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Ask yourself these 4 questions before you buy a convertible crib

Buying a convertible crib may seem like a solid investment because you know your baby will be outgrowing their crib eventually. After all, if you choose to forgo a convertible version of a crib, you’ll have to purchase a toddler bed and then a regular-sized bed once your child grows out of that.

There are many advantages to buying one crib that can continue to serve your needs, but there are a few things to consider before you make the decision about what crib will work best in your home. Read on for our ultimate advice on choosing what is right for you with this large purchase.

DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What are the different types of convertible cribs?

Any crib that converts into another kind of bed is a convertible crib. When you are using a convertible crib for your baby to sleep in, you can’t tell that it’s convertible — it’s just like any other crib. Once your baby is ready for a toddler bed, you can convert the crib into its next stage. Once you’re using it as a toddler bed, you can’t tell it used to be a crib.

There are 2-in-1, 3-in-1, 4-in-1, and 5-in-1 convertible cribs. Each kind refers to how many types of beds it can convert into. A 2-in-1 usually converts once from a crib to a toddler bed, and a 5-in-1 might include a crib, toddler bed, daybed, and child bed with/without headboard, footboard, and guardrails. The 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 (you guessed it) offer three or four of those options.

The more conversions in the crib, the more it will cost, but the bundled cost of all of these beds in one can be less than buying all of the beds separately. However, the frame is usually what converts, and the toddler guardrail and other elements may be sold separately and negate the savings.

Why would you want a convertible crib?

Over your baby’s lifetime, they’ll need different sleeping arrangements as they grow:

  • Crib or bassinet as an infant
  • Toddler bed as a toddler (a bed with a guardrail along the sides)
  • Regular twin or full bed once they can stay in bed without rolling off

The advantage to buying a convertible crib is making a one-time purchase before your baby is even born and never worrying about paying or shopping for a bed again. You already know you’ll need a toddler bed once your baby grows, so why not get it now?

It’s not that simple, so read on for all of the factors to keep in mind when making this choice.

A 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

What considerations should you make when shopping for a convertible crib?

Here are a few things to think about before buying one:

  • Can you afford the investment right now?
  • Do you have space in the nursery for a changing table?
  • Do you feel confident you won’t want bunk beds for potential future kids?
  • Do you feel confident your tastes and available space won’t change in the next 10 years?

If you answered yes to these four questions, a convertible crib may be for you! But there’s even more to think over.

For the infant stage, you might want a combination crib (one that is a sleeping space, changing station, and dresser all in one), especially if you have a small nursery. A convertible crib is less likely to have the combined changing station that a combination crib does.

Also, pay close attention to if a convertible crib you’re considering requires separately sold add-ons for its conversion. For example, a company may label a crib with a removable side as a convertible crib, but the toddler bedside barrier to replace the removed side doesn’t come included with it. When it comes time to convert it, you may realize you need to pay almost as much as a toddler bed can cost just for that add-on. Look for if all pieces are included (and what they cost if they are not).

Along those same lines, what about mattresses? Does the convertible crib come with a crib mattress, but you’ll have to buy a twin mattress down the road? The frame may convert, but mattresses don’t. The cost of a twin mattress with a bed frame might not be that much compared to the converted crib to twin bed.

Another factor is what style your child might want once they’re old enough to have their own opinions. That white slat crib may technically serve as a white slat toddler bed, but your toddler may be obsessed with race cars or Frozen and want a themed bed that matches that passion. Buying a new bed may be a nice birthday gift idea that they can help pick out in their own style, especially since graduating to a big-kid bed is a special rite of passage for them.

You may also be feeling the itch to buy them a new bed after several years have passed since the first purchase, especially since the decor will have significantly changed from an infant nursery to a child’s room.

If you’re planning on having more children, will you want to pass on this child’s crib to them when they’re born? Will you want bunk beds if your kids share a room? Will you be moving to a new home in the next several years where your amount of space or your style will change? One of the risks of buying a convertible crib is making a purchase years before you know the context of where that bed will go and what kind of a person that bed will belong to.

So, a convertible crib might be for you if you’re confident your tastes and needs won’t change much over time, and you’re ready to make an investment in one piece. If that’s you, happy shopping!

Need to know more about your toddler’s sleeping, check our reasons on why every toddler needs their own travel bed.

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Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
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