Buying a baby crib is one of the biggest decisions we make as new parents. We want to make the best choices for baby and we’re all looking for ways to make these mega decisions a little more manageable. Think Differently About Kids gets it. That’s why we’ve compiled this list to help you make a solid, well-informed selection. Above all, your baby crib needs to be safe, secure, comfortable, and functional for both your and baby’s needs. You know you want quality, sturdiness, and uncompromised safety from the place where baby lays their head to rest at night. To help you get a clear picture of what your options are, Think Differently About Kids has compiled a list for you of the 5 best baby crib choices of 2021.
What Is the Best Crib For Baby?
The best baby crib is the crib that serves your unique and individual needs, for both little one and parents. Maybe you’re co-sleepers looking for the best bedside crib, sleep training parents looking for the perfect nursery crib for overnight stays, or parents-on-the-go who need the best travel baby crib to keep their precious cargo cozy while away from home. Each baby and parent have different needs in these categories, but everyone can agree on one across the board factor, safety. All the baby cribs represented in our list today have superb safety ratings. Always research safety ratings on your own as well, so that you can rest assured that baby will sleep safe and sound no matter what type of crib is best suited to your needs.
What Are the Safest Cribs for Babies?
Safety first! As promised, every baby crib on this list has an outstanding safety rating, or it just wouldn’t be here. That begs the question, what makes a safe baby crib? Before we dive into the list, there are quite a few details to consider in choosing a safe crib. Here are a few important factors to take into consideration when choosing a the best baby crib for your family.
Are Drop-Side Cribs Safe?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission finally, officially banned these dangerous cribs in late 2010. According to the U.S. CPSC regulations, they can’t be made or sold anymore at all. That means it’s unlikely that you’ll even encounter one while shopping for a baby crib today. Still, it’s important to keep in mind in case a well-meaning friend or family member offers you a hand-me-down in an attempted act of kindness. A drop-side crib is not a safe baby crib.
How Far Apart Should the Crib Slats be?
A safe baby crib should have slats that are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to keep little ones from crawling out or getting their heads stuck in between the slats.
Also, consider the construction material, or literally, what the crib is made of. In this case, the best baby crib is strong and sturdy whatever material is used.
Wood cribs should feel secure and there should be little- to-no flex in the slats.
Metal cribs should be free of sharp edges or points that could scratch baby.
You can also choose from many travel and portable cribs that remove the question of slats entirely by using mesh. The best baby crib, of any construction, is obviously one that conforms to CPSC and ASTM safety guidelines and meets or exceeds those standards.
How hard is it to put a crib together?
Another consideration is crib hardware. That’s right, all those little nuts and bolts that hold baby’s bed together. You’ll no doubt have to assemble that baby bed once you get it home and since loose hardware can lead to crib malfunction, you want to make sure that you choose a crib which has sturdy, tightly held hardware connections. This way you can be sure that nothing is coming loose and you’ll avoid the problem of an unstable, and thereby, unsafe baby crib. Be especially careful if you choose a convertible baby crib. All those configuration changes mean you need to ensure the that baby’s bed is safely connected each time you convert it.
How Should a Baby Sleep?
Remember, the above safety concerns deal with the manufacture and construction of a crib. Of course, there are also plenty of safe sleeping practices like a firm mattress rather than a soft one, and a tightly fitted sheet with no pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals to keep little one sleeping sweetly and safely throughout the night. Now that we have the basics of safety covered, it’s time to choose the perfect crib for your little one’s sweet dream space.
#1 Best Overall Crib
Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Drawer
Why We Picked It
If you’re looking for longevity and overall appeal, this stylish and sturdy convertible crib from well-known, everything-baby brand, Graco, is well priced for all that it offers, including the option of staying with baby from birth to double digit birthdays.
Style and Sturdiness
Available in Espresso, Gray, Pebble Gray, and White, this is a stylish, convertible crib selection that will easily suit any nursery decor. The crib features an adjustable height mattress to allow you to lower the mattress gradually as baby grows and it uses conversion sets to transition into a day bed and later on, a full-size bed. The crib needs a standard full-size crib mattress.
