Reviewed by Traci Johnson on August 01, 2014

Sources

Crib Safety Tips, Consumer Product Safety Commission. WebMD Feature: "How Much Sleep Do Children Need?" WebMD Feature: "Bringing Up Baby Organically."

© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

Ellie: Finding the perfect crib for baby among a sea of choices can be an overwhelming task!

Melissa: Don't worry, we'll help you sort through the options – step by step.

: (lullaby music)

Narrator : Did you know babies spend as much as 18 hours a day asleep during the first year of life? So it's important to look for a crib that is safe as well as comfortable. Be careful with hand-me-downs because safety standards change. If you do choose a used crib, go with a recent model. Measure to make sure the slats are no more than two and three/eighths inches apart; Avoid cutouts in the head or footboard that might trap baby's head – OR corner posts more than 1/16 inch high.; Check for loose brackets, screws or bolts – chipped or peeling paint – OR broken edges; Continue to keep an eye out for these on a regular basis as long as baby uses the crib.

Narrator: Next, decide on budget. Cribs come in a huge range of styles – and price tags. Resist the temptation to overspend. You may be style conscious – but your baby isn't!

Ellie: In fact, it's a great idea to think of the future before selecting this big-ticket item.

Melissa & Ellie: Absolutely! Keep in mind the size of the family – and the size of the house – now and further down the road. If space is an issue, choose a design with storage underneath.

Ellie : Some cribs double as bassinets – and are ready for babies as soon as they come home.

Melissa & Ellie: Other models convert to toddler beds. A few extra bucks may buy you years of use!

Narrator: Almost all cribs use standard, U.S-sized mattresses. It's important to purchase them new – and make sure they are firm. Some studies link softer mattresses to sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Used mattresses also contain dust mites and other potential allergens – unhealthy for newborns' delicate immune systems.

Melissa: Crib mattresses come in two types: foam and innerspring construction.

Ellie : Either choice is fine, as long as the mattress is extremely firm and heavy. It should snap back readily after pressure is applied and be as firm in the center as it is on the edges.

Melissa: Choose the highest quality you can afford, and protect it with a waterproof cover.

Narrator: Organic mattresses are a popular choice. There are two types here as well—wool with innerspring construction and natural—not synthetic—latex. Both claim to be hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial, and dust mite resistant. But do your homework, not all brands live up to the label.

Melissa: Of course, any mattress should fit snugly inside the crib – so snugly that you can barely fit two of your fingers in the space between.

Ellie: And those pillows may be pretty – but always remove them along with stuffed animals and decorative blankets or quilts when putting baby into the crib to avoid the danger of suffocation.

Melissa: Remember, safety first as you prepare for baby, step by step.

Melissa & Ellie: For WebMD, we're Ellie and Melissa, the Baby Planners

Subscribe to the Pregnancy & Child Development Newsletter.

Get essential updates about your growing baby and what to expect each week.

Sign Up