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Crib Assembly

With so much attention these days focused on crib safety, the prospect of DIY crib assembly and construction may prompt some anxious moments. But not to worry.

Although some models cause some parents fits of aggravation due to poor instructions, missing or ill-fitting hardware, or their own lack of mechanical aptitude, crib assembly reviews generally give the models we researched high marks for user-friendly set-up.

Graco cribs lead the way in terms as one of the easiest cribs to assemble. In cribs reviews on Amazon, for example, purchasers report the Graco Lauren Classic Convertible (starting at $135) comes together quickly, although one says a missing hole meant the back and side railing could not be attached and another cautions that the finished product is too large to fit through a doorway (moral: assemble the crib wherever it will be used). Two other Graco models, the Charleston Classic Convertible (starting at $158) and Graco Sarah Classic (starting at $135) are also easy to assemble, typically taking less than an hour, according to cribs reviews. Some comments posted on sites like Walmart note that pregnant women handily managed the task on their own.

For the two DaVinci cribs we researched -- the Emily 4-in-1 (starting at $180) and Parker 4-in-1 (also starting at $243) -- ease of crib assembly varies by model. Purchasers of the Emily write in cribs reviews on the Target site that this top pick for best cheap crib can be assembled in about an hour, and is easier still with two people on hand. The Parker poses more of a challenge for some, according to cribs reviews at Toys R Us. This model comes with a trundle drawer whose set-up stymied one parent; another found the crib directions confusing; and a third said two adults spent two hours laboring to put together the crib.

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The one standard crib on our list, Baby Relax My First Nursery (starting at $169), comes with an unassembled dresser that also functions as a changing table. Cribs reviews posted at Walmart, say the crib goes up lickety-split but the dresser is a chore. Reviewers claim the entire process (both pieces) takes several hours, especially if you're working solo. We also came across a couple of reports about needing to drill larger holes.

Based on the cribs reviews we read, no brand is immune from crib assembly complaints, and some safety experts and retailers recommend professional assembly services, if available. Regardless where the crib was purchased or how much it cost, you may discover parts missing, cracked, or scratched when you open the box. If you buy locally, you might try opening the box at the store, although vendors don't always appreciate the gesture. Once the package arrives home you'll have to contact the manufacturer if anything is missing or broken. Using substitute parts from the hardware store is not advisable -- although the parts might fit, there's no way to know if they'll withstand the vigor of a growing and active child.

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