Although there are many different types and brands of cribs, most basic cribs have the same functional parts. Some features may vary between brands and styles, but the general directions for assembling a crib are mostly the same. It takes just a little effort and a few steps to safely build your baby's new crib.
Part 1 of 2: Prepare the pieces
Step 1. Bring everything to the nursery
It is best to assemble the crib in the nursery so that you don't have to move it after you are done assembling it. They can be very large and difficult to move, and it can be difficult to get them through the door.
Step 2. Unpack the crib
If it is new and in a box, it will come with many parts. Everything you need to assemble the crib should be included in the box with the crib, and you probably won't need any extra tools unless your instructions say so.
If the crib does require tools, you may need a Phillips screwdriver, hammer, or ratchet wrench set with accessories. Read your instructions to see what tools you need, if any
Step 3. Verify that you have all the parts as listed in the instructions
If you don't have them, call the store and exchange the crib for a new one.
If for some reason you don't have the instructions, you can still check to see if you have all the parts. Most cribs include a headboard, footboard, rails (the long sides of the crib and usually one of the rails is movable, that is, it can be lowered so that you can access the baby more easily), some type of support for the mattress (it can be a simple plank or one with springs) and a mattress. You can also have two long, thin side planks that support the headboard and footboard, especially if both rails can be moved from bottom to top (movable rails)
Step 4. Check the condition of your crib parts
Make sure none of the pieces are damaged, for example if they have chipped wood or if the paint is chipping. This is especially the case with second-hand cribs, although you should also check the condition of new cribs to make sure it is safe for your baby.
If you find any damage like chips, mold, peeling paint, sharp corners, or moisture, then you might want to try the parts carefully and perhaps order a new crib. Damaged parts can break and potentially injure your baby. You should also make sure that the spacing between the bars is no more than 2 3/8 inches (6 cm)
Step 5. Read the instructions carefully
Each crib has its own instructions, which you must follow carefully. It is important to pay attention to the instructions because a mistake when assembling the crib could endanger the life of your baby. Be careful and don't rush.
- In case you don't have the instructions for your crib, because you may have lost them or are using a second-hand crib, you can often find the manufacturer's instructions online. Go to the manufacturer's website and look for the model of your crib to try to obtain them.
- If you still can't find the instructions, then it shouldn't be difficult to figure out how the crib is assembled. Most cribs have the same basic parts, so it won't be difficult to figure out how to put the crib together.
Part 2 of 2: Assemble the pieces
Step 1. Lay the headboard on the floor
Lay the headboard on the floor with the side that goes into the crib facing up. You can recognize this side by the holes for the brackets or dowels that normally come out of them on the inside of the crib.
Some beds do not have much difference between the headboard and footboard. Just choose one of the pieces and lay it on the floor facing up
Step 2. Place the latch brackets on the inside of the headboard
Ultimately these brackets will connect the headboard to the footboard to hold the mattress so they must face the inside of the crib.
- Some headers may already have the latch brackets in place. If so, go to the next step.
- Cribs that have long, thin side planks (usually those that have movable side rails on both sides) will connect differently. For these, insert the side plank hardware into the headboard and footboard. If there is a place to screw these pieces together and put them together, you should.
- For newborns, the base of the crib must be at the highest level to place the supports or side rails at this level. Older babies will need a lower base in their crib.
Step 3. Place the stationary guardrail at the headboard and footboard
Most stationary railings will have dowels on the edges. Attach the dowels to the latch brackets and the head and foot boards on one side of the crib and screw them together to the crib.
- This coupling may require you to screw the railing into place. Use a Phillips screwdriver and screw the pieces together. These should be tight enough so that the railing does not shake.
- Sometimes your stationary railing will not have dowels, but will only be connected by screws. In this case, use your Phillips screwdriver to drive these screws to the rail. Likewise, it should be tight enough so that the railing does not shake.
- If your crib has side planks and two moveable rails, do not install the rails yet. Go to the next step.
Step 4. Place the mattress support on the base of the crib
The mattress support will be a plank, a panel (similar to a ladder) or springs in a frame, this depends on the particular crib. The mattress will rest on this so it is very important that it is secure. Set it at the proper height and connect it to the headboard and footboard with screws, nuts, bolts or other types of fasteners depending on the crib.
- If the crib is new, you may need to connect some parts, such as supports, to the base of the mattress before connecting it to the headboard and footboard.
- For newborns, attach the mattress support to the highest possible height. Larger babies will need a little more space and therefore the mattress support should be placed lower. This depends on the age of your baby.
- There will usually be a manufacturer's label showing which side is going down on the mattress support.
- If you have a crib with two movable side rails, place the mattress support first before connecting either side. This way you will be able to reach the bottom of the crib more easily while placing the support.
Step 5. Attach the drop rail (s) to the front of the crib
Place the drop rail on the latch braces on the head and foot boards. Each side of the drop rail will have a metal bar that is used to slide the rail from the bottom up. Insert the metal bars into the holes in the headboard and footboard and connect them with screws (or another fastener depending on the model of your crib).
You should first connect the bottom of the bars on each side before connecting the tops to secure the railing and hold it steady while you work
Step 6. Slide the loose springs over a dowel and insert it exactly over the bottom hole in the side rail
There may be two loose springs on the edge of your mattress support. Pull them over a dowel and insert the dowel exactly over the bottom hole in the side drop rail. This will prevent your sliding railing from falling completely to the ground if you don't secure it properly.
Step 7. Check the sound of the crib
Shake the crib. It shouldn't wobble when you try to shake it. The movable guardrails must also be firmly in place, not loose, and must be able to slide from the bottom up. This is to ensure the safety of your baby.
Step 8. For the mattress in the crib
There will be no hardware for the mattress, just put it on the base of the crib and leave it there.
There should be no more than two fingers of space between the sides of the crib and the mattress. This ensures the safety of your baby when moving or rolling
Step 9. Attach the wheels if you wish
Some cribs may have wheels on the bottom to make them easier to move. Place the wheels in the holes in the base of the four crib posts to secure them. Make sure they work properly both when moving and when braked.
At least two of the wheels should have brakes to prevent the crib from rolling when your baby is inside
Step 10. Check the crib weekly for loose bolts or sharp edges and to verify that the sheets are adequate
To keep your baby safe during the time you use the crib, check that the sheets are not too hot, that the crib is in good condition and that your baby is not too big. This will help you keep your baby safe while using your crib.
- You usually stop using the crib when the baby is 32 to 35 inches (81 to 89 cm) or when he gets out of the crib.
- In case your baby can climb out of his crib, also lower the bottom to keep him safe.
- The procedure will vary depending on the model you have purchased. Follow the instructions carefully!
- Assemble the crib where you will use it, usually in the nursery or your room, so you don't have to drag it around afterward.
- Clean the crib with mild dish soap and water before use to remove any dirt or dust.
- If you are missing parts for the crib, you can probably order them from the manufacturer's website.
- Assemble the crib before the baby is born so that you can make sure everything is safe before placing your baby inside.
- Check the condition of your crib weekly to see if there is any damage like loose nuts that could hurt your baby. Also check that your drop rail can be properly secured.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. This is the safest way to maintain proper use and safety.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website often to make sure the manufacturer hasn't recalled cribs from the market. Manufacturers have recalled many movable guardrails due to the risk of injury.