Security 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 phase. Height/weight limits are generally much lower on portable or mini-cribs. Read your product manual carefully and follow instructions.
Mattresses: The two most frequent forms sold are innerspring and foam and the two can be found in thicknesses between 3 and 6 inches. To get a foam mattress, even more important than depth, though, is high density; weight may be a fantastic indicator -- a heavier mattress is thicker than one that's the same size but lighter. (See our buying guide to learn more on buying crib mattresses.)
Babies often spend more time in the crib than anywhere else, so while comfort is important, safety is essential. As most children sleep in a crib till it is time to move to a true bed -- typically between the ages of 2 and 3 -- you'll need a hardy one.
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned cushioning that attaches to the inside railings of the crib -- are occasionally still contained in crib bedding collections, but a number of organizations, including the AAP, now dissuade them as a SIDS threat for infants.
Adjustable mattress height: Most Automobiles let you change the elevation of the crib mattress simply by raising or lowering the mattress support. The time to lower the mattress is when your child starts sitting up. As children get more active and proceed to pulling up and standing, they can climb and fall out of the crib.
Most new cribs available on the market comply with the mandatory and voluntary safety standards. For starters, be sure that yours is properly constructed and structurally sound; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports many cases where cribs have come apart. If it occurs, a kid'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 known as fall sides were more common on cribs for decades, but can pose a serious hazard for infants. If the drop side detaches or comes loose, then a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate in the space between the fall side and the crib mattress. Their sale was banned since 2011.
Stability: Give the crib a fantastic shake in the shop or after you put it together at home. If it wobbles or rattles, it may have been placed together improperly. (Although wobbling or rattling could also be a indication that you should look for a sturdier crib.)
Old cribs: Cribs made before 1974, when federal crib-safety criteria went into effect, are somewhat more likely than newer versions to have security issues. Secondhand cribs might also have splinters, lead paint, discontinued (and possibly dangerous) features, or slats that are too far apart. Posts on a crib shouldn't greater than 1/16 of an inch (unless they're over 16 inches to support a canopy); otherwise, clothes can catch on them and injure or choke a baby. Even models fabricated as recently as 1991 could be dangerous, so if you are borrowing a crib or purchasing a used one, look out for these risks as well as for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything which can be broken off and spilled onpeeling paint, and cutouts across the railing which can trap your baby's neck or arm. Examine the item recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it hasn't been remembered.
Versatility: Many cribs are intended to convert to a toddler bed, day bed, or even the headboard and footboard for a full-size bed. Be certain the crib makeover is relatively simple to perform (check online reviews from parents) and that you enjoy the appearance of the new furniture.
Full-sized cribs, including convertibles, vary from $110 to $800.
Safe sleep hints: Get advice about infant bedding and sleep posture to lower your baby's risk of SIDS.
Frame size: The crib inside should snugly adapt a standard crib mattress -- at least 51 3/4 inches by 27 3/8 inches wide. Ensure there is not any space between the sides of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a significant danger, as babies can get trapped in that space.
Space savers: Children short on space may be considering mobile or mini-crib options, both of which occupy less space than full-size cribs. Some fold or collapse for storage; a few have wheels so that they can be rolled around the home.
When setting up a crib, select a spot away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older infants could possibly pull themselves up and drop through the window. If there's a cord on your infant screen, keep it at least three feet from the crib.
Many mothers like to have the crib set up several months before their due date. But don't worry if the baby arrives before your crib does; tots do fine in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for the first few weeks or even months of their lives.