If you're expecting your first child, I know the feeling. One of the must-purchase items is a crib. There are many, and I mean many different types of cribs to choose from. This article classifies and categorizes all your crib options creating a terrific crib buying guide.
7 years ago my wife and were expecting our first son. It was about this time of the year back then that we started setting up the baby nursery. Fortunately, we had a dedicated room for our son and so we set it up with crib, rocker, changing table and all the rest of the gear, apparel etc. parents buy for baby.
It was very exciting for us new parents. If you’re expecting your first child, I know the feeling. One of the must-purchase items is a crib. There are many, and I mean many different types of cribs to choose from. This article classifies and categorizes all your crib options creating a terrific crib buying guide.
Table of Contents
- Main Crib Types
- Crib by Style
- Finish Options
- Crib Shapes
- Convertible Type
- Frequently Asked Questions
- When were baby cribs invented?
- Can baby cribs be recycled? If so, how?
- Can used cribs be sold? If so, where?
- Can used cribs be donated? If so, where?
- Are all cribs the same size? What are the dimensions?
- Can cribs be painted? Is there a specific type of recommended paint?
- Can you rent cribs?
- How many cribs are sold each year?
Main Crib Types
Standard cribs are traditionally rectangular and can be very plain or highly intricate, depending on your preference. They are no longer legally allowed to have drop sides so they come with fixed sides that are perfect for children until they begin to climb out of the crib.
These cribs are increasingly popular because they can grow with the child. This means that they will work for your child when he or she needs a crib and then can convert to a toddler bed. These cribs are generally more expensive than standard cribs, which makes sense because parents will be able to use them for a longer period of time. Some will even convert into an adult-size bed.
Mini cribs are much smaller and lighter in weight than their standard counterparts, making them perfect for a smaller home or for parents who want to be able to travel with the crib. They are generally very easy to take apart and convert without any tools and will fold completely flat for easy and convenient storage. As more and more people move to smaller homes, you will see these available at more locations and in different styles
Even more convenient than the mini crib, the portable crib is designed to be able to be packed up and moved around easily. It usually only takes one adult to do this, making it the perfect choice for the parent on the go. They often come with wheels so they can be moved in the house quickly without anyone having to lift and carry them.
Crib and Changer Combos
This is the ultimate in saving space, making a combo crib the perfect choice for a small bedroom. Parents will have to have a place to safely change their children and being able to do it right next to the crib makes midnight changes incredibly convenient. With built-in drawers to hold everything you need, there’s never a concern about having to cross the room while the baby is on the changing table. Some of these cribs will also have drawers underneath them, making it even more convenient to stash some of the necessities that you need for changing or to hide extra sheets and blankets.
Perfect for a dreamy, airy bedroom, these cribs have a safe way to attach light fabric above them to keep baby sleeping sweetly. It’s important that if you have a canopy crib at home, you make sure your baby can’t get caught up in the fabric or use it to pull up to standing. Some companies will sell fabric that is specifically for these beds but if you do choose to make your own, just be careful of the length and type of fabric that you use.
Crib by Style
Characterized by straight and simple lines, a contemporary crib will look amazing in almost any nursery. They come in many different colors and materials but will not generally have a lot of intricate or ornate designs on them that will detract from the beauty of the crib itself. They have a classic look that doesn’t go out of style.
While many people think that modern and contemporary crib styles appear very similar, there are actually a number of differences that set them apart. Modern cribs are much more updated in appearance and appear very minimalist in design. They often have solid panels instead of just slats to update their look as well. You will not find a lot of intricate carving or designs on these types of cribs.
Characterized by spindles, gorgeous headboards, and intricate details that are often handcrafted, a traditional crib will give your nursery a vintage feel. When paired with old quilts and antique toys, you are sure to conjure up memories from years gone by. This crib is very popular because of the beauty of the handiwork.
Cribs that are a little more stylish, have the glamour of Hollywood, or are highly ornate are thought of as being a more eclectic style. They can be finished in bright, bold colors so they stand out and are the focal point of the nursery or can be more subdued and fit in to the nursery as more of a background piece. Either way, they are a standout piece of furniture that you won’t find in every nursery.
