What Are Convertible Cribs?
Convertible cribs have been growing in popularity in recent years, but many parents are still unfamiliar with these clever baby beds. A convertible crib is designed to grow with your child. When your little one outgrows their need for a crib, the crib can be modified to become a toddler-safe bed. So, instead of getting rid of your crib when you’re done with it, your child can continue to sleep on a bed they’ve known and loved since the very beginning.
How Long Should Your Baby Sleep in a Crib?
Convertible cribs are great because they eliminate the need to replace your baby’s crib once they outgrow it. But how do you know when it’s time to convert your crib from its original configuration into a toddler bed?
Every child is different, but babies typically start to try to climb out of their cribs anywhere from around 18 months to as old as three years of age. Once these little escape attempts begin it’s time to start thinking about converting your crib into a toddler bed.
If your child is attempting to climb out of their crib, becoming too tall for the crib rails, or even asking to sleep in a ‘big kid’ bed, they’re most likely ready! This is also around the age that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends allowing your little one to sleep with blankets.
Your child’s individual development is a big factor here. Some kids will be mature enough to handle sleeping in a toddler bed, whereas others will still need a bit more confinement. If you’re not sure, hold off for a few months and reconsider.
What Kind of Convertible Crib Should You Buy?
If we’ve convinced you to buy a convertible crib, that’s great! There are a ton of options out there so here are three basic features to look for:
A Properly Fitted Mattress: Convertible cribs usually come with their own mattress, but the quality of these mattresses can vary quite a bit. To ensure proper safety, make sure the mattress fits snugly into the crib frame. You should NOT be able to comfortably squeeze more than one finger into the gap between the mattress and the frame. This will ensure that the fitted crib sheet doesn’t come loose and create a potentially dangerous sleeping environment.
Appropriately Adjustable Platform: The platform that your baby’s convertible crib sits on should be easily adjustable by an adult. This will make it easy to tweak the platform height as your little one grows. Keep a close eye on your baby as you make adjustments to see how they interact with their new sleep setup. You should also be wary of cribs that are too easy to adjust as your child might accidentally adjust the crib and create a hazard for themselves.
Made After 2011: What’s so special about the year 2011? That was when the American Academy of Pediatrics set new standards for crib safety. While it might be tempting to use an older second-hand crib, it’s simply not worth the risk to your baby’s health. You don’t have to purchase a brand-new crib, but make sure yours was built after 2011.