So far in this series on eco-friendly, non-toxic cribs, I’ve talked about when you’ll need a crib and how to figure out the right kind of crib for you and your family. I’ve also looked at safety concerns with cribs, including issues with toxic chemicals in most cribs on the market. In this article, I’ll look at of the best companies making non-toxic, eco-friendly cribs, and list a few runners up.
Hardwood vs. softwood cribs
As we’ve discussed elsewhere in this series, the safest option for a crib is a 100% hardwood crib with a food-grade finish such as linseed oil, and either no glue or soy-based or water-based glue. For top marks, you want a crib without composite wood (no MDF, plywood, etc.), laminates, or paints, stains, or adhesives that contain formaldehyde and other VOCs.
Sadly, for many, these hardwood cribs are either out of range due to price or simply inaccessible due to location. Thankfully, there are some fantastic softwood cribs available, so in this article I’ll offer my recommendations for mid-range and budget non-toxic cribs that don’t break the bank, including the one I plan on purchasing in the (hopefully) near future!
There are pluses and minuses to cribs made with softwood. Pine, poplar, beech, and other softwoods are lighter and make for a cheaper crib than hardwoods. However, they are more easily dinged and scratched and may not be robust enough to be reused, making them less eco-friendly and less cost-effective than a durable hardwood crib. Still, if you’re on a budget and only planning on having one child, a cheaper softwood crib might be perfect for you.
Crib Type: Hardwood
Silva is a sister brand to Romina, making similarly high-end cribs and other furniture, but without the Greenguard Gold certification. It seems to me, though, that the company adheres to the same principles of using only safe, healthy materials and no toxic chemicals in finishes, glues, or elsewhere. And, presumably because the cost of certification isn’t absorbed into the products, all of the cribs from Silva cost just $795, compared to around $1,000 minimum for Romina cribs.
Silva currently offer three crib designs: Serena, Edison, and Jackson, all for $795. These cribs are convertible into a toddler bed, day bed, and full size bed, although conversion kits and toddler guard rails must be bought separately.
Like Romina, Silva cribs are made in Europe, in Romania, using European materials. They use beechwood (like Romina), only use non-toxic, organic, no-VOC finishes (like Romina), and use dovetailed drawer designs and mortise and tenon joints (like Romina). They also employ the same Romina soft-closing drawer system to avoid fingers getting caught and use drawer ‘triggers’ to prevent the drawers being opened by little fingers (like Romina). I’m sure you get the point by now.
There is one other difference (aside from certification) between Silva and Romina. The former has fewer designs and fewer customization options. If you’ve got ‘menu fatigue’, though, this might be a good thing.
It might seem counterintuitive in an article on the best eco-friendly, non-toxic cribs to give my top recommendation to a crib without any eco-certifications, but I feel pretty darned confident that Silva, as an off-shoot of Romina, are a solid bet for a safe, healthy, and slightly cheaper hardwood crib. They explicitly claim to only use natural, baby-safe ingredients, without formaldehyde, lead, or other VOCs, which is arguably better than Natart and others who have Greenguard Gold certification for being low-VOC, but not no-VOC.
If you’re looking at a softwood crib for around $500 and plan on having more than one child or would like to pass the crib on once your baby’s done with it, see if you can find that extra few hundred bucks. Silva is worth it. You can find Silva cribs at more than 60 retailers across the US, Canada, and elsewhere in the world. Yes, it would be preferable to buy a crib made closer to home from local BC timber (in my case), but I take some solace in the fact that Silva ship to at least one store near Vancouver (Richmond, BC), meaning that there’s a modicum of energy efficiency involved in getting the crib when it’s time.
Crib Type: Hardwood
One company consistently earns top marks from eco-minded parents for their hardwood, non-toxic cribs: Green Cradle. This company goes above and beyond in terms of transparency, and specializes in making organic and all-natural products without toxic chemicals. Their cribs start at around $995 and range all the way up to around $4,400 if you opt for the most expensive model in the priciest hardwood (walnut) with all the accessories to convert the bed into a toddler bed, day bed, and full bed, plus an organic natural latex crib mattress.
