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A Guide to Finding the Perfect Baby Crib

By Nicole van der Hulst

Whether you’re about to have your first baby or are a seasoned mom, you want to choose the best crib for your little one. We know that this process can be totally overwhelming with all the crib types and features available today. At SimplyBabyFurniture.com we are here to help!

Below you'll find all the info you need to decide on your baby's ideal sleep environment. More simply put, finding "The Perfect Baby Crib". Once you read through our organized crib buying guide, your questions will be answered. If, at the end, you are still debating some options or have a specific crib question, then don't hesitate to contact our Customer Service team by clicking the link at the top of the site or making a free appointment with your very own Personal Shopper. We're here to make this process exciting and easy! We know the importance of picking an ideal crib that will keep your baby comfy and safe, and we provide you with everything you need to do just that.

What should I consider before buying a crib?

Crib Size – Cribs come in different sizes so be sure to get that measuring tape out and check your nursery's dimensions so you know what size crib will fit just right.

Crib Style – Look around your house, think about what styles you like, then pick one that you can live with happily throughout your child's growing years (especially for convertible cribs). Styles to consider include: Modern, Traditional, Boutique/Designer, Eco-Friendly, Round, Mini or Portable and Crib & Changer Combos.

Crib Features and Options – The wide variety of crib features and options can be quite overwhelming, but don't worry, we've been working with cribs for years and you can read all about the choices in the features and options section below. Then it's up to you to decide which options fit your needs best so you can narrow down your crib choices and find your perfect crib. (see detailed features and options section below)

Crib Color – If you've chosen the overall theme or colors for the nursery then the next step is choosing the crib finish that will enhance your décor. If you know your baby's sex you can go with traditional boy and girl colors or if this is your first baby and you think you might have more children, you might choose a more gender neutral finish.

What are the different types of cribs available to me?

standard cribs

Standard - The standard crib holds up to its name. It is the most common and generally the best value among full size cribs. It comes in many designs along with a wide variety of features and options so you have plenty to choose from. The standard crib generally takes up less space than a convertible crib, and some come with casters (wheels) or teething rails. The standard crib is a great choice for parents planning on moving baby to a toddler or 'big kid bed' once they grow out of the crib. Just remember, features and options are important to consider when making a crib choice. (see features and option details below)

Convertible - The convertible crib will cost a little more, be a little heavier and take up a little more space than a standard crib, but is just what you need if you're looking for a crib that will grow with your child. Once your baby is ready for some independence (whether you are ready or not!), your convertible crib will be ready to turn into a toddler bed. Merely remove the front rail of the crib and replace it with either a straight rail or a toddler safety rail. Some convertible cribs also become a full / double bed by using the back of the crib as the headboard and the front as the footboard. Just be aware that not all convertible cribs come with the conversion rails included so you might need to purchase them separately. Our crib descriptions will let you know if the various conversion rails are included or offer you the compatible rails on the crib page. We do recommend that you buy the conversion kits at the same time as the crib so that you have everything you need when your little one needs more sleep space.

Mini - Mini cribs are great for smaller spaces, urban lofts or grandma's house. Even though they are designed smaller than a standard crib, taking up less space in the nursery, don't underestimate the comfort of the mini. You can even find minis that offer the same features and options that are available with a standard size crib. Despite their smaller size, these cribs will still fit your child into the toddler years and some even convert to twin sized beds.

Round or Oval - If it's beauty and uniqueness you're after then the circular crib might be right up your alley. If you are thinking of a round crib, we recommend finding the round crib bedding you like first because there aren't as many choices out there. If having twins, then you might want to look at the twin round crib built for holding two babies. (Pediatricians recommend that twins share a crib for up to six months)

Portable - The portable crib is a must! If you like to travel and plan to take Baby with you, then you won't want to leave home without one. These cribs are perfect to take on vacations, day trips or overnight stays at Grandma's house. We do recommend getting your precious bundle of joy used to sleeping in the portable crib before your trip. Best of all, when you're done using it the portable crib folds up for easy storage.

What are the features and options I should consider?

Drop side - A drop side is just what it sounds like, a side rail that drops or can be lifted. In December 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to approve new mandatory standards for baby cribs. The new rules become effective on June 28, 2011, and will stop the manufacture and sale of traditional drop-side cribs. Simply Baby Furniture has already removed all drop side cribs from our available products. For more information see our blog article.

