Becoming a parent is a beautiful journey marked by a ton of planning. For most parents, buying a crib is the first step towards creating a safe and beautiful world for their infant. For the first few years of their lives, your child will spend a significant time within the confines of their bed cribs. So, it goes without saying that choosing a crib can be one of the most vital decisions would-be parents can make.
There is a lot of information available online, often overshadowed by shining and gimmicky marketing tactics. Let’s try to cut the clutter and offer you a precise, factual guide to buying the best baby crib for your toddler.
What’s A Baby Crib And Why Is It Important?
A crib is a bed designed for infants and toddlers alike. It comes with high-raised guards around it and is typically raised to a height. Among all their variations, cribs are the bulkiest and space-consuming option. On the plus side, they are also accommodating and can work for your kid for the first few years – until he/she is ready for a toddler bed.
Here are a few reasons why you should get a crib for your baby:
- Cribs are one of the safest spaces you could create for your infant. They are built by adhering to several guidelines set by experts, so there is little chance of the child getting hurt in any way. Knowing the way kids bounce and move, a safe area like a crib could be a blessing.
- They lead to better sleep for both the child and the parent. Children who get a crib from infancy can sleep independently, without clinging to their parents. On the other hand, as a parent, a crib would also allow you to have some privacy in your sleep after an exhausting day.
- Cribs allow safe movement for your toddler within a protected space. Even when it's not nap time, you could put your child in the crib to play with his toys while you work, assured that he will be safe and happy.
Types Of Baby Cribs
If we look at the primary objective of bed cribs a newborn child might need, there are quite a few variations available in the market. Due to their similar purpose and marketing, it could be quite confusing to decide which one you actually need. Here is a quick explanation of each of them.
We have already covered what a traditional crib is. There are a few types of baby cribs, depending on size and purpose:
- A standard crib is a full-sized crib meant as a long-term investment. It is sturdy, spacious, and safe. On the flip side, it is expensive and bulky.
- Convertible cribs are for parents who are looking for modern style cribs that could also moonlight as other things, be it day beds, toddler beds, or even a full-sized bed for a kid. While more useful, they are also heavier on the pocket and not as sturdy.
- Multipurpose cribs are efficient designs that have multiple utility. For example, a baby crib with storage would solve two issues at the same time.
- Folding cribs focus on space-efficiency and portability. They could be easily folded and carried around anywhere. However, naturally, they are not as durable as the regular option.
- Round cribs are – as the name suggests – round. While not as popular as their rectangular counterparts, round cribs are nevertheless more space-efficient and also offer a refreshing design.
Beyond cribs, there are also other types of beds that fulfil similar objectives.
A cradle is a small bed designed specifically for infants. They are small and portable. They are designed specifically for kids to sleep, so don’t have as much space as cribs. Cradles are a much cheaper and space-effective option, though it is not as sturdy and safe as a crib.
A bassinet is another type of bed for infants – usually until six months old. The advantage of the bassinet is that they are highly portable, so parents could keep them beside their beds in their rooms. On the downside, bassinets are only useful for newborns, so they lose their utility quite quickly.
What To Look For In A Crib
As with any baby product, cribs for newborns have to meet a series of requirements before they could be selected. While some of them are mere preferences, others are absolute essentials for the well-being of your kid.
With the growing awareness around parenting, the quality and type of materials used have become a critical topic of discussion. Cribs wood (natural and engineered) is the most common material – a safe and durable choice, even if it might be a bit expensive. The use of nails is common in cribs and cots, but you should ensure that they are properly nailed and not sticking out anywhere. As per safety guidelines most baby furniture must use non-toxic paints, but you should still look out for any VOCs.
Most baby cribs come with adjustable mattress options. As your child grows, it would become easier for them to be able to climb out of the crib. To avoid this, cribs come with an adjustable mattress. You could select one of the height options (there are generally four height options) that best mitigate the issue.
Speaking of height, it is also a good idea to consider your own height while picking a crib. As a parent, you would be keeping and picking up your toddler from it multiple times a day. If the crib is too low, picking and keeping your child would put additional strain on your back. Studies show that new parents are as susceptible to health issues (caused by poor lifestyles) as their infants. So, it is prudent to consider your comfort when possible
Getting a crib is a bulky affair. While more space is generally better, it might become a bigger issue if you already lived in a cramped house. As a rule of thumb, you should go with the biggest crib you could manage. The more spacious it is, the more comfortable your kid would be. Not just that, but you would also be able to use the same crib for your child’s growing size. To save space, you could also opt for a convertible with a children's bed with storage.
Used vs New
As with buying any baby item, one question that new parents frequently run into is: “Should we buy a new or a used one?”. Both of these options have their own merits. Many baby items are highly durable and could be used by multiple generations or owners. On the other hand, new items generally are sturdier and offer newer features. In the case of cribs, one has to admit: newer is better. Due to the latest safety guidelines (which keep getting updated), there is a slim chance that your old crib satisfied the safety standards. Old cribs also have other issues, like using exposed nails or toxic paints. If you can’t afford a new full-sized crib, it's better to go with a smaller option than picking an old one.
Essential Safety Feature
In the US, all crib manufacturers need to adhere to an exhaustive list of guidelines. While we can’t list all of them, here are some of the most essential safety features you must look for:
- The crib must have stationary sides. Up until a few years ago, single-drop and double-drop sides were quite popular among parents. It is easy to see why – they are much more convenient. However, they are also quite unsafe, which is why all crib producers in the US must install stationary sides to their products.
- The mattress is another important aspect of the world where your kid would spend most of his time. Most experts agree that the mattress should be firm that should snugly surround your child. Having a mattress that is too soft not only could lead to back issues but also pose a danger of suffocation. The mattress should also fit the crib perfectly, without leaving any gaps. Many parents buy the mattress separately, which frequently has this issue. Hence, it is best to go with cribs that come with their own mattress.
- The crib bars are crucial for containing and protecting your child. Hence, the bars should not be too far apart. While there is no single standard, most experts agree that the gap between bars should not be wide enough for a soda can. If it is, it could allow the child to slip out of their bed.
- Many parents want to buy a designer crib that looks cool. However, for most intents and purposes, these ‘design features’ are not just unnecessary but could also be dangerous. The headboards of the cribs should be solid material, without any cutouts for designs. The cutouts, and any other pointy embellishments, could scratch your kid or have their clothes get caught in them.
Baby cribs mark the beginning of the beautiful world every parent wants to create for their child. They provide the comfortable, safe space every infant needs at the start of their lives. So, it is natural that you, as a parent, would want the absolute best for your cherished little ones. Using the tips we shared, we hope you would make a more informed decision about picking the right crib for your child. Because they deserve the absolute best in the world.