Guest Post: Furniture and Toy storage solutions for kids

toys storage bins on 4 tilted shelves, in bright primary coloursMy nephew had turned two and his parents finally decided to give his room a make over. We looked through lots of life style magazines, home interior décor books and so on. It was overwhelming to see the range of furniture available for kids.

We decided to first pick a theme for his room. Considering that he is a huge fan of spider man, we decided to go with spider man as a theme for his room. We picked up a spider man bunker bed, a small study table, a wardrobe which again had spider man all over it.

We purchased the furniture from a store near by and began decorating his room. While decorating his room we realized that his toys didn’t have a place to be kept in.

We began looking for toy storage solutions. We decided to focus on storage solutions which would be easy to use for him. A couple of things had to be kept in mind before picking up a toy storage unit.

The toys should be placed in a manner that they are not cluttered so shelves or drawers would be a good option. It would be nice if the toys could be visible from outside so transparent drawers would definitely help. The shelves/drawers must be located such in easy reach for my nephew.

We also considered buying him a toy cart which could be used to stack all the toys and then placed at a corner in the room. This cart could also be used to take all the toys to a different location like the living room or the back yard if required.

Another cheap alternative and the best toy storage solutions we found were boxes of different sizes which could be placed below the bed or kept in the corner of the room.

Since we were watching our budget and had already crossed it over by a considerable margin we decided to pick up the boxes …And finally there was a new room which my nephew looked at and said ‘It’s perfect, I love it.’

In Brief: New Safety Standards for Toddler Beds in the US

A new safety standard for toddler beds has been approved in the United States by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this week. The new standard builds on existing ASTM voluntary standard for toddler beds (F1821-09) adding extra protections to prevent injuries.

The new standards include requirements that

  • The upper edge of the guardrail must be at least five inches above the toddler bed’s mattress.
  • Spindle/slat strength testing for toddler beds must be consistent with the testing required for crib spindles/slats.
  • Separate warning labels to address entrapment and strangulation hazards must appear on toddler beds.

Naturally, these standards will also apply to baby cribs which convert to toddler beds.

For more information see the CPSC’s press release.

Baby Cribs Should Be Chosen With Safety in Mind

Dream On Me 4 in 1 Aden Convertible Mini CribMost families are very excited when a new baby is on the way. Getting the nursery ready and buying all of the things that will keep baby safe and comfortable are part of making the house ready.

This has been discussed in other articles here, but it cannot be emphasised too much: when purchasing baby cribs and other baby furniture, it is important to think about safety first.

The crib is where newborn babies and infants spend most of their sleeping time. Cribs should be chosen for their safety features rather than just their beauty. Heirloom cribs might not meet current safety standards designed to keep babies safe.

Baby Cribs should be sturdy, with sides that will not fall down when an older infant or toddler begins to pull up. The mattress should fit snugly to the sides of the crib to prevent a baby from becoming entrapped between the sides of the crib and the mattress.

One of the most important safety characteristics of baby cribs is the distance between the slats. There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches between the slats. This keeps a baby’s head from becoming entrapped between the slats. Corner posts should be no more than 1/16 inch tall to prevent a baby’s clothing from getting hung on the posts. There should be decorative cutouts that would allow entrapment.

Due to the importance of having a safe crib, it is important to purchase baby cribs and other baby furniture from stores that sell the safest products. Well meaning friends and family might have used or hand-me-down heirloom baby cribs that they would like to share, but some of these might be unsafe. The same goes for used baby cribs purchased at yard sales or used furniture stores. When this type of crib is purchased, it should meet the highest safety standards.

It may cost a little more to buy a crib that meets today’s safety standards, but keeping baby in a safe environment is priceless!

Farm Themed Baby Bedding-A Fun and Fresh Choice For Your Child

Nursery set up with Farm Crib Set and farm animal stuffed toys
NoJo Farm Babies 5 Piece Crib Set

That positive pregnancy test can bring feelings of joy and elation. However, it can also bring feelings of uncertainly and lots of questions. Which car seat should you buy? Should you choose cloth diapers or disposables. What should you name the baby? What theme should you choose for decorating the nursery? While we can’t help with all your questions, we do have a great decorating idea for the nursery.

