Crib Buying Tips

The crib will be one of the biggest purchases you make, and probably one of the most used products you have for your new arrival.

Making sure you have the right crib for your family and putting safety first, are always important.

With so many styles and options available today, making the right decision can be daunting.

First things to think about are determining a price range (as this can vary greatly!) and what features are important to you.

Safety Standards:

All baby cribs bought new will meet minimum safety regulations. As long as it is assembled to the manufacturer’s instructions and is used properly, even the least expensive cribs are totally safe.

Slats on the crib should be no more than 2 3/8” apart (the width of a soda can) and corner posts should be no higher than 1/16”.

A safe crib should have a tight-fitting and firm mattress that is preferably new. Make sure it fits snugly with no more than two fingers width between mattress and crib side.

If you are buying a used crib look for the certification seal that shows it meets national safety standards. Make sure the paint is in good condition and there are no rough edges or splinters. It should have no cut-outs in the head or footboard and any missing/broken slats or hardware.


Cribs can come with a wide range of different features, some will seem more important than others.

Drop sides are the feature you might use most often. Cribs can come with fixed, single-drop or double-drop sides.

Single-drop sides are the most common and most parents will want this feature. Double-drop sides are good if your crib won’t be against one wall, and baby will be taken from either side, but they are often the more expensive choice.

Wheels are a very useful feature for your baby crib. You’ll be moving the crib a lot, to vacuum under it, change bedding or to fetch toys and pacifiers, so make sure the casters are firm and strong.

Adjustable mattress height comes standard on every crib apart from the most inexpensive. It allows the mattress to be set in a higher position for infants and then lowered for when your little one starts to pull-up. Some have two height settings, some have three.

A teething rail is another feature you might consider as it prevents your toddler from chewing on the wood (which they tend to do!). These can come standard on your new crib, or you can buy them separately and attach yourself.

Convertible baby cribs are becoming more popular as time goes on. Most allow the crib to be converted into a toddler bed, and others go on to convert into a full-size adult bed or day bed (with extra pieces you’ll need to buy later on). They are attractive but expensive; In the long run, this may be a wise choice for many parents but you’ll need to think about whether you will end up converting it, or having another baby and buying your older child a toddler bed.

Where to Buy:

You can buy cribs from plenty of different stores. Mega-baby stores carry a large range of models and they are reasonably priced. Most have some in-stock, but you might have to order and that can take up to 12 weeks.

Large discount retailers offer inexpensive choices that still have most of the above features. They are usually the lower-end models, but still meet all safety standards.

They often have 2-3 in-stock of each model, so this is a good choice if you need the crib sooner rather than later.

Local “boutique” baby stores carry premium, high-end models with expensive prices. Most are special ordered as they usually aren’t in-stock. You can find the more elaborate models here, like the canopy cribs and the new round cribs.

You could also try the Internet where you can find a wide range of models and prices. Take into consideration the shipping costs (which will likely be high) and the return policy.

Buying baby products and furniture is almost always fun and sometimes frustrating.

Just remember, it will be well worth the effort when your precious baby is sleeping safely and comfortably in their new bed!