Guide to Selecting a Crib

All cribs have to meet certain governmental standards (new ones were released in 2011) to ensure safety. An unsafe one may slip through, but for the most part, if you’re purchasing a new bed for your baby, it should be safe. Be on the lookout for product recalls to put your mind at ease. If you’re on a tight budget, even inexpensive cribs are fine, as long as they’re correctly assembled.

Should you have an older crib (sometimes they’re passed down from generation to generation), keep the following safety standards in mind.  While drop down sides are convenient, the new standards list them as unsafe.  The mattress should be firm and tight fitting. The head and foot boards should be solid with no cutout pieces. The slats should be no more than 2 3/8 of an inch apart. The corner posts should be no taller than 1/16 of an inch.

When you go shopping, consider some of the below points before making your final selection. There’s a great deal to choose from, so take your time and find one that fits your style and budget.


Most cribs come with adjustable mattress heights. You can raise them higher for young babies since it makes it easier to lay down a sleeping child and lower them as your baby grows and begins to pull herself up on the railing. Look for one with a wire spring support frame. This is the sturdiest on the market, although some cribs have wooden slats or metal bars. The crisscrossed wire frame is thought to be the surest way to prevent collapse.

The mattress itself should be firm, as soft ones present a suffocation risk. It should fit tightly in the crib. The cover should be plastic or triple laminated as well as waterproof. Make sure your sheets fit snugly and the covers are flame retardant.


It’s nice to have a crib with wheels. They allow you to easily vacuum or sweep and pick up tossed items. It also makes changing sheets less of a chore.  Most cribs come with caster wheels and they can be taken off and on if desired. Make sure the casters are solid so you won’t have problems later.

Convertible or standard

You can purchase cribs that convert to toddler beds and some convert to twin sized beds. Usually, a kit has to be purchased which adds to the expense. It can be enticing, but consider if the crib will be used by a sibling. If so, purchase a toddler bed or perhaps even a twin-size adult bed as many youngsters make the transition from crib to small adult size with little problem.

Other features

When your child is older, they’ll probably use the top rail as a teething toy. If it’s covered with a plastic teething strip, it will be safe and easier to clean. Check to make sure metal hardware is round and does not protrude into the crib area.

Where to shop

If you’re shopping on a budget, try a store like Target. They may have a limited number of choices, but usually have some in stock. Department stores will probably have to order one for you and usually carry the lower to medium price range. There are mega baby stores where you will find the most variety, but often your choice won’t be immediately available. It can take up to twelve weeks for an order to be processed and the item delivered. Local baby stores will offer you the most individual service, although their stock is also likely to be small. The Internet is filled with baby products, cribs included.  The problem is you won’t have direct contact and returning an incorrect item can be difficult. You’ll also have to pay additional fees such as shipping which can be expensive. Before you purchase on line, be confident of the site’s return policy.

Placing the crib

Avoid putting your child’s bed next to a window or under an air vent. Make sure all cords are out of the child’s reach to prevent strangulation. If you think something might be unsafe, keep it out of your baby’s reach.

Have fun shopping and setting up your baby’s room. Even with a limited budget, you can create a warm and bright place for your little one.