Your baby will spend a lot of time in their crib, so it’s important for you to decide what you want out of it.
Do you want a convertible crib you can use as a toddler bed later? Are you worried a crib will never fit in your cramped living quarters? Or are you concerned about the impact a crib will have on your limited budget?
No matter what your requirements are, there’s a crib out there that will meet your needs. When I went crib shopping with my first baby, I was amazed at the choices out there, not too mention the price range.
There’s something that will work for everyone — no matter how limiting your circumstances may seem. Keep reading to help you find the best crib for you.
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Different Types of Baby Cribs
Baby cribs come in all shapes and sizes (source).
Here are some you’ll encounter as you search for that dream crib for your baby’s nursery.
- Standard cribs: These rectangle shaped cribs are the kind most people will get. They’ve been popular for decades because their shape and size fit well against a wall in a bedroom, just like a normal bed would. It’s easy to find a wide variety of sheets to fit these standard-sized cribs.
- Convertible cribs: This crib can transfer into a toddler bed and a day bed when your child gets too big for the crib. These can be a money saver because they’ll get you through years of your baby’s life, compared to the first two years a standard crib will be used for. It helps if you’re the handy sort because sometimes the assembly on the conversions can be a little puzzling.
- Round crib: These are becoming more popular, especially with moms who are looking for something completely different from the rectangular cribs that everyone has. While these will please people who want a unique look, they can be hard to buy sheets for because of their odd shape.
- A combo crib: These are affordable lifesavers for moms who are worried about their budget if they buy a crib, a changing table, and a dresser. Combo cribs are multi-functional and only require you to buy one piece of furniture. These are also a good choice for parents who have a small house or apartment and don’t have space for several new pieces of furniture.
- Portable cribs for traveling: If you’re always on the road and want to take your baby with you, you’ll want a portable travel crib. These aren’t as heavy duty as the real thing, so they’ll be easy to lug around from hotel to hotel. But they won’t hold up or last as long as stationary cribs will either. Although they’re often cheaper than stationary cribs, don’t be tempted to think you can get by with using a portable crib as a permanent crib to save some money — they don’t have the durability you’ll need.
- Folding cribs: If you have a really small place or you want to keep an eye on your baby in different rooms in your house, you may want a folding crib. These can be stored in the closet when not in use and they often come with wheels on each leg so you can wheel it around to different rooms.
While all these types of cribs come with their positives and negatives, which kind you choose is a personal matter. Don’t be talked into a crib selection by a well-meaning friend or relative. They’ll tend to steer you toward what they like rather than what’s right for your circumstances.
A friend of mine was talked into buying a round crib by her mother-in-law who loved their unique design. But my friend has regretted the purchase ever since. She said it doesn’t seem to be as roomy as a rectangular crib and she has a hard time finding sheets that will fit it. She wishes she’d stuck to her guns and picked out the one she’d wanted.
What Should I Look For?
Buying a crib is a significant investment so you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right decision.
Before you commit to a crib, here are some things you should consider.
- Materials: Some cribs are more environmentally friendly than others, which can be attractive to parents who want to make sure they aren’t harming the environment or their child with their choice of materials. If you feel strongly about the environment, look for a crib without harmful wood finishes or companies that pledge to plant a tree when you buy a crib.
- Adjustable mattress level: After giving birth, your back may be sore for a few weeks. So you’ll want a crib that allows you to keep the mattress higher up so you won’t have to lean over and down to reach your baby. But as they grow and learn to stand up, you’ll want a crib that lets you lower the mattress again, or you could have a mini prison break on your hands.
- Wheels: These can make cribs easier to move, which is nice if you like to rearrange the furniture in your house frequently. But they can also give your child the means to scoot their crib all over their nursery as they get older. If you have wooden floors that will make that easy to do, you should make sure the wheels have locks.
- Size: To make sure you don’t take up half your nursery space with the giant crib you’ve been drooling over, get out a tape measure and figure out what will realistically fit in your baby’s room. You don’t want any unwelcome surprises when you put together the crib you’ve ordered and realize it’s way too big.
How Can I Make Sure a Crib is Safe?
As a parent, you hear a lot of horror stories. While any injury or death of a child disturbs me, the ones where a child gets hurt or dies in their crib is particularly awful to me. A crib is supposed to be a place where your baby is safe, tucked away and dreaming of whatever it is babies dream of.