The Graco Solano 4-in-1 Convertible Crib does have one fairly genius touch, as well. The storage drawer underneath the mattress. If you’re an experienced parent, you know that onesies, blankies, burp cloths, fresh crib sheets, and the like, are always too far away when you need them. Graco solves that problem on this convertible crib by making use of that space below the mattress. Instead of being open underneath, you’ll find a neatly tucked away storage space that can hold anything you want to have on hand at bedtime.
Dimensions: 55.9 x 29.7 x 41.6 inches
Weight: 61.3 pounds
#2 Best Bed-side Crib
Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer Bassinet and Bedside Sleeper
Why We Picked It
Having baby bedside is an option that many nursing moms consider to be a game changer. This bedside co-sleeper offers baby a safe spot to sleep and easy nighttime access for parents who are nursing, comforting, or checking on a sleeping little one. This convertible crib that goes from bassinet to bed-side sleeper, offers the convenience of co-sleeping combined with the safety of baby’s own space.
Something many comparable bedside bassinets and co-sleepers lack is what makes the Beside me Dreamer Bassinet and Bedside Sleeper stand out from the crowd. The bassinet comes with straps to anchor it to the adult bed to make sure that wiggly little ones don’t slip into the space between the bedside sleeper and the adult bed. The bassinet can be adjusted to 6 different height positions, meaning it can be adjusted to work with most adult beds.
Style and Sturdiness
This bassinet is a part of Baby Delight’s Charcoal Tweed Family of baby gear. Other pieces include portable cribs and bassinets, so you can coordinate with other options from their baby line while creating a more streamlined style for all of baby’s sleep needs. This piece is designed for babies up to 5 months or 20 lbs.
The soothing glider feature is another one of this bassinet’s best assets. As parents we are always on the search for whatever magic will guide baby off to dreamland for a while so we can shower, eat, drink coffee, or just have a moment to catch our breath. The gentle gliding motion of the Beside me Dreamer Bassinet and Bedside Sleeper helps baby drift peacefully off to sleep while requiring minimal effort from tired parents.
Dimensions: 37” x 22.5” x 30.75”
Weight: 19 lbs.
#3 Best Travel Crib
The Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
Why We Picked It
For active parents who want the ability to be out and about with baby, the Lotus Travel Crib has no competition. Weighing in at just 13 lbs. packed and a 15 second set up time, are just a couple of the can’t-be-beat features that make this travel crib an outstanding choice. But what really makes it the clear winner for families who love to explore the world together is the fact that it conveniently folds into a lightweight backpack that can be carried anywhere, a crib trait entirely unique to the Guava Family line of baby gear.
The Lotus Travel Crib is ASTM certified and made of smooth, flexible, mesh that isn’t treated with flame retardant chemicals, phthalates, lead, pvc, or heavy metals. And because of that, it’s the only baby play yard style crib that bears the Green Gold non-toxic certification. Plus, aside from ensuring airflow for your precious little one, the best bonus of all that breathable mesh is the fact that the entire cover can be stripped off and tossed in the washing machine.
Style and Sturdiness
The clean, ultra-modern lines of the Lotus Travel Crib make it equally aesthetically appealing as it is versatile. Don’t let lightweight, pliable construction fool you though, the Guava Family reports that it can withstand 100 lbs. of force applied directly in the middle of the center bar with only a tiny bit of flex to show for it.
Trailblazing into new territory yet again, the Lotus Travel Crib features a side-zipper door. When open, it allows little ones in the crawling and toddling stage to feel like they have the choice to enter and leave the space (always supervised by a parent of course!) More than that, when baby has been lulled off to sleep by snuggles and back-patting from a close by parent, just zip up the side door and baby is safe and secure for sleep time.
Dimensions: 46” x 31” x 25.5”
Weight: 12 lbs. Unpacked or 13 lbs. Packed (as backpack)
#4 Best Mini Crib
Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Crib
Why We Picked It
The Delta Children Folding Portable Mini Baby Crib is the perfect choice for families in smaller spaces and for those who want the ability to be on the move with baby and gear in tow, or both! This classically-styled crib is versatile while maintaining a more traditional style and structure. The crib can be folded down flat to store when not in use or while in transit to your destination.
