The Best Crib for Your Newborn
Having a safe and secure crib for your baby to sleep in is so important. You should not assume all cribs are safe if they're on the market. A lot of cribs have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses.
Also, opting to sleep with your baby in the same bed is just not worth the risk.
If you are expecting a baby in the near future or want a second look at cribs on the market, this guide will help you. We will go over the different types available, what you should expect, and handpick some of the best ones on the market.
By the end of this guide, you should have no problems finding the best baby crib for your money!
Common Types of Baby Cribs
While browsing online, you'll see a bunch of different models that offer various types of extras and perks. They fall under a few basic categories, which vary in mobility and utility. Here's how they differ:
The 'old fashion' baby cribs are only similar in style, not build. Baby cribs in the past were often heavy, yet still unsafe. Various cribs were recalled for suffocation, strangulation, and drop-side failures.
These days, standard cribs are only similar in their build of four fixed posts and sides. This means they're hard to move, yet very dependable. The simplicity of the standard crib is part of its charm, for many. Because nearly all new baby cribs are convertible (even the cheapest ones), we won't go in depth about these.
Buying a convertible for your baby is an investment in the future. These are designed to expand into different sized beds. Oftentimes, convertible cribs are advertised by the number of combinations they can transform into, i.e. 3-in-1, 4-in-1, and etc.
A convertible is useful for those who are limited in space. It can switch into a daybed to lay down with the baby or double as a guest bed. The trade-off here is that all these conversions will require some work and the right tools to transform it into larger beds, such as a single or twin bed.
This does end up paying off in the long run, though. The total cost of the convertible cribs is much cheaper than buying a whole new bed set when you reach toddler years. Plus, their bed carries strong sentimental values throughout your baby's growth.
A familiar space is much easier to fall asleep in, with all the changes your baby will experience in its life.
Travel cribs are exactly what it sounds like: a temporary fix when staying in places outside your home. Travel cribs are lightweight, compact, and don't require any real assembly. Your baby may not be comfortable in a travel crib, so you will need lots of familiar objects, blankets, and attention to make them cooperate.
Some travel cribs can be made of shabby materials, so be careful when shopping for one. It should go without saying, of course, but travel cribs are never a good replacement for a full-sized, sturdy frame.
Other Specialty Cribs
The last category of cribs is going to be your higher-end and more niche selection. Cribs that are elaborate pieces of furniture, complete with changing table, dressers, and etc. There are also bassinets that look aesthetically amazing but often fall short of being the best choice for functionality.
You can easily spend thousands of dollars on specialty cribs if you're looking for a custom-tailored bedroom ensemble.
Things to Watch Out For
Now that you know all the different types that are out there on the market, there are some things you should know. Safety is one part research and another part vigilance. Where you place your crib will also factor in which is the right type for you.
Watch for Recalls
If you plan on buying used cribs, that's fine, just make sure it's not a recalled one. You can find out which cribs are recalled on the Consumer Protection Service Commission's recall database. Just plug in the name of the model or manufacturer and see if anything shows up.
If you think the defect listed on the reason why it was recalled is something you can prevent: don't do it. It's not worth the risk and whoever is selling it should get rid of it.
Check the Slats
The space between the slats can make all the difference between safe and hazardous. Safety standards suggest that there should be a maximum of 2 and 3/8th inches of space between slats. Any more and your baby could fit a leg or an arm between it and cause injury.
A quick measurement with a soda can is a good substitute for measuring tape if you're out shopping for cribs.
How High are its Corner Posts?
If your crib has corner posts, you should be aware of how much they stick out. Corner posts are mostly only found on older cribs. If it does have them, they should be no higher than 16 inches. This is to prevent clothes snagging and causing a potential choking situation.
It's also worth investing in the best baby clothes, regardless of corner posts. Loose threads and spandex materials can pose a big danger if your baby's clothes are made cheaply.
These cribs were all recalled due to their inherent dangers of the baby undoing latches, failing under babies that climb, and so forth. If you see one for sale, no matter how much the owner says they are safe: don't buy it. Just because they raised one, two, or three babies in the same crib, it doesn't mean those sides can't fail.
The design is a flaw from inception, the idea that you can somehow never make a mistake and keep a giant frame of wood secure on a simple latch is dangerous.
Adjustable Mattress Height
First-time parents often miss this huge opportunity to save themselves from chronic back pain. When the baby is young and not mobile yet, it needs constant holding, and that side rail can be a huge obstacle to you. Reaching down and picking up is tiring, which is why adjustable mattresses exist.
When your baby is old enough to crawl, you can simple repel the mattress down to prevent any climbing over. This works perfectly as babies get older, they'll help meet you halfway when you have them down to the lowest height.
