Modern Crib Buying Guide: What To Know Before Shopping

Parents standing over baby in a modern crib

Choosing the right crib for your newborn can be a daunting task. There’s a lot that goes into picking the safest, most comfortable option. Don’t get discouraged, though. We’ve created this modern crib buying guide to help you decide.

But before we get to our shopping tips, let’s review some basic crib safety tips.

Modern Crib Safety

1) Avoid Extra Bedding

To make sure your baby’s modern crib is as safe as possible, avoid extra bedding such as:

If in doubt about what you can include in your little one’s crib, abide by the “bare is best” rule at all times.

This safe sleep practice ensures that when your baby starts rolling over and moving around, they won’t find themselves in a position that restricts their airflow (e.g., with their face in a bumper, tangled in blankets, or underneath a stuffed animal).

That’s why we at Newton Baby created a breathable mattress. Our mattresses put your mind at ease at night because you know your sweet baby is sleeping safely.

And if you’re worried about your little one getting cold, grab a pack of our swaddle blankets to keep your baby cozy, comfy, and safe all night long!

2) Avoid Off-Gassing

 Newton mattress for the modern crib

If you’re not familiar with “off-gassing,” you’re probably not the only one. Many people don’t know what it is, but it happens in all of our homes.

Off-gassing is what happens when manufactured items release chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Breathing in those chemicals can cause irritation, health conditions, and even some serious diseases.

If possible, choose a crib mattress that has low chemical emissions. How can you know that? Look for a mattress with GREENGUARD Certification. Even better, look for one with a GREENGUARD Gold Certification (like all of our crib, cradle, and bassinet options).

The Greenguard Certification Program tests the chemical emission of all sorts of products (not just mattresses). That makes it easier for you as a buyer to know which products have low chemical emission and won’t expose your family to VOCs.

When it comes to picking a safe crib mattress, look no further than our Crib Mattress! Our mattress is independently tested and certified for low chemical emissions to GREENGUARD’s Gold Standard.

For more information on off-gassing, check out this article from our blog: Mattress Off-Gassing: What It Is And Why It’s Dangerous.

3) Avoid Small, Sharp Parts

To avoid choking hazards, stay away from modern cribs with small parts that your baby could put in their mouth. It’s also important to check for sharp or pointed parts, especially on the inside walls of the cradle.

And be sure to position their crib so it’s not underneath curtains, blinds, or strings that could find their way into your little ones’ hands or entangle their body.

Modern Crib Buying Guide

 Nursery with modern crib

1) Safety And Width Of Slats

Modern crib manufacturers must follow strict regulations to meet standards that ensure the safety of your little one.

To make sure your baby’s crib meets (and, hopefully, exceeds) these safety standards, look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seal.

According to Consumer Reports, “JPMA certification seal means that a baby product has been tested by an independent facility and met the guidelines set by standards developer ASTM [American Society for Testing Materials] International.”

Always be sure to read the labels on the crib you’re considering and check for these specific labels.

Another big part of modern crib safety is the width of the space between slats. The crib slats should be no wider than two and three-eighths inches apart. If the slats are any farther apart than that, your baby could get a body part stuck in-between them.

Always pay attention to this measurement and check it yourself if you’re unsure.

2) Condition

Heirlooms are special and hand-me-downs can save a lot of money, but there are a few baby items you should always buy new. A crib is one of them.

When shopping for a modern crib, stick with one that’s brand new, meets current safety standards, and has all of its parts intact.

It’s also important to register your crib right away after you get it set up. If the manufacturer recalls your baby’s crib for any reason, they’ll notify you and offer a replacement, a warning, or a fix. If you choose a hand-me-down or used crib, you don’t get that level of safety.

3) Space

 Yellow nursery with two modern cribs

Before making a purchase, measure the space in your baby’s nursery where this piece of furniture is likely to go. Is there enough room?

Modern cribs come in two basic sizes: mini and standard. Mini cribs typically measure 24” x 38” inside the rails, while standard cribs typically measure 28” x 52” inside the rails.

You might find cribs with slight variations from these measurements, so always check the fit of your mattress before allowing your baby to sleep there for the first time. We’ll examine this more in the Modern Crib Mattresses section.

Mini cribs are ideal if your nursery is tight on space or if your newborn is sharing the room with other siblings. The downside of a mini crib is that your baby will outgrow it rather quickly — anywhere from 18 months to 24 months old.

Standard cribs are the first choice for many parents because their babies will get years of use out of this one piece of furniture. Many standard cribs even convert into toddler beds so that your baby’s sleep area can grow as they do!

4) Sturdiness

Before you buy a modern crib, test the sturdiness of the item by pushing on the sides and the inside. You can even give it a good shake to see if anything happens (nothing should).

If, after a push, pull, or shake test, the crib seems wobbly, you might want to consider another option.

If you’ve purchased a crib that seemed sturdy in the store, but now seems unsound, try dismantling the item and reassembling it again from the beginning.

Modern Crib Mattresses

 modern crib

Once you’ve chosen the best modern crib for your newborn, the next big step is deciding on which mattress to put inside. Your baby will be spending a lot of time there, so you want to get it right the first time.

Here are some factors to consider.

1) Fit

Any mattress should fit snugly inside the modern crib with no large gaps between the sides (slats) and the edge of the mattress). If there’s too much of a gap, your baby could get their arm or leg stuck there.

Not sure what too much of a gap is? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can fit two fingers between the crib frame and the mattress, it’s not a safe fit.

2) Breathability

Mattress breathability is one of the most important variables to look for when purchasing a mattress to go with your modern crib!

Breathable mattresses allow air to flow freely through the top, bottom, and sides of the mattress. In fact, the best breathable mattresses — like our Original Crib Mattress — are 90% air by volume.

With a Newton Baby mattress and sheet set, even if your baby turns onto their stomach while sleeping, they’ll still be able to breathe thanks to our unique Wovenaire® and Breathe-Thru technologies.

And because all Newton Baby breathable mattresses are made of safe, food-grade polymer, they’re also:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Free of biocides
  • Free of toxic fire retardants
  • 100% recyclable
  • Fully washable

That’s peace of mind you can’t get anywhere else!

3) Firmness

Another important factor to consider when shopping for a mattress for your modern crib is firmness. For newborns, infants, and even most children, the firmer the mattress the better. But firm doesn’t mean hard!

Most traditional crib mattresses are encased in non-breathable plastic to prevent your baby’s head from sinking into the mattress so much that it cuts off their breathing. While keeping your baby safe, the plastic wrap makes these types of mattresses hard and uncomfortable.

But what other options are there? Plenty!

We’ve created a firm and breathable mattress that keeps your little one safe and comfy throughout the night and doesn’t feel like they’re sleeping on a piece of plywood.

Test your baby’s mattress firmness by pushing down around the edges and in the center. It should require a fair bit of effort to make a dent. And when you release your hand, the mattress should spring back immediately into its normal shape.

The Best Mattress For Your Modern Crib

 Stack of Newton Baby crib mattresses

As a parent, you have a lot of decisions to make regarding your new baby. We want to make the decision-making process as smooth as possible for you with this modern crib buying guide.

When shopping for your little one’s crib, keep these points in mind:

  • Look for one that is new
  • Opt for durability
  • Avoid loose or dangerous parts
  • Choose the sturdiest option possible
  • Make sure the slats aren’t too far apart

And, remember, the only things that should be in your little one’s crib are a firm and breathable mattress, a waterproof mattress pad if you prefer, and a fitted cotton sheet...oh, and your baby, of course!

Once you’ve found the perfect (and safest) modern crib for your baby, shop Newton Baby for all of your safe sleep essentials!