crib, and you want to ensure that it is secure and comfortable. You can absolutely find a crib that meets scrupulous safety standards and is both functional and stylish.