The Best Baby Crib

delta canton 4-in-1 crib

Considering a newborn sleeps as much as 16 hours a day, buying a crib is probably one of the biggest decisions expectant parents can make.  I’ve done weeks of thorough research and decided that the best crib for your newborn is the Delta Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib available on Amazon.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and obsessing about which crib to buy.  There are even more consumer reports and review sites floating around now as there were back then, and this review should help you save some time and make your crib-choosing process as stress-free as possible.

In addition to talking to other moms who have bought a crib in the last year, I also turned to sites such as The Bump, Consumer Reports, and Parents.com. Since it’s been over a year since my youngest slept in a crib, I also visited Babies ‘R Us and Target to see cribs in person. Frankly I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices and options for baby cribs; hopefully my findings will help streamline what could be an otherwise exhausting search.

There are several big-name brands in the nursery furniture industry:

  • Graco
  • Delta
  • Childcraft
  • Stork Craft
  • Imperial
  • DaVinci
  • Sorelle
  • Imperial

You’ll also find hundreds of other smaller brands from high-end designer labels to more obscure imports that cut costs and features. Depending on where you’re shopping you’ll find limited selections; in my opinion Amazon is the best source to find the widest variety of makes and models. If you have Prime account you can also get free, fast shipping on an item that would normally carry high-cost shipping charges.

Big box stores – especially those that cater to parents – tend to mark up their nursery furniture, but buying in-store also allows you to see and touch what you’re buying before you get it home.  If you are concerned about the crib dimensions this may be the way to go, as it will help you get a good visual on where your baby will be sleeping.

Sleeping in Style

Believe it or not, there are more than a handful of crib styles based on the different options you’re looking for.

Full-Size Cribs: Standard dimensions will vary slightly across the board, but these are your most basic and most widely available cribs.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that this style crib “has interior dimensions of 28 ± 5/8 inches (71 ± 1.6 centimeters) in width x 52 3/8 ± 5/8 inches (133 ± 1.6 centimeters) in length.” Convertible cribs also fall into this category.

Convertible Cribs: This style is perhaps the most economical and versatile choice for the money. Models include 2-in-1, 3-in-1, or 4-in-1 variations, and can be converted from crib to toddler bed to day bed to full size bed.  Theoretically it could be the only sleeptime furniture your child needs until they leave for college if it remains structurally sound through bed-bouncing and sleepovers.

Crib/Changer Combos: With this style, the changing table and several storage drawers are atached to the side of the crib.  While this makes midnight diaper changes easier, it also makes the actual crib cumbersome.  The first crib I owned was a combo and situating it in my son’s small room was a challenge, but it helped that I didn’t have to carry a screaming newborn across the dark room to a separate changing table.

Mini Cribs: Mini crib mattress are 24″ wide and 38″ long, which compares to a standard crib dimensions of 28″w by 52″l. The pared-down minis, which also stand about 15″ shorter than their full-size counterparts, are perfect for small spaces and generally cost less.  On the downside bedding for minis isn’t widely available and large babies may outgrow them sooner.

If all of that wasn’t enough to make your head spin, there are also wood finish options, decorative embellishments, and under-crib storage drawers to add into the mix.

Safety First

This is a good time to reiterate that drop-side cribs were outlawed  in 2010 due to safety concerns and several accidents involving the side-lowering models.   With the often-astounding prices of baby gear out there it’s tempting to buy used (something I’ve done quite often), but I will say that there is no justification for letting your baby sleep in a drop-side.  

Of course your baby’s safety is of utmost importance, so there are some points to make about crib safety.  Before you buy any crib, even if it’s currently available on the retail market, check the CPSC website to see if it’s been recalled.  You can also sign up for newsletters that announce recalls.

The general consensus among experts is that  the safest cribs are those that are free of decorative embellishments such as scrollwork, finials, canopies, or other additions that can catch on clothing or become choking hazards.  Also check the slat distance – the space between the vertical rails in the bed.  Babies can get their arms, legs, and even heads stuck if there is too much room between slats.

