Having a child is a life-changing experience, and one which can sometimes feel a little overwhelming; even if it isn’t for the first time! Getting everything ready for the family’s new arrival can feel like a particular struggle – there are so many different things to buy, and they’re all important. One of the most significant decisions you’ll need to make, however, is one which needs to be made before the baby arrives: this is where your infant will sleep.
By far the safest and most common choice for newborns is a crib – a small bed for babies and infants, with barred sides to keep them safe and secure while they’re sleeping. Compared to the alternatives, cribs are the safest way for your baby to rest; but among the wide variety of cribs on the market, there’s an array of choice which can seem off-putting.
Happily, the variety and choice on offer mean that consumers who do their homework have more options – at lower prices – than has previously been the case. Among those options, one in particular stands out as a great choice for parents who are thinking about the long term: this is the convertible crib, which can be converted as the child grows, eventually becoming a full bed. Ultimately, of course, the best crib for you and your child will depend on your particular needs: do your research before you start shopping and you’re much likelier to be pleased with your purchase.
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|Graco Benton 5-in-1 Convertible Crib||56.7” x 29.8” x 42”||9.2 / 10|
|Delta Canton 4-in-1 Crib||54.25” x 43.25” x 35.24”||9.2 / 10|
|DaVinci Jayden 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit||58.2" x 31.2" x 49"||9.2 / 10|
|Dream On Me Violet 7-in-1 Convertible Life Style Crib||58” x 29” x 39”||9.1 / 10|
|Union 3-in-1 Convertible Crib||53.5” x 30.5” x 33.5”||9 / 10|
|Dream On Me Aden 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib||39” x 23” x 36”||8.9 / 10|
|Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit||54" x 29.8" x 35"||8.8 / 10|
|Thomasville Kids Southern Dunes Lifestyle 4-in-1 Convertible Crib||58” x 31” x 52.8”||8.8 / 10|
|Storkcraft Tuscany 4-in-1 Convertible Crib||54.2” x 33” x 43”||8.8 / 10|
|Graco Freeport 4-in-1 Convertible Crib||55.2” x 22.8” x 42.1”||8.6 / 10|
|DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible Crib||54.75” x 30.375” x 41.375”||8.4 / 10|
Convertible cribs are a relatively recent innovation in the children’s furniture market, but they are a development which builds upon more traditional designs. For a long time, the most basic choice faced by people shopping for a crib was that between fixed sides and drop sides. Cribs with fixed sides are stable and secure, but can be awkward to use – lowering a sleeping infant into a fixed crib with high sides is logistically tricky, and getting them out again can prove more difficult still. On the other hand, drop side cribs are much easier to use, but the introduction of moving parts and collapsible sides means they’re a lot less safe than the fixed alternative. Classic drop side cribs are now deemed fundamentally unsafe, and so should be avoided, but drop-gate side cribs (which have a single folding wall) are a safer alternative which are still easier to use than fixed side models.
An increasing number of cribs are now available with attached wheels for increased mobility, introducing a second choice for crib shoppers: portable or static. Portable cribs are appreciated by parents and carers because they fit with the reality of raising children – that as they grow, their needs and routines will change. Being able to move the crib about your home can make a huge difference to childcare, especially at times when sleeping patterns are in flux. Static cribs lack the mobility and versatility of portable models, but there’s always a trade-off: static cribs are simply the safest option, presenting the least risk of anything going wrong. They’re also likely to last the longest, making them most suitable for use by more than one child over time.
Convertible cribs are the most recent style of crib to become widely available on the market, and they’re aiming to strike the same balance between safety and convenience as their competition. Convertible cribs most commonly look like fixed side static cribs when assembled, which would make them a safe and secure but not particularly versatile choice. In fact, convertible cribs are surprisingly flexible: this is because they can be converted as the child gets older, growing as they do to eventually become a full-sized bed. Many convertible cribs can also be converted to one or more intermediate sizes along the way to becoming a full bed: a 4-in-1 convertible crib might become a toddler bed, and then a daybed, before finally transitioning into a full bed. 3-in-1 cribs, meanwhile, can be converted to a daybed on the way to becoming full-sized. Be aware that these conversions will require some amount of labor on your part, although the best-made examples should be straightforward to convert. Convertible cribs may lack the mobility of portable cribs, but they more than make up for this with their increased flexibility, making them a great choice for any parent thinking about their baby’s future.
The basic purpose of any crib is to keep babies and infants safe while sleeping, and it’s something most cribs are very good at. Although both Moses baskets and bedside sleepers have enjoyed periods of popularity as infant sleeping aids, questions have been raised over the safety of both – fixed side cribs, including convertible cribs, are widely held to be the safest option for newborns come bedtime. In the USA, there are a number of organizations involved in monitoring and regulating cribs and other children’s furniture: the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) work to ensure that cribs and other products meet a rigorous minimum safety standard, while the stamp of the Juvenile Product Makers’ Association (JPMA) is the gold standard for infant safety. Among other things, these bodies screen cribs for latex and lead, as well as numerous other chemicals potentially harmful to infants. A stamp of approval from any of these organizations is a good marker of quality and safety, so be on the lookout when shopping for your convertible crib.
There’s more to a crib then keeping baby safe, even if that is its number one priority. If you’re in the market for a new crib, there are a number of reasons to consider going convertible:
If you’ve decided a convertible crib is the right choice for your baby and you, there are a few important things to consider when comparing individual models.
The safety advice given here relates to shopping for and setting up a convertible crib. Whichever crib you purchase, and whether you assemble it yourself or with professional help, child safety should be kept in mind at all times and all good practice for sleeping babies should be followed.