If you love the country, you may want to consider using farm baby bedding for your little one’s crib. From barns to tractors, everything you could expect to see on a farmstead has been made into blankets, pillows, and bumpers. In fact, according to Just Kids Furniture, a website dedicated to designing bedroom items for children, the farm theme is one of the top ten most popular nursery themes for boys. It’s no wonder since it is so versatile and can incorporate a variety of colors and patterns. The motif is broad enough that it can easily include bedding with animals, tractors, or even a tasteful check, stripe or plaid pattern.

Take a look at any of the online baby bedding retailers and you will find entire pages dedicated to farm themed nursery bedding. Baby bedding manufacturers offer many different styles for both boys and girls’ rooms with colors ranging from bright primary shades to neutral creams and tans.

Even handmade marketplace, Etsy, gets into the action. At the time of this writing, there were over a hundred listings for handmade farm themed nursery items. Many of those sellers accept custom orders for you to get your dream bedding at a reasonable price.

As you can tell, farm themed crib bedding sets and accessories for the nursery are readily available from a variety of sources. Whether you choose to purchase online or in person, you are sure to provide your baby with a classic look and stylish accessories for their first bed.

Picking Out a Baby Mobile

So which baby crib mobile is the best one and does it really matter which one you choose?

Most new parents are probably extremely excited to start decorating the nursery and planning the theme for the new baby’s room and there might not be a lot of consideration into the type of mobile you purchase.

It is common to simply choose something that will match the theme of the room but it doesn’t have to stop there.
Many baby mobiles come fully equipped with music as well as movement though there are quite a few that do not.

Both kinds can be of benefit, and non-motorised mobiles can often be spun or bounced while your baby is watching to engage her attention, which can be particularly beneficial when you are changing her diaper and want her to stay calm. Mobiles can be hung over baby cribs or change tables, or in a place that is visible from both.

If you want something that will soothe your little one then consider getting one that comes with music in addition to movement. The movement and the music both capture baby’s attention and engage her.

They both serve a purpose and the music just makes it easier to relax your baby when she starts to fuss. Many mobiles come with a wide selection of songs and sounds programmed into the mobile which is great for keeping your baby interested.

She might get tired of hearing the same song and it’s nice to offer her some variety in addition to new and different sounds. Many also come with sweet lullabies that can help put your baby to sleep and calm her especially when she doesn’t want to go to bed.

In addition, you can opt for a baby mobile that has different colors as well as characters attached. If you want even more options then look for those with soft, detachable animals that can later be used by your little one to play with and practice her dexterity.

This is especially helpful when she can no longer use the mobile. After they reach a certain age, it might be dangerous to keep a mobile hanging over the crib since many come with strings that may pose a hazard. If you have a mobile that hangs from the ceiling and is far out of your baby’s reach, then that is fine to leave in place.

For the first few months of your infant’s life do consider a mobile as they can help entertain her as well as sooth her.

Choosing the Ideal Baby Blanket for Swaddling

Green cotton bag with moby wrap tag.
The 42" x 42" Moby Wrap swaddle blanket is made from ultra-soft 100% stretch cotton and comes with a coordinating newborn hat

Researchers have found that a babies sleep better when swaddled with a baby blanket. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also reduces if babies are swaddled, and placed to sleep on their back. Swaddled babies sleep better on their backs than unswaddled babies, as the wrap helps calm their startle reflex. It also gives warmth, security and comfort to your baby, helping her to sleep better.

The blanket or wraps you choose to swaddle your baby in can also become a comfortingly familiar item when you put your baby down to sleep somewhere away from home, or go on holidays, even after she has outgrown swaddling. So choosing the ideal baby blanket for swaddling your baby is of great importance. See below for some blankets and wraps designed specifically for swaddling. But first, some factors you should consider when choosing the blanket.

Safety

The safety of your baby should be the prime concern. Overheating and swaddling tightly are two things that should be avoided. The fabric of the swaddle blanket must be breathable and lightweight to ensure that air can circulate through the blanket so that your baby doesn’t feel too hot. The fabric must be stretchable in order make sure that your baby can move without any discomfort. A cotton blanket or muslin wrap are both very good, breathable swaddling options.

It is ideal to use organic baby blankets for swaddling your baby. Organic blankets are made from purely organically grown fabrics which don’t contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The skin of your baby is very soft and sensitive. Even small amounts of toxic chemicals might cause allergies and other skin and health problems for your baby. If you do choose to buy organic, be sure the fabric is certified organic and that you are buying from a reputable supplier.

