Since your newborn may sleep as many as 16 hours a day, your baby will probably spend more time in the crib than anywhere else. That's why it's important that the crib you buy is safe, comfortable and sturdy. The National Safety Council has some great crib safety tips.
How Safe Is It?
All new cribs must meet the minimum government requirements, but it's never a bad idea to inspect the crib yourself. Here's what to double-check for:
- The distance between crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches.
- Dropsides must be at least 9 inches above the mattress support when lowered, at least 26 inches when raised.
- The crib should have a firm, tight-fitting mattress. If you can fit two fingers between the crib and the mattress, the mattress is too small.
- No missing or broken hardware or slats, and no cutouts in the head- or foot-boards. Avoid all decorative touches that could break off and be a potential choking hazard.
- Raise and lower the sides to make sure it's quiet and easy to operate. Remember if the release is TOO easy, your child may be able to figure it out.
- Metal Cribs are sturdy and strong.
- Hardwood Cribs are warmer, more comfortable, and stylish.
- Look for beech, pine, oak or ash, but not fiberboard.
- Custom Designed Cribs feature handpainted details to meet your style demands. Interior designers can also work with you to create a one-of-a-kind nursery for your special prince or princess.
- Drawers — Storage drawers provide a convenient place to put extra blankets , bedding, or other baby necessities.
- Convertibles — To make the most of your crib, some can also turn into a day bed, love seat, toddler bed or full-size bed.
- Crib Bumpers — Padding on the inside of the crib railings will prevent your baby from throwing toys or sticking a limb through the railings.
- Adjustable Mattress Heights — As your child grows older and learns to climb, it will be helpful to be able to lower the mattress to prevent injury.
- Rolling Casters - Mobility of the crib is very convenient for changing the sheets or rearranging the nursery. Make sure there are wheel locks available for your crib.
- While at least one side of the railing should lower, some models allow for lowering on both sides.
So how much is this going to cost me?
You'll probably spend between $200 and $400 for a basic, quality crib. All the added features, however, could run up to $1,000 or more.
Added Words of Wisdom
Start shopping for a crib several months before your due date. If you order online, the shipping may take some time. If you buy it at the store, they don't always have cribs in stock, you may have to have it special ordered. Depending on the model, assembly could take up some time as well. Allow yourself at least 5 weeks for delivery from the day you order the crib.
A final bit of advice, don't skimp on the crib mattress . A baby that sleeps well is less likely to be fussy. This purchase is an investment in your health and sanity. Read the mattress article to learn more about improving your sleep.