Important Features to Consider When Buying a Baby Bed
By Sarah Holmes, Ph.D.
With all the different features of baby cribs, it can be a little overwhelming to sort it all out. This article reviews some of the most comon baby crib features and reviews the pros and cons of each feature.
Is the Baby Crib Made of Quality Materials and Construction? Wooden Baby Cribs/Iron Baby Cribs
You don’t often think of the material that the baby crib is made of as an actual feature to consider. But, picking a baby crib that is made from quality materials can make the difference between a baby crib that is used for years and one that you wish you had never bought. Wooden baby cribs should be stained or painted hardwoods like maple, ash, beech, or oak. The overall stability of the baby crib could be threatened by the use of inferior woods in the manufacturing process. This is due to the baby crib slates becoming weakened and/or warped with use. Baby Cribs can also be made from metal such as iron. While Iron Baby Cribs can be beautiful, the styling can be limited over time. If you plan on keeping the baby crib for years, be sure that you think you will like the metal styling in the future.
Issues to Consider with the Baby Crib Side Bar: To Drop or Not to Drop
Baby cribs are made either with fixed, single-drop or double-drop sides. If you are tall, fixed sides are fine for you. I am 5′ 8″ tall and never lower the sides of my baby’s crib. Higher end models will have side rails that lower on both sides of the baby crib. Depending on how you position the baby crib, this could be a nice feature. If you plan on putting your baby crib up against a wall, this feature won’t add any benefit to the baby crib.
There are three basic types of drop sides:
- Knee Push- Leaning your knee against the baby crib side to lower it. This is typically a simple and quiet type of drop side.Â
- Foot Bar- Balancing on one foot, you push a lever to lower the baby crib side. This ma be a bit tricky depending on how you are standing on one foot.Â
- Double Trigger- You have to use two hands to lower the side. This style is ok as long as you are not holding the baby. But, it is not very convenient since you will most likely have your baby in your arms before you lower the baby crib side.
Ideally, you should be able to lower and raise the side rail with ease. Keep in mind that you will often have your baby in your arms when you are trying to lower the bar. When trying out a model in the store, try lowering the bar yourself while imaging that you have your baby in your arms. This will give you an idea of how easy it will be when you are trying to put your baby down to sleep. Also, be sure that the rails have locking mechanisms to prevent accidental release. You may want to consider how quietly the side rail raises and lowers. You would not want it to wake your sleeping baby.
Does the Baby Crib Allow you to Lower the Mattress?
Make sure your baby crib lets you adjust the height of the mattress. Unless you are tall, a higher mattress will make it easier for you to get your baby in and out of the baby crib. Once your baby starts to move around, you will need to lower the mattress. The baby crib you buy should have at least 2 height positions for the mattress. Some higher end models will have 3 height levels which is a nice bonus feature.
Baby Cribs with Drawers
Some higher end models have drawers in the bottom of the baby crib. If space is an issue for you, this may be a good feature to have. You may be able to put off buying a dresser for your little one. Just beon the bottoms of the drawers (if htere is space for your little one to crawl under the crib.
Baby Cribs with Wheels
Some baby cribs come with wheels. This is a very nice feature if you plan on moving the baby crib around. It can make it easier to change the linens and to clean under the baby crib. Being able to roll a baby crib into another room is also a nice flexibility to have. Metal wheels are better than plastic. Keep in mind that this could be a potential danger as well, especially if you have other children in the home. They could push the baby crib themselves (i.e. down the stairs, up against a window or furniture). Make sure that the wheels have a good, solid locking mechanism. If the baby crib that you want does not come with wheels, you can always buy high quality wheels and install them yourself or have someone install them for you.
Convertible Crib: Baby Cribs that Convert into Other Things
Many baby cribs are designed to convert to a toddler bed, a bench, or even an adult daybed for later use. While this is a very nice feature to have with your baby crib, make sure that you like what it converts to. If it converts to a toddler bed, consider how long your toddler will be able to sleep in it. You may end up having to buy a regular size twin bed in a few years if you child outgrows the toddler bed. Also, most baby cribs with this feature require an additional kit to make the conversion. Be sure to check on how much this kit will cost you before making your decision.
About the Author
Sarah Holmes, Ph.D. quit her full-time job in order to stay home with her baby girl. She created www.BabyCribCentral.com as a free resource to other new moms and dads. Her site compares prices on hundreds of baby cribs from more than 20 online stores allowing you to find the beset price with a click of a button. Her site also offers lots of information about the different types of cribs as well as all sorts of safety information about how to buy and use your new crib safely.
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