Convertible Crib Buying Guide: Everything Parents Should Know
Your little one will soon be arriving, and you’re searching for the best crib to buy. You’ve settled on a convertible crib, but how do you know what features to look for? How can you be sure you’re buying the right one for your baby?
Our experts at Newton Baby are here to ease your mind with our top tips for buying the best convertible crib.
Today, you’ll discover what exactly a convertible crib is (and the different types), what to look for to make sure you’re selecting the right one for your needs, and how to keep your baby safe while they snooze.
As a cherry on top, we’ll also provide a few tips for helping your toddler get used to the idea of sleeping in a big kid bed. That moment will be here before you know it!
Let’s start with the basics: What is a convertible crib?
What Is A Convertible Crib?
Convertible cribs are a popular choice among parents since they’re incredibly cost-effective, allowing you to alter the setup of the crib to suit your needs as your little one grows.
So instead of growing out of their bed, they’ll actually be growing into it!
How Long Are Cribs Used?
Little ones grow fast, so before you know it, your baby will be a toddler in need of a bigger bed. Generally speaking, children will sleep in a crib until they’re around two to three years old. After that, they’ll be ready to transition into a toddler bed.
Exactly when you make the switch depends a lot on your child, but it’s typically sometime between 18 months and three and a half years. How will you know it’s time?
First and foremost, if your little one is starting to climb out of their crib, this is an indication that it might be time to upgrade their crib to a bed.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision:
- Is my child capable of climbing out of the crib?
- Are they too big for the crib?
- Is their chest above the crib rail when standing?
- Is my child asking to sleep in a “big kid” bed?
- Is my child mature enough to stay in bed?
Just keep in mind that every child is different. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo as a parent, it’s your first time making the transition with this particular child. Don’t worry if they don’t follow the same timeline as your first child.
Different Types Of Convertible Cribs
Convertible cribs often come with a toddler rail that can be attached to the side of the crib after it’s transformed into a toddler bed. This helps your little one feel safe and secure, without the risk of rolling out of bed as they adjust to this big change.
Once they’re ready, the rail can be removed, and the crib can be transformed once again to become a full-size “big kid” bed.
If you’re considering a convertible crib, you should know that there are multiple types. At the very least, every convertible crib (from 2-in-1 cribs to 5-in-1 cribs) converts from a crib to a toddler bed.
A 2-in-1 offers the very basics. Meanwhile, our 3-in-1 Convertible Crib offers three settings from infant through toddler, changing from a crib to a toddler bed with or without a rail.
A 4-in-1 convertible crib can go from a crib to a toddler bed to a headboard for a twin or full bed, depending on the model. Meanwhile, a 5-in-1 typically offers all of that plus a footboard for the twin or full bed. That’s a lot of use out of one bed!
Since standard cribs will be used for two to three years maximum per child, you can see why many parents choose convertible cribs to get more mileage out of their purchase.
Are there any cons to convertible cribs? It all depends on your family and lifestyle. For example, the longevity of a convertible crib is one of the positive aspects. But, for some families, this could be a drawback if they want to switch things up every few years.
If you’re working with a small nursery, a potential drawback of starting with a convertible crib is that they are standard-sized cribs. To save space, you may want to opt for a mini crib for the time being.
Those are two examples of possible drawbacks of convertible cribs. But, as you can see, it all depends on your situation and preferences!
If you’ve settled on a convertible crib, let’s take a look at the features to keep an eye out for when shopping to ensure you choose the perfect option for your rapidly growing little one.
Choosing The Right Convertible Crib
1) Check For Recommended Safety Standards
The most important feature to look for when shopping for your new convertible crib is that it meets current national safety standards.
This means ensuring that your crib was made after 2011, as this is when safety standards were updated to remove drop-side rails, which can be potentially hazardous.
It’s also important to make sure your crib has a safe distance between slats, as well as no cutout designs in the headboard or footboard. Wide gaps between slats and cutout designs can easily spell trouble for a curious baby.
The recommended safe distance between crib slats is no more than 2 ⅜ inches, so be sure to double-check that your crib meets those requirements.
To take the guesswork out of purchasing a convertible crib, we created our own to ensure it meets each of the strict safety standards mentioned above.
Our range of Convertible Cribs is made from durable, high-quality, and sustainably sourced beech wood guaranteed to last. Each crib is crafted in a woodworking shop in Italy with a reputation for building quality wood furniture since 1932.