Four wraps
Aden & Anais 100% cotton muslin swaddling blankets, 47"x47"

Size and Design

The size of the baby blanket is another important factor. Usually swaddling blankets are square in shape. Often they are oversized to enable you to wrap the blanket more than once around your baby, like the miracle blanket, with it’s extra wide wings. A blanket that is too small will quickly be outgrown. But it should not be so big that it becomes too heavy and thick. Besides, if the blanket is too big, it will cause you difficulties while carrying it with you when you go for outing. For a standard square blanket, ideally, if you want the blanket to last past the tiny newborn weeks, you will want a swaddling blanket that at least one metre square (40 inches), but no more than around a 1.3 metres in width. Unfortunately, most baby blankets are less than one metre, or 40 inches, wide.

Another thing that you need to consider is that the blankets should ideally be machine-washable and durable as you will need to wash them frequently.

The design and color of the baby blanket you buy is your personal choice. Newborn babies can only see color in tems of contrasts, so pastels will not have much impact on your baby, but when you are choosing blankets for sleeping, that is probably a good thing. Extra stimulation is not what your baby needs at bedtime. But, if this is going to be a blanket your baby will keep for years to come, it is worth the extra effort of choosing an attractive design and colours that you like.

Specific Baby Blankets Designed for Swaddling

There are various different blankets and wraps and designed specifically for wrapping babies, from the miracle blanket, which is specially shaped to make it easy to wrap your baby snugly, to the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe which has a pouch for baby’s legs and feet, and arm flaps that use velcro to stay closed.

Swaddling with the Miracle Blanket

The Miracle Baby Swaddling Blanket, blue with green trim
The Miracle Baby Swaddling Blanket

Swaddling has become a standard answer to help calm fussy babies and to help induce sleep, but not all babies are easy to keep swaddled. Either they get loose after a few squirms or they are just get too active to allow wrapping in the first place. Then too, for new parents, overwhelmed and sleep deprived, sometime it’s just nice to have a product that makes things a little easier. That’s where the Miracle Blanket comes into its own.

Fortunately for the swaddling-challenged parent, there is now an easier way of swaddling. The popular method has been modified and made easy with this specially shaped wrap. It is still a baby blanket, it just makes swaddling easy.

The Miracle Blanket looks plain and simple but that’s what it is supposed to be. There are no buttons, snaps, knots, or zippers that can scratch a baby’s sensitive skin. It doesn’t have a hood or extra fabric that can make parents worry about suffocation or the risk of over-heating. Instead, the Miracle Blanket has been made very simple with the baby and parents in mind. The main idea is to help parents easily and effectively swaddle their newborn. A few flaps and fold and the baby will securely be bundled up ready to sleep soundly through the night. Then parents too can have a longer rest and with a well-rested child he or she will be better organised and less fuzzy and finicky the next day.

Swaddling newborns, and older babies up until they can roll, has proven to reduce the incidence of SIDS by making it easier to keep babies asleep on their backs, it reduces the startle reflex, and helps baby feel snug and secure just like in the womb. The Miracle Blanket makes swaddling easier and keeps baby snugly swaddled for longer. When baby is old enough to stop being swaddled, it might be time to consider trying some baby sleeping bags instead.

The Miracle Blanket is very well constructed. It is designed to be washed regularly and used daily. It is also built to apply slight pressure to the stomach to help with gas and colic. It is made from soft, stretch cotton and is over 6 feet wide.

For more help with getting your baby to sleep well, see Elizabeth Pantley’s sleep tips, or read her book The No Cry Sleep Solution.

Purchasing a New Crib

So you are wondering how you should go about purchasing a new crib. There are so many options out there, where is the best place to start? In the following article I will be giving you a few pointers to help you when trying to answer this question.

I for one am all for internet shopping. It just makes life so much easier and you can have all the best deals at just a few keystrokes distance. Some people don’t like shopping online because they are afraid that it might be unsafe and somebody could steal their information and, worst case scenario, steal their identity. My question to though is; isn’t it just as risky to give the waiter you credit card to pay? He’ll disappear for ten or fifteen minutes which is more than enough time to take a couple digital pictures of you card.

I am not saying this to make you stop paying by credit card when you go out to eat; I’m just trying to make a point. There are risks everywhere in life and I don’t think that we should let them dictate how to live or how to shop for that matter. I would take all necessary precautions of course and not give you credit card information to any iffy looking sites, but there are very trusted sites out there such as Amazon or Ebay. My point is I think the internet is a very viable option for shopping for new baby cribs.