But far too many children are injured in their cribs. By using a few simple precautions, you can make sure your baby’s crib isn’t a threat. Instead, it’ll be just what it should be — a safe haven for your child.
To make sure you’re not purchasing a death trap for your baby, here are some safety tips to follow.
- Check the bar space: The bars on the crib shouldn’t have more than 2 and three-eighths inches of space between them (source). You don’t want your baby getting their head, legs or feet stuck between the slats.
- Skip any cutouts: Decorative cutouts can be cute at the foot or head of the bed, but they are also dangerous. They give your baby another place they could get stuck.
- Check the height: Make sure the top rail reaches up 26 inches or more from the mattress, to lessen the chance of your baby falling out as they get taller and better at climbing.
- Don’t buy secondhand: Secondhand cribs can come with a whole host of problems. Old cribs, including family heirlooms, can have lead paint that could harm your baby if they start chewing on the rails while teething. Older cribs also may have a drop side rail, which can be dangerous for a child, especially if it drops on its own and hurts your baby (source).
- Make sure the mattress fits well: No mattress should leave any gaps. If you can fit more than two fingers between the side of the crib and your mattress, you should pick a different crib to avoid any part of your baby from getting trapped in that space.
- Watch out for corner posts: If your crib has a corner post instead of angled, sloping sides, you should make sure the post isn’t more than one-sixteenth of an inch high. When your baby begins standing, their clothes could get caught on a post with even a small elevation. Your baby’s safety is worth way more than any decorative part of a crib.
The Best Baby Cribs of 2019
The right crib for you will not only be an adorable addition to your nursery, but a comfortable and safe place for your little one to slumber. Babies and toddlers seldom have predictable sleep patterns, but no matter how their needs change with time, you want a crib that will reliably keep them safe and cozy.
To do just that, here are our favorite brands currently on the market.
1. Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib
A crib should be a safe space for your baby. With this eco-friendly crib from Bablyetto, you can rest assured your nursery is good for your baby and the environment.
Each crib is made from sustainable New Zealand pine wood and is Greenguard Gold certified. This means it has passed rigorous testing, including a screen for over 10,000 chemicals, as a product that contributes to a safe environment for children and parents.
Because this is a 3-in-1 crib, you’ll be able to use it as your child grows. A transition kit, which is included, turns this crib into a toddler bed and finally into a big kid bed. This saves you money and helps protect the environment from unnecessary waste.
Moms will love the stylish modern design with simple charm. It also has four mattress settings, though it’s important to note a mattress is not included with the crib.
- Made from sustainable New Zealand pine wood.
- Converts into a toddler and child bed as your little one grows.
- The four mattress settings allow you to find the perfect height.
- On the pricey side.
2. Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Crib
This multi-purpose crib fits a variety of the needs you’ll have coming up for your child. In addition to a crib, it can be used as a toddler bed, a day bed and even a full-size bed, complete with a headboard and a footboard. You won’t have to spend extra money to buy a bed for your child because this one will last you.
The crib portion comes with three different mattress positions you can use to ensure your comfort and your baby’s safety.
It’s carefully made with a non-toxic finish so you won’t have to worry about your baby ingesting lead or other harmful chemicals. There is no drop side, either, so you don’t have to worry about any harm coming to little fingers.
It comes in five different color choices so you’ll be able to find one to complement the nursery colors you’ve selected.
During hotter months, your baby will get plenty of circulation in this because there are slats on each side. Plus, the sleigh style is a modern design that most moms should love.
Overall, this is a good sturdy choice if you don’t want anything flimsy or lightweight for your baby.
- The directions are easy to follow.
- Having three different mattress positions is a nice perk.
- It’s a beautiful, stylish crib.
- You may need help assembling this because the wooden pieces are pretty heavy.
- It’s a bit pricier upfront than some others, but you’ll regain that money by not buying a toddler bed later on.
3. BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light
If you want a portable crib you can move from room to room in your house with ease, the BabyBjorn travel crib might be right for you. At just 13 pounds, it’s easy to move around your house. Because it’s so simple to set up and pack away, it’s also good for traveling or for taking to your daycare provider’s house.
Unlike some other cribs, it does come with a thin mattress. The sides are all mesh so your child will get air circulation and you’ll be able to check in on them without having to peek over the top.
