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New Mom’s Guide to Buying a Crib

Posted on by admin | in Housekeeping

As you anxiously await the arrival of your baby, it is common to immerse yourself in decorating the baby’s room and purchasing diapers, bottles and pink or blue booties, but in the midst of your planning one of the biggest responsibilities you have as a parent is purchasing a crib.

Adhering to the revised federal guidelines about cribs, considering the comfort and well-being of your child and taking your personal preferences into consideration makes it a challenge to select the perfect crib for your baby. New parents need to consider price, style, safety and versatility when shopping.

Safety First

First and foremost, safety is a key factor when shopping for a new crib. Before venturing to the store or shopping online, learn about the federal safety standards for cribs to ensure you will be purchasing a crib that is in compliance. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011 federal regulations banned drop-side rails and mandated that all cribs have slats and hardware that are more durable for mattress support. It’s essential when buying a used crib that you contact the manufacturer to make sure the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 full-size crib standards.

Standard vs. Convertible

Determining the flexibility and use of your baby’s crib is also a factor when buying a bed for your expected arrival. Many parents are opting for a convertible option that allows you to convert from a standard crib to a toddler or day bed as your child grows. Many convertible cribs also are equipped to convert into a full-size bed complete with a headboard. Some styles also feature built-in changing tables, adjustable mattress heights or bottom drawers.

When thinking long-term, a convertible crib may be a wise investment, but many parents must also think about the style they prefer. Do you plan to stick with the same type of wood or bedroom outfit style well into your son or daughter’s teen years? If so, a convertible bed may be the best choice. If you like to change up your style or furniture often, think standard.


As you pick out colors, paint the baby’s room and pack dressers with pink or blue onesies, think about the time you want to invest in assembling a crib. To ensure safety, it may be worth the cost to pay delivery personnel to assemble the crib or invite a handy friend over to help. Regardless of how the crib is assembled, put instructions in a safe place so you know how to adjust the mattress, convert to a toddler bed or disassemble when necessary.

Sleep Safety Tips

Although you may breathe a sigh of relief once the crib is in place, it’s important to be prepared and on your toes about how a baby should sleep in the crib. According to Hiren Muzumdar, attending physician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, your baby’s crib should have a firm mattress with smooth, flat sheets. Avoid putting pillows or loose sheets on the bed, as these can pose a safety risk for babies, he says.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Back to Sleep campaign recommends the following tips to keep your baby safe and sound, while also reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress covered by a fitted sheet
  • Do not put pillows, blankets, crib bumpers or toys in your baby’s crib
  • Keep loose objects and loose bedding out of your child’s crib
  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night
  • Dress your baby in light clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper – do not use a blanket
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head

It’s also important to adjust the crib mattress as your child grows, according to Dr. Katherine O’Connor, attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. “Babies should be placed on their backs in a crib with the mattress at the right height for their skill level,” she says. “Once they can roll, the mattress is lowered and then lowered again when they can pull to stand.”

Even though it takes time and effort to find, assemble and care for the best crib, the reward of watching your baby sleep comfortably and safely will be well worth it.

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