4 Things You Should Know About Buying Crib Sheets

Baby sleeping in crib
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It's inevitable: your baby's crib sheets are going to be used and abused. The crib sheet will become the victim of the mischievous leaky diaper and the recipient of a christening of baby spit up. Crib sheets take an absolute beating, so they need to be sturdy, but sleep safety is also of the utmost importance. You want to be certain that the crib sheets you purchase are safe and high quality.

1) Fitted Sheets Never Fail

One of the biggest headaches of using traditional, flat crib sheets is trying to keep them in place.

You know how it is: You finally get one corner situated when the opposite corner pops off, and you swear you can hear the sheet's evil laughter as you curse its stubbornness. Not only does the mocking nature of the flat sheet make you want to pull your hair out during those dreaded middle-of-the-night changes, but it also becomes a sleeping safety hazard for your little one.

You can never go wrong with a fitted sheet. Some fitted sheets have elastic just on the corners, but they are more prone to slip. Save yourself the stress by purchasing fitted crib sheets with an elastic band that runs around the perimeter of the entire sheet. A few reliable brands to consider include:

2) Types of Crib Sheets

You could pick up a pair of crib sheets at the store and call it a day, but there's more to consider, like material. There are three different kinds of fabric you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons:

  • Cotton: The most common type of crib sheet. Durable, hypoallergenic and keeps your baby cool during warm weather and warm during cool weather. Wrinkles easily.
  • Polyester: Less expensive than other types of materials. Durable and doesn't wrinkle, but not as breathable as cotton. Quality varies between manufacturers.
  • Flannel: Very warm and perfect for winter. Soft and durable, but not ideal for warm weather.

If you can't choose, stick with cotton. Cotton crib sheets will last even after hundreds of washes, they'll keep your baby cool during warm months and warm during cool months, and if it's pure cotton it won't irritate your baby's sensitive skin.

The only downside to cotton crib sheets is that they wrinkle easily, but in the grand scheme of things, that's hardly an issue. If wrinkles drive you bonkers, you could opt for a cotton blend sheet instead.

3) Thread Count

Nothing is as soft and pure as the skin of a newborn baby, and crib sheets should comfort and soothe their skin, so look for a good thread count. Thread count indicates the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the fabric. Generally, anything above 200 thread count is acceptable. 300 will be softer and of higher quality. Flannel sheets, however, have a lower thread count in order to stay soft.

There's just one problem: many crib sheets don't disclose the thread count. A lot of crib sheet manufacturers are making this information more obvious on packaging, but if you come across a set of sheets that doesn't state the thread count, use the transparency test: Hold the sheet up to light. If you can count the individual threads, then it's way too thin.

4) Stocking Up

When you first begin collecting items for your baby's nursery, you'll want to have at least three to four sets of crib sheets on hand. Once your baby arrives, you may find that you need even more sheets because your baby spits up excessively or tends to be a heavy wetter.

Regardless of your baby's personal habits, it's never a bad idea to be ahead of the game with a few sets of well made, durable crib sheets in your linen closet instead of cheap, flimsy ones. I would also suggest investing in a quality crib sheet protector for underneath your baby's fitted crib sheet. Trust me on this one, you'll be thanking me someday when you're cleaning up puke in the middle of the night. The life of a parent is nothing if not glamorous! 

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