When your baby is a, they should sleep 14 to 17 hours a day. From four months to a year, they’ll sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. With so much of their early life spent in dreamland, the is an important purchase. A crib needs to be safe, comfortable and convenient for the parents — and since you’ll undoubtedly be spending a good chunk of your own day (and night) around it, it might as well be nice to look at.
The best crib for you and your baby will depend on a number of factors, like how much space you have to work with and how much you’re willing to spend, but these picks for every budget check a lot of different boxes.
A crib has to be more than just the stylish centerpiece that ties your nursery together, but you don’t have to sacrifice design to get one with great features. The Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 is proof of that. This convertible crib grows with your child, transforming from a crib into a daybed and ultimately a toddler bed, thanks to an included conversion kit. In crib mode there are three mattress positions so you can lower it as your baby grows. The Hudson is Greenguard Gold certified, meaning it’s free of chemicals that could be harmful to your baby, and is made from solid New Zealand pine wood harvested from sustainable sources. On top of that, it’s a great-looking crib, with clean lines that make it a good fit for any modern nursery.
Priced around $230, this crib is big on value. If you’re looking for a crib that will get your baby through the majority of their childhood, the DaVinci Kalani is a standout choice. The crib converts into a daybed, toddler bed and eventually a full-size bed. The parts for those conversions are sold separately, but even if you just use the Kalani as a crib, you’ll get a well-made and attractive piece of furniture. Breaking from the midcentury modern design trend, this crib is more traditionally styled but understated enough to work in just about any room. The Kalani is Greenguard Gold certified and made from sustainably sourced pine wood. The crib has four adjustable mattress positions and fits a standard-size mattress.
Graco is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to baby products, so it should come as no surprise that the company has its own line of cribs. The Graco Remi is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a convertible crib and changing table in one. This pine-and-wood-composite crib comes with an attached three-drawer changing table, which converts into a tall nightstand when you transition the crib to a full-size bed. In crib mode, there’s also a shallow drawer underneath that’s perfect for storing extra crib sheets or swaddle blankets. The crib has three mattress positions. Though the Remi is JPMA certified and tested by independent laboratories to ensure safety, it is not Greenguard Gold certified.
If you’re not looking to spend hundreds on a crib, then the Ikea Sniglar might be the one for you. This basic but 100% functional crib offers the bare essentials for baby’s sleeping arrangements in a tidy Swedish modern package. The Sniglar is made of solid beech wood, and just like most Ikea furniture, it assembles quickly and easily as long as you can follow the pictograms. One downside is the crib only has two mattress positions, so you’ll be limited in how you can configure it as baby grows. It’s also not Greenguard Gold certified, though it comes only in an unpainted natural wood finish. When your baby no longer needs a crib, you can remove one of the sides to convert the Sniglar to a toddler bed.
If space is an issue or you want a second crib that you can move from room to room, a mini crib is a great option. These compact baby beds are easy to maneuver, thanks to their petite dimensions and legs with locking caster wheels. Some, like the Babyletto Origami, even fold up for easier transportation or storage. The Origami’s sides fold in to make it nearly flat. It can then be rolled behind a door or into a closet to get it out of the way when baby’s not using it. In addition to not taking up a lot of space, the Origami is also Greenguard Gold certified, meaning it’s a safe, cozy space for your little one to get some shuteye. The crib fits standard-size mini mattresses and has two mattress positions, with the bottom setting being suitable until baby starts to climb. If you’re looking for a bassinet alternative that you can use longer, this ultraportable mini crib is a solid bet.
One baby crib trend that has exploded in recent years in the rise of clear acrylic slats. This feature makes a lot of sense, as clear slats allow you to see your baby more easily and have the added benefit of showing off their stylish crib sheets. The Evolur Acrylic Millenium four-in-one is one of the best-looking cribs in this category, with a gorgeous design dripping with midcentury modern flavor. The Millenium has three mattress positions in crib mode, and with the optional parts sold separately, can convert into a daybed, toddler bed and full-size bed whenever your child is ready to move to the next stage. Though the crib meets or exceeds ASTM standards for lead and other toxic elements and is certified by the JPMA for safety, it unfortunately isn’t Greenguard Gold certified.
If money is no object and you want a beautiful piece of furniture to really tie your nursery together, look no further than the Nursery Works Novella. This crib perfectly captures the essence of midcentury modern design with its natural ash wood body, light-colored slats of alternating thickness and slender brass-electroplated aluminum legs. The Novella has three mattress positions and converts into a daybed, toddler bed and reading nook with rails and other parts sold separately. This designer crib will set you back a cool $1,200, but that might be a small price to pay to have the sharpest baby room on the block.
How to choose a crib
Your own criteria for a crib may vary, but in general you’re looking for something that fits your budget and specific needs. It also doesn’t hurt if it’s aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few other things to look for and be aware of on your crib-shopping journey.
- Any crib made after June 2011 must meet stringent federal crib standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and American Society for Testing and Materials. This means new cribs can’t have dangerous features such as drop sides and have to adhere to strict structural safety guidelines.
- A crib can be further certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association, which holds cribs to an even higher standard of safety. Though the JPMA’s seal of approval means you’re getting an exceedingly safe crib, many companies are choosing to forgo this certification to invest in others that consumers care more about, such as Greenguard Gold (more on that in a minute).
- All cribs sold in the US must comply with ASTM standards regulating the use of harmful chemicals in glue, wood finish, and wood composites. A step further than that is Greenguard Gold certification, which ensures that a crib produces negligible levels of volatile organic compounds. This helps give peace of mind that your baby is breathing in chemical-free air.
- Most cribs fit standard-size mattresses, but not all mattresses fit the same. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to test-fit a mattress inside the crib you plan on pairing it with. The mattress should fit snugly, with no more than a two-finger gap between the edge of the mattress and the crib.
- A crib with multiple mattress positions will ensure you get the most mileage out of it. When your baby is little, it’s safe to place the mattress at the highest position so you can easily pick them up and put them down. As they grow and start to turn over and stand you’ll want to gradually lower the mattress to keep the top of the crib out of reach. The more positions you have between the top and bottom settings, the less you have to bend over and reach for your baby.
- The CPSC recommends crib slats be no more than 2 3/8 inches (or about the width of a soda can) apart. This will prevent your baby from getting their arms or legs stuck.
- If you’re buying a convertible crib, consider purchasing the parts needed to convert it now. That way, if the model is discontinued years down the line, you won’t have to track down the pieces on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
- If you’re planning on buying a used crib or taking a hand-me-down, make sure it hasn’t been recalled. Tighten up all the bolts and see how the crib feels structurally. Lastly, check mattress fitment for gaps. You’ll probably want to buy a brand-new mattress, as used models wear unevenly and might be soiled.
Crib vs. bassinet: Do you need both?
When I first started shopping for baby gear, I asked myself this very question. The answer is maybe, depending on your living situation. One thing that’s certain is, you need a safe sleeping environment (either a bassinet or a crib) for your baby, ideally located in the same room where you sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a safe sleeping environment outside the parents’ bed to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation.
With that said, a bassinet works great for this purpose. But if you have space in your room for a full-size crib, you could skip the bassinet all together. Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of space, you could get a mini crib that rolls and folds. You’d get more use out of a mini crib than a bassinet, which you typically only use for the first six months, but you’d still need to upgrade to a full-size crib at some point.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.