Most of the cribs have adjustable mattress positions as standard and contain absolutely no composite wood products. Instead, they’re made with 100% solid Oak, Brown Maple, Hard Maple, Walnut or Cherry hardwoods. All finishes are hand rubbed onto the wood three times over many days, and finishes are 100% VOC free, not just low-VOC like most other cribs. Green Cradle don’t use any chemical preservatives, have high environmental standards, claim to be carbon neutral, and note that the finishes they use are food-safe and compostable.
If I had the money and lived closer to Sherman Oaks California, a Green Cradle crib would be my top choice for an eco-friendly crib. I’d probably also be buying their clothing, mattresses, bedding, toys, organic and natural health and body care, and furniture. Shipping a hardwood crib to Canada seems rather silly, however, and far from eco-friendly, so I’ll go with something built closer to home from local wood or something shipped en masse to a nearby store.
Shipping for cribs from Green Cradle seems to be a flat rate of $325 in the contiguous US, and state taxes may also apply depending on where you live. Most models ship within 11-12 weeks of order, and there is an optional ‘rush order’ upgrade to get your crib shipped in 7-8 weeks for an additional cost.
Crib Type: Softwood
If I was a little taller, Ikea’s Sniglar would be my favorite budget crib option. It costs just $79 or so and can easily be converted into a toddler bed. The Sniglar used to be made with a combination of beechwood and a pesky MDF mattress base. Thankfully, Ikea responded well to customer concerns and now make the entire crib with unfinished beechwood – no nasty toxic finishes or stains.
One downside to the Sniglar is that it only has two mattress level options, so it may not be ideal if you’re shorter than around 5’3” or have difficulty reaching down to lift out an infant. One other downside to this crib is that it’s so popular, it frequently goes out of stock at Ikea! So, don’t rely on this as a last minute option if your more expensive crib hasn’t shown up in time. Instead, if you’re worried that baby might arrive before your fancier crib, consider getting a Sniglar when it’s in stock, leaving it in its packaging, and simply returning it if you don’t have cause to use it.
The Ikea Sundvik and Gulliver cribs are very similar to the Sniglar, but these are made with beech and fiberboard, so beware.
Crib Type: Hardwood
Romina clearly have a passion for building beautiful cribs and other safe, durable, and desirable furniture. This Romanian company makes cribs from 100% solid hardwood, organic glues, and non-toxic, water-based, organic oil finishes (free of VOCs, lead, and formaldehyde). All of Romina’s cribs are GreenGuard Gold Certified, as is all their other furniture. Cribs meet and exceed CPSC standards and range in price from $975-$1,495, or more depending on the options you choose for any given model.
Romina offer a variety of stylish cribs, most of which can be converted to a toddler bed, day bed, and full bed when the time comes. These cribs come with a 3-year warranty and Romina make it really easy to order any replacement parts or conversion accessories through the website.
The company is a family-owned business established in 1991 to continue the woodworking traditions passed down over three generations. Romina began offering furniture for sale in the US in 2006 and now have more than 85 retailers in the US, Canada, and elsewhere in the world. You can buy a Romina crib online or find an authorized specialty store in the US or Canada using their “Find a Store” tool.
One thing I like about Romina is that they have complete control over their production facilities in Europe, which means they know exactly how each crib is made. They also design and make other beautiful furniture, meaning that you could kit out your whole nursery (even your whole house) with Romina products. One downside is that all of the cribs seem to have metal mattress supports, which may mean some sagging once your child is older and heavier. If their cribs had wooden slat supports, Romina cribs would be my top choice for a safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic crib.