When you assemble the crib (or someone assembles it for you) make sure to check the hardware that keeps the crib pieces together.  Do screws stick out? Are all exposed metal pieces out of reach of baby? Is the wood where the screws enter sturdy and without structural imperfections? On that note it’s important to check the mattress supports to ensure that they are supportive and can withstand wear without failing and breaking.

Once the crib is put together you have to put in the mattress to make sure that it fits inside without any gaps or openings.  Only use mattresses that are designed specifically for cribs, as they are designed to be the safest for baby.  It’s a good idea to buy the mattress when you make your crib purchase and you can avoid hassle and guesswork of buying one or the other first.

Drumroll Please

Now we get down to my choice, the Delta Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib available on Amazon for $229 at the time this review was published.  I consider it the best choice based on the criteria outlined above.

The Delta Canton is a full-sized, convertible 4-in-1 crib.  It takes a standard crib mattress and converts from a crib to toddler bed, then to a daybed and on to a full-size bed.  When purchased on Amazon through the link provided, it includes the toddler-bed security rails that help to keep kiddos from falling out of the bed in their sleep .  You will need to buy a separate crib mattress, and then a full-size mattress and bed rails for the later conversions.

It is what would be called a fixed-side crib and the overall design style is basic and streamlined.  There are no finials or decorative accents that could inadvertently harm babies.  The mattress level can be adjusted to 3 different heights, and that helps to allow for easy placement when its at the highest level.  Lowering the mattress can prevent climb-and-fall injuries when baby gets older and stronger.

Three different on-trend wood finishes are shown on Amazon: black, dark cherry, and espresso cherry.  The back side of the crib measures higher than the front side, which means that it would limit the placement within a room, but it doesn’t affect the overall function of the crib.  When the crib is converted to a full-size bed this height difference also conforms to the high/low aesthetic standard for beds with both a headboard and a footboard.

At $229 it’s a little pricier than the median range for convertible cribs but it’s also made of real wood without any plywood or MDF components.  Some structural hardware is exposed, but it doesn’t protrude and it’s not in places where baby can reach.

Out of 221 reviews the item is given a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.  Complaints are mostly limited to receiving damaged items and poor customer service from Delta, the crib manufacturer.  On the plus side, reviewers have said that the crib holds up over time and is very sturdy.

Baby Bargain

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option  I suggest the Stork Craft Modena 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, available at Target for $169.  This link shows the crib in a cherry finish, and while there are other colors available on Amazon, you’ll end up paying more.

stork craft modena

Overall, the design style of the Stork Craft crib is very similar to the Delta.  While the former is not as hearty and substantial as the latter, it’s a close style substitute.  The Modena also converts up to a full-size bed but purchasing the crib as-is won’t get you the toddler safety rails. Mattress positions can be adjusted to three different levels, something that you’ll find is somewhat universal across the board with all full-size cribs.

And There’s More

If money isn’t an object or you’re looking for a specific style of crib, here are some alternative suggestions:

metro modern crib

For the Modernist: The Metro Modern Crib from Posh Tots features clear acrylic sides and a “ a sleek, midcentury aesthetic”.  It’s eco-friendly, made of non-toxic and sustainable materials, and you can purchase a toddler bed conversion kit separately.  It’s definitely a high-end purchase with a price point of over $1500.

daphne athena combo crib

Combo Crib: Complete with an attached changing table and under-crib storage, the Daphne Athena 3-in-1 Convertible Combo on Wayfair.com is a bit less expensive at  under $350.  It comes in a cherry finish or painted opaque white and has plenty of room for all of baby’s bitty things.

joy baby crib

Heavy Metal: This wrought iron Joy Baby Crib from Bratt Decor will set you back $600 but has an unmistakable vintage feel with its pewter finish and soft, circular details.  It can also be converted to a toddler or daybed kit, purchased separately.

 In the End

Because of its versatility, sturdiness, and style design, the Delta Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib at $229 is the best crib choice for your money.  Although it’s a little more expensive than similar cribs, the overall functionality and attractiveness make it a smart purchase.

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