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Best Baby Cribs

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 93 Models Considered
  • 49 Hours Researched
  • 3 Experts Interviewed
  • 222 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best baby cribs

    Last Updated August 2018

    Few things are so exciting as preparing for a new child, and buying a baby crib is a must on that to-do list. Between naps and bedtime, a baby spends a good portion of her day in a crib, so caregivers need to ensure it's a safe and comfortable place for a little one.

    With so many cribs to choose from, picking the best one can seem overwhelming, especially for first-time parents.

    We've done our research and have included our top five baby cribs here, but first read the full guide to learn about purchasing the best crib for you and your little one.

    You should always buy a baby crib new to feel totally secure about its safety features and quality.

    Types of baby cribs

    First, let's examine the main types of baby crib on the market.

    Standard

    Standard baby cribs have four fixed sizes with vertical slats around the edges. They're only suitable for babies and young toddlers up until the point when they outgrow their crib (or decide they like to climb over the sides), which is usually around 24 months.

    Aimee
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    Aimee is a pediatric occupational therapist practicing in the neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric out-patient at Central Pennsylvania Rehab Services at the Heart of Lancaster Hospital. She has been working in pediatrics for 18 years and is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company. Aimee has published 3 DVDs and 9 apps which have been featured on the Rachael Ray Show and iPhone Essentials Magazine. Also certified in newborn massage and instructing yoga to children with special needs, Aimee Ketchum lives in Lititz, PA with her husband and two daughters.


    Aimee  |  Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Convertible

    Convertible cribs can be turned into a toddler bed – and sometimes a daybed or full-size bed – once your little one has outgrown the crib stage. If you don't mind doing a bit of DIY to convert them, this can be an affordable option, as convertible cribs tend to cost around the same price as comparable standard cribs.

    Travel

    Travel cribs are soft-sided and easily pack down and pop up, perfect for when you go on holiday, or for your visits to relatives. However, they shouldn't be a baby's main crib, so we won't focus on them in the guide.

    Design

    Owners of the JPMA-certified Graco Lauren love how easy this crib is to put together. Before beginning construction, we advise owners to move the un-assembled Graco Lauren crib to the nursery – otherwise, the finished product may be too bulky to fit through the nursery door. Overall, assembly of the Graco is a fairly quick and easy job; most of the owners we surveyed said it took them about an hour.

    A note on drop-side cribs

    Drop-side cribs are cribs where either one or both of the long sides slide down, supposedly making it easier to get your baby out. However, it was discovered that these cribs could be unsafe and had led to a number of infant deaths.

    As of December 29, 2012, it has been illegal to manufacture or sell drop side cribs so, in theory, you shouldn't come across one.

    Even so, it's worth mentioning, in case you see a used drop side crib or someone tries to pass one on to you as a hand-me-down.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some baby cribs make life easier and some baby cribs can actually make things more complicated. A convertible crib might be a good idea for the youngest child, but if a parent plans on having more children, they will need to buy another crib, which can be more costly than buying a toddler bed.


    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Considerations for selecting a crib

    Adjustable mattress height

    Many cribs have adjustable mattress heights. If you set the mattress to the highest setting, it’s easier to lift your baby out of the crib. However, once your baby is able to pull herself up and stand in the crib, holding onto the rails, it becomes dangerous to have the mattress too high, as she could fall out.

    To be on the safe side, you should adjust the crib's mattress to the lowest height setting when your baby reaches about six months old.

    CAUTION

    If you’re using a baby monitor, make sure it is far out of reach of your child, especially if it has any cords or detachable parts.

    Size and shape

    Baby cribs should be of an appropriate size that a standard crib mattress – measuring 27 1/4 inches wide by 51 5/8 inches long – fits snugly inside. While you can find cribs of non-standard sizes and shapes (such as round or oval cribs), we recommend opting for a regular, rectangular model so that finding a well-fitting mattress isn’t a hassle.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Common mistakes when purchasing a crib include buying one seen in an advertisement or choosing one based on what it looks like in the nursery. Consider the functionality of the crib and your baby's needs above all else.

