As its name suggests, a convertible crib is a baby crib that converts for different uses as your baby develops through infancy, toddlerhood, and adolescence. A crib is a big investment and many new parents appreciate that a convertible crib is a one-time purchase and a cost-effective, long-term solution to a child's sleeping needs.
Beyond the adjustable mattress height, a convertible crib offers up to three additional stages of transformation depending on the type you choose.
All convertible cribs are stationary, meaning the sides are fixed and there is no drop-side. (In fact, drop-side cribs became illegal to sell in June of 2011.) Like any standard crib, a convertible crib will have an adjustable mattress support that lowers as your baby develops. Lower the mattress when your baby can sit up, and again when he or she can stand. Convertible cribs use a standard size crib mattress unless they are specified as mini-cribs or portable cribs.
Remove the front panel of the crib and position the mattress at its lowest level. Add the guardrail (sometimes sold separately) to prevent falling out. This transition is typically made between the ages of 18 months to 3 years but many experts encourage waiting as long as possible. Other reasons to switch are that your child regularly tries to climb out of the crib or has reached 3 ft. in height.
Remove the guardrail, leaving the front of the bed completely open. The two side panels and back panel of the original crib remain in place. The daybed stage is suitable at the same time as the toddler bed stage, but there's no guardrail to prevent your child from falling out of bed.
Add a full-size bed conversion kit (rarely included) and a full-size mattress to create a full-size bed your child can use until adulthood. The back panel of the crib becomes the headboard and the front panel of the crib sometimes serves as the footboard. It's time to make this transition when your child no longer fits comfortably in their toddler bed or toddler daybed, or when they suggest they're ready for a real big-kid bed.
Convertible cribs are sold as 2-in-1, 3-in-1, or 4-in-1 models. The more ways your crib converts, the more years of use you're likely to get out of it.
The simplest convertible crib changes from a traditional crib to a toddler daybed.
Sure to last at least through preschool, this type can go a couple of different ways. Take it from crib to toddler bed with guardrail to daybed or from crib to daybed to full-size bed.
In for the long haul, this crib can also be enjoyed as toddler bed with guardrail, a daybed with an open front side, and a full-size bed.