Crib Type: Softwood
The DaVinci Kalani 4-in-1 Crib is my overall top pick for a softwood crib; it is both inexpensive and sturdy, which is a rare combination. It’s made with sustainably sourced New Zealand pine wood, is Greenguard Gold Certified, looks great, and performs well over many years. It has been a bestseller for DaVinci for more than 10 years and is a Wirecutter and Consumer Reports top pick, so I’m not alone in extolling the virtues of the DaVinci Kalani. The crib is available in Rich Cherry, Chestnut, Ebony, Espresso, Grey, Honey Oak, and White, which means you’re bound to find a color that matches the aesthetic of your nursery.
The 4-in-1 nature of the crib means that it can be conveniently converted to a toddler bed, day bed, and then a full-sized bed to meet your child’s needs (and save you money) as they grow. Reviewers seem to agree that it’s incredibly durable, which is a bit of a rarity in this price range. It’s also widely available and easy to order, which is not true of some of the other hardwood cribs on this list.
Crib Type: Hardwood
Natart Juvenile make Greenguard Gold Certified cribs ranging from around $1,160-$1,500. These solid wood cribs are made in Canada with beechwood, oak, or birch, and use solid wood mattress supports. Natart offer a range of styles, including more contemporary modern designs and some classic curved designs. Most models convert into a toddler bed at least, with some 5-in-1 models converting into a toddler bed, daybed, double bed headboard and complete double bed.
The cribs, as with all Natart Juvenile furniture, have a full bottom dust cover. They also have anti-tip hardware (which features a leather strap), and some models are upholstered with a choice of leather or washable fabric. So, if you’re vegan like me, these cribs might not be quite right for you and your baby, unless you’re willing to install your own anti-tip system.
I love that these cribs have solid wooden slat mattress supports instead of metal, and I appreciate that Natart list the broad range of certifications they carry for their products, including Greenguard Gold certification, and 16 CFR Part 1303 – Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products Bearing Lead-Containing Paint, as well as California’s Proposition 65 for Phthalates, and the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. All cribs adhere to required CPSC and ASTM standards, as well as Health Canada standards. I’d still like Natart to explicitly state that they don’t and won’t use any VOCs or other toxic chemicals in their products, however, as they only say that they use ‘low-VOC’ materials.
Still, as cribs go, Natart Juvenile is a great option for a solid wood crib with excellent certification.
Natart Furniture is a small family owned company founded in Rome, Italy in 1988 as an adult furniture manufacturer. The company relocated to Quebec, Canada, in 1995, and launched their juvenile division in 2001. They added their Tulip Juvenile line of modern furniture in 2008, and in 2014 added Nest Juvenile and Natart Gliders to their kids collection (see more below on Nest and Tulip).
Crib Type: Hardwood
My favorite mini crib option is the Bloom Mini Crib, which is made with solid wood, low VOC baby safe finishes, is MDF-free, lead-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and formaldehyde-free. This crib is also foldable, easily stored, requires no tools for set-up (which takes just 5 minutes), and can turn your hallway closet into a convenient nursery if you’re pushed for space. It’s also available in a really lovely green color, perfect for any eco-friendly nursery aesthetic.
Crib Type: Softwood
Babyletto’s 3-in-1 Lolly Crib is my favorite crib in terms of design, thanks to its contrasting spindles and frame (the spindles are always natural pine, while the rest of the crib can be white, black, or grey), rounded edges, and tapered, peg-like feet. Like the Kalani, the Lolly is made with pine, is Greenguard Gold Certified, has four adjustable mattress positions, and can be converted into a toddler bed and a day bed, but not a full size bed. At around $400 (which includes the conversion toddler rail), the Lolly is quite a bit more than the DaVinci Kalani, though.
Babyletto’s 3-in-1 Hudson Crib is another good option for a softwood crib and is also available in two-tones, as well as white, grey, and a blush pink. This design has angled legs and round spindles, is also made with pine, has four adjustable mattress positions, and can be converted into a toddler bed and a day bed, but not a full size bed. It costs around $379 at Target currently (including the toddler conversion rail), again making it quite a bit more than the DaVinci Kalani but with less longevity as your child grows.
