Baby Crib Features

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 25, 2022

During the first few months of life, your baby will spend up to 20 hours each day asleep. That’s why it’s so important to buy a crib that’s comfy and safe. Search for these features when you shop for cribs:

  • You don’t need the priciest crib. Safety is more important than the design or price of the crib.
  • Buy new if you can. If you do get a used crib, make sure it's a recent model year and check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's crib web site for recalls.
  • Avoid antique cribs, hand-me-down cribs, or cribs with drop-down side rails.
  • Measure the slats. They shouldn't be more than 2 3/8 inches apart so your baby can’t slip through or get a limb or head stuck.
  • Also measure the corner posts. They should be less than 1/16 of an inch high so your baby’s clothing won’t get caught.
  • Look for any broken edges that could cut your baby and cutouts in the headboard that could trap your baby's head.
  • Check for other dangers, such as chipped or peeling paint and loose or missing screws and other hardware. If you need to make repairs, make sure you use only hardware that comes from the manufacturer.
  • Buy a firm mattress to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). And remember, no bumpers or stuffed animals in the crib, just a simple fitted sheet over the mattress.
  • Make sure the mattress fits tightly against the crib frame. You shouldn't be able to fit a finger down in between them. The mattress should be able to adjust as baby grows. 
  • Never place your baby's crib next to a window. Blind cords, screens, and other window treatments pose hazards.

Show Sources


Consumer Product Safety Commission: "Crib Safety Tips."

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association: "Cribs."

Nemours Foundation: “All About Sleep.”

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