The Tot Guide to Choosing a Crib

When you’re shopping for a crib for your precious bundle, you should make sure that it ticks all the safety boxes in addition to looking stylish in your nursery. Here’s everything you need to know…

How to choose a crib

A safe and healthy sleep environment is one of the best gifts you can give your baby. When you lay your newborn down for a nap, you want peace of mind knowing that their crib meets the highest safety standards when it comes to materials and construction. And when your baby turns into a cheeky toddler, you’ll be thankful that you chose a non-toxic and sturdy bed that will protect them from harm if they bite the rails or try to climb out!

We turned to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Consumer Reports for their top crib-buying tips.

Here are eight important factors to consider when choosing a 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.

Why full-sized? Because all full-sized cribs are regulated by the federal government, but cradles, bassinets, bedside sleepers and Moses baskets aren’t.

Why stationary sides? Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations required the elimination of “drop sides” in 2011 after they were linked with several deaths.

Why JPMA-certified? Because it’s an extra guarantee of safety.

  1. 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.

  1. CHOOSE SIMPLE DESIGNS

Cribs that feature ornate designs, wrought-iron scrollwork or finials (ornaments on the corner posts) can cause strangulation if an infant’s clothing gets caught in them. Simple, sleek designs are much safer for your baby.

  1. MAKE SURE THE MATTRESS FITS

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.

  1. 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.

  1. USE TIGHT-FITTING 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.

  1. 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.

THE TOT’S SAFE CRIB PICKS

We love that these cribs are carefully crafted from high-quality, non-toxic materials to ensure a safe sleeping environment for your little one. And their sleek and stylish designs will make your nursery look like it’s straight out of the pages of a magazine. The only problem will be choosing just one!

Oeuf Classic Crib

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Oeuf’s eye-catching Classic Crib is sustainably produced using solid birch and eco-MDF. And with finishes that are non-toxic, water-based and free from VOC health hazards, you can rest easy knowing that your little one is sleeping safely. It’s easy to assemble and has a small footprint making it perfect for smaller spaces!

Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

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This sweet Scoot Crib is more than just a pretty face – it easily transforms from a crib to a daybed to a toddler bed in a few easy steps! We also love that it’s made from sustainable New Zealand pine and GREENGUARD Gold Certified as being free from 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals.

Stokke Sleepi Bed and Mattress

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Stokke is renowned for its uniquely modern designs and the Sleepi Bed is no exception with its stunning oval shape that creates a comforting nest. It grows with your child from birth to age three thanks to its easily removable side. 

Million Dollar Baby Classic Abigail 3-in-1 Convertible Iron Crib

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Wowee! This beauty was inspired by classic American metal cribs and it’s sure to make your vintage nursery pop. But you needn’t worry about any of the safety issues that the old cribs may have had – its simple lines are safe, there are no phthalates or heavy metals in sight, and it’s hand-finished in a non-toxic staining and painting process. Again, it easily converts to toddler bed or day bed!

Nursery Works Vetro Crib

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Would it be unreasonable to have another child just so we could buy the Vetro? Each crib is carefully handcrafted from 100 percent recyclable, non-toxic acrylic and features a unique, limited-edition number. It’s truly a work of art.

Bloom Alma Max Crib

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The Alma Max is beautifully designed from solid wood and features low-VOC, baby-safe finishes. When your baby grows up, you can easily convert it into a toddler bed that’s suitable up to age five. Sweet dreams guaranteed!