How to choose an infant crib

How to Choose the Best Infant Crib

Choosing a crib can seem like an easy task until you are actually shopping for one. Then you learn that there are so many technical aspects to this seemingly simple object.

When shopping around for a crib you will see that they boast about X or Y super cool feature. But does your baby really need that? What features are actually important for the safety of your baby?

I will go over the basic safety standards for infant cribs, then go onto specific crib recommendations with links for your convenience.

Safety Features When Choosing Infant Cribs

When it comes to the best baby crib features, I recommend you stick to features that are meant to keep baby sleeping safe. The rest of the bells and whistles are cool, but not really a necessity.

Keep in mind that in the United States, infant crib safety standards are federally regulated. However, safety standards are updated from time to time with new information.

The latest safety standards update started in June 2011. Cribs that were built before those standards were in order may not be safe and must be closely checked for safety. If you are buying a new crib, make sure it meets the current safety standards (via the Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC). On the CPSC website, you can also see if there is a recall for any crib you may already have.

Cribs should not have drop-side rails.

This is part of the new regulations, as well as strong wood and strong hardware that makes it very hard to break. Some manufacturers of older cribs that came with a drop side rail are offering hardware that stops the side rail from dropping.

You can opt for this option if you choose to use an older crib. You should, however, check often that the hardware is in place and that no parts of it are broken or missing. Always consider acquiring a new crib that meets the stronger standard.

The space between the slats should be no more than 2 ⅜ inches (6 centimeters) wide

This is to prevent accidents related to infants slipping their body in between the slats, but then being trapped at the neck because the head won’t fit. This type of accident can result in death. Smaller spaces between slats (like the above-mentioned measurement or less), won’t allow infants to slip their bodies through in the first place.

Wooden surfaces must be smooth and without splinters.

Make sure all parts and joints fit tightly. Also, check for paint integrity. You don’t want peeling or cracked paint. All surfaces must be covered in lead-free paint that is safe to use in nursery furniture.

The panels at the head and foot of the crib should be solid

At the head and foot of the crib, some have more slats and some have panels. If the crib you are looking at has slats, the same slat distance guidelines apply. But if the crib you are looking at has end panels, avoid those with decorative cutouts at the end plates that can trap an infant’s head.

Corner posts must be either flush with the end panels or extremely tall

Corner posts that are only slightly taller than the end panels can result in the strangling of infants if a piece of their clothing or ribbons gets caught on it. Extremely tall posts, such as those of canopies, are safe.

Do not use a crib if there are missing, damaged or broken parts

Do not replace original hardware with pieces from the hardware store. The crib’s safety standards cannot be ensured if the hardware is not the same that was tested! If you need replacement parts, contact the crib manufacturer and get it directly from them.

Make sure the mattress is a good size for the crib

There should not be a gap larger than two fingers between the mattress and any side of the crib. A larger gap can result in the entrapment of arms, body or legs.

6 Awesome and Safe Cribs for Your Baby

I know some of you came here straight the juicy product recommendations! If so, I recommend you still go over the tips above for the safest experience.

Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib, Bianca White 

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Sturdy wood, not veneer
  • Convertible to grow with your child

DaVinci Jayden 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, Espresso

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Lead- and phthalate-free nontoxic finish
  • Convertible to grow with your child
  • Solid New Zealand pine wood

Westwood Design Pine Ridge 4 in 1 Panel Convertible Crib, Cloud 

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Heavy, sturdy wood
  • Convertible to grow with your child
  • Bonus! Stunning matching dresser

Dream On Me 5 in 1 Brody Convertible Crib with Changer, White

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Tested for lead and other toxic elements
  • Combined with changer
  • Convertible to grow with the child (parts sold separately)

Serta Cali 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib, Rustic Grey

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Strong sturdy wood
  • Tested for lead and other toxic elements
  • Convertible to grow with baby

Delta Children Emery 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Crib, White 

  • Meets CPSC standards
  • Convertible, grows with baby
  • Strong sturdy wood
  • Available in Grey, White or Dark Chocolate

If you decide to use our affiliate links I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, that helps run the blog! Thank you!

Have you created your baby registry yet?

Have you created your Amazon baby registry yet? Well, you should! It’s “universal” in that you can add baby products from any website, and you get a 10% discount on all the items that are left unpurchased from your list. It also gets you an awesome extended return period of 90 days!

Safety first! Tips to prevent SIDS

While you are in your hunt for the best and safest infant sleep practices, you must read my post on 11 Easy Tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDS.

Share this post on social media with all your friends who are parents, future parents, and others who you think will benefit from learning about infant crib safety.


Choosing a crib can seem like an easy task until you are shopping for one. Here\'s a guide from a pediatrician to make sure that you get a crib that...

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