Airy and light, these cribs conjure up the feeling of an ocean breeze. While they are just as safe as all of the other options available, they tend to make a room feel much more open and breezy. Painting them in a light teal or turquoise will bring the feel of the beach to your home, no matter where you live.
These cribs appear to be much more solid than light although they do still have slats for air to move freely through the crib. It is common for them to be in a Shaker style and to have at least one side of the crib be a solid piece of wood. They are a more commanding presence in your nursery and you will need to decorate accordingly.
Industrial-style cribs will bring a fresh look to your nursery. They have straight lines and no frills. Any attached drawers usually won’t have hardware, making the look even more streamlined and uninterrupted. When painted in steely grays or white, they will look even more industrial in the nursery.
As functional as they are attractive, farmhouse-style cribs are usually either white or a natural wood color. This gives the crib a lot of charm. It’s not uncommon to see these cribs distressed, where they have been painted with white paint and then had some of the paint sanded off to reveal the beautiful wood grain underneath.
These cribs are easy to identify, thanks to their smooth curves and less-is-more appearance. They often have hairpin legs that are smaller at the bottom than the top, giving the crib a very characteristic appearance. The slats are not ornate and are often round spindles without any decoration, keeping with the straight lines and undecorated appearance.
An heirloom crib that is sophisticated yet luxurious is often made of pewter or other metal instead of wood. This crib will have very fine details along the crib so the baby will always be surrounded by something beautiful when he or she is sleeping. These cribs look amazing in any nursery and will add a touch of romance to the space where you place them
These cribs are very appealing to a number of people due to their appearance. They tend to be more expensive than other styles due to the large amounts of solid wood that are used in the construction instead of slats. They bring a unique look to any nursery.
Rustic cribs are usually left unpainted to show the beautiful grain of the wood or lightly painted with a gray or white paint. Using earth tones and natural-looking fabrics on the sheets and quilt that you have in the crib will only make the space look more rustic.
Although Victorian-era furniture was often heavy and bulky, these cribs are light and airy with gorgeous designs on the spindles and on the sides. With plenty of curves as well as straight lines, they draw the eye when someone enters a nursery and add a lot of interest to the room.
Smooth straight lines, simple corners, and bare wood are all common in Scandinavian-style cribs. They add a gorgeous focal point to any nursery and are loved all over the world because of how well they can be incorporated into any theme or style that you want for the room. While you can easily paint them any color that you like, leaving the wood bare allows their beauty to shine.
The beauty of natural wood grain can’t be overstated and with the right finish on the crib, it will be a piece of furniture that will pop in the room. From light woods such as pine to darker oaks, you can easily improve the aesthetic of any room by including a gorgeous wood crib. While you may be tempted to paint it, you can spruce up the look or change the color by getting new bedding. This ensures that the beauty of the crib is not changed or compromised.
One of the main benefits of painting your crib or buying one that already has been painted for you is that you can easily match the rest of the décor in the nursery. It’s simple to use the crib as a bright pop of color and a focal point in the room or, if you’d prefer, it can be a more subdued color. As frequently as your style changes, you can easily update the color of the crib so that it always looks great in the nursery. It’s important that you always use safe, non-toxic paints on your crib because chances are good that your child will chew on it at some point.
Metal cribs come in all sorts of colors from bright pinks and greens that will really brighten up your space to more subdued bronze, brass, iron, and pewter. You can paint metal cribs and they will still retain their natural beauty but part of the appeal of these types of cribs is that the metal adds an interesting element to the room.
Most fabric cribs are light and portable so they can be easily packed up and taken with you when you are traveling. While they can be used as a baby’s main crib, they are most often just used on vacation. They do make it easy to bring the baby outside to nap while everyone is enjoying a nice summer day. There won’t be any concern of the baby overheating due to the mesh sides allowing the wind to pass through.
Metal cribs are undeniably difficult to damage so if you live in a home where you will be moving the crib around a lot or are worried about more rambunctious older siblings, then metal may be a great choice for you. In addition, it’s a lightweight material and you will be able to easily move it around from room to room. It’s important to note that if you have a metal crib that you have painted, then you may have to repaint it from time to time as the paint will chip off easily if you are not careful.