Teething rails – All babies go through the teething stage where they want to get their mouth on everything. This includes their crib rails. If you want your baby to be able to teeth safely, when chomping on the crib, then you can get a teething rail that is made of clear, non-toxic plastic that fits over the top crib rail. This will ensure that your baby's gums are protected and will keep your little one from having paint or wood particles as a snack. Teething rails are usually available on standard cribs, but usually are not an option for today's large rail cribs.

Casters– Caster is an odd name for wheels. To be exact, they are swiveling wheels that are attached to the bottom of crib legs. With casters, you'll be able to move the crib with ease when changing sheets or cleaning those pesky under-the-crib dust bunnies. They also come in handy when on the crib at Grandma's house so she can roll Baby from room-to-room. Cribs can come with two or four casters, but at least two must be lockable when not in use. If casters aren't your thing, then you can remove them at any time.

Adjustable Mattress Board – You'll like this important safety feature. The adjustable mattress board allows you to adjust the height of the crib mattress keeping it higher when your baby is an infant and lowering the mattress as your baby grows. This feature is quite popular because it makes it easy to lift your baby in and out of the crib without straining your back.We recommend purchasing a crib with this particular feature.

Storage Drawer - If you want parenting to be easier, then extra storage always helps.A bottom crib storage drawer will keep Baby's accessories close by.When you need it, you can get it quickly.Making life easier for sure!

What are some tips for keeping my baby safe?

Be aware of slat spacing– Every parent's fear is that their child will get stuck somewhere.This is easy to prevent if you get the right crib.Check to see that the crib slats (vertical bars on crib sides) are no more than 2 3/8” apart to ensure that your child doesn't get stuck.All of our cribs meet or exceed U.S safety standards so this is not a worry if buying from us.

Choose the right mattress – You're probably thinking… there are so many mattresses, how do I know which one to choose? Well, that's why we're here, to make it easier for you. First thing to check is to see if a mattress is included with your crib purchase. That info should be in the crib description.If there's nothing mentioned about a mattress, then most likely the mattress is sold separately. We recommend you buy a mattress at the same time as you get the crib so that you know the right dimensions. It's not as complicated as it sounds. If you're shopping at our site, we offer a drop down menu next to the crib image that shows you several mattress options for that specific crib. Click on mattress name, check it out, and then if you like it…you buy it. It's really that easy. If all the mattress features are stressing you out, then you can find out all about mattresses by reading our handy mattress buying guide or view our mattress comparison chart.

Be careful when buying a used crib - If you have a friend or relative who is trying to free up garage space by giving you their old crib, we don't recommend that you take it. But, that's really up to you. We just want to mention that older, used cribs can pose possible safety hazards. A used crib could have been put together and taken apart many times causing hardware to fail. Also, depending on the age of the crib, it may not meet today's safety standards. And definitely stay away from old drop-side cribs; after June 2011, it is actually illegal to sell drop-side cribs, so make sure you do not purchase something that is unsafe for your baby.

Use light weight bedding - We know you want your baby to be as comfy as possible, but fluffy pillows and extra blankets aren't the way to go. Too much bedding is a possible suffocation hazard. We recommend using minimum bedding and adding layers of sleepwear as needed to control your Baby's temp. Now let's talk crib bumpers. There are several health agencies and SIDS groups that recommend parents remove the bumper when the child reaches 5 months of age or not to use a bumper at all due to possible concerns associated with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). We know this is heavy stuff, but we feel it's important to share with you.

Placement in nursery – This is the common sense stuff that you already know, but we figure we'll mention it anyway. Always choose a safe spot for your baby's crib in the nursery. Make sure that the crib is away from potential dangers such as heaters, lamps, curtains and dangling cords. Parents also want to keep an eye on their baby as they walk by the nursery so placing the crib in view of the doorway is a good way to go.

Hardware – We are aware that sometimes it's quite annoying to follow instructions, but it's important when putting together your crib. We recommend that you follow crib assembly instructions closely and inspect and tighten hardware on a regular basis. If it turns out that you misplace some hardware, please contact us or the manufacturer to get the proper fittings for your crib.

Have more questions? – Remember, we're here to help and our Crib Experts are standing by to answer any of your lingering questions. To talk to an expert, click on the Live Help link up top or make an appointment with our Personal Shopper today. We want you to feel confident that you're making the best crib choice for your precious baby.

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