Unlike standard cribs, many mini cribs are designed with portability in mind. Especially when your baby is very young, you’ll likely want to be near him or her during naptime. Instead of feeling chained to your room, look for a lightweight mini crib that can be easily moved from room to room. Many mini cribs are equipped with wheels for exactly this purpose. Just be sure the wheels have locks so your child can’t move the crib as he or she gets older.
You may also want the ability to take your crib with you in the car, or tuck it away when it’s not in use. If that’s the case, look for a mini crib that can be collapsed. Many will fold flat once the mattress is removed. This can be a great option for anyone who only needs a crib part-time (grandparents or nannies), or if you want to store the crib to save for your next child. Most cribs that can be collapsed are capable of doing so without any tools required.
Versatility and Adjustability
Depending on design, most mini cribs can be used until your child is one to two years old. If you opt for a convertible mini crib, however, you’ll be able to use the components for several years. Some mini cribs can become a mini daybed by removing one of the rails. Other models come equipped with a toddler rail or can even become a standard twin bed with the addition of a twin mattress. If you’re choosing a mini crib so you can avoid purchasing a bassinet plus a separate crib, then it follows that a convertible mini crib is a good fit for you.
Even if you decide a convertible mini crib isn’t what you’re looking for, you’ll want to make sure the crib includes the capability for different mattress positions. Look for a mini crib that allows for at least two, if not more, mattress levels. When your baby is a newborn, you’ll want the mattress at the highest level so he or she is easy to reach. Once baby can sit up, and especially when he or she can stand, you’ll want to move the mattress to a low position for safety.
Quality of Materials
Because your child may be in his or her mini crib from birth into toddlerhood, you want to make sure you’re purchasing one made from quality materials. Opt for solid wood if you can, and make sure that the mattress support is thick and sturdy. Some mini cribs also come with a metal mattress support for added durability. Remember that most mini cribs come with a 1” mattress pad, but you’ll probably want to purchase a separate, thicker mattress.
Another benefit of mini cribs is that many are more affordable than standard cribs. Most fall between $100 to $300, though there is a fair amount of variability. Mini cribs with multiple features, like collapsibility and wheels, tend to cost more than simple models, but they’re also more versatile. Convertible mini cribs aren’t necessarily more expensive than their non-convertible counterparts, and they provide a great value considering they grow with your child.
Who Should Consider a Mini Crib
A mini crib is a great option for any family, but it’s especially well-suited for certain applications. You should consider a mini crib if any of the following apply to you:
- You live in a small home or apartment: Mini cribs are an especially elegant option for small spaces. If a regular-sized crib feels too large for your space, or literally won’t fit, then a mini crib is the way to go. Babies can stay in them for longer than other options, like bassinets.
- You want to room-share: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies share a room with their parents for their first six months, and ideally a year. This form of co-sleeping is the safest option in those early days and allows you to easily attend to your baby’s needs. The challenge is that many parents can’t fit a full-sized crib into their room. A mini crib may allow you to room-share more easily and for longer.
- You have multiples: If you’re a parent to multiples or children who share a room, then you have to figure out how to fit multiple cribs and/or beds into the same room. Mini cribs can come in handy and won’t make the space feel as crowded as standard cribs.
- You have an at-home daycare: If you watch several children at your house during the day, then mini cribs can be an excellent way to handle naptime. You can fit multiple children into one space more easily than with standard cribs. Plus, many mini cribs can be collapsed when they’re not in use.
- You need an option for the grandparents’ house: Many mini-cribs fold for easy storage, so they’re an excellent option for applications where they’re not needed every day. If your child’s grandparents would like to have a crib at their house, a mini crib is a good option. Just be sure they know the latest safe sleep guidelines, and you’ll be all set for a night out—or even a weekend away.
- You think your child will transition to a bed early: Some children transition out of their cribs earlier than others. You might also have reasons to move your child to a bed on the earlier end of the spectrum—maybe she will have a little sibling coming along who will need the crib. Either way, because children don’t fit in mini cribs for as long as standard cribs, mini cribs are a great option for those who will move to a bed earlier.
Mini Crib Safety
It’s important to consider safety when choosing a mini crib, and equally vital to practice safe sleep once you have the crib. The following guidelines will help you create a safe sleep environment:
- Place baby on back: Babies who are placed to sleep on their backs have a lower SIDS risk. They’re also less likely to have their airways blocked than if they’re on their stomachs.
- Ensure crib is empty: Cribs should only contain a mattress and fitted sheet and be free of loose blankets, soft toys and other objects.
- Choose a firm mattress: The safest mattress for a baby is a firm mattress. Using one reduces the risk of suffocation or rolling.
- Check weight and height limits: Mini cribs tend to have lower weight and height limits than standard cribs. Transition your child to a standard crib, travel crib or bed once you hit this limit.