Young children spend a lot of time in their cribs—during a 24-hour period, newborns average 14 to 17 hours, and toddlers around 12 to 14—so you’ll want to put some thought into choosing the crib sheets they’ll be snuggled up against.
Here’s a quick review of what shouldn’t be in the bed. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines, to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) during the first year, you should skip stuffed toys, pillows, comforters, mattress toppers, blankets and any kind of loose bedding. A fitted sheet tucked under a firm (not memory foam!) mattress is really all you’ll need, and luckily there are dozens of choices for every nursery theme and price point.
See more: Best Toddler Beds
“What we would look for in a crib sheet is something that fits the mattress snugly that won’t detach. We worry about the sheet detaching and becoming a suffocation risk,” says Dr. Benjamin D. Hoffman, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “The right image of a baby sleeping is a baby on a flat firm mattress on their back with nothing else.”
Many new parents prefer 100 percent cotton sheets since they’re less likely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin, although a blend with a touch of polyester (such as 90/10, or 90 percent cotton, 10 percent polyester), may hold up slightly better during those repeated washings. (And there will be repeated washings.) If your sheet does shrink and starts popping off the mattress corners, be sure to stop using it, as loose fabric could put your baby at risk for suffocation. As for whether you go organic, “Cotton or organic cotton, that’s absolutely your choice,” says Hoffman.
This crib sheet has Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, which guarantees that the cotton is grown organically and that materials like toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents and chlorine bleach can't be used during the manufacturing process.
Pros: Could this be the unicorn of crib sheets? They’re affordable, organic and, to ensure a solid fit, the company has added both elastic all the way around (which they call “Beesnug 360”) as well as extra fabric at the bottom.
Cons: Some parents said they didn’t hold up well after repeated washings, and tended to pill.
These nicely priced 100 percent cotton sheets have OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, which, although not specifically organic, guarantees that they are free of certain harmful substances like solvents and heavy metals.
Pros: At press time, these gender-neutral sheets didn’t have a single one-star review. Customers were fans of their softness, price and durability.
Cons: There are currently only four basic colors offered: light and dark gray, and chambray and sky blue.
We'd bet that you (and your parents!) slept on Carter's sheets as a kiddo, after all, the company has been cranking out baby goods since 1865. This one has a sateen weave and fun owl print.
Pros: Parents said the sheets washed well, resisted fading and worked well as gender-neutral baby shower gifts.
Cons: Although the sheets are described as “sateen,” one person was disappointed that they didn’t have a silkier feel.
Like the company's popular baby blankets, this sheet is made in a breathable weave that's 100 percent preshrunk cotton muslin.
Pros: These sheets are lightweight, stylish and gender-neutral. Reviewers also confirm that the fabric resists shrinking.
Cons: Some parents found the muslin too scratchy and said they hard time removing stains from it; they’re also a bit more pricey than entry-level sheets.
Whether or not you want your baby to be an Instagram star, you'll want this playful set if you have dreams of capturing their month birthdays and milestones. Besides the bear theme, the sheets are also sold in prints featuring giraffes or lions. (Just remember to remove the cards before your baby falls asleep!)
Pros: Parents said the set, which comes with 24 cards total (one for each month and 12 milestones) felt like a good value and helped them remember to track baby’s progress. They also praised the sheet’s “vibrant colors” and said it photographed well.
Cons: It’s not as soft as traditional crib bedding, so some reviewers only used it for photo ops. (Others said the feel improved with washing.)
Whether you've got a newborn prone to overnight diaper blowouts or a potty-training toddler, this set, which comes with a bottom wraparound base and detachable zippered top sheet, is designed to make middle-of-the-night bed changes go more smoothly.
Pros: Some parents raved about the ease of being able to quickly replace the top sheet without having to dig around under the mattress.
Cons: The sheets are supposed to work with mattresses five to seven inches thick, but some reviewers said they were too baggy (check reviews to see which specific mattresses had issues). Others had trouble maneuvering the zipper, saying that it didn’t line up properly, especially after being washed.
The print on these flannel crib sheets is perfect for colder days. The crib sheet has 10 inch deep pockets and full-length elastic for a more secure fit on standard crib mattresses.
Pros: Parents rave that these flannel crib sheets are soft, thick, cozy, and all-around great.
Cons: We just wish they came in a wider variety of prints.
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