In seven different color option, this is one stylish-looking crib with modern flair. Your baby will get a lot of use out of this, both as a crib and as a playard. At two feet in height, your baby will be able to use it even as a toddler.
Unlike some other portable cribs that can also be used for travel, this one feels durable and doesn’t seem to sag from the weight of your baby after extended use.
- You can buy an organic fitted sheet separately that fits this mattress perfectly.
- It’s easy to carry around, both inside and outside your house.
- It’s beautiful and has nice color selections.
- Pretty expensive for a portable crib.
- It might be hard for short moms to reach their babies.
4. Dream On Me 2-in-1 Folding Crib
This folds totally flat, so you never have to worry about finding a place to store it. It only takes a couple of minutes to get it completely folded up. Once it is, it fits in any closet and sits right against the wall. It’s a good option for traveling — your baby will always have a place to sleep when you stay overnight in hotels.
It comes with wheels so you can roll it around and the wheels lock so you don’t have to worry about your baby getting into mischief when they’re old enough to push off from the wall.
You can also turn this into a playpen easily — and you only need one hand to do it.
It’s made out of birch, which is an excellent hardwood that doesn’t scratch easily. It comes with a one-inch mattress pad and every tool you’ll need to put the crib together. Unlike some other models, this is simple to assemble.
Finally, this is on the smaller side at 40 x 26 x 38 inches.
- Shorter moms will be able to reach their babies in this crib.
- This is a heavy duty crib that will hold up well to a lot of use.
- The wheels lock for added safety.
- It only has two mattress height settings, not three like some other cribs.
- It’s smaller than a full-size crib.
5. Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Playard
When you’re hitting the road and you need something that won’t be a problem to lug around and set up, this crib that doubles as a playard could be just what you’re looking for.
It only takes a few seconds to set this up and it folds into a carrying case you can cart around like a duffel bag or a backpack. It only weighs 13 pounds so you don’t have to be super strong to carry it.
The side zips up, which gives you a way to reach your baby if bending over that far isn’t an option for you. And when your baby grows into the toddler phase, they’ll be able to zip themselves in and out of the playard.
The sides of the crib are all mesh, which means your baby will get the breathability they need when sleeping. Plus, you’ll be able to see through the mesh and keep close watch over your baby whether you’re camping or in a hotel room.
Potentially harmful flame retardants haven’t been used for this crib. You also won’t have to worry about other unwanted chemicals like PVC, phthalates, and lead.
- Carrying around is easy.
- At 25 inches deep, this will be big enough to hold your toddler, too.
- The zippered side door is a feature toddlers will like.
- It’s pretty expensive for a travel crib.
- Wrestling this back into its carrying bag can be hard.
6. DaVinci Alpha Mini Rocking Crib
This crib has a whopping four different mattress positions, which means you’ll always find one that works for both you and your baby. The lowest setting is 25 inches from the top of the rail.
It comes with wheels, but you don’t have to use them. If you don’t want them, you just take them off — they’re easy to snap in and out.
Made of New Zealand pine wood using a non-toxic painting process, this also doesn’t contain lead or phthalate.
This comes with a one-inch waterproof pad. When you take off the wheels, you have the option of using it as a rocking crib — you have to supply the manpower to make it rock though.
The assembly for this one isn’t tough — even people who are not mechanically inclined should be able to figure it out — and the final product measures 40 x 28 x 34 inches.
If you have a small space, this mini crib should work just fine and even if you assemble it in another room, it will fit through standard-sized doorways.
- It’s easier to assemble than a full-size unit.
- It’s affordable.
- Easy to move from room to room.
- Lightweight so you may want to anchor it to the wall.
- The wood scratches easily when your baby starts teething.
7. Graco Pack ‘n Play Travel Lite
When you bring your baby home from the hospital, you’ll feel like you never want to let them out of your sight. But this can be difficult when you’re trying to get things done during nap time. This crib is a great solution to that problem.
You can set it up in your living room and it won’t hog all the space because it’s smaller than a standard playard and crib combination. The wheels make it easy to drag into any room you like, so you never have to let your baby out of your view.
Because it weighs less than 20 pounds, you’ll be able to take it with you if you’re traveling or visiting a grandparent’s house. It’s simple to convert into the playard as your baby grows, and has a canopy with soft toys attached.