Babyletto’s Modo 3-in-1 Crib is similar in price to the Kalani, ranging from $359-$379 on Amazon currently, depending on your color choices (this includes the toddler rail for conversion). This model is, again, Greenguard Gold Certified, made with New Zealand Pine and can be converted to a toddler bed or day bed. It has four adjustable mattress positions and has a more ‘blocky’ appearance, with straight legs and bars instead of spindles.
Crib Type: Hardwood
Baby Eco Trends are an excellent option for solid hardwood bassinets, cradles, and cribs made with hardwood and without composite or engineered wood or toxic chemicals. These cribs are handmade in Ohio by Amish craftsmen, using solid wood sustainably harvested in the US, and can be delivered anywhere in the contiguous US. The wood is kiln dried rather than chemically treated, and the craftsmen use mortise and tenon joints rather than glues to make the crib.
So, while it’s a shame that the company doesn’t carry any eco-certifications or Greenguard Gold Certification, it’s a pretty safe bet that their cribs are non-toxic, simply because they don’t use glues. That said, because you can choose to have the crib treated with standard or formaldehyde-free finish or paint, this means that some toxic chemicals may be knocking around in the factory where the cribs are made. Make sure you choose a formaldehyde-free finish or paint to keep your crib non-toxic and eco-friendly.
Prices range from $1,000-$2,300, with almost all cribs able to be converted into a toddler bed, day bed, and full bed. They also offer low profile (low-rise) cribs, which are great if you’re a little shorter (like me!) and find it hard to reach down low into a crib. Most Baby Eco Trends cribs also have three adjustable mattress positions, so you can have newborns up high, older infants a little lower, and potential-escapees on the lowest setting. Cribs fit standard aby crib mattresses and comply with all required standards (CPSC, ASTM), in addition to being third-party lab tested and approved.
Some models have an optional Baby Changing Tray that attaches to matching Dressers / Baby Changers for extra security and can easily be removed when no longer needed. You can also choose custom stains, finishes, paints and hardware as well as other wood species by emailing the company. To make sure your new crib has the right aesthetic, you can request samples of hardwood and stain/paint selections (for a price; refundable upon return of the samples).
Cribs take around 8-12 weeks to complete, plus packing and shipping time. Free curbside delivery is available, and assembly instructions are provided.
Crib Type: Softwood
Pottery Barn’s Kendall Convertible Crib is also Greenguard Gold Certified and ranges in price from around $568-$599, although I’ve seen it on sale recently for less than $400. This is a Craftsman-style crib made with solid poplar wood, which is a little harder than pine. Mortise and tenon joints and tongue and groove joinery are used, which minimizes the need for glue and makes for a more robust crib. This crib is also made in a Fair Trade Certified™ factory, has three adjustable mattress positions, and it can be converted into a toddler bed (you’ll have to buy a separate conversion kit).
Unfortunately, the Kendall has in-built plastic teething rails, although Pottery Barn don’t list this in their materials, which seems rather disingenuous. For around the same price, Pottery Barn also make a Low Profile version of the Kendall Crib that is four inches shorter, making it much easier for folks like me to pick up an infant from the crib.
I’ve listed a lot of brands and products in this article, which I hope means there’s something to suit every growing family. For a super budget option, Ikea’s Sniglar crib is the clear winner. And, in the mid-range, marrying cost, design, and safety, Silva gets my seal of approval.
When it comes time for me to buy a new crib, I confess that I’ll probably let my frugal nature win out and go with the Sniglar. That way, I can finish the crib myself with linseed oil and spend the savings on a really nice organic crib mattress and other essentials where it’s harder to find budget options. But, if I’m feeling flush and can find a good sale, I’d jump at the Babyletto Lolly or the DaVinci Kalani. And, if I win the lottery and don’t care to donate my winnings to charities, I’d snap up the beautiful maple wood Gradient Crib from Nursery Works for a cool $10k.