Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to Choose the Right Crib

If you read Next Stop Baby because you enjoy the snarky posts in which I vent about commuting on the NYC city subway system, then this post probably isn't going to interest you.  If you're pregnant and putting together your first baby's nursery, this post is right in your wheelhouse.  I apologize to the individuals in the former group and I'll try to throw in some whiny comments here and there.

Size - A small space will immediately rule out a number of crib options, so this is an important starting point.  How big is the baby's nursery?  Are we talking about a separate bedroom or a corner of a studio apartment?  As the saying goes, you can't fit a square peg in a round hole, so take some measurements before you fall in love and click Confirm Purchase.  FYI, The "standard" crib size is 32" wide by 56" long by 43" tall, give or take an inch for each dimension.

Straight-up crib by Land of Nod ($699)

Shape - Rectangular cribs are the most common, but they're no longer the only option.  Nowadays you can get your new bundle a round or oval crib.  Fancy.  These non-traditional shapes are pretty cool and can certainly work well in unusual sized spaces.  Keep in mind that oval/round cribs require oval/round mattresses and oval/round sheets, which are harder to find and typically more expensive.  Traditional things are plentiful with varying price points.

Sleepi crib by Stokke ($756.47 on Amazon.com)

Circular crib by Sophia Posh ($442.99)

Toxicity -  Lead paint is an example of a toxic material.  If you're purchasing a new crib, then lead paint is not something you have to worry about (it's a pre-1980s type issue).  If you're getting a hand-me-down or going vintage, a quick lead test might be worth your while.  You can pick one up at your local hardware store or order one online.  Nowadays, more common toxicity considerations are volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Without getting too technical (because I don't have the expertise), it's important to know that VOCs are bad for your baby so they should be avoided.  Some cribs are finished with paint, wood stain and wood sealant that contain VOCs.  Before you freak out and throw away all furniture items in your nursery, home and the world, keep in mind that VOCs are only harmful if consumed (i.e. swallowing paint chips, breathing in wood stain fumes).  So, it's something to consider, but not something to lose your shit over (I say this as someone who's known to lose her shit over stuff like this).  Remember that there are stringent safety standards for baby products, so cribs that are readily available for purchase have passed those standards.  The great news is that more and more crib makers are building low VOC and VOC free cribs.  For more information and some reviews on these cribs, check out this fantastic post from one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love.

Convertible crib by Argington Sahara ($495)

Functionality - This consideration ties back into the most important consideration: size.  If you don't have much space to work with then you're going to want a smallish crib with lots of functionality.  Some cribs are elevated off the ground with space to store items under the crib, some cribs come with built in drawers and some cribs (like the one below) come with built in everything.  Apartment living requires furniture to be useful in more than one way, cribs are no exception.  Unfortunately, the greater the functionality the great the cost.

Studio crib by Nurseryworks ($2100)

Toddler Bed Conversion - Some cribs convert into toddler beds.  The conversion usually requires a little screwing and hammering, but nothing as serious as putting together a piece of IKEA furniture.  The benefit of a convertible crib is that you won't be making another bed purchase for while, which is noteworthy given how much money beds (and babies) cost.  A toddler bed can accommodate some children through age 5.

Larkin Fixed Gate 4-in-1 crib by Pottery Barn Kids ($799)

What were your considerations in choosing the right crib for your nursery and your baby?  Which crib did you go with?


Anonymous said...

We bought the Pottery Barn Larkin crib and bedroom set, and have had nothing but problems. The quality is poor as it is a low grade veneer finish which led to quick deterioration of the in-store look we were drawn to. We have also had issues with customer service as almost everything was backordered, and our frame is now discontinued so we cannot get the full conversion as shown on the website. For this price we should have shopped around more and bought something a bit more sturdy.

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