Types of Cribs
Standard cribs don’t do anything except serve as a place to sleep. They don’t fold up, lack unique design, and don’t contain drawers or other functional elements. If you just want a place for your baby to sleep, a standard crib will do just fine.
Bassinets are more compact, often portable cribs. They’re typically much less expensive than a crib and can provide your baby with a safe sleeping environment. Think of them as a cot for babies—you can fold them up and move them out of the way and use them in different rooms.
These cribs can convert from a crib to a daybed to a headboard. Since cribs only last 24 months for most kids, it’s a great way to get more out of your investment.
Portable cribs are different than travel cribs because they’re normally made of hard materials like wood—they just fold up much like a TV table. Portable cribs make storing them easier.
These collapsible cribs are normally made of soft materials like mesh and foam. They pack up well and are suited to busy parents who need to travel with their kids often.
Multifunctional cribs typically include drawers or even a changing table. They’re exactly what they sound like: a workhorse in your nursery that can function in more ways than one.
This can be a round crib, one that’s made from eco-friendly materials, or a non-standard design. As long as it features safe design, it’s okay to opt for one of these cribs.
Your baby will sleep in his/her crib from the time they’re born to his/her second birthday. Here’s what you should do to keep your children safe while they’re sleeping in cribs:
1. Don't use bulky blankets or pillows.
When your baby is little, he/she won’t have much muscle control. If babies roll over onto thick pillows or blankets, they could suffocate. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold, you should buy him/her warmer pajamas. This way, the warmth will come from their clothing and they won’t get caught up in plush items.
2. Make sure it's a certified crib.
Kids can get caught and seriously injure themselves or worse in poorly built cribs. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a certification for cribs that meet or exceed safety standards. If you don’t see CPSC certification on a crib, don’t buy it.
3. Reuse...to a point.
If a crib is 10 years old or older, don’t use it. The same goes for broken cribs. Modern cribs have safety features older versions do not, so keep your baby safer by using newer and undamaged cribs.
4. Adjust the mattress height.
Once your child can stand or sit up, your crib should have the ability to adjust mattress height. This will keep your baby from falling over the edge of the crib and hurting him/herself.
5. Don't buy drop-side cribs.
CPSC standards no longer support cribs with drop sides. While the design allowed parents to get to their children more easily, they have been linked to almost three dozen infant deaths. They’re dangerous and should be avoided.
6. Follow directions.
Following directions while assembling a crib is crucial. If you miss a step or do something incorrectly, it could hurt your baby.
7. Mind the gap.
When you put your baby’s mattress into the crib, there shouldn’t be more than a two-finger gap between it and the crib bars. If any larger, your baby could become stuck and injure himself/herself.
8. Don't add extras.
While you might like sleeping on cushy surfaces, your baby shouldn't’t. Use the mattress that comes with your crib and don’t add anything bulky or plush to the top. Baby mattresses are designed to be firm enough to prevent suffocation and adding thick materials can negate this.
9. Install your crib in the open.
Keep your baby’s crib away from dangling objects like curtains or blinds. They could become entangled if they’re too close. That’s both an injury and strangulation risk.
10. Double check everything.
Once your crib is assembled, give it a thorough once-over. Check for jagged edges, loose materials, and defects. Not all products are perfect, so double-checking can prevent a tragedy.
Your baby will spend a lot of time in its crib napping and growing. Make sure you buy one that’s both safe and functional. If you’re shopping for more baby gear, check out our buyer’s guides for car seats, baby monitors, baby gates, and more.