Top Picks for Convertible Cribs
Since convertible cribs are one of the most popular types, we included two top selections. Both cribs deliver a high-level of craftsmanship, safety, and plenty of extras.
At first glance, its sturdy wood frame feels very inviting when viewed in-person. The height is perfect, the pine wood is warm, and it has everything a parent needs to raise their baby in a safe environment.
The Hudson can be converted into a daybed and a toddler-sized bed. No need to purchase a separate kit, because it comes with its own. It also comes with rail protectors to preserve its beautiful wooden finish. You do have to put it together on your own, but the directions are clear and the pieces fit like a glove.
The Babyletto Hudson Crib currently receives 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from 356 customer reviews on Amazon, and sells for $379.00.
It's hard to choose between this one and the Hudson, but if we had to, it would have to be The DaVinci's. Both are among the safest cribs and give you multiple colors to choose from (this one has 6 vs Hudson's 5). The DaVinci Kalani comes with its own toddler railing, but all other features require additional investments.
This is obviously a con for parents on a budget, but the options are nice. For example, it does go up to a full-size conversion, but you'll need to purchase the accompanying rail. Also, you can add-on matching baby dressers, but those will set you back over $450.
There is one standard feature that The Davinci has over Hudson, which is the four-tier mattress height settings. As we mentioned earlier, this is such a huge perk for parents, especially those who already suffer back problems.
The DaVinci Kalani Crib currently receives 4 stars out of 5 stars from 1,526 customer reviews on Amazon, and sells for $194.00.
To round out the standard convertible options, we are including the beautiful Dream On Me Alissa Convertible 5-in-1 ($154). The Alissa is great for a few different reasons: affordability, safety, and conversion options.
Parents will undoubtedly have to address their child's teething needs. Naturally, once they are able to stand up, they're going to want to bite the wood. This can mean potential dental issues and obvious damage to the frame.
Baby teeth shouldn't just be written off as temporary placeholders, they should still be protected and maintained by a dentist. Babies who chew on guard rails unprotected can cause teeth to get misaligned or injure their gums.
Now, with that said, the Alissa does need a conversion kit, if you want to continue using it throughout the toddler years. It does come with four adjustable mattress heights, which is amazing for the price!
Top Portable Crib
This category of cribs is not to be confused with travel cribs. Portable cribs are still full-size cribs, they are just lighter and can be moved around easier.
This is one-third smaller than typical cribs. It's lightweight, coming in at only 35 lbs, and can be folded for storage or transport. The wheels on the bottom are solid and make for easy movement over carpet or rugs.
We love the fact that it does come with two height adjustments, giving parents some control, despite it being portable and cheap. It's not cheap in build quality, though. This is one sturdy frame that will take a flurry of kicks!
The Delta Children Portable Mini Crib currently receives 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from 361 customer reviews on Amazon, and sells for $120.
Unique Crib Options
If you're looking to make a bold statement without sacrificing comfort, DaVinci actually makes a very cool and colorful vintage crib called the Jenny Lind ($203). It's convertible, yet sports a vintage craftsmanship reminiscent of the Victorian Era.
Another unique alternative, for traveling with a newborn, check out the Graco Pack 'n Play with Newborn Napper ($180). This little set comes with a changing station, a comfortable bassinet, and a sound system to play soothing ambiance or music to your baby.
Travel Cribs and Playpens
We combine the popular travel cribs with playpens because oftentimes you can get both an indoor playground and a safe space for your baby to nap.
This is the lightest item on our list, but you'll find that isn't made of cheap mesh. The BabyBjorn is perfect for nights at a hotel or a relative's house. It weighs only 13 pounds, comes with a comfy mattress, and is easy to see through to keep tabs on the baby.
The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light currently receives 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from 420 customer reviews on Amazon, and sells for $299.99.
This is the best option for a playpen hybrid solution. It offers a ton of space for the little one, at 10 square feet. It also has one of the best padded mattresses for portability. It's easy to set up, made with strong materials, and is easy to clean.
It is on the heavier-end for travel, weighing 24 pounds, but still very feasible for car trips.
The Graco TotBloc Travel Crib currently receives 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from 1,380 customer reviews on Amazon, and sells for $100.
More Parenting Advice
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best and safest cribs you can buy. As a parent, you want the best for your child, but we know it can be hard to gauge sometimes. Try not to rely too heavily on store associates for advice.
Price is not the greatest indicator of quality, because all cribs must pass the same safety regulations. Generally, the convertible features, style, and materials will be what sets the best baby cribs apart.
The Traveling Parent also can guide you through finding the perfect bassinet and pregnancy pillow.
For more advice on parenting and shopping for the little one, browse our blog for more articles like this. We'll keep you up-to-date on any important news, parenting trends, and products that you should be aware of.