Some people worry that buying a manufactured wood crib means that they will be sacrificing quality but this isn’t true. While cribs made of manufactured wood will not be as sturdy as their real wood counterparts, they will be a lot lighter and easier to put together and to move. They are painted to hide the manufactured wood but can make a great addition to any nursery.
A solid wood crib is sturdy, solid, and difficult to move and will command the attention of anyone who enters the room. They often have more ornate, intricate designs than other materials and do not travel well due to their weight and bulk. As an heirloom piece, they are wonderful since they stand up well to years of use and are unlikely to need much repair or show signs of wear and tear.
This is the most common shape of crib, and for good reason. They fit well into a room, can easily convert to a larger bed, and will comfortably hold your child while he or she grows. Many heirloom cribs are rectangles, making them the obvious choice for emotional reasons. If you want to easily be able to buy sheets and bedding for your crib, then you will want to choose a rectangle crib for your baby.
If you are looking for a crib that will catch the eye of anyone visiting your nursery, then you will want to buy a round one. These cribs are not only elegant and beautiful but they are incredibly comfortable for babies as well. They will love sleeping in the round crib where, instead of being squished into an uncomfortable corner, they can curl up against any side of the crib.
Modern and distinct, oval cribs are comfortable cocoons where your baby will love sleeping. They give a little more room for your baby to stretch out than a round crib does but still offer the support and coziness that a rectangular crib can’t provide. Paired with soft colors and fabrics, this crib will be an escape for your baby and you’ll love the way it looks in the room.
Not all cribs come with wheels but if you want to be able to move the crib without having to take it apart or call your closest friends to help, then you will want to make sure that you opt for one that has attached wheels. You won’t have to worry about it rolling when you don’t want it to as you will be able to easily lock the wheels to keep them from operating. Just having the option to easily move the crib is wonderful.
If you want to be able to store some baby items nearby but don’t want bulky storage on the side of the crib to take up too much space in the nursery, then you will want to buy a crib that comes with storage underneath it. This partially-hidden drawer is very useful for stashing baby items close by but still keeping them out of sight.
Cribs in general are bulky, difficult to move, and impossible to store out of the way but a folding crib makes it possible. They are perfect if you will not have a baby sleeping at your home all of the time but want to have the option available for when you have guests visit and bring a baby. Being able to fold the crib flat and store it either in the closet or under another bed will free up a lot of space in your home.
Toddler Safety Rail
Babies grow really fast, even though you may not think it at first, and it’s best to be prepared for your toddler trying to get out of the crib or converted bed with a safety bar that you can quickly install. Little kids often love to climb and it’s your responsibility to make sure that they are safe, no matter where they are or how old they are. When you buy a crib that comes standard with a safety rail, you won’t find yourself in a panic when you need to make their beds safer.
You have to have a crib for your child and it’s nice to know that you are buying one that is eco-friendly and was sustainably created. If you feel as if it’s up to all of us to protect the Earth and the resources that we have, then you will love knowing that you’re buying an eco-friendly crib.
Your baby is going to grow and you can make sure that the crib grows with him or her when you invest in a convertible crib. Many people opt for the 2-in-1 style crib that will convert from a crib to a toddler bed. After that, you will need to buy another bed for your child to sleep in but it is nice to get extra mileage out of the crib.
These convertible cribs will last a little longer than the 2-in-1 types. After your baby has outgrown the crib and the toddler bed, you can easily turn this gorgeous piece of furniture into a daybed. If you want to get even more mileage out of your purchase, then you will want to opt for this type of crib.
Keep the crib around for a little longer when you buy a 4-in-1 convertible crib that can go beyond a daybed into a full-sized bed. These often have intricate, ornate headboards so that the beauty is not lost as the child grows and ages as he or she will not want something that seems as if it belongs in a nursery. Because of this, these cribs are often some of the most beautiful and stylish ones available.
