Best Buy Crib

October 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
When you have a new baby, hand-me-downs from friends are welcome ways to save. But a crib is one item you should buy brand new.Lauren Vigna wanted everything just right for little Dominic's arrival. "I didn't know a lot about baby items. I had to do a lot of research to find out what I wanted."

She wanted a new crib for Dominic, and she was right. Second-hand cribs often don't meet the latest safety standards and may also have loose screws or spindles that are unsafe.

Consumer Reports tested more than 20 cribs, ranging in price from 120 dollars all the way up to almost a thousand! Testers built this machine to assess mattress support. It mimics the impact of jumping little ones to see how each crib holds up.

The spindles and slats of each crib were also tested to make sure they don't spread apart enough for a baby to get trapped. Testers also looked for helpful features.

Tobi Stanger, Consumer Reports, says "Some cribs have sides that drop, which makes it much easier to reach your baby."

Testers made sure the dropping mechanism would work smoothly, even after lots of use. Testers also checked for sturdiness. Some of the cribs were pretty wobbly.

"All the cribs we tested passed the safety standards, but we think the standards should be tougher, and should include a test for sturdiness," says Stanger.

In the end, Consumer Reports found a great crib at a great price. The Graco Lauren convertible crib is easy to assemble, has a convenient drop side, and costs just 150 dollars.

And remember, when you put your baby down in the crib it should be completely bare. No bumpers, padding, or sleep positioners, which can pose suffocation hazards.

Before a baby even gets to a crib, some parents opt for a bassinet for the early months. But, Consumer Reports cautions that unlike cribs, there are no safety standards for bassinets, so you have to be careful.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says parents should not use a Pennsylvania company's baby bassinets after two babies were trapped and strangled in the product.

Simplicity's 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spaced farther apart than federal standards allow.

You can get shopping advice and safety guidelines for bassinets at consumerreports.org.

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