They’re made with state-of-the-art production technologies by a team of skilled safety specialists who maintain strict control over the entire manufacturing process.
Plus, rest assured that these cribs exceed U.S. standards with durable, sustainably-farmed solid FSC beech wood and non-toxic finishes.
In addition, our convertible cribs come with a toddler rail to make the transition out of the crib phase even easier. From infancy to toddlerhood, we’ll be there with you through it all.
2) Select GREENGUARD Certified Products
When you think of health and safety, your mind probably jumps to bumps, falls, entanglement, and the like. But it’s important to think about your indoor air quality, too!
Have you ever heard of off-gassing? It’s what happens when manufactured products let off chemicals into the air. Sometimes, you’ll get a whiff of off-gassing when you bring home an item that lets off that “new car” smell. But other times, the chemicals don’t smell at all.
All sorts of products can off-gas, including your baby’s mattress and crib. And, as you might have guessed, the chemicals that are released aren’t very good for you. Effects of breathing those chemicals range from dizziness to respiratory difficulties and organ damage.
We think it’s better not to mess around with it. Instead of taking the risk, select GREENGUARD Gold-certified products, like a non-toxic mattress and crib.
When a product boasts this certification, it means that it has undergone rigorous scientific testing for over 10,000 chemical emissions and VOCs, receiving the highest standard of safety.
All Newton products are GREENGUARD Gold certified and made with the safest materials to contribute to cleaner indoor air and a healthier environment for your baby to sleep. Read more about GREENGUARD certification here.
3) Look For Height Adjustability
Another key feature to look for in a convertible crib is platform adjustability.
This allows the height of your little one’s crib mattress to be adjusted as they grow, which is particularly important when it’s time to transition to their toddler bed.
Once your baby is able to sit up in their crib, it’s time to consider lowering it. Soon enough, they’ll be standing up in the crib, so it’s key to keep adjusting the mattress height to suit your little one’s ever-changing abilities.
4) Ensure The Crib Mattress Is Safe, Too
Convertible crib safety isn’t just about the crib itself — it extends to the crib mattress and even the crib sheets (more on that later).
To ensure your baby’s crib mattress is safe, you’ll want it to be firm, breathable, and fit snugly inside the frame of the crib.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers down the side of your crib mattress once it’s sitting inside the crib. This guarantees that your little one won’t be able to wriggle into any gaps.
Our Essential Crib Mattress fits like a glove inside our convertible cribs (and any other standard-sized crib, for that matter).
Also, our Wovenaire® Core makes this mattress 100% breathable, allowing your little one to breathe easily even if they roll onto their tummy. That gives you peace of mind while they snooze.
Our unique Wovenaire design is free of foam, glue, latex, and springs, offering just the right amount of firmness to provide comfort while keeping your baby safe. So what is it made from? Well, mostly air.
A whopping 90% of this mattress is air, and the other 10% is made from the same material as yogurt cups.
Our Crib Mattress is 100% breathable, and it’s also the only crib mattress that’s 100% washable from cover to core. To wash the cover, unzip and remove it, then wash it on a cold cycle with mild detergent. After, dry it on a low heat setting in the dryer.
As for the core, it’s as simple as placing it in the shower and giving it a rinse with soap and cool water. Shake off the excess water and allow it to dry in a well-ventilated area.
5) Opt For A Neutral Color Scheme
Since your convertible crib will be used for many years to come, it’s important to select a color scheme that your little one won’t outgrow.
While it might be tempting to purchase a bright, bold crib in a colorful shade, chances are you’ll want to change the theme or appearance of your child’s room at some point, and the crib color you once loved might not be your favorite by then.
Instead, choose a simple, neutral color such as gray, white, or tan that will allow you to style and restyle your baby’s room without any colors clashing.
Neutral colors are timeless, giving your little one’s room a classic feel. Plus, you can always add splashes of bright hues through your choice of accessories, like wall hangings and toys. If you’re in need of nursery design ideas to get your creative juices flowing, click here.
With the perfect convertible crib in your baby’s nursery, all that’s left to do is put your little one to sleep. Let’s discuss a few tips for safe sleep.
Tips For Safe Sleep In A Convertible Crib
1) Follow The “Bare Is Best” Approach
Whether your little one is sleeping in a convertible crib or a standard crib, there’s one rule that remains the same — bare is best.
That means no excess bedding (like blankets or pillows), no toys, and no crib bumpers.
