The Definitive Guide to Crib Buying
Safe in Bed
Your favorite choice for a crib may seem perfect to you, but look at it from your baby’s viewpoint. Can this part come off easily? Can little fingers get squished here? Although almost all cribs adhere to mandatory and voluntary safety standards, improper assembly and other hazards are still possible. Check the BabyZone recall database for recalls on crib models.
Make sure the crib slats are spaced no more than 2 and 3/8-inches apart. When dropped, the sidebar should be at least 9 inches above the mattress to prevent your baby from falling out. Check that the mattress you select fits snugly into the crib. Tiny hands, fingers, and heads can easily get stuck between a mattress and the crib—so you should not be able to put more than two finger widths between the mattress and the crib.
Go over your crib for any loose parts including those that are part of the construction and those that may be part of the design. Any decorative elements, such as knobs, pose a choking risk.
It’s also important you check for the JPMA seal; the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certifies manufacturers who comply with both mandatory and stricter voluntary standards. Don’t buy a crib not approved by the JPMA.
Buy New, Avoid Used
In June 1999, regulations went into effect to make cribs safer. Older cribs and heirlooms may seem fine, but they may be missing hardware or have other safety hazards. Avoid them.
Cribs should not be placed near anything that a child might pull down or become entangled in. Windows, heaters, fans, lamps, cords, and other hazards should be kept out of reach from the crib.
Save Money on Your Crib
Good news! According to a Consumer Reports ratings for cribs, done in May 2004, one of the top-rated models (ranked second) was also the least expensive. In fact, CR recommends that parents purchase the less expensive “no frills” model, which they found to be safer, sturdier, and easier to use than the more expensive choices. The Delta Luv Jenny Lind-style crib, which sells at a little over $100, received top marks and fell just behind the Bellini brand Isabella crib that sells for over $500.
Opt For Less Pricey Brands
High-end manufacturers such as Bellini and Bassett offer quality cribs, but you can find the same standard of safety and features in less pricey brands like Delta Luv, Fisher Price, and Evenflo.
Suggest a Baby Shower Gift
Is someone giving you a baby shower? Don’t be shy about suggesting a crib as a group gift. Your friends will be giving you something you’ll really use, and you won’t have to return any repeat gifts. Grandparents, parents, and in-laws are often happy to buy a crib for a new baby&emdash;especially if they know mom has done her research!
Shop Sales and Use Coupons
Many larger baby superstores periodically offer discount coupons of up to 20 percent off a single item. Take advantage of sales and look for discounts on last year’s models.
Deliveries and Warranties
Before buying any crib, look it over carefully in the store. Ask questions. Remember that some stores can take up to 12 weeks to deliver certain crib models. If you want the crib delivered to your home, make sure it will arrive in plenty of time before your baby. Consider whether you are going to assemble the crib yourself or whether the delivery service people will assemble it for you, for an additional charge, usually somewhere around $30.
Many larger stores offer a limited time warranty (some around three months) in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty (usually around a year). Read through the warranty and follow its guidelines. Keep your receipt with the warranty information.
Once you’ve found that perfect crib, you can sit back and imagine your newborn curled up sleeping in it. Before too long you won’t have to imagine&emdash;your baby will be there!
12 Quick Questions to Help You Choose a Crib
- Where will the crib be placed in the nursery?
- Do you plan on putting the baby in the crib from one side or both?
- How long do you plan on having your child in the crib (most are moved to toddler or regular beds between the ages of two and three)?
- Will the crib be used for more children?
- Do you want the crib to convert into a bed later?
- What kind of feel do you want to create in your nursery?
- What kind of look do you want? Do you like classic styles or do you want something more unique?
- Do you like darker wood finishes or do you want something more natural or even painted?
- Have you reviewed all of the safety concerns about cribs so that you know what to avoid?
- How much money do you plan on spending on a crib?
- When do you need the crib to arrive in your nursery?
- Do you feel comfortable assembling your crib or do you need someone else to do it?
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