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Crib guide: How to choose the best crib for your baby

Crib guide: How to choose the best crib for your baby

Designing a nursery for your baby is fun and exciting. Not only are you creating a haven of tranquility that encourages your little ones to grow and learn, but you're also providing them with a cozy place that nurtures that sense of security. With that in mind, choosing the right crib is an important childcare choice you will make before the baby is born. You should know that a newborn baby sleeps approximately between 15 and 20 hours out of 24 and these moments of sleep are precious! With so many things to consider, you might wonder where to start. To save you time, we've compiled a guide that explores types of cribs, safety, and other factors to help inform your choice.

Crib basics

Honestly it's a real headache. Let's start with the basics. There are plenty of terms.

What is the difference between a bassinet and a cradle?

Bassinet standard NF 1466

The standard clearly explains “Intended for use when the child cannot sit up on his own or roll over or stand up on his hands and knees, maximum weight 9 kg” in general the bassinet is lighter and can be transported

Cradle standard NF 1130

The requirements apply to cradles with a maximum internal length of the bed base of 900 mm, intended to be used as sleeping places for infants until they can sit up on their own, stand up or get on all fours.

There are other less common terms: what is a bassinet, a swing, a cradle???

  • A bassinet is a wicker basket
  • A swing or rocking cradle is a cradle that has rocking feet to rock the child on the move
  • A cradle is suspended and also makes it possible to rock the child in motion as in the mother's belly.

Baby bed: After that it's easier

As soon as he can get up, we talk about a baby bed. In this case the main rule is that you need at least 600 mm of interior barrier without any intermediate support point.

What is a crib?

A cot is a bed specially designed for infants and very young children. Traditionally, it looks like a bed meant for older children and adults, with the addition of a slatted railing on all four sides, to keep the baby in place.

How long is a crib used?

The beds which depend on the NF EN 716-1 baby standard are used from 0 to 3 years old . That being said, the stage at which a child makes the transition to a toddler or twin bed varies widely. A sure way to tell when your little one is ready to move on is when they are noticeably too big for the crib and can climb outside with minimal effort.

When should you buy a crib?

Cribs are often purchased while the mother is still pregnant. If you are interested in a certain design or color scheme, some may wait until just before the third trimester when they know the gender. Parents are often encouraged to plan ahead, allowing time for furniture delivery.

Safety first

In the past, new parents made cribs from whatever materials they could find — hollowed out logs, pine, wicker and even papyrus. Fortunately in France and in Europe we nowadays have the most demanding standards in the world in terms of safety.

Here are some important points:

Minimum depth: The bed must be at least 60 cm deep without intermediate supports.

Spacing of the Bars : The side bars of a crib must be spaced no more than 4.5 cm and 6.5 cm. For what ? This spacing prevents the baby from slipping or getting stuck. Beds with cutouts on the headboard and footboard should also be avoided for the same reason.

A bare bed and that's it : There should be no toys, stuffed animals, pillows or blankets inside the bed with your child. The only bedding they will need is a waterproof mattress and a fitted sheet. Most parents find laundry day easier if the bedding is machine washable, and be sure to use a mild detergent that isn't scented so it won't irritate baby's skin. If your little one seems cold, use a blanket to warm them up.

Cords and ropes : Keep the crib away from windows, curtains, cords and anything your little one can pull. Hanging laptops are fine as long as they're out of reach.

What is the best type of crib

When deciding between different types of cribs, it's important that aesthetics aren't the only consideration. Below is a list of the most common cribs. Read on to find practical information on each, as well as their pros and cons.

Choosing the best crib

Standard cribs

If you are ever asked to imagine a crib, this will probably be the one that comes to mind. Sturdy and durable, standard cribs have a simple construction: 4 fixed sides with slats throughout.

Standard beds are ideal for parents planning to have multiple children because they are durable and come in many different designs, including those that feature two color tones, mixed materials, and colorful finishes.

Spindle beds, a variation of standard beds, feature interestingly designed slats, such as square, round, and rectangular.

Bottom Line: While they're a great sleeping solution in permanent homes, families who are constantly on the go might want to look for another option, as standard beds are large and difficult to transport between locations.

Mattress: The crib mattress should fit snugly, reaching every corner of the crib frame. If more than two fingers are between the bed and the side of the mattress, the mattress is too small.

Legacy: If your bed is second-hand, make sure it meets current standards. Check for stable hinges, as well as sharp or protruding parts. If it's wood, make sure the finish is smooth and splinter-free.

Convertible cribs

Also known as a "convertible crib" or 3-in-1 bed, convertible beds are quickly gaining popularity due to their ability to grow with your child. For example, some make a simple transition to a toddler bed, while others add a third stage and transition from a toddler bed to a daybed or a full bed, for s ensure it stays with your little one well into adolescence.

Convertible beds are often an ideal choice for parents who don't plan on having more children, or those looking for a long-term furniture solution.

Typically, these beds have a timeless design or a subtle color palette, which means you avoid a potentially dated look as your child gets older. Another advantage: convertible beds are the most cost-effective option in the long run, because you will only need this bed for the majority of your childhood.

Conclusion: If you decide to take this route, make sure you like the way it looks like you're in it for the long haul. Convertible cribs have a higher initial price than other alternatives, and minor manual labor (as well as a conversion kit) is required for each transition.

Bassinets and Cradles

One of the most versatile options for new parents is a bassinet. Ideal for the first few months of life, this type of crib makes it easy to keep an eye on baby as you lay in bed.

Due to their small size, bassinets are a wonderful solution for apartments and lofts, too. They don't take up much space and are easy to move from room to room.

Some even go back and forth, which helps your new addition fall asleep during naptime.

Conclusion: While a solid choice as a short-term sleep solution, bassinets have a limited lifespan. It is recommended that once the baby is 3-6 months old, or rolling over, parents move them to a larger crib.

Travel Cribs

Does your family's lifestyle mean you're away from home a lot? Take a travel cot into consideration. Not only is the crib type great for vacations (they can be packed up and taken on the plane), it also works for shorter weekend trips to Grandma's house.

Travel cribs tend to be very soft and lightweight, often with mesh or aluminum construction. Most also come with a stuff sack for added convenience.

Another bonus: they're known for fast setup times, with some being ready to go in less than 30 seconds.

Conclusion: Like bassinets, travel cribs are not recommended as a permanent sleeping solution. In addition, they are prone to wear and tear due to their make-up.

Choosing a good crib is a huge decision. Not only is it the base of the nursery, it also keeps your new addition safe as they snooze away. Once the choice is made, look for gliders, dressers, changing tables and other complementary pieces of furniture that help create a cohesive look. Do you already have the crib you love?