Now that the drop-sided cribs our parents used in the 80s and 90s are officially a thing of the past, modern cribs (including all dadada Baby cribs) are often designed with adjustable height mattresses. It’s a great feature that makes new parent life a little easier, but can also leave you with questions, like, when is the right time to lower the crib mattress? How will I know when my baby is ready? What’s the safest setting for baby at each developmental phase?

In this blog, we’ll give you all the whys, whens, and hows of adjusting the height on your baby’s crib mattress, so you can keep your back happy, your nursery functional, and your little one safe!

Let’s start with why.

If you’ve ever tried to lower a sleeping infant into a travel cot or low bassinet, you know it can be a complicated maneuver that risks tweaking your back muscles and waking a finally-fell-asleep baby. To help parents transition little ones in and out of their crib more easily, manufacturers originally designed cribs with sides that would slide or drop down. When you know better, you do better - drop sides are no longer in line with modern safety standards, which means it’s time to say goodbye to hand-me-down cribs. Instead, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends buying a crib manufactured after June of 2011.

Your new crib will likely be equipped with a mattress you can raise or lower to 2 or 3 different height settings. For the newborn phase, the highest setting makes it much easier to move baby safely in and out of the crib, and as baby grows, lower settings prevent them from climbing or falling out of the crib.

When is the right time to change crib mattress heights?

Our dadada Baby cribs come complete with three different height settings. In keeping with the AAP safety guidelines, the highest setting is just for those first few precious newborn months, before baby can sit up, roll over, or pull themselves up to a crawl. During this time, keeping the crib mattress at the highest setting will allow you easy access to your tiny newborn, and make all of those late-night feedings and nap transitions just a little bit less of a juggle.

As soon as baby begins to show signs of rolling over, sitting up, or pushing themselves up onto their hands during tummy time, it’s time to lower to the second setting. Not sure you’ll get the timing right? It’s okay to err on the side of early! The only downside of having the crib mattress height a bit lower is your comfort and convenience. And as baby’s safety is ALWAYS our top priority, we’d recommend lowering to that second setting at the very first signs of your baby being able to move around on their own. It’s likely this will happen somewhere between 4-6 months, but every baby is different! Watch yours for signs of independent mobility and go ahead and adjust as soon as you see them!

The next milestone you’re watching for is baby’s ability to pull to standing. As soon as you see your little one attempting to pull themselves up to standing on, lower your crib mattress to the lowest position. It’s best to be a little ahead on this one - a lot of babies learn to pull up IN their cribs and having the mattress on the lowest setting means that you’ll be prepared if they happen to hit this milestone in the middle of the night! For most, but not all, babies, this milestone will happen between 6-8 months - remember, it’s okay to err on the side of early!

When your baby is 35” or taller, it’s time to transition to a toddler bed. dadada Baby cribs transition to a toddler bed with the help of our toddler conversion kits. Making the switch to a toddler bed helps ensure your toddler won’t be injured climbing out of their crib, because let’s face it - every curious toddler is likely to try the classic crib escape move AT LEAST once. Your goal is to make these transitions as soon as they have the urge, but before they get the chance to act on it.

Crib injuries are no joke. Every year, thousands of children under 2 are treated in emergency rooms for crib related falls and other injuries. But most of these injuries ARE preventable. And prevention starts with following 5 basic crib safety steps:

5 Steps for Basic Crib Safety

  1. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Adjust crib mattress height on time, according to baby’s developmental milestones.
  3. Purchase a crib that meets or exceeds modern safety standards and was manufactured after June of 2011.
  4. Keep pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, and other clutter out of the crib.
  5. Make sure there are no dangling cords, wall shelves, fans, lamps, or wall sockets within reach when baby is in the crib.

How to adjust your dadada Baby mattress height:

You can find instructions for your specific dadada Baby product here.

Key things to remember:

It’s okay to go lower, earlier! Lowering the mattress makes it a little trickier to get baby in and out, but keeps curious, mobile babies safe and secure.

Make sure your crib is up to modern safety standards! No drop sides, wide spaced slats, unsafe finishes, or pillows, stuffed toys, and bulky bedding. If you have a dadada Baby crib, congratulations - your crib meets (and even exceeds) modern safety standards in all categories!

At 35”, it’s time for that toddler bed! Because toddlers are gonna toddler, and we want to make sure they don’t tumble out of their crib while trying to explore.

Any questions about when or how to lower your crib mattress? Ask us on IG @dadadababyusa - we’d love to help!

Has your little one just made a crib transition? Take a pic of baby’s milestone #dadadamoment and share it with us!