These items can easily pose a suffocation hazard to a sleeping baby, so make sure the crib is completely free from anything besides a mattress, a snug fitted sheet, and your little one. Since blankets are a no-no, wrap your newborn in a swaddle and put your older baby in a sleep sack.
If you aren’t sure how to go about wrapping your tiny one like a burrito, check out our article here to learn about the benefits of swaddling and read step-by-step instructions.
All you’ll need are your two hands and a swaddle blanket, like our ultra-soft Organic Swaddle Blankets. Made with GOTS-certified organic muslin cotton, these swaddles are 100% breathable to help regulate your baby’s temperature and reduce the risk of overheating.
Use these versatile blankets as swaddles, breastfeeding covers, burp cloths, or tummy time mats.
2) Choose Comfortable, Breathable Bedding
Speaking of putting a snug fitted sheet on your baby’s mattress, it’s crucial to only use crib bedding that’s tight to the mattress to avoid any danger to your baby.
Our Organic Cotton Sheets are designed to fit over any standard-sized crib mattress, so you can rest assured your little one is safe when they’re sleeping on Newton Baby sheets.
The all-around elastic secures the sheet, while the soft, organic cotton muslin keeps your baby comfortable throughout the night.
Just like our mattresses, our fitted sheets are made to allow maximum airflow. This means your little one can breathe easy and regulate their body temperature for a restful sleep each time you lay them down.
Choose from several patterns and solid colors to jive with your nursery decor.
3) Always Put Your Baby Down On Their Back
One final note — remember to always put your baby down to sleep on their back. This technique is proven to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies.
Side-sleeping or tummy-sleeping is fine for older babies and toddlers, but until your little one is able to roll over by themselves, sleeping on their back is the only way to go.
We’ve already mentioned a few of the other key safe sleep practices (such as keeping the crib bare and checking the fit of the mattress), but you can read a full article here.
4) Consult An Expert
Last but not least, don’t hesitate to consult a baby sleep expert with any questions or concerns you might have! A sleep consultant can provide education on sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits and help you get your baby to sleep through the night.
With a Newton online Sleep Consultation, you’ll receive one-on-one attention from a top certified sleep consultant to give you the personalized support you need.
How do you know if you would benefit from a Newton online Sleep Consultation? Maybe you’re feeling frustrated with sleep training, have struggled to establish a healthy sleep schedule, or are in the throes of a sleep regression. A sleep consult is for you.
You can also benefit from a session if you simply have questions about safe sleep practices, naps, night wakings, and bedtime routines.
For all of these instances and more, a sleep consultation could be beneficial for you and your child, whether you have a newborn or a four-year-old!
Preparing Your Child For The Toddler Bed
Babies grow right before your eyes. If you’ve chosen a convertible crib, you’ll be converting it into a toddler bed in no time.
As you get ready for the switch, start prepping your toddler. They’ll probably adjust better if they’ve had time to get accustomed to and excited about the idea!
Before we wrap up, we’ll leave you with a few ideas to help your little one prepare.
Talk About Beds
It might sound silly, but you can begin simply by talking about beds — the bed that you and your partner sleep in, their older sibling’s bed, and even your dog’s bed! Mention the change from the crib to a toddler bed and ask your little one what they think about it.
Read A Book
In addition to bringing it up in conversation, read a book about the topic. Or simply make up your own bedtime story about sleeping in a big kid bed.
Let Them Choose
Get your little one involved in the switch by letting them choose their new bedding. A shopping spree with your two-year-old might not sound like your cup of tea. But it doesn’t have to be a long process!
Consider a quick expedition to pick out sheets, a blanket, a pillow, or a new stuffed animal.
Remember to make only one big change at a time. When your child graduates to a toddler bed, keep their nighttime routine the same and, if possible, make the switch when the rest of their life is stable.
Sweet Dreams For Years To Come
Convertible cribs are a fantastic sleeping option for your little one, particularly if you’re looking for a cost-effective choice that will last them well into their childhood.
By following our expert tips — from ensuring your new crib meets recommended safety standards, to choosing a neutral color scheme that will remain timeless — you’ll be able to find the perfect convertible crib for your baby.
For options that check all the boxes, our range of Convertible Cribs combined with our Essential Crib Mattress will keep your little one safe while they snooze, nap after nap. Firm, breathable comfort combined with durable design equals one happy, healthy baby!