Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for best crib rail covers

When you’re selecting baby items, a crib rail cover may not top your must-have list. However, once babies start teething, to ease the pain, they will usually chew on any hard surface they can reach. The crib rail — the wooden piece that runs along the top — often suffers the brunt of teething. It’s the perfect height and hard enough to provide the pressure babies crave. Unfortunately, it also can lead to paint and wood chips in the baby's mouth.

A crib rail cover can go a long way toward protecting both your baby and your crib. These covers are usually fabric and fit over the crib rail so that baby can’t chew directly on the wood. Crib rail covers reduce the risk of your baby choking on wood chips or swallowing potentially toxic paint from the rail. And they preserve the crib for the next baby — or the next generation.

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Most convertible cribs — those that transform into toddler beds — will require thicker rail covers, so be sure to measure carefully. It’s especially important to preserve the crib since your child will be using it through his toddlerhood.

Key considerations

Number of sides

When you’re looking for crib rail covers, you need to decide how many sides need attention. If the crib rests against a wall on one or more sides, your baby will probably have a hard time chewing on those sides. Sides with elevated, sleigh-style rails also may be poor candidates for gnawing. If your child has already started chewing, cover his favorite rails and any others that are the same height and shape. If you’re creating a baby registry, it can’t hurt to add enough to cover all accessible rails.


You’ll also need to think about your crib rail’s measurements. While crib rails are generally the same length, their thickness can vary greatly. If the cover is too small for a thicker rail, the fasteners may not meet and attach securely. Older babies may be able to easily unfasten crib rail covers that are ill-fitting on slender rails. Additionally, crib rail covers that are too small may not adequately protect the wood against aggressive teethers.


Most crib rail covers are tied to the crib or attach with a hook-and-loop closure — the generic term for Velcro. Ties are often more secure, but can be challenging to remove for washing — a must if your baby continues to teethe over the cover. A hook-and-loop closure will be easier for you to remove, but it’s easier for babies to pull off, too. Whichever you choose, check the positioning and height of your crib’s posts to make sure they don’t get in the way.


Most crib rail covers are made from polyester or polyester fabric blends. Polyester is popular for this drooly duty because it dries quickly, unlike cotton. It is, however, a synthetic fabric, and so some parents prefer covers made from natural cotton fibers, preferably organic. Organic cotton rail covers can be found, but they will definitely cost more.

Some rail covers are made from plastic and simply snap onto the crib rail. These covers don’t hide your crib’s appearance, but they must be measured carefully to make sure they fit the rails snugly. If they are loose, older babies may learn how to pull them off quickly. These can be wiped and disinfected more easily than fabric crib rails, but they do not absorb saliva.

A few rail covers are made from rubber. Rubber is soft enough that your baby may choose to continue chewing, so watch for bite marks or rips in the material. Most rubber rail covers are attached using adhesive, so if you take the rail cover off, you’ll need to remove the adhesive as well.

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Fleecy rail covers are cozy, but they may harbor dust and pet hair, which could show up in your child’s mouth if they continue to chew.


Waterproof backing

A thin fabric rail cover may protect your baby, but not your crib. Drool-soaked rail covers can damage your crib finish if they’re not removed promptly. Rail covers with waterproof backings can keep saliva from soaking through and damaging the wood.


A padded rail cover can serve many purposes. First, it can prevent sharp baby teeth from leaving marks on the rail. If it’s soft enough, it can actually discourage your baby from teething on the rail because it’s too soft to give babies the pressure they're looking for. It can also prevent bumps and scrapes if baby takes a tumble into the rail.


Well-appointed crib rail covers may also have:

  • Pockets for storing crib necessities like pacifiers or comfort objects.

  • Quick-drying mesh to prevent bacteria growth.

  • Flexible attachment options for attaching to cribs with different styles of rails.


  • Teething toys: Give your baby something better for chewing.

  • Crib mattresses: A good mattress means a good night’s sleep for your baby — and for you.

  • Crib sheets: Match your sheet and rail liner to complete the look.

Crib rail cover prices

Inexpensive: You can find low-priced, good-quality crib rail covers for around $15. At this price, rail covers will typically provide protection for a narrow rail. Most will tie onto the railing and have some padding, but probably will not be waterproof.

Mid-grade: Crib rail covers that are a little higher in quality will likely cost $20 to $25. You’ll find covers for both slender and thick rails at this price. They may fasten with ties or with hook-and-loop closures and should have a waterproof backing.

High-end: The highest-quality crib rail covers will likely cost $30 or more, especially if you are getting a set. Crib rail covers in this price range may fasten with hook-and-loop closure or tie onto the crib. They should have plenty of padding and a waterproof backing. If you’re paying this much, your rail covers should protect a significant amount of the crib and may include features like pockets.


  • Confirm whether your rail cover is safe for both the washing machine and dryer before laundering.

  • Consider installing your crib rail with the fastening side on the outside if your older baby has figured out how to undo the hook-and-loop closure panels.

  • Some babies will suck or chew on ties used to attach rail covers to the crib. If you select one with these strings, keep an eye on their condition until you learn your baby’s teething habits.

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Crib rail covers can be used to help hide tooth marks on hand-me-down cribs.


Q. At what age will my baby need a crib rail cover?

A. Babies generally start teething between four and seven months old, but they aren’t likely to gnaw on their crib until later in that window. Most babies can’t reach their crib rail until they start pulling up to stand, which most first attempt between eight and 10 months old. So even if your baby has cut his first tooth, you may have some time before a rail cover becomes a necessity.

Q. What’s the difference between a crib bumper and a crib rail cover?

A. Many people confuse the two, but they serve totally different purposes. While both technically could be affixed all the way around the crib, they attach at different heights and serve different functions. A crib bumper attaches to the crib walls at the bottom, near the mattress. They help prevent your baby from getting a hand or foot stuck between the posts. The crib rail cover, on the other hand, prevents your baby from chewing on the rails, which keeps paint and wood chips out of his mouth.

Q. How often should I wash the rail cover?

A. If your rail cover discourages your baby from chewing on the rail, you can probably get away with changing it out at the same time as your crib sheets, about once a week. If your baby continues to chew despite the cover, wash it whenever the cover is soaked. A little bit of drool won’t hurt, but large amounts of saliva may stay wet long enough to breed bacteria, compromise the wood rail finish, or promote mold or mildew.

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