For even more options of how you want to use the crib after your baby has grown up, you will want to buy a 5-in-1 convertible crib. These start out as a crib, progress to a toddler bed, become a daybed, and will end up as either a twin-sized bed or a full-sized bed. This means that your child will never have to buy a bed in his or her life if he or she does not want to. Again, look for intricate details that will ensure that the piece is timeless for decades to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a set of answers to frequently asked questions about baby cribs.
When were baby cribs invented?
Although people were looking to differentiate their baby’s sleeping arrangements as early as the 1600’s, the cribs that were reminiscent of today’s model first started to take shape in the 1950’s, when providing a child with proper elevation to avoid the cold ground and a way to keep him contained while sleeping became important to many parents. Safety regulations for crib design and construction didn’t start to take shape until the 1970s, when the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission developed the first set of federal standards for crib strength and safety. Crib manufacturers have continued to make improvements with every new product and feature that they roll out to the public.
Can baby cribs be recycled? If so, how?
With the large amount of crib recalls that are issued due to safety reasons in recent years, it would be best to check with the manufacturer of the crib to see if it can be recycled or sold in some way. Other ways to repurpose crib parts and materials include:
- Mounting the frame on the wall to display artwork
- Repurpose as a drying rack in a laundry room
- Mount on the ceiling to hang pots and pans in the kitchen
- Attach wheels and use as a play board for kids to place their small toys on
- Turn it into a wall organizer for office supplies, canned goods, or kitchen utensils
More ideas for repurposing crib parts can be found here.
Can used cribs be sold? If so, where?
This one gets tricky—–if your crib was manufactured prior to 2010, then it is no longer legal to sell, use or donate per safety instructions from the US Consumer Products and Safety Commission. Over 32 infant deaths have been attributed to the use of these cribs with drop down sides and other release mechanisms; manufacturers of cribs have now been directed to improve their design elements and safety features, resulting in the newer models we see today.
If your crib is newer than 2010, you could resell, provided you provide full disclosure of how long it was used and if you had any safety or function issues with it. Some second-hand baby stores will pay for used cribs, and you may also have success selling on Amazon, Craigslist or any number of apps like Facebook and LetGo. Providing as much information as you can when selling will prevent misunderstandings and possible legal issues if someone claims you did not provide important safety information about your crib.
Can used cribs be donated? If so, where?
If you would rather donate your crib, consider contacting local women’s shelters in your area, or even daycare providers, as they may be looking for cribs. Giving to organizations like Salvation Army and Goodwill can also be a viable option if you need to move it quickly; make sure that your crib is in good working order, and that you have all parts attached when handing it off to people in need.
Are all cribs the same size? What are the dimensions?
Believe it or not, there is a standard size for cribs that is regulated by the Federal government. The standard size for cribs is 28×52 3/8, with a standard deviation of 1/2 inch, allowing for different thicknesses of crib mattresses to ft properly. Standard sizes for crib mattresses apply as well, although no mattress can be over 6 inches thick.
Can cribs be painted? Is there a specific type of recommended paint?
Cribs can be painted to match the decor of almost any room, but a specific type of paint must be used in order to mimics the risk of toxic chemicals being aspirated by your baby. There is paint specifically manufactured for nursery use; this paint is non-toxic, contains zero VOC, and is odorless. Lullaby paints is a company that produces paint so safe for babies, they claim that children can chew on painted surfaces without adverse health consequences. While we won’t put this theory to the test, it’s nice to know that there are paint companies that are looking out for us and our precious little ones.
Can you rent cribs?
Companies exist that cater specifically to the rental of baby gear like strollers, car seats, and even cribs for people that need. Options for rental are short term or long term, and this type of arrangement is ideal for a family that is traveling frequently, yet doesn’t want to carry everything with them. All cribs are thoroughly inspected for safety and integrity of use and completely sanitized before begin put into circulation again. You can enjoy peace of mind that you are getting a quality piece of furniture for your baby without the hassle of maintenance.
How many cribs are sold each year?
Over 150,000 cribs are sold each year in the United States, and that number keeps growing annually. We are not slowing down with respect to providing the best for our little bundles, and the crib is one of the essential pieces of baby care that is needed for healthy sleep and good health.