“Baby on board!” you read on every other car stuck in morning traffic with you. “Why do people stick these stickers on their rear windows? Does it really protects their baby?” I bet many of us have been wondering this. There’s a special regulation about kids’ car safety. Parents need to buy certified car seats that give their darlings the best protection possible. Usually, they need to invest in a couple of these before their child is allowed to sit on their own.
For a parent-to-be, the world of cribs, cradles, bouncy chairs, and other needs might be quite overwhelming. There are so many different models and varieties, and every shop assistant advises you differently. Yes, it’s frustrating. “Why can’t there be one crib that’s the best — the cleverest and safest on the market?” we ask. Of course, there is one, but it’s easy to get lost and confused. Have a look at our nursery furniture guide, where we sum up all the important information so you don’t need to look any further.
Nursery furniture set by Home Space
Bassinets and Cradles
A tiny newborn is used to small spaces. They need to feel familiar surroundings, especially over the first weeks and months of their life. A bassinet or cradle will be an attractive alternative to a crib during this time.
A bassinet is usually woven of willow, cane, or plastic, and it often comes with a hood or raised frame over which you can drape a mosquito net. If it’s on a wheeled stand, you can move it easily from room to room. But babies grow out of them quite quickly (at about four to five months). You may have to get a mattress separately. If you’re also buying a wheeled stand, note that some stands will fit both bassinet and bath. Some strollers can be used as a pram by means of a detachable bassinet.
You can find simple bassinets with no extra function or truly high-tech machines that can play music or rock from side to side. It’s up to your preferences to choose the best one for you and your newborn.
Sleeping in the Bassinet by Jason Pratt
Cradles are mostly made from wood, but you can find plastic ones as well. They are similar to bassinets in their ability to move around the house easily. Rocking motions can in many cases soothe upset babies. However, experts have suggested that babies might actually find the side-to-side motion uncomfortable. There are no regulations or standards that have to be met when it comes to bassinets or cradles, so you need to check each item on your own.
What to look for
- Both cradles or bassinets and mattresses must be designed for good ventilation to minimize the risk of asphyxiation
- Make sure the mattress is firm and not too thick
- Cradles that rock should have a locking device (which lets you lock the cradle into a level position when you leave the room) and a tilt limiter or self-levelling limiter (which prevents vigorous side-to-side rocking that could cause the baby to fall out; the tilt limiter limits the tilt to 5° horizontally, while the self-levelling limiter limits it to 10°)
A crib will be your baby’s bed until they’re tall enough and strong enough to climb out of it. Usually, it will serve you for 18 to 24 months. You need to be extra careful when buying a crib. It should be strong and sturdy without cracked or broken slats and without any jagged points or edges. You can use the crib right away when your baby is born or you can opt for a bassinet or cradle. In that case, you won’t need a crib for the first four months.
Crib by Rachelle
Cribs come in many shapes and sizes, including corner-shaped cribs that sit neatly in the corner of the room, oval-shaped cribs that can be converted into a junior bed, chairs, or even a sofa later on. You can also buy bedside cribs that can be useful for night-time feeding, as they have a removable side so you can put your baby’s crib right next to your bed. The options are truly endless. It doesn’t matter what crib you finally choose — just make sure it has a label for Health Canada safety regulations. According to Health Canada, cribs made before September 1986 are dangerous because they don’t meet current standards.
What to look for
High Chairs and Other Seating
A highchair is an absolute necessity when your baby grows older and is able to sit on their own. It should be stable and sturdily built and have no gaps or cervices where tiny fingers can be trapped. It’s wise to look for the international standard for highchairs, ISO 9921-1.
There is an unbelievably wide choice of high chairs on the market, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but the most important features are safety and functionality. If you have a smaller kitchen, you should also consider how quick and easy it is to fold and store the chair.
High chairs as well as cradles and cribs have many extra options that can add to your child’s comfort as well as their price. Sarah, mom of an 18-month-old boy, says, “You may think you need to spend a lot of money on a highchair that has a reclining seat, removable tray, different height adjustments and so on. We bought a new one that has none of these features (for $30) and it’s been perfect. It was the best purchase I made for my son, now 18 months. Most of my friends say they wish they hadn’t spent so much on a highchair. I’ve heard that once they get to the age of two, many toddlers are reluctant to sit in a highchair anyway.”
What to look for
- Five-point harness with shoulder, waist, and crotch straps that prevent your child from falling or climbing from the seat
- Sturdy and robust enough to carry the weight of a child (push on the seat and backrest to see if they squeak, sag, deform, move out of position, or collapse)
- Legs that spread outwards farther than all the other parts of the chair
These pieces of furniture are the most important pieces your child will need in the following years. Since your baby is tiny and vulnerable, make sure everything you buy meets the international or Canadian health regulations and standards. Remember, it’s your child’s health you’re looking out for.
There’s more to shopping for nursery furniture than Toys’R’Us. There are so many hip and cool shops in our neighbourhoods, and it would be a huge mistake not to visit them. They are usually privately owned, and the owners take extra care when training their new employees so they can help you with any questions you might have.
Moms to be and More
1642 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4G 3C2
Mount Pleasant and Davisville
Moms to be and More has been around for parents and their babies for more than 15 years. If you’ve ever dreamt of a store where you can buy everything you need, look no longer. You’ll find all the latest baby products, including furnishings, strollers, car seats, clothing, and toys. Owner Karen Judd offers a variety of high-quality products, and she trains her staff so they’re able to provide valuable information about each product. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because the staff is really busy.
Earl, one of the shop’s returning customers, said, “This store has everything. I really mean everything. It’s huge. It also carries a lot of high-end products, and a lot of accessories (like stroller accessories). We bought the majority of our stuff here and have been really happy with our experience at this store.”
The only negative point about shopping here is the lack of parking space. Sometimes you need to leave your car on the other side of the block, but trust me — it’s worth it!
10 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, ON M4W 1L4
BB Buggy is the place to go when you can’t decide what stroller or buggy would be best for you. It generally stocks everything parents-to-be may need. The staff is extremely knowledgable about their products and about babies and kids as well. They’re able to tell you what type of product is best for a certain age or phase. Parents will surely appreciate being able to feed their little ones in the store in a specially designated area. “We had a wonderful experience at this store while trying to find a ride-along toddler board for our stroller. We were told by our stroller’s manufacturer that no third-party boards were compatible with our model, but thankfully, we just happened to walk into BB Buggy, where the staff showed us a board that did in fact fit perfectly. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and even installed the board for us so that we could walk out with it attached. Apparently, they also know more about the strollers they stock than the manufacturers themselves!” said Toronto mommy Erin.
Ella + Elliot
188 Strachan Avenue
Toronto, ON M6J 2S9
West Queen West
Ella + Elliot is probably the chicest baby store you’ll ever visit. If you’re looking for designer furniture, strollers, and accessories, you’re at the right place here. The price range is higher than the previous two shops’ we mentioned, but it’s definitely worth it. The main reason its customers love it is that “the store is beautiful and fun to browse, with furniture on one side and toys, books, clothing and other accessories on the other.” As one shopper explained, “The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They were out of something I wanted and they went out of their way to order it and let me know when it came in.”