I had a customer call me last week who needed to consult with me about her crib bedding. She had purchased standard crib bedding, and it didn’t fit her crib. The bumper ties didn’t fit around the sides and since her crib had a flat back, as many convertible crib styles do, she wasn’t sure how to make the bumper stay put. The crib skirt was also too short at the mattress level she chose.
Even though all cribs have the same inside measurement (for safety reasons), the outside measurements and shapes can vary drastically. The mechanisms used to build and support the crib can also vary, and some models have brackets or posts in spots that prevent standard crib bedding from fitting properly. This is one of the main reasons that we started making our custom crib bedding.
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re purchasing both your crib and your crib bedding in order to prevent fit problems. Here are the biggest culprits:
1. Cribs with a solid back.
This style of crib, like the one described by my customer above, has rails on the front, but has a flat panel back. That means that the back of the bumper will have nothing to tie onto, making it unsafe to have in a crib.
2. Cribs with solid sides.
Similar to a solid back, solid sides means that there is nothing to tie the bumper ties to on the sides of the crib. Sometimes the ties can be wiggled forward and tied to the front and back of the crib, but if the bumper isn’t tied securely and properly, it can be a safety issue.
3. Cribs with thick corners.
Typically, the corner bumper ties would tie around the corner rail of a crib, but if that corner is extra wide, the tie won’t fit around it. Bumper ties are usually around 9″ long, and need to be able to be tied tight enough that they won’t come undone easily.
4. Cribs that don’t allow for a skirt.
This is fairly common in more modern cribs. Sometimes it is a design decision made by the manufacturer, and other times it’s just the placement of some of the parts, but some cribs have pieces that block the crib skirt from being able to hang down. Keep in mind that if you can’t have a crib skirt, you might end up looking at the hardware when the mattress is in the top or middle position.
What you can do:
1. If you haven’t purchased your crib yet, just pay attention to the points above when crib shopping. This information is not always noted, so you might have to do a little investigating.
2. If you’ve already purchased a crib that has one of these issues, there are a few things you can do. You can always call the manufacturer and ask what type of crib bedding will work best, and ask if it allows for all the bumper ties and the crib skirt.
3. Try to find bedding that can be purchased a la carte, so if you need to return just the bumper or another piece, you can do so.
4. You can always get custom crib bedding. This can be pricier, but if it’s something you really want to work correctly, it’s worth it. That way, you can make sure your crib skirt is the right length and the ties are all in the right spot (just keep in mind that it will change when you move the mattress).
A quick note on bumper safety:
A lot of parents are opting not to use bumpers at all now. I always inform each of my clients of the safety issues, and allow them to make their own decision, but a lot of them end up purchasing a bumper for decorative use only, and just remove it when the baby is actually in the crib. Take some time to do some safety research for yourself so you can make an informed decision.