Buying guide to Cribs and Bassinets
A new arrival in the family is enough to make you go on a wild shopping spree. To welcome your baby into its home, you lovingly decorate the nursery. Walls are painted in soft baby shades, and you have items like curtains, carpets, bedding with baby prints all over the place. What about the sleeping arrangement? Have you figured in a baby crib or bassinet? 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 discuss the various aspects of these pieces of baby furniture and help you make a wise choice.
Cribs and Bassinets
Whether you use a bassinet, bedside sleeper or cradle for the initial four or five months, the crib is ultimately what your baby has to transition to as it grows bigger. 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.
Different types of cribs and its features:Basic Economy cribs
Found at the lower end of the spectrum, these are no-frills, lightweight models. 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. The 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.
With plenty of options, the cribs in this range are sturdier and durable. Choose from different 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.
Popularly known as the 3-in-1 and the 4-in-1 models, the convertible cribs 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. These may have a single double or no drop sides. Depending upon the style of your home, you can choose between traditional, contemporary, modern or chic, French colonial, Victorian etc. 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 popular.
Lightweight, these Portable Cribs are easier to lug around. These cribs, though much smaller in size, resemble their big brother 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:
The best cribs are those that have 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 reported been called off as they have been pronounced unsafe by authorities.
It is prudent to buy new baby cribs instead of reusing 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.
The distance between the slats should not be 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.
To check whether the frame is secure, shake the crib slightly. 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 crib you are buying will pass through all doors and fit into the nursery in terms of size, style and design.
Assembling a crib requires time and efforts and of course some amount of experience. Are you comfortable doing 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.
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.
Most cribs feature two to three mattress levels 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.
The smooth teething rails should be made of soft plastic on top. This protects the baby’s gums when he gnaws on the top.
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. Some cribs however feature standard rollers wheels that go only backward or forward.
Cribs often come with under mattress drawers. 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.
Small and portable bassinets are a type of baby beds with included mattress and bedding, and are designed for the initial 4 to 6 months of the baby’s life. 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:
Easily portable, the Moses Bassinets have straps for carrying. Use them in the home, car or outside. Sturdy and durable, bassinets can accommodate a baby up to six months.
The Wicker bassinets have legs that fold and can be put directly on the ground too. Bigger than Moses Bassinets these are used mainly inside the home.
Part of a baby carriage baby stroller, detachable bassinets are fixed onto a special stroller frame to let you take the baby outside without disturbing him. The bassinet faces towards you so that the child and you both feel at ease.
Bedside bassinets let the baby sleep next to you at night while your baby and you can have their own space. One side of the bassinet is lower than the other from where it attaches to your bed.
Portable bassinets come with a canopy and have wheels for transporting it from one room to the other.
Key factors to consider when buying a bassinet:
The bassinet should be stable with a sturdy construction and a wide base so that no pets or big babies can topple it over. The locks and latches that support the legs in the folding models should be well designed, fit well and is secure. 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. The hood or canopy on the bassinet should be easily retractable and detachable. Some bassinets have slats like cribs. The distance between two slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches.
Parents are really spoilt for choices thanks to the wide range of cribs and bassinets are available in terms of style, design, features, quality and price. This guide is sure to assist you in decision making, thereby making it simpler and easy to pick the right one that meets all your requirements.
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