When my friends and I talk about all the safety gear we’ve bought for our kids, it never ceases to amaze us that no mater how many things we’ve invested in, there’s always one more that we need! While some of the more cynically-minded among us might argue that this is a reflection of the dangerous world in which we live, I tend to think it’s more a matter of all the lessons that have been learned (too many of them the hard way) since I myself was a kid.
For example, I certainly don’t remember having any sort of tent or netting over or around my crib, and old photos support that. Yet nowadays, these handy devices are almost indispensable for keeping your kiddo from crawling out of their crib after a certain age. Of course, even before they’re big enough to climb out, they can also be major time and headache savers – they keep toys and bottles in the crib, as well as insects, pets and older siblings out. But which is right for your baby – a crib tent, or a simpler crib net?
Just to clarify, when I refer to a crib tent, I’m talking about a domed item which looks very much like the tents used by campers these days, except it’s usually made just of netting, and sized to fit over the top of your crib. A crib net, on the other hand, is more of a flat option, which lays across the top of the crib, and usually also around the sides. Crib nets are designed primarily to prevent insects from getting into the crib and biting your baby, though depending upon how they fit, they might have other pleasant side effects as well, such as holding toys in. There are even full-size hoop-topped mosquito nets like this one (shown at right) that will cover not only cribs, but will grow with your baby and keep bugs out as they move up to toddler and full-sized beds. Of course, this would only be necessary if you live in a mosquito-prone area and like to leave your doors and windows open, but I have met at least one little princess who has the pink version over her bed just for fun.
Most crib nets look more like this, though some fit more loosely, and others reach all the way to the ground. The same basic rule applies, though; the crib tents all give extra “headroom,” if you will, and the crib nets (at least the functional ones) all fit across the top of the crib at whatever level that may be. So if you have a crib with rounded, raised ends, the crib net (assuming it is large enough) will give a little extra headroom as well. If you have a sleigh-type crib like ours, or one which is even on all four sides at the top, you will likely need to upgrade from a net to a tent when your baby gets tall enough that their head is above the crib edge when they are standing up.
It was primarily for this reason that we went ahead and invested in the Cozy Crib Tent II, by Tots in Mind. We figured that it would not only keep insects out, should they somehow get into our home, but also be large enough to last Kayleigh up until the time when we convert her crib into a toddler bed. I also closely examined all the reviews available, and decided that having a zipper for access would be much easier than lifting the elasticized edge of crib netting up and over the crib, and then back down, every single time.
I should probably also mention that the Cozy Crib II is not the only kind of crib tent, though they are all made by Tots In Mind. The first one, which is their original design, consists of only the convex portion which sits atop the crib and zips open. The newer version of the original, which is what we bought, has both the top tent and the netting surrounding the sides (as shown at right). There are also versions specifically for convertible cribs (this type was not available when we purchased ours, but the design of our convertible didn’t require it) and others tailor-made for portable playards, which include a sunshade. Just make sure you’re buying the post-recall version of the playard tent; early ones had problems with the clips breaking off and posing a strangulation hazard.