Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crib Buying Experience

Well, it happened. Little one rolled over! She only managed to do this once but since she is getting so tall and has pulled off rolling over once we have to move her from the bassinet to the crib. We were hoping to wait until we moved to buy and build her crib, but how can we be upset when this means she is growing so quickly, reaching her milestones and healthy?

We set out to find a good crib for a good value. Our main concern was safety. However we quickly discovered that most cribs sold in the U.S. are identical in terms of safety. There are laws regulating everything down to how far apart the cribs slats may be, what finishes can be used on the wood and how thick the wood has got to be. Dropsides are pretty much gone since the last round of recalls. Occassionally some clever sales person tried to upsell us to a more expenssive brand or somethign we did not like by telling us that other brands we were considering have had recalls in the past. Well, here's the thing. Any crib manufacturer that has been around for more than a few years has likely had a recall or two. When dropsides were outlawed they were pretty much being made by EVERY crib manufacturer so everyone had a recall. Don't trust what some slaes person tells you. Look at each company and their individual safety record. WHY did things get recalled and how responsible was the company about it? We used that as our major measure for company reliability.

Another thing to consider is that while most cribs convert to toddler beds, the conversion kits are sold separtely. So don't think you are getting a great bargain with a convertible crib. You will still have to pony up more cash later, plus if you want to have more kids it is likely you will just move the toddler to a regular bed and use the crib for the next kiddo.

What do you get for more money? More embelishments like swirly sides or engraved scrolls (I am not a fan of these). Sometimes a bit of thicker wood and more color options. As it happens, color was a big factor for me. I did not want any painted wood - white and blacks. I wanted a nice cherry finish or natural wood. There are also organic cribs out there that use more natural finishes to treat their wood.

Some stores feature full matching rooms - changing tables, dressers and armoires all matching the crib. I was not interested in this. Regular adult furniture is often the better value. You'll get it for cheaper and you can continue to use it later in life when the child has grown up or in a guest room.

We ended up going with a  great floor sample from a smaller store. These stores usually carry higher line/specialty cribs and not national brands since they cannot compete with chains on less expensive brands like Graco. Their floor samples are immaculate. They keep them dusted and polished and paretns are not really allowed to bang them up much when browsing. In large chain stores floor samples can be a disaster - they are so beat up and nicked since no is watching them as parents poke and prod them. Parents in Babies R Us were little picking up and dropping cribs. Now, I can see wanting to feel the wood and give it a good shake. But do you really think your baby or any of your other children are going to physically lift up the crib and drop it?? The store even threw int he conversion kit, although I doubt we'll use it.

We are seriously cramped, but the new crib looks great. We're going to put Little One in it tonight. I hope she likes her new home! Want to see some of the cribs we seriously considered? Simply click onthe images scattered through this post.


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