Mini Crib vs Full Size Crib – How Do They Compare?

Mini cribs and full size cribs are sometimes used interchangeably but they do have their own place in the life of a new family. Mini-cribs are smaller versions of a full size crib and they will come in very handy in certain situations.

Mini Cribs

In a nutshell, a mini crib is smaller, less expensive, and is more appropriate for homes where space is limited.

Most mini cribs are foldable, portable, and less expensive than a full-sized crib. The average dimensions of a mini crib mattress are 24 x 38 inches and 1 to 4 inches in thickness. But keep in mind that mini crib sizes are not all the same

mini crib close up

The size and dimensions of a mini crib are not standardized and vary by brand and model, so you will have to make sure you buy the correct sheets that fit your mattress snugly. A mini crib is best for babies less than two years old.

Pros

  • Easier to move, pack, and reposition
  • Smaller proportions fit more easily into limited space
  • Ideal for newborns
  • Folding design makes mini cribs easier to store
  • Less expensive than larger options

Cons

  • Your baby may outgrow it sooner
  • A larger crib will be necessary later

The video below explains the different features and advantages of different size cribs:

Full-Size Cribs

Larger and offering more features, a full-size crib is meant to stay in a permanent position in your home. They may come with shelves or compartments as well as different styles. Most full size cribs convert to toddler beds and eventually to kid beds so they will last a long time.

classic standard crib

The standard dimensions of a full-size crib mattress are 28 x 52 inches and 5 to 6 inches in thickness. The size and dimensions of a full-size crib tend to adhere to standardizations but vary slightly based on brand and model. The range of size variation is small, usually within ¼ of an inch.

Pros

  • Large size accommodates babies two years old and older
  • More features and storage
  • Can be used as a bed as your child grows
  • Sturdy construction accommodates heavier babies

Cons

  • More expensive than a mini crib
  • Requires more space
  • Is not portable

Everything You Need to Know About Mini Cribs

A mini crib is a perfect answer for new parents with limited time, space, and budget to take care of a new baby. Perhaps you’re moving to a new home or apartment, traveling for the holidays, and are looking for a bed for your baby that will get your family through the interim. A mini crib is ideal for this situation. 

Mini cribs are also a great addition for homes with multiple rooms, where your baby may need additional sleeping options.

A mini crib is large enough for babies under two years of age and less than 45 pounds. They feature high and smooth enclosure sides to make sure your baby does not climb over them. They also come with many features that you will find interesting.

mini crib with rounded sides and mattress

Most mini cribs come with caster wheels that make it easier to move them around.

The sheets and mattresses for mini cribs are not standardized. That means you will need to find a brand of sheet that fits and stick with the same brand for sizing reasons. Since messy accidents are going to be pretty commonplace for a new baby, you’re going to have to change a lot of baby bedding. 

Having extra sheets is a good idea. So it will be important not to rush out and buy replacements that are the wrong size.

The average size and weight of a baby between the ages of 24 and 36 months is 31 to 39 inches from head to toes, and 22 to 40 pounds. Standard crib designs are stress tested using a 45-pound weight. So the important considerations here are checking the manufacturer’s recommendations for weight limits, which you can expect to be lower than that of a standard crib. If you have an especially active baby, you can lower the posted max weight capacity by five to ten pounds.

white crib in room

Most importantly, do not buy a mini crib that is not safety tested and approved. Check online for reviews of a specific model before making a purchase. Also, closely inspect the construction of the mini crib before entrusting your infant to it for the night.

Final Considerations

Because different mini crib brands and models come in different sizes, you will need to measure the space you intend to use it in before buying. Appropriately sized sheets must be used with your mini crib, so care is needed when matching the mattress with sheets. 

A pack-n-play will also vary in size by brand and model. Therefore, your mini crib and pack-n-play will not be interchangeable in the same space unless you take care to buy products with matching proportions.

baby in mini crib vs crib

Mini cribs and standard cribs serve the same purpose but full size cribs will last you much longer especially if they are convertible. 

A mini crib is the perfect solution for small nurseries or if your baby has outgrown the bassinet but you are not yet ready to move him to his own room. 

If you’re still looking for other options, check out my post on different crib alternatives.

Mini Crib vs Standard Crib Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a baby stay in a mini crib?

On average, you should be able to use your mini crib until your baby is too large for its proportions and weight capacity. The maximum posted weight capacity of the mini crib should be under 45 pounds. You should monitor your baby’s weight to ensure he does not use it after having outgrown it. If your baby becomes active enough to frequently bump into the sides, you should consider investing in a larger sleeper.

Can a newborn sleep in a mini crib?

Newborn babies can sleep safely in a quality mini crib as long as you have taken all of the infant sleep safety precautions into consideration. The sleeping surface should be firm, but comfortable. Excess bedding, pillows, and blankets are ill-advised. Because a mini crib is small and portable, you can place it next to your bed at night for closer monitoring.

Can I use regular crib sheets on a mini crib?

No, loose sheets and excessive bedding can create a suffocation hazard. Make sure the sheets you use fit the mini crib mattress. The fitted sheet should be snug, not loose, and the top sheet and other bedding should be spare, firm, and breathable.

Are mini cribs and Pack-n-Plays the same size?

The sizes of mini cribs will vary because they are not standardized as regular cribs are. They are roughly the same size as a pack-n-play, but not precisely. The primary difference between a pack-n-play and a mini crib is that a mini crib is not intended for travel. A mini crib is portable but not as portable as a pack-n-play. Some mini cribs will fold up, but they tend to be less compact when folded than a pack-n-play.