In preparing for the arrival of our first child, my husband and I have been doing lots of research on cribs. This is one of the most important purchases we will make for our baby, so we want to make the right decision. So far, it’s been pretty overwhelming, but for us, the biggest question has been whether we need a convertible crib or a standard crib. It seems like most stores are pushing you towards convertible, and I couldn’t blame them once I saw the price tag on one of those puppies, but do we really need one?

To help me decide, being the planner that I am, I made a pros and cons list of each. In case other first-time parents are wondering about the same thing, I thought it might help to share. When I first started shopping, I thought it was a no-brainer that we would go with a convertible crib. I mean, it becomes a toddler bed and then a twin or full size bed. We’d never have to buy another bed again. But upon further reflection, I started seeing some merit to the standard cribs. In typical fashion, now I am just overwhelmed by too much information.


Long-Term Savings
Continuous Use
Environmentally Friendly

Storing Rails
Stuck With Same Bed Forever

The biggest advantage of a convertible crib is long-term savings. While you will most likely spend more money up-front than on a standard crib, because these cribs convert into toddler beds and then twin or full size beds, you won’t have to continue to buy new beds for your growing child. Often, the toddler bed phase is skipped when going from a standard crib to a bed for financial reasons. It isn’t used for very long and can seem like a waste. But many children have a difficult transition when going straight from crib to bed, so this toddler bed conversion is very convenient.

Another convenience offered by the convertible crib is space. If you are planning on having more than one child, often a crib is used for a couple of years and then has to be stored until you need it for the second child. With a convertible crib, the first child can continue to use it no matter how old they are when the second is born. This saves parents from having to find storage space for a large crib. If your plan is to use a convertible crib for multiple children, be sure to check and make sure your particular crib can be converted backwards. Some cribs, once converted to full size beds cannot be converted back into cribs.

Convertible cribs are also friendly to our environment. They won’t need to be thrown away since they can be used until the child goes off to college, so there is no waste.


Cheaper Up Front
Flexible Style (can buy new bed in a couple years)
Space Saver

Expensive long-term
Have to Buy New Bed For Growing Child

The first obvious advantage of buying a standard crib is the cost. Typically, standard cribs are about half the cost of a convertible crib. So, especially for first time parents who have tons of up-front costs, saving money on a nursery staple would be great. In theory, by the time our child outgrew the crib, our finances would have recovered from the initial hit, (assuming I quit salivating over all the cute baby boutique clothes) and buying another bed would be doable.

Don’t get me wrong though, not all standard cribs are inexpensive. In fact, there are many that are as much or more than a convertible crib. To me, the quality just doesn’t compare. If you purchase a standard crib that is the same cost as a convertible crib, you are getting a higher quality, sturdier piece of furniture.

Most of the other advantages of a standard crib are more like disadvantages of a convertible crib. Standard cribs will save a little space since you do not have bulky conversion rails that have to be stored until use. It is suggested to buy all conversion kits with your convertible crib in case the manufacturer discontinues your crib before you are ready to convert it.

The biggest advantage for me of a standard crib is that I’m not having to decide what kind of look I want for my child’s bedroom their whole life before they are even born. I am way too much of a design nerd to not want to redecorate at some point, and I’m pretty sure by the time my child outgrows the crib, I’ll be ready for a new look, which will include a new bed. Another disadvantage of planning to keep the same bed forever is what if **gasp** your perfect child uses their crib as a teether? I’ve heard so many parents that this has happened to. By the time they were ready to convert their crib into a bed, it was covered in teeth marks from their sweet little razor-tooth angel.

In general, I feel like the market is pushing parents toward convertible cribs, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. But I like to make my own decisions and not just go along with the crowd. Searching on Babies R’ Us, there are 298 convertible cribs to choose from and only 12 standard cribs. There are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of cribs. It’s a personal decision based on many different factors for all parents, so do what’s best for you and your growing family.

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