You can also go the old fashioned way and go to the local baby store to buy a crib. This can rather limit your options to what they have in stock but you do have the advantage of seeing the crib ‘in the flesh’ which can give you a much better idea of whether or not you like it. You can also flood the salesperson with questions about the crib and get an instant response which is nice. You can also talk to them about crib safety, and you might spot your ideal baby blanket in the store too.

In conclusion I would say that shopping on the internet has a lot of advantages whereas shopping in a store kind of limits your options. I won’t tell you which is better as both have their times. I will say however that whether you are shopping in a store or on the internet be sure to do your research so that you can be assured that the crib that you choose is safe and secure for your baby.

Baby Crib Safety Tips

We have talked about different kinds of baby cribs, but what matters as well is crib safety which is usually taken for granted. In this article, we will talk about crib safety. For first-time parents, they are usually very particular with detail as well as new information about the welfare of their newborn. Being knowledgeable about safety is always the best for your baby.

Your old crib might still be okay but remember that if it is not new, there might be materials that are already lacking from that crib and so would be dangerous for your baby. That is why new purchase should always be considered. If you are going to purchase a second hand crib, make sure you are aware of the current safety standards in your country and that the crib meets them.

Decorative materials are not essential in buying your crib. Ribbons may look good along with the crib but your baby might pull it up and tangle it with himself so you better think twice.

Also take note of the slats in your crib. Slats that are too far apart are dangerous because a baby may get head, arms or legs trapped between them. In Australia, for instance, the standard is between 50mm and 95mm gaps. In the US it is no wider than 2 3/8 inches. Make sure your crib mattress fits closely into the crib, so your baby can not squeeze between the mattress and the side of the crib. Also, expecially with an older crib if it is painted you should check out that they used non-toxic paint. Remember that common respiratory infections are acquired through inhalation and most babies spends a lot of their time in their crib.

If you want to complete your crib then you need to purchase a mattress as well. For mattress reviews, you may visit: http://cribmattressratings.org. You can find there a lot of useful info about baby mattresses, including product reviews. You will also want to find the best baby bedding and your ideal baby blanket.

For further information about crib safety standards and relevant links see wikipedia.

Choosing Baby Cribs

Buying a baby crib is part of preparing for a new baby. Choosing the right cribs, bassinettes and moses baskets are important since the baby will spend quite a lot of time sleeping in them in the first few months. The practice of swaddling newborns means that most babies will be quite comfortable in a small crib or bassinette for the first three to six months of life, but after that a full size baby crib will be necessary.

As with all kids bedroom furniture, it is most important that the crib is safe and comfortable, but you may also want to choose one that fits the style of your nursery. There are many different types of baby cribs that you can select from:

The Standard Crib – This is the typical baby crib with just the frame, mattress and baby bedding.

The Canopy Crib – These come in rectangular or round shapes. They have a canopy to cover the baby when he/she is asleep. The baby bedding for a canopy crib include the canopy itself and can be pricey.

The Round Crib – These cribs come in a round shape. This makes them convenient since you can place them in a corner of the room and still have easy access to the baby, from either side.

The Convertible Crib – This is the most cost efficient crib today. It has the ability to convert into a toddler bed as the baby grows up, and some can also convert into a full sized bed that your child can use from teenage years into adulthood. This will save you the cost of buying a new bed once the baby outgrows the crib and becomes a toddler. It also means that you do not have to buy a bed as the child continues to grow. Of course they can be expensive; but then you will never have to pay for a new bed again.

The Portable Crib – These are the smallest types of baby cribs. If you have a small nursery then this may be your crib of choice. They are also low priced hence they will fit into any budget. Portable cribs, like the name suggests, are light in weight and fold up, and therefore ideal for travel. The downside is that you will have to find a new crib or bed in the short term because the baby will outgrow the portable crib more quickly than a full size crib.

Selecting baby cribs can be confusing. You want to give your baby the best that you can, and consider crib safety. You also have to consider your budget for the crib as you consider the budget for buying all the other items that a child will need when it comes into the world, from a baby blanket (or several) to baby sleepsuits and other clothes. You will also need to look at the size of the nursery. Once you know the size of the nursery and the budget that you can afford, then you will be prepared to go out a find a fantastic crib for your little bundle of joy.