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What to look for in for your next baby crib

Mitch Avatar By: Mitch | Last updated November 24, 2022

white baby crib in a grey nursery


If you stumble upon this article, you probably want to buy a new crib, but you don't know how to pick the right one. Don't worry; we've got everything you will need to know to become a crib expert in no time... Well, maybe not an expert but at least you will be informed. Most people would simply go to the most popular and best-selling option in an online marketplace like and choose the top one on the list. While there's no harm in doing so, it is always good to know what to look for before you blindly follow the reviews that may, or may not be real.

Unlike any other furniture, there's a safety standard that you must know and follow when it comes to cribs. If you neglect your research on these criteria, it could have a harmful long-term effect on your child, or at the very least, leave you needing to buy another crib to replace the one you don't like. Some of these are a standard put in place by the relevant institution, while others are based solely on your needs.

With that in mind, these are ten features and specifications that you should consider before buying a new crib, as they are the biggest features/aspects of a crib that will make sure it fits you ( and your child ) needs.

1. Material of the crib

For regular cribs, the best material is certainly solid wood. A crib made from solid wood would generally be sturdier and last longer. Lots of companies choose to use compressed wood chips or particle boards to cut costs and lower the price of the crib. Using this kind of material in the crib could be dangerous for your child because particle board can be flimsy, and if your toddler starts to get active you want to know that it is sturdy and won't bend or sway. 

A baby crib has to be stable. No matter what the baby does inside, a good crib would not wobble. A crib made of solid wood would always stay balanced no matter what the child did inside. Most manufacturers would use New Zealand's pinewood, but other types of dense woods would be fine as well.


2. Craftsmanship

Other than what the actual crib is made of, the other thing needed to make a good crib is great craftsmanship. If you use great wood then that is a good starting point, but only as good as the joinery and carpentry used to keep it together. Don't get us wrong we aren't saying that a carpenter will be putting together mass-produced cribs, but you do need to have some quality assurance in the assembly and structure. 

This is where finding real-life reviews of cribs is worth its weight in... gold? We did test out a bunch of different cribs and found that the quality and structural integrity did vary a lot. And we were honestly surprised that a big price tag didn't always guarantee the best quality crib. 


3. Design of the crib

When it comes to cribs, the simpler the design, the better it is for the baby. Not because of aesthetic reasons but for health and safety purposes. The baby's clothing could be stuck into the crib's decorations, scrollwork, finials, or any other kind of ornaments. So while you might not be going for the modern design it might actually be a better option for your little one.

Basically, the more design, and things that are carved or poking out of the main structure the chance of interacting with them in a negative way increases. If it is just a flat side to the crib, it is very hard for your little one to catch their fingers in/on it. 

So while it might not be mind-melting as far as the intricacies go, it can be a safe option to have a basic design for your crib.

4. Mattress Quality

While most adults prefer a soft and bouncy mattress, for babies, the best mattress is a firm and fairly rigid one. The body of an infant is still sensitive and not fully developed yet. That's why they need a firm mattress that could adequately support their body. 

Most mattress for cribs is made from stacks of foams glued together by heavy-duty adhesive. As you can imagine, there can be a lot of chemicals involved there. So be sure to look for information regarding the chemicals used during the manufacturing process of the mattress. Some chemicals could be harmful to your child. 

This is one of the reasons that GreenGuard has become such an important certification, because if we can have a way to avoid our little ones interacting with chemicals on a daily ( or nightly ) basis why wouldn't we choose that as an option? 

5. A Water-resistant mattress

When it comes to babies, water or any other kind of liquid spillage is simply inevitable. Let's face it they are messy little monsters pretty much until they are 35.... With a regular mattress, the water would easily seep into the foam. That is dangerous for your child's health and safety. To prevent that, you have to wash and change the mattress with a new one immediately if you don't have a slip or water-resistant mattress. 

But with a water-resistant mattress, you can simply wipe it clean and let it dry for a moment. The whole process would only take a couple of minutes. This is one of the often overlooked features that have the potential not only to save your children but also to save your time. 

Also, keep in mind that this isn't a make-or-break feature, just a nice one to have, as you can always get a different mattress later or even a cover for the mattress. It is just something to keep in mind because if you can get a mattress like this included in your purchase we say go for it.

6. Adjustable mattress height

As your child grows, they will need a different height for their mattress. A newborn is usually fine with a higher mattress level that would allow the parent to reach the baby easily. For a toddler, on the other hand, it would be best to have a much higher mattress level. So really, the adjustability of the mattress height is to make your life easier, so please keep it in mind. We want your life to be as easy as possible, as we know your little one will be a handful.


7. Health and safety certification

Most of the features we talk about in this article have to do with the health and safety of a child. As I've mentioned before, you should be able to find the built-quality details based on the manufacturer's documentation or the customer reviews.

But when it comes to potentially harmful chemicals, the only way to know is through a health and safety certification. There are specific certifications that is often used in the industry, such as the Greenguard Gold certification, to indicate to the customers that this particular product has been through testing and evaluated regarding chemical emission. We briefly touched on this in one of the points above but wanted to include it as another section because it isn't just chemicals that can be certified.

There are many different ratings and certifications regarding garments and textiles that you can look into when looking for your new crib. So please make sure you do so that you have the peace of mind of knowing your little one is in the safest crib possible.

8 Size and weight of the crib

Despite the quality of the cribs, the weight and size are purely subjective based on your particular needs, and what you like. Some parents prefer a lightweight crib that is easy to move around, while others like a heavy and sturdy crib for added durability.

Some want cribs with small dimensions that could fit into a limited space, while others prefer larger cribs with more room for their child to move around. So before you buy a crib, measure the space you think you will be using the crib in, and make sure your purchase will have enough room in that area. 

You don't want to buy a crib only to find out it is too big for your area. 

9. Unique Features

Some cribs offer additional features, such as convertible cribs, which can be transformed into several other setups. Or travel cribs that can be folded into a portable, easy-to-carry-around setup for an easier way to move your little one around without disturbing them. Similar to the dimensions, the additional features are going to be specific to your wants and needs, so it is just a thing to keep in mind for your list of must-haves for your crib.

10. Pricing/Sales

When it comes to baby cribs, there's a wide range of prices to choose from. There are cribs that cost less than $100, while others can cost more than $1000. So before you go looking for cribs, it is good to set up your budget so you know what price ranges yo should be looking at. There is no point in looking at cribs that are triple your price point, as that is just going to waste your money. 

The only downside about cribs and their pricing is that there aren't really any times that there are going to be big sales on cribs. Sure there might be black Friday sales or special events, but there really isn't any end-of-the-year clearance for cribs, as people have babies every day. You might get a deal when it is the end of the year for a specific crib model, but sadly most parents won't be able to pick and choose when they need a crib to that degree.

So if you see a great deal for a crib, there is no harm in getting it as yo can store them in a cool and dry place, and there should be no ill effects on the structural integrity at all. 


We hope this list helped put some things on your list of what you want to get out of your first crib. It is an exciting time for you and your baby so it is something that you really want to get right. Your baby will, hopefully, spend a decent amount of time in their crib, so you want them to be comfy and safe.

And at the same time, you will be laying them down or picking them up so you also want to feel comfy and safe when doing these actions.