It’s a very exciting time before the birth of a child. There’s so much to get ready beforehand and getting the nursery ready for a child is one of the biggest tasks – and most expensive. A crib and bedding can cost several hundred dollars. So, before you buy a baby crib you need to make sure it’s the right one for you and your baby.
The most important thing in a new baby crib is safety. Before you buy, check that it has Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This guarantees that it meets current industry safety standards and above. Each new baby crib sold in the United States has to meet certain minimum requirements however, not all have the JPMA certification.
If you’re being given or are buying a used baby crib you need to be extra careful. The following are some recommendations when looking at a used one. The mattress that comes with or will be used in the crib should be firm and tight fitting. If you can place two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the bed you should not use it. It is very easy for a baby’s arm, leg or head to be trapped in this space, causing serious injury or death. There should be no missing slats. There should be no more than 2 3/8″ between the slats. No corner posts over 1/16″ high – any higher and a child’s clothing could become snagged causing strangulation. Many older styles of have cutouts in either the headboard or footboard. This is inherently dangerous so never use one that has these. Finally, never buy a used baby crib with peeling or cracked paint. Older paints and finishes were not always non-toxic or lead free.
After safety you should look at the features that make using a new crib easy to use. Do you require dropdown sides, and do you need two to access the baby from either side? Check that the drop down gate/side is easy to use and can be opened with either the knee or one hand.
Many cribs, especially convertible ones, don’t come with drop down gates; instead the height of the mattress can be adjusted making it easy to reach over to get to a baby. If you’re going to buy this type of crib make sure you know how to adjust the height and that it is easy to do so. If a special tool is provided, you’re going to have to make sure you keep it somewhere safe; if you loose it you’ll not be able to adjust the mattress.
Should you buy a convertible baby crib? First, there are two main types: 3-in-1 and lifetime. 3-in-1 models can convert to toddler beds and day beds. This is done by removing one of the side panels. With some 3-in-1 brands you can purchase an additional streight rail, to stop a baby from rolling out.
A lifetime baby crib is one that goes a stage further in that it can be converted to a full size bed. The conversion usually does require some re-assembly and you will also need to purchase addition rails and whatnot – if you are buying a convertible baby crib with the intention of later conversion to a full size bed you really are best advised to buy these additional items at the same time you purchase the crib; baby bedding collections go out of date in just a few years and you can’t always guarantee you’ll get the parts you need years later.
Convertible cribs, especially lifetime ones, are more expensive but they can save you hundreds of dollars in years to come when your baby grows to toddler, child and young teenager.
You should definitely check out the build quality of the baby crib before you buy. A good one will be made of solid wood, with additional veneers on some models. Also, any moving parts like drop sides and castor should move smoothly. A well made baby crib will have hidden hardware.
Finally, make sure you get a warranty. A one year limited warranty is the industry norm.
The only thing remaining is choosing the brand and design you like. This is a personal decision and is definitely the fun part in choosing a new baby crib.