Baby Must-Haves: Cribs
Your baby's crib should be a safe haven -- a place where she can sleep or play comfortably, without any danger of getting hurt. When choosing a crib, be sure to look for:
- Screws, brackets, and joints that are tightly in place and intact. (Obviously, if you assemble the crib yourself, make sure you screw and tighten all the parts correctly.)
- A mattress that fits snugly, so your baby can't slip down between it and the crib frame and become trapped. Note that most mattresses are sold separately from the crib.
- Slats that are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. If you can slip a soda can between the slats, they're wide enough for your baby's head to fit through and get stuck.
- Corner posts that don't extend more than 1/16 inch, so that your child's clothing can't get snagged on them.
- A headboard and footboard without decorative cut-outs that your baby could trap her head in.
- Adjustable mattress levels so that as your baby learns how to sit, stand, and then climb, you can lower the mattress. (Most cribs can be adjusted to at least two different mattress levels.)
- Rolling casters , to make it easier to move the crib around the nursery.
- At least one drop side , so that it's easier to put your newborn down on the mattress. Two drop sides make for more flexible positioning in the nursery. The drop side should have a locking mechanism so that the baby can't release it.
NOTE: Make sure that any new crib you're considering is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Log on to cpsc.gov to search for products recalls and find out about product safety standards.
Gizmos & Gadgets Teething rails are strips of soft rubber that clip or adhere onto the top horizontal rail of a crib -- often viewed as a delicacy by teething babies looking for something hard to chew on. They aren't necessary -- gnawing on her crib won't hurt your baby, but she might enjoy the "chewier" surface of the rubber, and once a few of her chompers are in, the rail might help protect the crib's finish from toothmarks, especially if it's painted. One option: Gummi Crib Rails ($14; OneStepAhead): At 50 inches long, they can be cut to size if necessary.
"If you're going for an inexpensive crib, white painted wood looks better than a cheap wood finish."