When you’re getting the nursery ready for a new baby, everything revolves around one thing:
It’s the centerpiece of the room, and it’s pretty much your baby’s home for the next couple of months, at the very least.
(Babies sleep a lot, if you didn’t know!)
If you’re trying to figure out what kind of crib you can fit in your new nursery, here’s how big a baby crib is and the most common baby crib dimensions (the majority of these are federally regulated in the United States):
Standard crib mattress dimensions: 27 1/4 x 52 inches, and not more than 6 inches thick (usually thinner)
Standard full-size crib dimensions (interior): 28 x 52 3/8 inches, plus or minus around 5/8 inch.
Top of crib mattress to top of side rail: ~20 inches
Crib height off floor (floor to bottom of mattress support): ~6 inches
Size examples of popular cribs:
Here are a handful of the most popular full size cribs on the market right now, both from Amazon and from top retailers like Pottery Barn, along with exactly how much space they take up in your house.
The dimensions below (the ones given directly by the manufacturer) are typically referring to the overall size of the crib, which is probably what you’re interested in.
The size of the inside/sleeping surface of the crib, and the mattress, are federally regulated within less than an inch.
The sizes below refer to max exterior width, length, and height at the tallest point.
- Union convertible crib: 53.5L x 30.5W x 33.5H (inches)
- Graco Benton crib: 56.7L x 29.8W x 40.5H
- Pottery Barn Lark crib: 59.5L x 32W x 46.5H
- Sorelle Annie Elite crib: 55L x 30.25W x 40.35H
- Babyletto Gelato crib: 55L x 31W x 35.2H
- Delta Children Brayden crib: 54.5L x 30W x 41.25H
- Serta Mid Century Modern crib: 55L x 29.75W x 39.25H
- Little Seeds Monarch Hill Ivy crib: 54.5L x 28W x 40.6H
- Baby Mod Modena crib: 54.25L x 29.63W x 35H
- Babyletto Hudson crib: 54L x 29.8W x 35H
- Pottery Barn Kendall crib: 57L x 32W x 44H
- IKEA Gulliver crib: 53.5L x 29.5W x 32.6H
- Graco Charleston crib: 56.5L x 30.1W x 45.7H
As you can see, the sizes are pretty standard. If you don’t need a lot of extra ornate design features, you can shave off a few inches here or there (usually on the height), but since the actual inside of the crib is regulated, the wiggle room is rather small.
If you really don’t have space for a full size crib (or don’t have the budget, or haven’t picked one, or just aren’t ready!) there are lots of alternatives to full size cribs that will work just fine, especially during baby’s first weeks home.
Scroll down to see some crib alternative ideas.
What about non-full size cribs?
There are plenty of cribs out there that don’t qualify as full size, but still get the job done and take up less space.
They’re sometimes called mini cribs.
(The technical and legal term is actually Non-Full-Size Baby Crib, and it covers essentially anything that’s bigger or smaller than a full size crib and doesn’t clearly fit another category, like a travel crib, bassinet, etc.)
Mini cribs can be pretty much any size, more or less (as long as they don’t qualify as a full size crib) but are typically between 36 and 43 inches long.
If you’re wondering why the heck crib size regulations even exist, well, that’s a good question.
I think it comes down to protecting babies and consumers. Without specific definitions of what constitutes a crib, a mini crib, and so on, there’s a chance consumers could get confused and wind up putting their newborn babies in pieces of furniture that weren’t designed or safe for them.
In any case, a mini crib might be a great solution for your home if space is tight, but the major drawback is that you’ll often pay about the same as you would for a full size, it won’t last nearly as long as the baby grows, and the irregularly sized mattresses won’t carry over when you’re ready for a toddler bed.
What if I can’t fit a crib in my house or apartment?
God… babies take up a ton of space, don’t they?
The cribs described above take up something like 12 square feet of floor space. Then you need a dresser or some place to store clothes. A changing pad. Toys. Jumpers. Swings. Play mats.
You run out of space fast!
If you’re looking to save some room (or money) on the crib, there are a ton of alternatives on the market.
The great thing about full sized cribs is that they’ll last until your child is a toddler, at least. Even then, many of them convert easily into toddler beds
The solutions below are far less permanent, but take up much less space and usually cost a lot less:
See the section above. Mini cribs can significantly reduce the amount of floor space you need for a permanent sleeping spot for baby. The problem, as I mentioned, is that babies will outgrow these a lot faster.
Their sizing isn’t quite as standardized, too, so you can be stuck with a crib mattress that doesn’t fit anything else and won’t be useful when your kid is ready for a toddler bed.
These are little shallow basket looking things that allow the baby to sleep next to you in bed without rolling away (or without you rolling onto it.)
They’re great for the very early days after you bring your baby home, but pretty soon you’re going to want a more permanent solution.
(And bringing baby to bed is NOT something to be taken lightly from a safety perspective. If you want to use a co-sleeper, make sure you’re on top of best safety practices)
Exactly what it sounds like, a Moses basket is a, well, basket, with just a little bit of padding inside. (Think what Moses floated down the river in!)
It’s super portable, easy to move around, and they’re pretty cute.
Again, this is far, far, far from a permanent solution and will only last you a few months at best.
Pack n Plays or Travel Cribs
You could choose to go the route of a crib that can be stowed away when you’re not using it, like pack n plays and travel cribs.
They also come in handy when you’re traveling, and your baby will be used to sleeping in it already, so double win!
The only problem with these is that they can be expensive, and constantly breaking them down and setting them up is a pain.
(I speak from extensive experience as the only one in the family who knows how to use the travel crib.)
Rockers, Cradles & Bassinets
There are a ton of freestanding sleeping solutions like this that can work when your baby is young.
In some cases, they end up being better than a crib because they can have cool rocking, vibrating, or music options built in.
My daughter actually spent many of her early nights in a rocker by our bedside.
Again, though, babies will outgrow these pretty quickly. (And you’ll be more than ready for them to sleep in their own room sooner than you think!)
This is really a thing. If you don’t have room or the budget for a full size crib, and/or you just haven’t decided what to do yet, newborn babies can sleep perfectly in a simple cardboard box.
It’s called a baby box, and there’s been a ton written about these already as a low cost and super effective way of preventing SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
Most full size cribs are about the same size. Some are taller than others at their highest point (mostly for aesthetics), but they are typically around 55 inches long and 30 inches deep.
The truth is, your baby is going to take up an enormous amount of space. The crib is only the beginning.
It’s definitely worth investing in something beautiful, safe, and stylish, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it. (And most full size cribs these days will convert into a toddler bed when your child is ready, which makes them the better investment).
But if you don’t have a lot of room, there are other options available to you, like mini cribs, pack n plays, and co sleepers.
I hope this research has helped you, and good luck on your parenting journey!