Do Cribs Expire? Crib Safety 101

Getting a crib for your baby is at the top of your shopping list, and you must be wondering, do cribs expire? The good news is cribs do not expire.

However, avoid using cribs that are more than 10 years old and those that have been modified in any way.  With older cribs, your infant can easily put their head between the slats gaps and strangle to death.

How Old Can A Crib Be And Still Be Safe?

Understandably, you’d like the crib to last a few years, but not at the expense of your baby’s comfort and safety.

If you’re planning to use a previously owned crib, it’s great first to ensure that it meets the recommended safety standards. 

It’s perfectly normal to want the best for your baby, and getting things that will serve them as they should make economic and parenting sense.

Shopping for a baby is an expensive affair, and it t doesn’t help that they outgrow most of the things in the first few months. 

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do cribs expire

How Long Are Cribs Good for?

Often, we get some pretty good hand-me-downs that are as good as new. A crib is one of the things that can be passed down from generation to generation.

But how many generations can it survive? Do baby cribs have expiration dates?

Many families have had all the children in the home use one crib all their infancy.

There’s nothing wrong with this, and the cribs can be used for several years while still being in perfect condition.

Such baby cribs might be very strong structurally, especially if they are made from hardwood or other strong material. 

However, as babies grow older and start standing and walking, they use the cribs as support.

This may render them a little creaky and loose. If you’re using such a crib, ensure that you have checked it first for strength and endurance.

With tender use and constant repair, cribs can last long. Many things that were constructed in the yesteryears were made to last several years.

This is in sharp contrast to today’s furniture and other things that are mostly made to be discarded after a few uses or even one use.

If you land an antique crib, it may be of better quality than most modern ones. Understandably, we’re in the instant era where everything has to be assembled in record time.

Despite which era you get your crib from, the most important thing is to check if it meets the baby’s age’s safety standards.

It’s also important to know what your locality considers to be safe and abide by that. 

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What Are the Safety Standards for Cribs?

As you go through deciding whether to take the used crib offer, you must be asking yourself, how old can a crib be and still be safe?

How long do cribs last? Cribs can last a long time, mostly up to five years. It’s generally recommended that you don’t use a crib that’s older than ten years. 

Although cribs do not necessarily have an expiry date like perishable goods or diapers, there’s a safety standard to follow.

As years passed and people became wiser, it was discovered that some features in a crib do more harm than good.

Newer cribs may, therefore, have more safety features than those made several years ago. 

If you’re using a crib that’s not new, check for the following to ensure your baby’s safety. 

Loose or Broken Slats and Poles 

Broken slats are dangerous for babies as they may slip their feet through, especially when they start standing and jumping on the bed. This may lead to bad cuts and bruises, which no parent wants. 

Broken crib poles may also hurt the baby if he holds onto them for support.

Moreover, clothes, shawls, and beddings may get caught on the broken poles and cause strangulation.

Loose crib poles may cause the baby to lose its grip leading to a bad fall. 

If the crib has any of these defects, do not put the baby in it until it’s repaired. Replace any part of the bed that may be giving in due to wear and tear. 

Slats too Far Apart

Some cribs made in the earlier years may have had the slats too far apart. Due to wear and tear, they may be missing some poles.

As a result, the baby may slip through and get hurt. They can even slip their heads in, which may be extremely dangerous.

For maximum safety, ensure that the slats on the crib aren’t more than 2.2” wide. This keeps the baby from falling out of the crib. 

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how long do cribs last

Drop-side Cribs

Earlier versions of cribs had one side that would be opened and allowed to drop to the floor to help the baby climb out.

They were also majorly for the ease of the parent to access the baby without much difficulty. These are called drop-side cribs. 

Drop-side cribs are no longer recommended or used. They pose a danger to the baby, especially if one side of the hinges gets broken.

When it breaks and drops on one side, the drop-side crib forms a V-shaped space that may trap a baby’s head. In some countries such as Canada, drop-side cribs are now illegal. 

Loose Mattress 

The mattress on the crib must be tight and well-fitting. An ill-fitting or saggy mattress may be a danger to the baby due to the possibility of suffocating.

Ensure that the mattress is taut and fits all parts of the bed well. Any spaces on the mattress may be a cause for suffocating. 

To check if the mattress is the right size, insert two fingers between the mattress and the crib’s sides.

If they fit, then the mattress is too small for that rib. If the mattress is riding up the sides of the crib, it’s too large. Ensure that you get a new mattress with the correct density and size. 

Assembled and Re-Assembled Cribs

The question, do baby cribs expire, may not be in the affirmative, but you should be wary of cribs that have been assembled, dismantled, and assembled again.

This is even worse if there-assembling has frequently been happening, especially due to movement. 

If a crib has been assembled and re-assembled several times, chances are very high that it’s not as stable as the first time.

It may also lose some parts in the process. The chances of breaking something in the crib are also much higher.

Enquire from the original owners if this has happened. Thoroughly check that the crib has all the necessary parts before placing the baby on it. 

Headboard and Footboard Designs 

Antique cribs may have elaborate design cut-outs on the headboard or footboard.

While these may be cute and beautiful, they are a danger to the baby as they may stick their heads in it and get stuck or suffocate.

Ensure that the crib has a simple design and the right spaces in the slats and poles. 


So, do baby cribs expire? No, they don’t, expire. However, the lack of a printed expiry date on the crib is not a direct license to use the crib. First, make all the necessary safety checks in keeping with the agreed safety standards. 

Modify the crib to suit your needs and the comfort of the toddler before using it. Check that the crib wasn’t made in the era when paints contained lead. The safety of the baby comes first. 


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