Safety limits: Crib manufacturers advocate discontinuing use (or turning into the product's next stage, for convertible cribs) when your child reaches a specific height, weight, or developmental stage. Height/weight limits are usually much lower on mobile or mini-cribs. Read your product manual carefully and follow instructions.
Safe sleep hints: Get advice about crib bedding and sleep posture to lower your child's risk of SIDS.
Old cribs: Cribs made before 1974, when national crib-safety standards went into effect, are more likely than newer models to have safety issues. Secondhand cribs might also have splinters, lead paint, stopped (and possibly dangerous) features, or slats which are too far apart. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart (about the size of a soda can) to prevent a baby's mind from becoming suck. Posts on a crib shouldn't higher than 1/16 of an inch (unless they are over 16 inches high to support a canopy); otherwise, clothing can catch them on and injure or choke an infant. Even versions manufactured as recently as 1991 could be dangerous, so if you're borrowing a crib or buying a used one, look out for these dangers in addition to for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything that can be broken off and spilled onpeeling paint, and cutouts along the railing that can trap your child's neck or arm. Examine the product recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure it has not been remembered.
Most new cribs on the market comply with the mandatory and voluntary safety standards. Read crib safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For starters, be sure yours is properly constructed and structurally sound; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports many cases where cribs have come apart. If this happens, a baby's head can get trapped in the spaces between the mattress and side rail.
Cribs with drop sides: The principle is simple -- don't use them. The movable railings called drop sides were more common on cribs for a long time, but can pose a severe hazard to babies. If the drop side detaches or comes loose, a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate from the distance between the drop side and the crib mattress. Their sale has been banned since 2011.
When establishing a crib, choose a spot away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older infants could possibly pull up themselves and fall through the window. When there's a cable in your infant monitor, keep it at least 3 feet from the crib.
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned padding that attaches to the interior railings of the crib -- are occasionally still contained in crib bedding sets, but a number of organizations, including the AAP, now discourage them as a SIDS threat for infants.
Adjustable mattress height: Most cribs allow you to alter the height of the crib mattress simply by raising or lowering the mattress support. The time to lower the mattress is when your child begins sitting up. As kids get more active and proceed to pulling up and standing, they can climb and drop from the crib.
Full-sized Automobiles, including convertibles, range from $110 to $800. Portable and mini-cribs cost between $100 and $400.
Frame size: The crib interior should snugly accommodate a standard crib mattress -- at least 51 3/4 inches by 27 3/8 inches wide. Ensure there is no distance between the surfaces of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a considerable danger, as infants can get trapped inside that area.
Infants often spend more time at the crib than anywhere else, so while relaxation is important, security is essential. As most children sleep in a crib till it's time to move into a real bed -- typically between the ages of 3 and 2 -- you will want a hardy one.
To get a foam mattress, even more important than depth, though, is high density; weight can be a fantastic indicator -- a heftier mattress is thicker than one that is the exact same size but lighter. (See our buying guide for more information on purchasing crib mattress.)
Space savers: Children short on distance may be interested in portable or mini-crib possibilities, both of which occupy less space compared to full-size cribs. Some fold or collapse for storage; a few have wheels so they can be rolled around the home.
Many mothers like to have the crib set up a few weeks before their due date. But do not be concerned if the baby arrives before your crib does; tots do fine in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for the first several months or even months of their lives.
Be sure that the crib makeover is relatively simple to do (check online reviews from parents) which you like the look of the new furniture.
Stability: Give the crib a good shake in the store or once you put it together at home. If it wobbles or rattles, it might have been put together improperly.