There are four basic types of cribs: Standard, Convertible, Mini, and Portable. Features vary by type, but here is an overview of the basics.
1. Standard Cribs:
- Some models come with a drawer to store clothing or bedding.
- Some cribs can be converted to a toddler bed.
- Most models include casters for easier maneuverability.
2. Convertible Cribs: also known as "lifestyle cribs" are perfect for longer usage.
- Convertible cribs come in either a 3-in-1 combination (crib, toddler bed, twin or full size bed) or a 4-in-1 combination (crib, toddler bed, day bed, full size bed).
- It is important to know that some models convert to toddler beds with out a conversion kit, while some models require a separately purchased toddler/daybed conversion kit.
- You will also want to check if the crib comes with a toddler rail guard or if you will need to purchase one separately.
- This also holds true for side rail conversion kits, some models include them, others need to be purchased separately.
- Most convertible cribs do not come with a storage drawer since they sit so low (however there are some exceptions).
- Usually, convertible cribs do not come with casters (here too some exceptions apply).
3. Mini Cribs: have many of the features of a full size crib without taking up a lot of space.
- They are great for apartments or smaller rooms.
- Most will convert to a twin size bed, but conversion rails are a separate purchase.
- Depending on the model, some have 2 or 3 mattress support levels.
4. Portable Cribs: are meant for short stay or infrequent use.
- Portable cribs are lightweight and easy to move.
- They have a lower baby weight limit (around 30 pounds) than standard or convertible cribs.
- May fold for easy storage.
- Are great at grandparents' house.
- Sometimes come with a thin, firm mattress (sometimes the mattress needs to be purchased separately).
- Typically offer two mattress levels.
Other features and benefits:
Wood Type: Look for cribs manufactured with solid wood and not pressboard or particle board. The main wood types are:
- Birch, Beech and Maple - Premium hard woods that are smooth and clean. Great for natural color.
- Marupa - Softer hard wood from South America. Dents easier than other hard wood, but works well with natural color.
- Rubberwood - Eco-friendly, mid-grade hard wood, also best when used with dark stain or paint.
- Pine - Nice looking soft wood. Tends to dent and scratch easier than the harder woods.
- Poplar - Another soft wood, but not as nice as pine. Great for use with dark stain or paint.
Finish/Color: Depending on the manufacturer, there can be anywhere from 1 to 25 (or more) different stain or paint finish choices for a crib.
Adjustable Mattress Support - All full size cribs include an adjustable mattress support with either 3 or 4 levels. This is important for it allows a parent to lower the mattress as your baby grows. Supports are typically metal springs or wood slats.
- The highest setting is for newborns. Once baby starts to roll over and sit up, the support should be moved down to the next setting.
- The middle setting is used until baby starts to pull himself up. Then the mattress must be moved to its lowest setting.
- At the lowest level, the crib rail must be a minimum of 26 inches from top of mattress when rail is raised, and a minimum of 9 inches when lowered to avoid a possible fall. It is advisable to remove casters to keep the crib more stable as a child becomes bigger and more active.
- Portable cribs typically have 2 mattress support heights.
Storage Drawer - Is usually available with standard cribs. Most slide on a track, pulling out from under the crib. A drawer is great for storing extra bedding, clothes or shoes.
Casters - Are wheels that offer easy movement of the crib, and stability when locked. Casters are usually available on standard cribs and should be removed once a child starts to stand and becomes more active.