We have a very playful and active 9 month old Bear. Even when she was a wee newborn, she already exhibited excellent head control and seems to have hit some milestones relatively early.
The playpen we bought for her a few months ago is too high for her to reach, straining her arms. On the other hand, we were loaned a big ol’ metal crib with a lot of family history behind it but with a very active Bear, the likelihood of hitting her head on the metal bars is high.
So Pimp Our Crib (And Make it Safe!) was born. Here’s a quick glimpse of the finished product:
Here’s the Bear looking like a boss.
We were at first inspired by the aluminum insulated foam my husband installed to protect my head from hitting the super high bed posts of our former 6 ft high bed. Daddy then bought lots of foam and we proceeded to wrap the foam around individual metal bars of the crib. Then realized the whole thing looked fugly and that the Bear would probably spend most of her time trying to pry off the packaging tape and stuff the foam in her mouth (oral fixation stage!).
Taking our cue from drool pads we came up with the idea of crib slipcovers. So we trudged to our neighborhood tailor and asked him to make a special batch of crib slipcovers for us, tailored to our specifications.
To be honest, we didn’t have that much selection in terms of fabric but this one was the nicest one that was soft but firm enough to hold its shape well (Japanese or China cotton, we were told).
This is what an individual crib bar cover looks like. The other side is secured by velcro and here’s the top fastened to the railing and secured by a button. It’s literally hook and loop. 🙂 The hook and loop makes it possible to secure the crib slip cover and keep it stable from eager little hands that will try to pry it off.
The crib bar cover reinforces the inner foam tube we made and makes it prettier and less attractive for the bear to chew on.
It took us a bit longer to decide on the proper protection for the other sides of the crib. While there are narrow metal bars on the other side, covering them up individually was going to be more difficult with the narrower space between the metal bars.
We were also worried that the Bear might hit her head so we decided to reinforce the sides. We secured the services of an experienced upholstery guy who created the crib cushion for us. We chose blue, the closest shade that would match the crib bar slip covers.
The cushion is 4 inches thick and attaches to the crib through small velcro snaps at the back.
For the finishing touches, we just bought a cream colored teething rail from SM’s Baby Company. Underneath the teething rail, we used our remaining insulated foam. If we have extra time though, we might have it customized, too, to match the crib bar covers.
If we had the know how we’d DIY the cushion and covers but we’re glad we outsourced the work since the final product is quite nice.
HOW TO FORTIFY YOUR CRIB
- A couple of sheets of insulation foam (you can use any stable type of foam sheets, but the aluminum backing helps keep the shape and form)
- A roll of packaging tape
- At least 2 yards of cotton for the crib bar slip covers, the softer and thinner the better. We didn’t have much to choose from but the one we did choose, we like.
- A couple of yards of velcro (for the crib slip cover)
- Plain white buttons, medium size (for the loops around the slip covers)
Services we hired:
- Upholstery work for a custom made standing cushion with some tufting and buttons (at least 4″, and cut to fit the shape of the crib)
- Tailor/seamstress for the crib slip covers
Steps and Some Tips:
- Although we didn’t get a chance to do it, try to have the crib repainted before pimping it to take care of the exposed and rusty parts.
- Measure the length of the crib bars but make an allowance for the space (about 2″) that will be taken up by the crib mattress
- When putting in the first layer padding (just the insulated foam), try to maintain a uniform thickness and feel. You can also opt to skip this part and just have crib covers with around 0.5-1″ foam sewn in (but it might be hard to wind around the metal bars)
- When choosing fabric for your crib slip covers, do NOT buy satin-y, slippery types of fabric for your crib slip covers – it would be very hard to sew the covers and the fit might end up compromised. Just use soft cotton that will hold its shape. Velcro is ideal so that you can adjust the fit as needed.
- If you want to pad the width of the crib (the higher points), trace the entire shape to ensure complete coverage including the edge. You can do this by setting that part of the crib flat on the floor on the back of tarpaulin and trace the shape with a pentel pen. Again, make an allowance for the crib mattress (about 2″ high).
- Alternatively, you can opt to just individually pad the metal crib bars around the narrow side instead of having a cushion made.
- When putting on the slip covers, keep the velcro side away from baby’s reach as much as possible and place the hook and loop facing towards the baby. The teething rail will serve as added security, preventing baby from unhooking the button.
Good luck! 🙂