Choosing a Crib – The Tot Guide

Looking for a safe and non-toxic crib for your baby? In this guide we share eight crib safety tips as well as our favorite non-toxic crib brands and product picks!

Non toxic wooden crib

When it comes to choosing a crib, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

As the place where your baby will spend A LOT of their time, it’s understandable that parents worry about what their crib is made of, how it’s made and how it’s going to adapt to accommodate their growing tot.

Couple that with the daunting decision of choosing a crib mattress and the whole endeavor can feel Herculean.

Don’t fret! In this guide, we’ll go over:

  • Things to consider when choosing a crib
  • Chemicals to avoid in cribs, mattresses and crib sheets
  • The best non-toxic crib brands and our favorite product picks

Scroll down to learn more!

 

Things to consider when choosing a crib

 

Milk Street Baby Branch Crib

 

 

#1 BUY NEW

 

Your safest bet is to buy a new, full-sized crib with stationary sides that’s certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

Why new? Because while vintage cribs can be stunning, they may not conform to the latest safety standards and they could be painted with harmful lead-based paints.

 

#2 AVOID TOXIC MATERIALS

 

At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it’s free of the chemicals we avoid.

When it comes to cribs (and mattresses), it’s important to steer clear of potentially harmful chemicals such as:

  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Harmful phthalates
  • PVC
  • Heavy Metals
  • BPA + BPS
  • Flame retardants
  • PFAS chemicals
  • Pesticides + Herbicides

Click here to view the full list of chemicals we avoid and why.

 

#3 LOOK FOR CERTIFICATIONS LIKE UL GREENGUARD GOLD

 

Wooden products that have achieved GREENGUARD GOLD Certification are screened for over 10,000 chemicals and VOCs known to pollute indoor air and are scientifically proven to meet many of the world’s most rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

According to UL, they have two tiers of certifications: GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD GOLD.

“While the original GREENGUARD Certification emissions limits were first used as purchasing specifications for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Washington for furniture and commercial building products, the GREENGUARD Gold Certification Standard includes health-based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and health care facilities.

In addition to limiting emissions of more than 360 VOCs and total chemical emissions, GREENGUARD Gold Certified products must also comply with requirements of the state of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions from Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, (also known as California Section 01350).”

 

#4 MEASURE YOUR CRIB

 

Even if you buy a new crib, you should measure the distance between the bars to ensure that they’re spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart – the current safety standard. Corner posts should be either less than 1/16 of an inch high or more than 16 inches high to prevent a child’s clothing from getting caught on them.

The top of the crib rail should be at least 26 inches above the mattress support when it’s in its lowest position (most cribs have at least two mattress height positions). Lower the mattress as your child grows to avoid dangerous falls.

 

#5 MAKE SURE THE MATTRESS FITS (AND IS NON-TOXIC)

 

Buy the crib mattress at the same time as the crib to ensure that it fits properly. Choose a mattress that’s very firm and doesn’t sag under your baby’s weight. By law, a full-sized crib mattress must be at least 27 1/4 inches wide, 51 5/8 inches long and no more than 6 inches thick. You shouldn’t be able to place more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame.

You will also want to make sure the mattress is free of chemicals such as: flame retardants, PFAS chemicals, Boric Acid, antimicrobials, VOCs, styrene and antimony.

Click here to read our guide to choosing a non-toxic mattress.

 

#6 CHECK CONSTRUCTIONS AND ASSEMBLY 

 

As you peruse display cribs in-store, shake the frames gently to check that they’re solid. You can also try rotating the bars to ensure that they stay in place. If you bought your crib online, you can perform these tests once it’s assembled and return it if you’re not satisfied with the construction.

When you assemble your crib, make sure that there are no missing parts and that you install and tighten them all correctly. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to assemble it safely, pay the retailer or another professional to do it. Periodically check and tighten all the hardware on the crib to ensure that it’s still a safe haven for your baby.

 

#7 USE TIGHT-FITTING (AND CHEMICAL-FREE) SHEETS

 

Crib sheets should fit snugly on the mattress and they shouldn’t pop off the corners when you pull on them. Loose sheets can cause strangulation, so test all new and hand-me-down sheets before you use them.

When choosing sheets, it’s best to opt for breathable fabrics such as organic cotton and sustainably sourced bamboo. It’s also best to ensure they’re organic and/or farmed without the use of pesticides & herbicides and free of chemicals such as formaldehyde (used to achieve wrinkle resistance) and flame retardants.

 

HART + LAND organic cotton fitted crib sheet

HART + LAND Organic Fitted Crib Sheet

 

$36

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

#8 AVOID UNSAFE ACCESSORIES

 

Crib bumpers, sleep positioners, wedges, pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed toys and other loose items can cause suffocation or strangulation. Older kids may also use them to try to climb out of the crib and risk a dangerous fall. If any of these accessories come with your crib, don’t use them.

 

 

Our favorite safe crib picks

All Tot Tested and approved, here are our favorite safe crib picks.

 

 

Milk Street Baby

 

CRESCENT MOON ROCKER

 

Made in the USA from FSC-certified New Zealand Pine and UL Greenguard Gold Certified, the Milk Street Baby Branch Convertible Crib comes in a range of colors to match any nursery decor. When paired with the conversion kit, it transitions into a toddler bed.

Milk Street Baby Branch Convertible Crib. - Stone Grey

 

Milk Street Baby Branch Convertible Crib

 

$499

EXCLUSIVE

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Milk Street Baby Branch Convertible Crib

 

Milk Street Baby Branch Convertible Crib

 

$499

EXCLUSIVE

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Oeuf

 

A styled nursery featuring a crib, dresser, rug and decor

 

Modern and minimalist, Oeuf’s collection of FSC certified wooden cribs are all UL Greenguard Gold Certified and easy to match with any decor.

 

Oeuf Arbor Crib

 

Oeuf Arbor Crib

 

$970

BUY NOW

 

 

Oeuf Sparrow Crib

 

Oeuf Sparrow Crib

 

$820

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Oeuf Birch Rhea Crib

 

Oeuf Rhea Crib

 

$670

BUY NOW

 

 

Million Dollar Baby Classic

 

MDB Louis Convertible Crib

 

When it comes to combining style with practicality, you can’t go wrong with the convertible cribs from Million Dollar Baby Classic. All UL Greenguard Gold Certified, they have options that convert into both toddler and full size beds meaning it’s a bed your tot can even take to college.

 

 

MDB Louis Convertible Crib

Million Dollar Baby Classic Louis 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$399

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

MDB Foothill Convertible Crib

 

Million Dollar Baby Classic Foothill 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$399

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Million Dollar Baby Liberty Crib

 

Million Dollar Baby Classic Liberty 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$299

BUY NOW

 

 

Babyletto

 

Babyletto Bixby Crib

 

Babyletto has fantastic UL Greenguard Gold wooden crib options as well as safe metal designs. All designed to grow with your tot, they offer durability, functionality and style.

 

Babyletto Bixby 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$499

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Babyletto Sprout Convertible Crib + Toddler Bed Chestnut and Natural AW19

 

Babyletto Sprout 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$379

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Babyletto Crib Harlow

 

Babyletto Harlow 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

 

$649

BUY NOW

 

 

Click here to view and shop our entire range of cribs

 

 

More on safe sleep: