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The Best Ideas for Crib Alternatives

Why Parents Need Good Crib Alternatives?

Bed-sharing is not a good idea as it has been linked to S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that parents room-share for babies age 6 to 12 months, with a crib alternative instead of a crib in the room. The idea is to keep your baby near when he needs to be, but not expose him to the risks of sleeping in an adult bed.

So many parents are asking, “What is the best alternative to cribs?” and “Is there room for a crib in the parent’s room?”

The answer is “Yes.”

There are many useful alternatives to cribs on the market today. With a range of useful features and versatile use, these crib alternatives let you sleep close to your baby safely. They are great for daytime naps or unusual sleeping situations such as when in-laws are visiting for the holidays.

The best crib alternatives get the parent or parents sleeping on the same level as the baby. They provide easy access for you to the baby. They give your baby the comforting feeling of knowing you are near. Best of all, they keep baby safely confined to the sleeping space in a package that is often portable and offers a long list of useful features.

Crib alternatives come in a host of different forms to suit the space you have available and offer a long list of useful features.

Let’s take a look at the best crib alternatives.

Safe Sleep Guidelines for Infants and Babies

The  AAP has developed a set of standards for safe sleeping conditions for babies and infants. These are based on the best sleeping posture and position for babies, as well as ideal sleeping arrangements.

These standards are for the safety of the baby as well as for health and development purposes. They include:


  • Supine sleep (on back) for babies for spinal health and safety
  • Avoiding side sleeping
  • Skin-to-skin contact with mother for psychological comfort, bonding, and brain development
  • Breastfeeding access for the baby is always beneficial

Sleeping Surface

  • Firm, but not hard, sleeping surfaces are best
  • Couches, armchairs, stuffing-rich blankets are not safe

Room Sharing

  • Infants should not sleep in the same bed with the parents but should be placed in a bedside crib

6 Great Substitute for a Crib

1. Bassinets

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

Bassinets are perfect for newborn babies. They give your baby space. They are also safe, and easy to move. Bassinets can be used for baby care on the go, or around a large house. They are also a great room sharing alternative to your baby’s crib when he needs the comfort of closeness.

Why I love it

Bassinets are small and portable. They give baby all the comfort he needs in a convenient package. Best of all, they bring your baby up to your level, making it easy to take care of other business while also being the world’s greatest Dad!

2. Bedside Co Sleeper Bedside Bassinet

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

The co-sleeper or bedside bassinet is just downright brilliant. It gives you all the advantages of a bassinet with added features that are made just for the bedroom environment. Most noteworthy among these features is the collapsing side-door that gives you easy access to your baby.

I have a complete guide and review of the best co-sleeper bassinets here.

Why I love it

This design comes in a wide range of forms and options. Some are simple, and some are complex. It might take some shopping around to find the ideal co-sleeper, but it’s worth your time. Just make sure to go for quality, since the side-door needs to be well built, secure, and reliable.

3. Mini Crib

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

A mini crib gives you all the safety and utility of a crib with added mobility and compactness. These are best for small infants, and not so good for toddlers. That’s because they are smaller than cribs, and can be climbed out of by particularly spry babies.

Why I love it

If your baby is right in the zone where he might crawl onto your bed but isn’t big enough to escape a mini crib, then this can be an excellent choice.

4. Baby box

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

This design is inexpensive, simple, portable, and functional. It’s a great option for parents working on a tight budget, (in other words, all of them). The only downside is it needs to be on your bed if not on another secure stand.

Why I love it 

A baby box can do it all. It’s the no-frills, no-nonsense way to put baby to bed. Best of all, it folds up like nothing and can slide under the couch until you’re ready to make it a hand-me-down.

5. Travel Cribs

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

A lot like a portable play pen, a travel crib is smaller, more portable, and built for safety. They have tall sides in case baby wakes up unexpectedly, and it contains him securely.

Why I love it

It’s a great way to safely take your eyes off your baby momentarily to take care of other things. He can wake up, and even stand up safely, as long as he hasn’t outgrown it.

6. Pack n Plays/Playards

crib alternatives substitute for cribs in bedroom

These are a lot like travel cribs, but they tend to be more oriented toward sleeping. That being the case, you might travel with this when staying in hotels, or just keep it folded up, ready to deploy in the bedroom when baby gets fussy.

Why I love it

A pack n play gives you all the portability and usefulness of a travel crib with added sleeping and storage features.

Crib Substitutes – FAQ

What are the Best Crib Alternatives for Small Spaces?

A baby box, bassinet, or co-sleeper are all great choices for tiny spaces. They are narrow and small. The baby box needs to be put on a stand or on your bed, which may not be ideal. The best choice might be a collapsing co-sleeper that can be stored under your bed when not in use.

What are the Best Crib Alternatives for a six months old?

If your six month old is getting strong, you may need something with high, soft walls and sturdy rails. Even if he isn’t yet, he will be getting up to climbing soon, so a pack n play or travel crib may be in order.

What are the Best Crib Alternatives for 1 Year old?

At one year old, you need something to protect baby in those surprise moments when you’re not quite ready, but he is. Once again, a pack n play or travel crib just might save the day.

Can you use a Playpen instead of a crib?

In most cases, a playpen is not a good replacement for a crib. Playpens are designed for supervised play. However, some models are designed more like a pack n play, or travel crib. What you’re looking for is a solid floor that’s affixed to the bottom and sturdy construction. Playpens tend to have removable flooring that some babies will get underneath, which can be rather distressing for everyone. If you do choose a find a playpen with a sleep-safe design, do not go cheap. Quality counts.