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healthy sustainable crib nursery

The Top Four Things to Look for When Buying a Sustainable Crib

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jan 8, 2018

Caring for a newborn is a huge responsibility, as all new parents know. While learning the ropes of changing diapers, getting the feeding schedule right, and mastering bath time are challenges that every parent faces, some of the essential parenting decisions we make might occur before the baby arrives. Newborn babies usually sleep between 16 and 17 hours each day, meaning that the vast majority of the first months of their lives are spent in a crib. Ensuring you find a healthy and safe crib for your child is thus an essential part of keeping your baby healthy. 

Zero VOCs

One of the essential elements of a sustainable and healthy baby crib is the amount of volatile organic compounds that could be emitted by the paint and wood products that make up the crib. Of course, you do not want VOCs anywhere in your home, but purchasing a crib made from MDF and high VOC paint will mean that your baby will be breathing in dangerous chemicals that are continuously off-gassing directly where she spends the majority of her day and night.

The sensitive internal systems of babies cannot process the volatile chemicals associated with many different paints and processed wood products, which could very well lead to long-term health problems in the future. 

Transition to Day Bed

Your baby will most likely only use their crib for a couple of years at most. Most cribs, then, unfortunately, end up taking up space in the attic, being dropped off at a thrift store, or on the street curb for the sanitation worker to pick up after a few short years of minimal use. Sustainable living ethics challenge us to find new ways to use items that we would otherwise discard. 

Several makes and models allow cribs to “transition” into a day bed for toddlers once the baby outgrows the crib stage when it comes to baby cribs. These cribs essentially double or triple their useful life span. If you “recycle” your crib for future babies, a crib/toddler bed can remain a valuable piece of furniture for several years. Make sure to look for cribs that allow parents to remove a side of the crib and lower the overall height of the crib when your baby becomes a toddler. Some crib options offer “conversion kits” to allow you to transform the crib structure into a toddler bed. 

Sustainably Sourced Wood

Wood is the primary material of most cribs. It is usually a more sustainable and healthy alternative to choose cribs made from solid wood than plywood or other processed wood materials. Many types of plywood contain glues such as formaldehyde, which can off-gas dangerous VOCs. 

Though it may add to your price tag, finding cribs that are sourced from sustainably forested lumber is a significant part of implementing sustainability ethics into your home. Cribs made from bamboo are sustainable as bamboo grows extremely fast and can yield up to 20 times more timber than other trees are grown in the same area. In addition, sustainably sourced bamboo can be cut every seven years while releasing 35% more oxygen than different trees. 

Common Crib Certifications

You will want to make sure that the crib you settle on meets specific certifications to protect the health of your child and the wellbeing of the environment. GREENGUARD is a certification program that ensures that a product has met some of the world's most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air. Baby cribs that are GREENGUARD certified will emit little to no VOCs. Products that meet the demanding GREENGUARD Gold certification have been tested by a third-party laboratory to prove that it meets the limits on chemical emissions. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has a comprehensive certification program that specifically regulates products made for babies and children.

Top Three Sustainable and Healthy Cribs for Your Baby

Oeuf Rhea Crib, Birch/White
Oeuf Rhea Crib, Birch/White

Oeuf Rhea Crib

This innovative baby crib is crafted from solid birch wood that was sustainably sourced in Europe. All of the finishes, glues, and paints with this crib are non-toxic and completely free of any VOCs. In addition, this crib allows you to easily switch between three mattress positions so that your baby finds the most comfortable sleeping style. At just over $650 dollars, this crib is much less expensive than other similar models.

Leandor Classic Baby Bed
Leandor Classic Bed

Leander Bed

When it comes to cribs that transition into toddler beds, the Scandinavian-made Leander bed is one of the leaders in the field. This crib can transition into five different sleeping arrangements as your child grows. The $1,650 price tag might seem pricy, but this crib/bed could be with your child at least until he or she enters third grade.

Caravan Crib by Kalon Studios
Caravan Crib by Kalon Studios

Kalon Studios Caravan Crib

The Caravan Crib by Kalon Studios is one of the most beautiful bamboo cribs on the market. Made from 100% sourced bamboo, this crib incorporates gorgeous geometric designs. It is designed to transition from crib to toddler bed, and can then even be made into an innovative seating area once your child moves into a full-sized bed. For $1,195 to $1,495, you can purchase a crib that will last throughout your child's early years.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-21T13:24:03+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.