How Do I Choose the Right Crib for My Childcare Center?

If you are someone who runs a childcare center with infants, you know that it is important to have good cribs. You want cribs that are well-made and durable but also comfortable for your children. That said, choosing cribs can be hard. You have to think about issues like price, space, and warranty. There are also lots of crib options out there: fixed side, paneled, folding, wood, metal, and so on. All of this can leave you scratching your head and unable to decide.

Here at Kaplan, we have been supplying cribs to childcare centers for decades, so we are well aware of the different crib options that are available. In this article, we will talk about the different types of cribs that we and our competitors sell so you can get a good sense of which crib is best for your childcare space.

Different Styles of Cribs

Fixed-Side Cribs

Fixed-side cribs are cribs where all four sides never move. Kaplan’s Safe & Sound Fixed Side Clearview Compact Crib is an example of a fixed-side crib. It is made of solid wood, and it has easy-grip handles that make moving the crib much less difficult. It is 39.25 inches long, 26.25 inches wide, and 40 inches tall. The whole crib has a five-year warranty, and the frame, casters, and hardware have a lifetime warranty (for more information about the specifics of lifetime warranties, check out this article on our website about furniture warranties). Check out the image below to see how this crib compares to a more standard-size crib. Note: All cribs in this article have roughly the same dimensions as this compact crib, so they would all compare to a standard crib in the same way.

Another example of a fixed-side crib is Lakeshore’s Heavy-Duty Safety Crib. Made of natural wood, it is 39⅛ inches wide, 25¾ inches deep, and 39¾ inches tall (note: the width and depth measurements on this crib are actually length and width measurements, respectively). The crib as a whole has a five-year warranty, but the hardware has a lifetime warranty.

This type of crib is right for you if you are using it exclusively for smaller infants or if you do not have to move babies in and out of it very often. It is also a good choice if you do not want to worry about accidentally forgetting to lock it or a child undoing the locks. These are risks with paneled cribs, which we will discuss in the next section.

A side-by-side comparison of Kaplan's Safe & Sound Fixed Side Clearview Compact Crib (39.25 inches long, 26.25 inches wide, and 40 inches tall) and a standard crib (55 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 36 inches tall)

Paneled Cribs

Paneled cribs have three fixed sides and a side with an easy-release panel. When released, this panel slightly lowers the height of that side. This means that you do not have to bend over as far to put a child in the crib or take a child out of the crib. If you have to do this on a regular basis, paneled cribs might be the best option for you because they could help you avoid hurting your back, arms, or any other part of your body involved in picking up children. Because of these risks, paneled cribs are ideal for someone who has back problems or is short.

Kaplan’s Safe & Sound EasyReach Compact Crib is an example of a paneled crib. Although it is a different type of crib, it shares many similarities with Kaplan’s Safe & Sound Fixed Side Clearview Compact Crib. It is also made of solid wood, it has the same dimensions (39.25 inches long, 26.25 inches wide, and 40 inches tall), and it has the same warranty (five years for the whole crib and a lifetime warranty on the frame, casters, and hardware). 

Another paneled crib that is available is the Environments Safe-T-Side Clear View/Mirror Crib. It has solid-wood construction, and it is 39 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 43.5 inches tall. It has a five-year warranty.

A side-by-side comparison of Kaplan's wooden Safe & Sound Fixed Side Clearview Compact Crib and Kaplan's wooden Safe & Sound EasyReach Compact Crib

Folding Cribs

Folding cribs provide an easy storage solution because they can be moved or stored when not in use. These cribs are good fits for small spaces. They are also good in situations where you do not need to use them all the time. For example, if you have a small childcare center that only looks after infants two days per week, it would be best if you had cribs that you could move and store. 

Kaplan sells a folding crib. It is made of natural wood and is 40 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 34 inches tall. Besides Kaplan, Discount School Supply sells LA Baby’s Hardwood Compact Folding Clear View Crib. This crib is made of natural wood, and it is 39¾ inches long, 26½ inches wide, and 38½ inches tall. 

Kaplan's Compact Wood Folding Crib at full size and at folded size; the crib folds horizontally and becomes slim

Evacuation Cribs

Evacuation cribs are specifically designed for emergency situations where you need to get all of your infants out of the building. These cribs have bigger casters than other cribs so that they can move more easily. Every childcare center is required to have some sort of evacuation crib. Although these cribs are built with emergencies in mind, they are still good for everyday use. For evacuation crib options, check out Kaplan’s Next Generation First Responder Evacuation Compact Crib or Lakeshore’s Heavy-Duty Evacuation Crib

While there are explicit evacuation cribs available, there are also conversion kits that can turn normal cribs into evacuation cribs. For example, Kaplan sells an evacuation caster set that fits on our Safe & Sound cribs. Buying a conversion kit is much cheaper than buying a separate evacuation crib. Kaplan’s crib conversion kit currently costs $104.95, and its Next Generation First Responder Evacuation Compact Crib currently costs $599.95. So, a conversion kit would be a good option for you if you have a tight budget. It is important to keep in mind, however, that manufacturers make kits that only match their brand. So, be sure to buy the kit that corresponds to your crib.

Common Characteristics of Cribs

Although there are many different types of cribs, it is important to note that the different cribs discussed in this article actually have a lot in common. They are all made of a sturdy type of natural wood that the sellers describe as something like “solid wood” or “hardwood.” They all have similar dimensions: about 39 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 40 inches tall. The only two notable exceptions are the Environments Safe-T-Side Clear View/Mirror crib, which is 43 inches tall, and Kaplan’s folding crib, which is 34 inches tall. Also, all of the fixed-side and paneled cribs that we discuss in this article have a five-year warranty. Finally, all of the cribs mentioned in this article come on casters. So, while there are lots of cribs out there, many of them have a lot in common. Hopefully, knowing this will help make your buying decision easier!

Next Steps

We hope this article has helped you along in your journey to finding the right crib for your childcare center. If you are ready to seriously consider crib options, check out the various cribs that Kaplan offers. We know you value the rest and comfort of your children, and we would love to help you make sure that happens!

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