UPDATE: Since the publication of this post, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled all drop-side cribs. We no longer recommend this style for safety concerns.
Whether you’re decorating an entire nursery or sliding a few essentials into the corner of your own bedroom, preparing for a baby always includes one big purchase: the crib. Since your baby will be spending a large majority of the first two or three years of his life sleepily clinging to this piece of furniture, it’s important to pick the right thing.
Safety, style and functionality are three of the most important elements of crib shopping, and with so many options on the market, you’ll certainly be able to find the perfect sleeping station to fit your lifestyle.
For instance, if the idea of buying a new bed for your little one every few years doesn’t sound too appealing, consider buying a convertible crib. They switch from an infant-sized crib into a toddler bed as your child grows, and some even make the change into a full-size bed for long-term use. Convertible cribs usually require a bit more manual labor every time you change out the mattress and bed rails, but they can save you a little time and money in the long run. However, if the thought of keeping the same bed around from infancy through your kiddo’s teenage years doesn’t spark your interest, then rest assured, there are lots of gorgeous cribs out there for you to choose from.
Whatever style fits your bill is great, but it’s important to ensure that safety comes before beauty. Even if you find a fabulous crib online you should to try to check it out in a store before you commit yourself, and your baby, to its construction. A sturdy crib is a must, so if you give it a little shake and it sounds squeaky or feels rickety, it’s probably not the best option.
Also, check to see that at least one side of the crib slides down—you’ll be thankful for this when your baby finally falls asleep in your arms, and it’s up to you to place her into her own bed softly and quietly without waking her. The side should rest a minimum of 9 inches above the mattress when it’s in the down position, and at least 26 inches high when it’s up.
All slats need to be close together (no more than 2 3/8 inches apart) to prevent your baby’s head from slipping through or getting stuck. The mattress needs to fit the crib snugly so she doesn’t get wedged in a crack—if you can fit two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib, then your mattress is too small. Wheels are optional, although they make changing crib linens a breeze.
You should also check all the mechanisms and make sure the crib’s proclaimed bells-and-whistles aren’t safety hazards. Everything should be easy and smooth to work, but not so simple that your child can finagle his way out by lowering the sides or adjusting the height of his mattress himself. And check all of the little “extras” that come with the bed itself, too. If it’s heavily decorated, examine it very closely for sharp edges or pieces that could break or tear off and pose a choking hazard.
Crib-tastic. You’ll both be sleeping sweetly with one of these great cribs:
For those who will accept nothing less than fabulous, you’ve met your match. Handmade and hand monogrammed, this crib is excessively beautiful for you to look at and comfy enough for your baby to enjoy.
Plenty’s Horn $2500 at poshtots.com
Who says Santa is the only one who needs a sleigh? Simple yet pristine, this shapely piece will have your little one sleeping sweetly.
Bratt Decor $1452 at poshtots.com
From the birth of your kiddo through his high school graduation, this crib-turned-full-size bed will always be around.
Da Vinci $250 at toysrus.com
This compact and modular sleep station is more than just a bold statement, it also boasts loads of extra storage including a changing table, cabinets and a drawer.
Studio Crib $2100 at fawnandforest.com