This portable mini crib saves space without skimping on safety. Delta commits to testing beyond industry standards. That’s why, like all of Delta Children’s cribs, it’s JPMA certified and meets or exceeds the CPSC and ASTM standards. Delta also tests their cribs to make sure they are free of lead or other toxic elements.
Style and Sturdiness
Sustainable New Zealand Pine is the wood of choice for this simple yet elegant crib. Choose from 5 different beautiful finishes in Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Grey, White, and Natural to ensure that this strong and sturdy piece suits both your decor and baby’s dreamtime needs. This portable baby crib also offers the option to grow with baby, allowing you to lower the mattress when your little one can sit or stand.
It’s almost hard to believe all that this crib can do. Not only does it maintain the look and durability of a traditional, full-size wooden crib, it easily folds down flat for storage and transport, plus, it’s on wheels. That means you can easily maneuver this crib around the house with you, keeping baby by your side at all times.
Another excellent bonus feature of this crib which only increases its value for the price? It comes with it’s own mattress. While many portable mesh cribs include a mattress, nearly all stationary, wooden cribs require you to purchase a mattress separately, which leaves you to search for the right fit for baby’s sleep safety. You won’t have that problem here since Delta includes their mattress with your crib purchase. Plus, the mattress slides inside the crib when folded for easy storage and transportation.
Dimensions: 40” x 25.25” x 40”
Weight: 34.9 lbs.
#5 Best Convertible Crib
Dream On Me Synergy 5-in-1
Why We Picked It
The Dream On Me Synergy 5-in-1 is well-loved by parents as a standout convertible crib. Coming from a company with 30+ years of experience producing quality baby products, it’s easy to see why parents love it.
Offering 5 different configurations from baby crib, to toddler bed, to daybed, to a full-size bed with or without a footboard, this convertible crib can be with your little one for years to come. The Synergy 5-in-1 does require a sold-separately safety rail for the toddler bed, and of course, you’ll need a frame on that far-off day in the future when you might consider making it into a full-size bed.
You might notice that the Synergy 5-in-1 is the only convertible crib on the list that can boast changing into both a toddler bed and a full-sized bed with framing options. With this bed, baby really has it all.
Dream On Me sets the bar high in safety. They have all of their products, including the Synergy 5-in-1, tested by 3rd party labs to ensure that they meet or exceed the standards to earn their mark as JPMA Certified and in compliance with CPSC and ASTM standards.
Style and Sturdiness
Dream On Me gives you more options than most with 13 different finishes to choose from on this New Zealand pine convertible crib. The Synergy 5-in-1 comes in a baker’s dozen of dreamy hues like Aqua Sky, Cool Grey, Emerald, Lavender Ice, and Mint just to name a few. With so many options, you’re sure to find the shade that perfectly completes your nursery vision. The solid construction offers the option of evolving through the years but also in the short-term with 4 different adjustable mattress heights as baby grows to sitting and standing.
While the mattress isn’t included and you’ll have to buy it separately, Dream On Me takes the guess work out of the process. While some manufacturers make no suggestions about which mattress will work best with their cribs, Dream On Me makes the recommendations simple. You can choose a full-size, non-toxic, Greenguard certified mattress from Dream On Me or from Evolur and it will fit the Synergy 5-in-1 perfectly.
Choosing the best baby crib for you and your family is a highly personalized decision of premium importance. Although safety is an across the board standard, the other factors included in our Best Baby Cribs of 2021 reviews will be unique needs for every single baby and family.
Think Differently About Kids created this list of cribs with babies and parents in mind. As we said before, the best crib for baby is one that is above all safe, but also tailored to your individual tastes and tendencies.
Families who trend toward the traditional might love the Graco Solano convertible crib best.
Still traditional but with a touch of travel? The Delta Children’s Folding Portable Crib could be for you!
A total trailblazer with no time to compromise on top quality travel gear? Check out our review of the Lotus Travel Crib!
Always remember to double check for product recalls with any baby gear purchase and to do all the research you need until you personally feel comfortable that you’re making the right choice for you and baby.
At Think Differently About Kids, we hope you’ve found this article useful and informative and we hope it’s helped to make this important decision a little easier on you.
Share your experiences and opinions with us in the comments below!