Pros: hard wood, convertible, very low mattress settting bonus for tall kids
Cons: 2 hands required to lower sides, not friendly to crib attachments
One of the most exciting things during my pregnancy was thinking about planning a special nursery area decorated just for our baby. I remember how exciting it was picking out furniture and looking at all the different options that were available. I also remember the sticker shock that I had when I saw the costs of some of the items that I fell in love with...
Lucky for us, having first time grandparents who wanted to help in any way our budget concerns were alleviated a bit. My father in-law and stepmother in-law insisted that they purchase the furniture for our son's nursery as a special gift. The crib that I chose was the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib and it was around $600 dollars.
Why I chose this model?
I'll be honest with you that the main reason that I chose this crib is that I liked the way it looked. Not the best reason to pick a crib, but I think its a valid one nonetheless. The Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib is absolutely gorgeous. If you haven't seen this model in person you need to. The Generation Next cribs are made of hardwood (Radiata Pine, to be exact) and are in a sleigh-type style. The crib comes in 4 different finishes - Amber, Honey, Cherry, and Antique. My son's nursery is done in earth tones with a bit of a jungle animal type theme so I chose the dark cherry crib.
Also in the Generation Next line come other furniture pieces such as an armoire, 3 & 7 drawer dressers, changing table and more. We didn't purchase any of the extra pieces and instead opted to shop around and customize exactly to our needs. The other pieces are very attractive but they are also quite large and we needed to optomize space in our son's fairly small bedroom.
The Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib itself is also rather large, because of its sleigh-bed styling. The crib measures 54 1/2" wide by 37" deep by 43" high. Because of its style it seems even larger than that. Part of it is because it cannot be placed flush up against a wall because of its curved shape, which is what makes it so beautiful too. We managed to make this crib "work" in a small bedroom though I believe that it is best suited for rooms with space.
Admittedly we payed the babystore that we purchased the crib from like $25 or so to deliver the crib and set it up. The extra expense just seemed worth it to us as it was winter time and I was very pregnant. We started out with the crib in our room and then later on moved the crib into the baby's room when it was completed. When we moved the crib, we did that ourselves and that involved taking it apart and reassembling. Assembly was not a big deal. It can be done by 1 person in around 1/2 hr or so or in much less time if there are 2 people. Part of getting it together requires properly alligning the sides and making sure everything is "just-so". The only equipment required is a screwdriver and an allen wrench.
What I like about the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib
The Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib is a single piece of furniture that can start out as a crib, then turn into a toddler/youth bed and then later to a double bed. The additional hardware required to convert the crib to a toddler bed comes with the crib. Basically to convert it to a toddler bed you remove the front side of the crib and disassemble the drop gate. The drop gate then gets reattached to the lower portion of the crib and serves as a side rail to keep your child from rolling out. The toddler/youth bed accomodates a regular crib size mattress and looks like a fancy daybed. When you are ready to move out of the toddler bed, the same furniture can be used to turn into a double size bed. The only additional pieces required would be to purchase a set of standard bedrail supports or slats to hold the boxspring and mattress.
Some of the cribs that looked good in the pictures turned out to be rather flimsy looking to me once I saw them in person. The Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib looked great in the pictures and looked even better in person. Because its made of solid hardwood this is heavy duty furniture and its absolutely gorgeous. When assembled the crib is rock-solid and doesn't rock or budge. It can stand up to toddler bouncing without a creak.
Of course, the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib meets and exceeds the CPSC standards. There had been a recall on a 1998 version of their Generation crib which concerned me but after doing research I confirmed that this model is safe and not affected.
Because of the way that the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib is set up to convert into a toddler bed it has an extra low setting for the mattress. This means that it is more difficult for a child to be able to climb out of than many other models. The mattress can be set on 4 different levels in this crib.
A few frustrations that I have with the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib
If you purchase the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib you will need to be creative when it comes to accessorizing your crib. The first thing that I noticed is that because of the curved thick sleigh-style crib sides it does not accomodate a clip on arm-style crib mobile. We ended up having to hang our mobile from the ceiling instead. I also found that the bumper set that I had purchased would not tie on because the ties were too short to wrap around the large posts in both the center side and corners of the crib. I ended up having to modify our bumper set to make it work. Out of paranoia we had purchased a crib tent to go over the crib to keep our feline friends out of the crib - it did not fit on this model and could not be modified. Lucky for us, the cats never did jump in the crib. Later we found that the Fisher-Price Peaceful Planet Aquarium given to us at a shower was a challenge to mount on. Somehow my husband managed to get it attached by stretching the straps.
Not for one handed use
Unlike some of the cribs out there that either have a foot pedal operation or can be operated with one hand access, the drop gate on this crib requires two hands to release and open the side to lower the gate for access. With the side up this crib side is too high for me to reach over and in to reach my child to get them out of the crib, or to put them in. So, the first few times that I put the cribside up after taking my son out I regretted it when it came time for me to put a sleeping kid back in. I was unable to hold the baby and lower the side at the same time. Also, my husband who is much taller than I am never uses the drop gate. We've subsequently gotten into many arguments that are almost akin to leaving the toilet seat up, but instead they are about leaving the crib side up. Basically if you get this crib you will need to get in the habit of always making sure that the crib side is down when the crib is not in use so that you can easily put your sleeping child in the crib without waking them.
My Leg is stuck
Though the slats on this crib do meet the CPSC standards (max of 2 3/8" space), somehow our son has managed to get his leg stuck more than once. The first time it happened I panicked but my husband showed me that if we unbent his knee it easily slid out. A friend who has this same model let me know that this has also happened with her child. So, perhaps Baby's Dream needs to rethink the engineering a bit.
The Conversion Process
This weekend we made the big leap from crib to Toddler/Youth bed. After being able to climb out and running into the living room (naked, I must add) I knew it was time to say good-bye the crib. They recommend that you make the switch from crib to bed once your child reaches 36 inches in height, or is able to climb out. I asked my husband to do it while my son and I were out at a birthday party so that when we came home he would have a big surprise - his very own big boy bed! When we got home the task was done and he reported to me that the transition was very easy. All the necessary hardware and a nice instruction sheet come provided (and thankfully I had remembered where they were at). He said it took about 10 minutes start to finish.
Hopefully for us the transition from crib to bed will go as smoothly as the crib conversion did. My son seems to really like his new bed and much to my surprise he did not get out and play in the middle of the night, nor at the crack of dawn. (Admittedly, I slept with the baby monitor clutched in my hand waiting to hear if he fell out or got up to play) I didn't sleep very well, but my son sure did!
We are very pleased with our Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib despite a few minor frustrations about it while used in the crib mode. If you are looking for a beautiful hardwood crib that converts into both a toddler bed and later into a double bed check into the Baby's Dream Generation Next Crib and other offerings from the Baby's Dream line.