The crib portion should only be used for babies that are 15 pounds or under, though. Once they’re able to get into the crawling position, you should stop using the crib part.
- You can always keep your sleeping baby in your line of sight with this.
- Your toddler will enjoy the pack ‘n play long after they’ve outgrown the crib.
- It’s very affordable.
- You won’t be able to use the crib part of this unit for very long.
- The wheels don’t come with brakes.
8. Stork Craft Rosland 3-in-1
This option is cheap enough that you won’t feel much sting in your wallet when you buy it. The price is even more of a bargain because it’s a 3-in-1 convertible crib. When your baby outgrows it, you can reconfigure this into a toddler bed. Once they outgrow that, you can change it into a daybed.
It’s made of solid pine and composite in five different color choices, so you’ll be able to find one that goes with any nursery decorating scheme.
The mattress adjusts into three different positions so you’ll find a comfortable setting no matter what stage your baby is in. With a maximum recommended height of 35 inches and 50 pounds, this will last your baby well into their toddler years.
If you aren’t great at putting things together, you’ll like this crib with its easy assembly; it finishes at 55 x 30.5 x 34 inches. You won’t be scratching your head wondering where all the parts go with this one.
- It’s super affordable.
- The assembly is easy.
- It will last for years.
- It doesn’t have wheels.
- Some parents found the stickers on the wood pieces were hard to remove.
9. Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1
This crib has three adjustable mattress positions so you’ll be able to use the highest setting until your baby can pull themselves into the crawling position. Then as they get bigger, you can use the lower settings. By then, your baby will be capable of reaching up to you, so your height won’t be as much of an issue.
After your baby outgrows their crib, you can convert this into a toddler bed. After that, it can be changed into a daybed and, later, a full-size bed.
It’s made of solid wood that meets all the safety requirements for U.S. cribs, and it’s a classic sleigh design with clean lines that’ll look good in any nursery.
If you want all of your baby’s nursery furniture to have a complementary, similar look, this company also makes matching pieces like a changing table, dresser, and a glider.
- It’s pretty affordable considering it’s a convertible crib.
- You’ll get five colors to choose from.
- It has three different mattress heights.
- Some parents complained the instructions weren’t detailed enough.
- Some felt the wood scratched fairly easily.
10. Delta Children Crib
The height of this mini crib lets you easily see your baby from your bed. With a simple glance, you’ll be able to tell that they’re still breathing and check whether they’re sleeping or awake.
Plus, it’s small enough that you should be able to find space to put it right next to your bed.
As a bonus, you can wheel it to other rooms during the day so your baby will always be in reach. It’s lightweight so it won’t be too difficult to move it where you want it. Or, if you need more space in your bedroom, you can easily fold it flat and store it in a closet.
Because it’s so lightweight and folds so well, this is a good crib for travel purposes as well.
It comes in five different colors and has slats around each side, including the ends so that nothing will block your view of your baby.
To make sure it remains safe as your child grows, you can set the mattress height lower, since it has two different positions.
- It’s affordable.
- This can easily be stored when not in use.
- It sits low enough that you can see your baby even when you’re lying in bed.
- Some parents have complained about difficult assembly.
- Some parents said this isn’t very durable.
11. DaVinci Emily 2-in-1
This mini crib is a perfect alternative to a full-sized version. For moms of twins, it can be a great space saver. You’ll be able to fit two into one nursery so your babes can be together like they were in the womb.
It also sits lower to the ground than many others do, which is great for moms recovering from C-sections or who have bad backs. You won’t have to lift you baby as high as moms using traditional size cribs will, and since there are two different mattress positions, you can adjust the height as your baby grows.
When your babies outgrow it, it can be converted into a twin bed, which will save you money because your child will be able to use it instead of you having to buy another bed.
Moms who are worried about wood finishes should be relieved to know that this is made of New Zealand pine and uses a non-toxic painting process. That means there won’t be any lead concerns if your baby decides to use the top of the crib as a chew toy once they start teething. It’s also phthalate safe.
- This option is a space saver.
- You save money because it converts to a twin bed.
- It has adjustable mattress positions.
- Parents say it isn’t the easiest crib to assemble.
- If you expect to have a tall child, this may not be long enough for you.