Friday, May 11, 2012

Selecting a crib on a budget

Crib purchasing is one of those things that I'm picky about and make sure that I follow the recommendations on not buying used or a crib that is recalled (drop side cribs).  So I've been doing lots of research to see what the best one would be to buy without spending thousands of dollars and this is what I've concluded.

I have a book called Baby Bargains - mine's a few years old (2009) so not quite up to date - but it has some great information on what to look for, the history of different companies and it compiles parent's tested and true opinions on different brands of items.  Cribs is one of these.  One thing that surprised me - the brand Delta - which is a low priced crib sold at many stores - got a review of an F.  They said they used to recommend them as a good crib for grandma's house but with the history and number of recalls they've had, they no longer even recommend them for that use.  Needless to say - I scratched that brand right away.  BUT I know parents that have Delta cribs and they've worked out perfectly fine for them...  Also note that I believe Consumer Reports might recommend a few cribs from this brand, but I couldn't get their list so am not sure about that...(see below)

This book also recommended Graco cribs as the best budget crib - specifically the Lauren & Sarah models.  They gave LaJobi - the maker of Graco an A- rating.  They said they had a few negatives on Graco such as mis-matched screw holes but chalked it up to the start-up and think it's improved in recent years.

Also I of course consulted Consumer Reports to see what they had to say.  I don't have a membership so I couldn't get their recommendations on actual cribs, but I did get a list of the safety features to look for:

  • Basic is best-The safest cribs have simple lines and no scrollwork or finials.
  • If possible, avoid buying or accepting a used crib. Older models might not meet current safety standards or might be in disrepair. 
  • Pair the mattress and crib you plan to buy to make sure they're a good fit.  If you can place more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame, the fit isn't snug enough.
  • The slats in a crib or bassinet should be no farther apart than 2 3/8 inches.
  • Never use an antique or used crib or bassinet
  • Don't use crib bumpers-Your child can't hurt himself if he comes in contact with the railing, but he can suffocate in bumpers if he nestles his face up against it.
  • Don't use a sleep positioner or wedge
  • Inspect hotel cribs-  try to find out the make and model number before your arrival, so you can check whether it has been recalled.

I've done some of this research here in the last few days as we're looking for Baby #2's crib but of course I consulted the book that I had when we selected M's items & this is what we purchased for her:

Graco Lauren Crib

We have a Graco for her and have loved it so far, so we're thinking we're going to stick with that for Baby #2 too.  BUT of course we want a dresser and a chest of drawers to go with it, and do they ever come as a set?!?!  Yes-if you buy at $400-500+ for each piece.  Well I knew that I could get a set that would look just as nice together and spend less, but I'd just have to do a little research to find it.  For M's room this is what I got:

Sauders dressers in white : I got this dresser (not mirror), the chest of drawers and the matching nightstand.

We have loved it!  No they aren't anything fancy but the crib converts to a toddler bed (and full size later if you want to convert it) and she can use the dressers forever.  I am not one that wants to waste my money on a little 3 shelf changing table that has no use once your baby's are out of diapers.  I stuck M's changing pad on top of this long dresser, had room for my supplies beside it and she can get years of use out of it.  

However - the dressers have a million pieces to assemble!  It's not hard by any means - I did it myself as my then-5-month-old was playing beside me - but it did take me a long time and a lot of work.  The crib was easy to assemble however - I also did that and it only took me maybe 20-30 minutes while also being distracted by baby.  The dressers are good heavy pieces though and I really do think they'll last even though they're so cheap ( I got them on sale too of course!  How do you think I can afford to be a stay-at-home mom?  By being thrifty!!!)  :)  

So now I'm on to the search for Baby #2's crib.  I'm tempted to just get the same set as we did for M in the oak color but I think I'd rather at least have a different style crib...and I'm not sure I'm so keen and assembling those dressers again...  

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