Whether you are embracing attachment style parenting, you are recovering from a C-section and need your baby within reach, or you like the convenience of having your little one beside you during the night for diaper changes and feedings, you may be considering buying a sidecar crib for your baby. But what are the best cribs to use as a sidecar?
When choosing a sidecar crib, look for one with adjustable height settings to allow for a secure and level attachment to your bed’s mattress. Parents can choose from sidecar cribs with options such as convertibility, lightweight construction, gliding functionality, and mesh sides for breathability and visibility to meet the needs of their baby.
Read on for more tips and information about sidecar cribs, whether they’re safe for your baby, and which ones we recommend. There’s even a transition plan to help your family make the change when the time comes.
What is a sidecar crib?
A sidecar crib, sometimes called a bedside sleeper, is a crib or bassinet that attaches to an adult bed and has one open side allowing parents to sleep directly beside their baby. Many are convertible to standard cribs and bassinets for use as your baby grows.
Many parents choose to have their baby sleep in a sidecar crib for the purpose of giving their baby all the benefits of attachment parenting and co-sleeping with their babies, without the dangers of bedsharing.
Sidecar cribs make it easier for parents to tend to their babies in the middle of the night and are said to promote breastfeeding.
The best cribs to use as a sidecar
If you have decided to purchase a sidecar crib, you may be wondering what features are most important when making your selection. Sidecar cribs come in many different shapes and sizes and a variety of options to meet the needs of most families.
The most important features to look for in a sidecar crib is that it has a sturdy construction, adjustable height, and a firm mattress or sleeping surface for your baby.
Many sidecar cribs have features such as convertibility, musical mobiles, and back-and-forth gliding that you will also want to consider. These are great, but should always be considered comforts and secondary to the basic safety requirements.
I’ve included my top two recommendations below, but it’s important to do your own research and find the sidecar crib that’s best for your family!
Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer & Bedside Sleeper
The Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper is a convertible side-car crib that claims to be safe and comfortable for your baby. It has 6 height options so you’re likely to find the one that fits perfectly against your bed, and it allows for a side-to-side gliding motion to help soothe your baby when the side panel is up.
- 6 adjustable height positions
- Mesh walls for air circulation
- Fast and easy assembly
- 2 modes – standard bassinet and sidecar with easy converting
- Dropdown side panel for converting to sidecar mode
- Lightweight for movement
- Waterproof fitted sheet included
- For use with babies up to 20 pounds or 5 months
Pros: Top-Rated and reviewed on Amazon, affordable, safe, glides side-to-side, comfortable for baby.
Cons: Some Amazon reviewers say the legs are cheaply constructed.
Extra Value: For under $200.00, this convertible sidecar crib comes highly recommended and reviewed with 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.
Kidsclub Baby Bedside Sleeper
The Kidsclub Baby Bedside Sleeper is solid, sturdy, and safe. When used in sidecar mode it secures easily to adult mattresses and the 9 adjustable height positions allow parents to attach it so that it is level with their own mattress. You can unzip and remove the fabric for washing, and the mesh makes it easy to keep an eye on your little one.
- 9 adjustable height positions
- Two-sided mesh for air circulation and visibility
- Sturdy aluminum frame
- 2 modes – standard bassinet and sidecar crib
- Lightweight for movement around the house
- Meets or exceeds all US safety regulations
- Extra soft sheets
- Easy drop-down side panel
- Quick and easy installation
- For use with babies up to 23 pounds or 6 months
Pros: Top-Rated and reviewed on Amazon, affordable, well-constructed, safe.
Cons: Some reviewers on Amazon wish the mattress was a little thicker.
Extra Value: Comes with two extra-soft replaceable sheets
Sidecar crib safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents room share, not bedshare with their infant and that babies sleep in a safety-approved crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet.
Parents are advised to make sure their babies are sleeping on their own firm surface that is separate from their parent’s mattress. A sidecar can help provide the necessary separation in most cases, but parents should be wary if they tend to push covers or pillows off the bed as those could inadvertently end up in the sidecar and pose a suffocation risk.
Sidecar crib gap
Because the four sides of a standard crib keep the crib mattress from shifting, it makes sense that sidecar cribs may not keep the mattress from shifting as well as a four-sided crib, potentially allowing gaps between the adult mattress and the crib mattress to form.
The possibility of a baby falling into any existing gap between a sidecar crib and an adult mattress is the biggest risk of using a sidecar crib. If a baby falls in a gap between the two mattresses, they are at risk of strangulating or other serious injuries resulting from entrapment.
Avoid the sidecar gap:
- Buy a sidecar crib that meets health and safety requirements.
- Check that there is never more than ½” gap between the sidecar and the adult mattress.
- Follow assembly instructions to prevent improper assembly.
- Make sure the sidecar crib is securely attached to the adult mattress.
- Use all safety straps and anchors that accompany your sidecar crib.
- Never fill any existing gap with loose objects.
What if the sidecar crib is lower than the bed?
It is recommended that baby’s mattress is on the same level as the parents’ mattress.
By choosing a sidecar crib with adjustable height, you can be sure that the sidecar crib you have chosen will be a good match for your own mattress.
To get your baby’s sidecar mattress level with your own mattress you can also raise or lower your own bed frame, remove your box spring mattress, or, if it is an option, raise or lower the legs of your baby’s sidecar crib.
Transitioning from the sidecar to traditional crib
As perfect as the sidecar crib may be for your baby, there will inevitably come a time when you decide your baby is ready to sleep in a traditional crib. You may choose to transition your baby from a sidecar crib to a traditional crib when your baby starts sleeping through the night, you are no longer breastfeeding, you are ready to have your baby in a separate bedroom, or your baby outgrows it.
Whatever your reason for choosing to transition your baby to a traditional crib, you want to have a smooth, easy transition that works for both you and your little one.
How To Transition Your Baby to a Traditional Crib
- Have a traditional crib on hand if your sidecar crib is not convertible.
- Decide on a safe sleeping area for your baby’s new or converted crib.
- Assemble the crib, or convert your sidecar crib, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Create a welcoming sleep environment for your baby.
- Start bedtime in the crib immediately (when your baby is usually more tired and more likely to fall asleep without fussing).
- Once your baby is successfully sleeping through the night in the crib, start putting them in the crib for one nap per day, working up to sleeping exclusively in the crib as baby is comfortable.
- Be consistent. Have your baby sleep in the crib routinely to help your baby become comfortable in the crib sooner.