Helpful Information for Buying a Baby Crib

March 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Gear

When preparing for your baby, one of the most important things you will purchase is the crib, which number one, should be a safe and secure choice. With so many different types of cribs now on the market, we wanted to provide you with some helpful information so you make the right decision for your newborn.

Typically, cribs are made from wood, although some of the models now sold are designed with heavy-duty plastic. Depending on the style, one or both sides slide down so you can easily lift the baby up and put him or her to bed. Now, if you plan keeping one side of the crib against a wall, then a single slide down design is fine. However, some people with larger rooms place the crib in the center of the room, at which time having both sides slide down is more convenient. In addition to the standard rectangular crib, you will also find some beautiful round styles that look great in the center of a room.

Additionally, you will find cribs that have posts at the four corners, which are made so a canopy can connect and then drape beautifully to the side. In most cases, a canopy crib is chosen for a little girl in that it is has a delicate look.

One of the more popular types of baby crib now sold is the converter bed. This design looks like a regular crib but one with heavier wood on one side. As your baby grows into a toddler and is now ready for a big infant bed, the heavy wood side becomes the headboard and the bed portion converts into a larger bed. While this type of crib is a little more expensive upfront, it actually saves money by saving you from needing to purchase a regular bed when the child is ready. Now, if this is your last baby or you plan to have only one, then you might consider a crib and then invest in a second bed once the baby reaches toddler age.

The new cribs on the market have to meet very strict safety regulations by the government so if you go this route, you have nothing to worry about but if you find a bed at a garage sale, thrift store, or you have one given to you, it may not be safe. In this case, before you use the crib you will need to check with a consumer guide or the manufacturer to see if all safety laws are met. Keep in mind that cribs made in another country may not meet the same standards as those set in the United States so again, you need to check. For instance, eBay is a great online auction site where people can buy virtually anything for a bargain, even cribs but the changes of the crib coming from overseas is high.

If you find a crib at a store, garage sale, or through eBay that you like but it comes from a foreign country, the following should always be checked:

* Slats – Any baby crib being considered should have slats no more than 2 3/8-inch spaced apart. Anything more would put the child at risk for getting his or her head stuck and sadly, possibly suffocating. This problem is not one that should be fixed. Instead, do not use the crib – period.

* Corner Posts – If you like the design of a crib with four corner posts, make sure they are no more than 1/16 of an inch higher than the sides of the crib. Now, the only exception would be a canopy crib but even in this case, the corner posts should be a minimum of 16 inches higher than the crib’s sides. The problem is that if posts are not the correct height, bedding or a child’s clothing could become caught or entangled, which also increases risk of suffocation.

* Smoothness – When buying a bed made out of wood, take time to run your hand over every inch to make sure there are no rough spots or splinters. Other things to look for when examining the crib, used or new, is loose screws, joints, brackets, etc. In the case of a used crib, if it has been painted or varnished, the material used should be safe (lead free). Unfortunately, antique cribs have a certain charm that is difficult to find in newer models but many have coats of lead paint, which is very toxic.

* Mattress – Make sure you have the exact measurements of the inside parameter of the crib so you purchase the right size mattress. For this, if you can fit two or more fingers in between the sides of the crib and mattress then the mattress is too small. The goal is to choose one that fits using this guideline. Then, be sure you purchase the appropriate size of sheets in that if they are too small or they do not fit securely over the ends of the mattress, the material could present a risk of the child becoming tangled.

Along with the above information when looking at cribs coming from other countries, you also want to make sure a crib, regardless of where purchased or age is deemed safe.

* While cute, make sure pillows, stuffed animals, soft toys, and even loose clothing are never in the crib at the same time the baby is sleeping. If your child develops a strong connection with a stuffed animal, refusing to sleep without it, go ahead and put the child down but as soon as he or she dozes off, remove it from the crib.

* A mobile hanging safely over a crib is fine as long as it meets government safety standards, never let anything else hang on the inside of the baby’s crib. Additionally, NEVER place a crib near a window with curtains, blinds, or any type of window treatment. If you have blinds, cut the pull cords even if the crib is away from the window. These things have unfortunately resulted in the death of too many babies.

* A bumper is also cute in a crib but at the age when your baby begins pulling up while inside the crib, it needs to be removed. In this case, the bumper could provide the child with just enough of a boost to reach the top of the side, causing an accidental fall.