5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports puts cribs to the test

Posted March 1, 2012 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2012 8:30 p.m. EST

— For parents-to-be, finding a crib is a top priority, especially one that’s safe. Consumer Reports recently tested 14 cribs from $160 to $800 to see which ones are best.

"We tested them until we literally destroyed them,” said Consumer Reports’ Kim Kleman.

Testers inspected and measured cribs to make sure they met federal guidelines. They used a block to see if the slats were close enough so little arms and legs can't get trapped. Another test simulated a baby bouncing and jumping to see how the mattress held up.

While all of the cribs tested met government standards, the slat test did show some big differences.

"But the good news is you don't need to spend a fortune. We found two cribs that we recommend that cost $200 or less,” Kleman said.

One is the Graco Charleston Convertible Crib for $190.

“It converts into a toddler bed, so you'll likely get lots of use out of it,” she said.

Consumer Reports also recommends the Delta Venetian Convertible Sleigh 3-in-1 for $160. Testers say both of the recommended cribs were easy to assemble.

Due to safety concerns, Consumer Reports crib safety expert Don Mays advises parents not to buy used cribs or get hand-me-downs. If that’s the only option, make sure it doesn’t have a drop down side and that there are no loose parts or hardware. A used crib should be in perfect working condition and shouldn’t have any recalls.

If possible, Mays suggests buying a new crib. Parents should ignore stores’ elaborate bedding displays with all the blankets, quilts and bumper pads, because they can be suffocation hazards.

“The safest crib is a naked crib, just a crib sheet,” Mays said.

A crib should have simple lines, no scroll work or finials, because infants can get strangled if their clothing is caught in the detail work.

Also, the mattress should have a snug fit, and parents should not be able to get more than two fingers between the crib and side of the mattress.