As expectant parents prepare for the impending births of their babies, they'll need to select a crib for the nursery. There are many different styles of cribs, and they come in a variety of prices. How do you know which crib is right for you and your child? Of course, you'll need to consult your budget before you begin shopping, and you may be tempted to purchase or borrow a used baby bed or crib. Keep reading for advice on types of baby beds and safety issues.
Bassinett or Cradle
Many parents start their babies out in bassinets or cradles before moving them to larger baby beds when they are older. Using a bassinet can be very convenient. The difference between a bassinet and cradle is basically a bassinet is stationary, while a cradle can be rocked back and forth. Cradles are typically heavier, too. There are several points that you should remember when purchasing a cradle or bassinet.
- Cradle slats or spindles should be spaced no wider than 2 3/8 inches.
- The base of a cradle or bassinet should be wide and sturdy to prevent the risk of it tipping over.
- The mattress should fit snuggly into the bassinet or cradle so that there aren't any extra spaces between the bed and the mattress.
- Look for rough spots or exposed hardware that could injure your baby.
- Check any locks, latches, or hardware, and make sure they are securely made.
If you use a bassinet or cradle, keep the following points in mind.
- Your baby will probably need to be moved out of the bassinet or cradle after he reaches three or four months of age. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for weight limits, also.
- Make sure folding legs and wheels are securely locked before placing your baby inside.
- Never leave your baby unsupervised in a cradle or bassinet.
Convertible Baby Crib
Because your baby will use his crib for at least a couple of years, you will probably want to carefully consider this selection. There are several types of cribs, and one of the most popular is the convertible crib or baby bed. Your child can continue to use a convertible crib once he has passed the baby bed phase. Once your baby becomes too big for a baby bed, convertible cribs can be used as toddler beds. Some convertible cribs also offer parents the option of converting them into a full size bed or even a daybed. Although convertible cribs may be more expensive than traditional cribs, they can be used for longer periods of time.
Standard Baby Crib
One of the most economical cribs is the standard baby bed. This crib will only be used by your child until she reaches the age of two to three years. These typically have at least one side that can be lowered, and some give the option of two drop-down sides.
One of the most popular trends in cribs today is the round baby bed or crib. These baby beds offer a unique option to the traditional crib, but they can be pricey. Many parents prefer round cribs because they fit well in small areas.
Another popular choice among parents today is the canopy baby crib or bed. The canopy addition to a crib is mainly for appearance, and many people love how they look in a baby's nursery. These can also be more expensive than a standard crib.
Finally, you may be tempted to purchase or borrow a used crib. After all, your baby won't use her baby bed for very long, right? Before you do, however, please consider some very important safety issues that surround purchasing a used crib. Baby beds that are manufactured today follow strict safety guidelines, but older beds may not have been designed under these guidelines.
- Baby bed slats shouldn't be spaced any wider than 2 3/8 inches apart.
- Raised sides of a crib should be at least 26 inches high.
- Dropped sides of a crib should be at least nine inches high.
- Wheels should lock in place.
- A teething rail should be installed.
- Don't purchase a crib that has peeling or old paint. All paint should be lead-free.
- Don't purchase a baby bed with split or splintered wood.
- Don't purchase a crib with decorative cut-outs on the head and foot boards. These could cause a strangulation risk.
- Be sure the mattress will fit snuggly in the bed.
- Look for the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification.