Buying guide to Cribs and Bassinets
The walls have been painted in soft baby shades and the nursery furniture set is in place. Baby-print curtains, carpets and beddings give it that special look, but still there is something missing. The centrepiece of the room, the baby crib or bassinet completes the look of the nursery. Babies grow in their sleep, it is believed. A well-slept baby is rested, cheerful, and healthy.
Cribs and bassinets are designed keeping your baby’s total comfort and safety in mind. It gives the baby its own space to grow in the initial months of its life while keeping it snug and cosy. Cribs and bassinets have their own special features and uses. This buying guide to Cribs and bassinets will talk at length about all the important aspects of these pieces of baby furniture and help you make a wise choice.
Cribs and Bassinets
Although some parents, for the initial four or five months of the baby’s life, choose a bassinet, beside sleeper or cradle, the crib is ultimately what they have to transition to as they out grow these. The safest baby bed, the crib is meant to last all through your baby’s childhood. Thus it has to be long lasting and provide total comfort and safety. There are different types of cribs from regular, convertible and portable. However all cribs are not made the same, there are variations in terms of material used in its construction, the quality of mattress, the style and design and the built-in safety features.
Let us check out the different types of cribs and its features:Basic Economy cribs
Cheap, lightweight and minus any frills, these models are found at the lower end of the spectrum. A basic design made with low cost materials makes these models cheaper. Often the wood used is defective which is covered up with a paint or lacquer. These are often white cribs. They leg supports may not be too strong and crib might be shaky. There may be exposed brads or glue residues where the slats are joined to the rails. In these models, only one side of the crib can be opened. The metal hooks supporting the mattress often need tightening. However, they function adequately for a shorter period for a year or two.
Parents can find several sturdier and durable cribs in this price range. Plenty of options available here in terms of wood, wood finishes, structure and design. The slats are thicker, flat or round with smooth rounded edges. The end boards are also solid with a smooth finish. The mattress supports are sturdy with heavier springs. Design-wise, these cribs may feature single, double or no-drop sides. For mobility and stability, these models have lockable castors or wheels. A few models offer extra rigidity by providing a couple of metal rods that run across the two ends of the crib from underneath. No glue residue at the joints between slats and rails and no exposed brads make these cribs sturdy. For drop sides there is a grooved channel in both end boards. Some models even feature canopies, storage drawers and extra high posts.
Quite popular, the convertible cribs in this range, convert from a crib into a toddler bed, a day-time bed and a full-sized bed. Some of them later on convert to a love seat as well. However, you may have to purchase some supporting rails later on.
High end cribs are often imported from Europe and you can choose between traditional, contemporary, modern or chic, French colonial and Victorian styles to match with the style of your home. These can be single double or no drop sides models. Construction-wise these cribs have recesses into which the hardware is hidden, so what you see is just wood. Heavy weight metal frames and heavy springs support the mattress and also allow you to adjust it up to four levels. These cribs often feature richer finishes like burnished, glazed and hand rubbed. Some high-end convertible cribs with a fairy-tale style canopy are often sold as part of the nursery furniture package. Jenny Lind, Round cribs, Sleigh style cribs, convertible cribs and regular cribs with curved and hand painted end boards all fall into this category. Models handcrafted from wrought iron are also quite popular.
Being lightweight, the Portable Cribs are easier to lug around. These cribs are smaller in size than the regular cribs but resemble it in looks. With an easy sliding, single drop side, these cribs are easy to assemble, fold and store away and come with wheels and a mattress is also included.
Tips to bear in mind before buying a crib:
Look for cribs with simple lines and good quality construction. Too much artistry may cause accidents if the baby’s clothing gets caught into the design. Decorative knobs and corner posts are equally dangerous. Ensure that there are no sharp edges or protruding screws that can harm the baby.
Off late drop side cribs have pronounced unsafe by authorities and are being recalled.
Opt for new baby cribs instead of accepting a used baby crib from a friend. Older cribs may not meet new safety standards, may also have rusted or damaged metal parts due to excess moisture or heat during storage or rough use.
A loosely assembled frame will move when shaken. Rotate the slats to see how securely they are fixed to the railings. There should be no loose bars on a new crib. Move your hand over the frame to check for any uneven surfaces or joints which may be a weak point. Ensure that the distance between the slats are not too wide, you don’t want your baby getting his hand, leg or head stuck into it. The permitted space is 2.375 inches, lesser is ideal.
Check for proper mattresses. Some cribs may offer a mattress as part of the package, while for others you may have to buy them separately. Check out exact dimensions of the mattress and the crib. Mostly stores that sell cribs sell mattresses too. The mattresses for a full-sized crib should be at 51 5/8 inches long, 27 1/4 inches wide and 6 inches thick. A two finger space is permissible between the crib and the mattress.
Some cribs offer two to three mattress heights while others offer more. A higher level is good as long as the child is unable to get up on his own. A higher level also makes it easier for the parents to pick up the baby from the crib and put it back. Once the child has learnt to get up, usually around 6 to 8 months, the mattress needs to be adjusted to the lowest level for safety. Ensure that after the mattress is lowered to the last position, the distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the crib is 26 inches. Check how well the mattress is supported from underneath - by a one-piece board, a metal frame a grid of wooden slats, or just hangers that consist of a spring wire grid for adjusting the mattress height. The supports should not dislodge by a pet or a larger kid from underneath or while changing sheets from above.
Assembling a crib involves time, effort and labour. Are you geared to do it by yourself? If no, then request the store to send their assembly crew to do the job. This also permits you to check the piece and reject it if it is shaky or has any faults.
Cribs should have a smooth teething rails made of plastic on top. This protects the baby’s gums when he gnaws on the top.
Check whether the crib that you are buying will easily pass through every door in the home and fit in the nursery in terms of size, style and design.
Cribs with standard rollers wheels will go only backward or forward, while swivel and multidirectional ball wheels make it easier to transport the crib between rooms. However the wheels should be lockable so that the crib does not move.
Under mattress drawers are an integral feature in many cribs. These don’t use the crib frame for support but are supported on castors. Check the bottom of the drawer; it should be made of a strong fibre board material not a cardboard type sheet that will give away under weight. The wheels should also be smooth.
Designed for the initial 4 to 6 months of the baby’s life, bassinets are a type of small, portable baby beds that come with its own mattress and bedding. Bassinets can be free-standing with wheels for moving the bassinet around the house. Some bassinets have a rocker base or rocking basket. The safety features include meshed sides and padded top rails. As the bassinet is also designed to be carried out, it comes with a retractable canopy to protect your baby from sunlight. Few models also feature storage space at the base to store nappies and diapers.
Different types of bassinets:
Popular and portable, Moses Bassinets have sturdy carrying straps. Use them in the home, car or outside. Sturdy and durable, bassinets can accommodate a baby up to six months.
With folding legs these Wicker bassinets are also portable. It can also be put directly on the ground. Bigger than Moses Bassinets these are used mainly at home.
The Co-sleeper bassinets let you keep your baby besides you at night. Your baby can sleep in its own space while you sleep in your bed. The lower side of these bassinets attaches these co-sleeper or bedside bassinets to your bed.
Portable bassinets come with a canopy and have wheels for transporting it from one room to the other.
Part of a carriage baby stroller, Detachable bassinets let you take your baby outside the home in comfort. Fixed on a special stroller frame, the bassinet faces towards you so that the child and you both feel at ease.
Tips on what to look for in a bassinet:
A sturdy construction and a wide base will prevent the bassinet from toppling over by a pet or an older kid. The hood or canopy on the bassinet should be easily retractable. Ensure that the wheels, if any, move smoothly and are lockable. The mattress should be firm and should fit snugly inside the bassinet. Ensure that there are no rough edges that can hurt the baby or snag its clothes. Some bassinets have slats like cribs. The distance between two slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches. The locks and latches that support the legs in the folding models should be well designed, fit well and is secure.
Today, parents and soon-to-be parents are faced with a wide selection of cribs and bassinets to choose from. These are available in a wide range in terms of style, design, quality, features, and price making it slightly difficult to select one that is just right for your baby. Use this guide to make a wise and well-informed decision.
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