    Stability and construction quality

    The last thing you want is for your baby's crib to fall apart around him as he sleeps. Or for any parts to come loose, or fall off with use, as this could be hugely dangerous. Choose a stable and well-constructed crib that will last the two or more years that your child will sleep in it.

    Quality

    The Graco Lauren's wood is “thicker than expected,” according to one happy customer, although it sometimes appears to be pitted, rather than solid. Some owners of the black version of this crib notice that the finish is uneven in places. Other owners report some minor chipping and denting of the wood, although this does not seem to have an impact on the safety of the product. Overall, the quality of this crib aligns well with its low price, and most customers give it a "high satisfaction" rating.

    Baby crib safety tips

    Any parent's prime concern is their child's safety. A crib can be a dangerous place for a baby if you're not cautious, so we've put together some notes on safety.

    • Look for JPMA certified baby cribs. This means the crib meets or exceeds all safety standards put forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM.)

    • Make sure you can't fit more than two fingers between the crib's mattress and the side of the crib. If you can, you need a bigger mattress.

    • Never use bumpers, pillows, quilts, or blankets in your baby's crib, or let your baby sleep with a stuffed toy. All of these are suffocation hazards. Swaddle your baby, or put her in a wearable blanket.

    EXPERT TIP

    Nothing should ever be placed in a crib with a baby.


    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist
    • Use well-fitting sheets on your baby's mattress. If they come loose, your baby could become tangled in them and suffocate.

    • If you're not 100% sure you can assemble a crib properly yourself, enlist the help of a handy friend, or hire a professional to do it. It will be worth the peace of mind in the long run.

    • Place your baby's crib out of reach of windows, blinds, curtains, wall hangings, and other similar hazards.

    • The slats and posts on a crib should be no further than 2 3/8 inches apart from one another, so your baby can't stick her head through. If you can pass a standard can of soda between them, they're too far apart.

    Value for Money

    The Delta Children Emery 4-in-1 Crib converts from a crib to a toddler bed, toddler daybed, and full-size bed. Users report it's fairly easy to convert, but bear in mind you must purchase the toddler guard rails and crib conversion rails separately. Even so, it ends up being fairly good value for money if your kid uses the converted crib all the way through toddlerhood and childhood.

    Baby crib price

    Expect to pay $90 to $500 for an average baby crib, but know you won't find a huge difference in features between the most inexpensive models and more costly ones.

    The main difference between basic cribs and high-end models is the build quality and materials.

    Top-of-the-line cribs tend to be extremely durable and constructed from quality wood – the kind of thing you can pass on through the generations – and some are also more aesthetically pleasing. For instance, you may find high-end cribs that look like traditional vintage models, but conform to all the latest safety regulations.

    EXPERT TIP

    Parents need to consider each child’s needs separately. What works for one child may not work for another child.


    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Tips

    • Having at least two people around to assemble the cribs is highly recommended, both to make assembly easier and guarantee the final product is baby-ready.

    • Since babies are known to shake and rattle their cribs, we recommend periodically checking the hardware of the crib to make sure nothing has come loose or broken.

    • If you purchase a painted bed, check the paint regularly to make sure it’s not chipping or peeling.

    • When your crib and crib mattress first arrive and are assembled, check that they fit together snugly. If you can place more than two fingers between the mattress and crib, the mattress isn’t big enough.

    Most cribs come without any additional parts, such as mattresses or teething rails. If you want to purchase extras, be sure they fit with your crib and offer no safety hazards.

    FAQ

    Q. Do baby cribs come with mattresses?

    A. No, you usually have to buy a crib mattress separately. A standard-sized crib mattress should fit perfectly in a standard-sized crib, however, it's worth checking the fit carefully.

    Q. I like the look of cribs with cut-out patterns in the headboard and footboard — are they safe?

    A. Babies can get body parts or clothing stuck in cut-out patterns in headboards and footboards. This poses a real risk or injury or even suffocation, so you should stick to models with plain slats for safety reasons.

    Q. What else should I check for before I put my baby in their crib for the first time?

    A. Once you're sure the crib's sturdy and properly constructed, complies to safety standards, doesn't have any cut-outs or a drop side, and has properly spaced slats, the only thing left to do is ensure there are no splinters or rough edges to the wood, and there's no peeling paint.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor