March 14, 2006

Advice: How's The Compact Crib Working Out?

Some DT readers emailed about the Community Playthings maple crib, but their question is applicable to any compact-sized [i.e., 24x38-inch mattress] crib. Basically, how's it working out, and how long does it last?

I love this crib, but we're not psyched about buying the porta-crib size. Have any readers sent in comments along these lines? I really don't want to either spend a bajillion dollars on a super-designed minimalist crib, or alternatively, buy some hideous thing that will only look good in a mcmansion, either. But I'll be a bit depressed if we have a one year
old who is in the ugly netherworld between crib and bed...
The kid still sleeps fine in a Pack-n-Play sometimes in NYC, although when she started trying to climb out a few months ago, we set her up on a mattress on the floor, too, just until the toddler bed is finished [d'oh!] So we were fine up until about 35" and 25 lbs [she's a stick, I know]. Any other reports from the compact crib netherworld out there?

Previously: Sweet $300 Maple Crib


We had the Alpha portacrib, which is an inexpensive, simple, attractive portacrib. You can remove the wheels to make it a rocking crib, and I especially liked that feature. Our crib, however did not have moveable sides, and that was a mistake. Once you have had to move the mattress down near the bottom, to accomodate your climbing standing baby, you will have to reach deep into that crib to set a sleeping baby down, or to bring her out. In fact, for all I know, this may still be a problem with the moveable sides. It was just a back killer for me, so I found a toddler bed with half-sides when my son was a year old.

We have the Community Playthings crib (with the plexiglass sides even) and it's a great crib. We're still using it--my daughter is about 22 pounds and 32 inches. It does look like a cozy fit these days, but she hasn't tried to climb out yet (and the drop seems low enough where she would need some serious upper body strength to hoist herself up).

We use the compact cribs in the daycare where I work for all infants and toddlers up to the age of 2. I love them. They freed up so much space from the bigger cribs that used to be in there. I really wanted one for my own daughter because her room was tiny, but I received a full size crib as a gift and did not get one of the smaller ones. She was out of it before the age of 2 anyway because I could not stand how much space it took up. I highly recommend a compact crib.

Buy the crib! If you have a giant kid, you are screwed. But we have a crib that is enormous and I hate it. My 9 month old fills up a little corner in the bottom of it. I actually tried to buy the mini maple crib, but my wife was worried about the size.

On a related note, I'm glad to hear that some of you have smaller kids. My girl is 28 inches and 16.5 pounds. She is dwarfed by all of her 22 pound buddies.

Our daughter (I don't know exact height/weight) has consistantly (she's now 20 mos) been around 50th percentile for height and around 30th percentile for weight.

I'm probably way off - hopefully my wife won't read this post... Anyhow, she's a little thinner and a tiny bit shorter than a lot of other kids her age.

We love our portable crib (by Delta Luv. One side slides up and down, only $99 at buybuyBaby and holds up to 40 pounds!). It's working out great. Space wasn't that much of an issue for us but you just never know how a crib will work out. So far our 7.5 month old girl is on the tiny side also, 28 inches and 14.10 pounds. Looks like she'll be using it until about 14-15 months or until she can climb out of it, whichever comes first. Come to think of it she LOVES to jump so she might develop the habbit of jumping up and down in the crib until the board breaks. This is the only other thing I can think of that'll force us to switch to a toddler bed. Height isn't much of a concern since she's usually curled to her side on one corner.

Somewhat on a related note: I used to purchase Community Playthings furniture for NYC daycares during my 3 years as a college intern for a City of NY agency. The products are exceptional in quality they are quite lovely people. They used to travel to our office in huge trucks carrying in them as much furniture you'd like to see before buying. Oddly enough I completely forgot about them when we were furniture shopping before baby's arrival until I read about them here tonight. So odd. Anyway....

We bought the Community Playthings Crib because we lived in a small place at the time, and because we didn't want to spend the money on an ultra-modern crib (like the Oeuf), we decided a minimalist crib was best. Although our son is only 7 months old (and he's a small baby) we ended up spending the money to upgrade him to a full-sized crib this week. It's just too small. He tries to roll over and gets "stuck" because the narrow-ness doesn't give him enough room to learn to roll. Even if that were not a problem, he clearly would have outgrown the crib within the next few months (much sooner than one wants a baby out of a crib). It's a great crib, if one has a very small place - as I am sure if necessary one could live with it. However, in hindsight, I definitely wouldn't do it.

On a side note, when we upgraded, we discussed buying the $800+ Oeuf. However, I feel pretty good with our decision to go with this crib:

It's inexpensive and well made. While it's not ultra-modern - it's pretty benign.

You could always just not use a crib... you know there are other ways of doing things that don't require one to buy into the whole capitalist crap scene.

That's true. We built our own crib out of the piles of money we saved by not buying one! We find 50's and 100's to work the best.

I'm the person who first wrote in about the Community Playthings crib. It's our one and only crib and The Girl sleeps in it every day and night. She's almost one, and a slender thing, but in either case, she's not outgrowing it. There's no real room for her to *play* in there, it's true, but that's ok with us.

Anyhow, the crib is lovely and safe and sturdy and small enough so that it doesn't take over her tiny bedroom. I like that it ISN'T a porta-crib: it's actual wood, and we bought a custom-sized futon for it from, so it's genuinely comfy and not a big wad of plastic. I found a site (, I believe) that sells port-a-crib 100% cotton sheets and bumpers, so we have very simple sheets and a totally plain bumper and that's about it. When she does outgrow it, we plan to move to a good-quality futon on the floor, which we later plan to put in a loft-bed type thing so she can have some floor space in her, yes, tiny bedroom.

So, it's working out great, the Community Playthings crib. Hope this helps.

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