Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is every parent’s worst nightmare. October is SIDS awareness month; since SIDS most often occurs when a child is sleeping, we want to focus on sleep products and techniques that will help protect your child from this inexplicable tragedy.

Your child’s sleep environment is important not only for decreasing the risk of SIDS, but also for allowing your child (and you!) to get a full, restful night of sleep. When you’re purchasing a crib or bassinet for your child, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the wide array of options. We’ve done the research and found the best products out there, so your child can sleep safely and peacefully – whatever your budget.

The Budget Box

The Baby Box Co. sells (and gives away) entirely self-contained box beds for your baby. The company was inspired by the Finnish government, which gives each expectant mother a box containing clothes, sheets, and toys for the new baby. The box also includes a mattress and can be used as a bed. Currently, residents of Alabama, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas can receive a free box after completing an online course, but you can also purchase a baby box kit.

Each box is made from cardboard and meets all of the safety standards imposed on bassinets. The company has tested their boxes for water resistance, air flow, flammability, durability, and structure. While baby boxes aren’t regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Baby Box Co. states that each box meets the CPSC requirements for bassinets. You can buy a simple Bed Box for $69.99; this includes educational material, a baby box, a mattress and mattress cover, a cotton sheet, a zipper bag, and a $25 gift card for future Baby Box purchases. The Baby Box Co. emphasizes education on safe sleep habits, and people who want free boxes must complete a course from Baby Box University. This site is a great resource, even if you don’t choose a baby box for your child.

The Mid-Market Option

You don’t have to break the bank to get a nice, safe crib for your child to sleep in – and we don’t blame you if you want something that’s a step up from the box option. Two of our favorite mid-market cribs include:

Rory Convertible Crib, Graco ($175-230)
This elegant crib has simple lines, but the curves make it more classic than modern. The mattress height can be adjusted to three different levels, so you won’t break your back trying to pick up your newborn, and your toddler won’t be able to crawl out, either. Nice wide slats keep chubby baby thighs from getting stuck, and it converts to a toddler or day bed. It comes in three colors (at three different price points) to match your nursery.

Carousel Crib, Land of Nod ($499)
This crib gets top marks for safety and ease of use, but the real reason we love it is because of all the fun colors it comes in! Kelly green, blush, mint, and midnight blue are the less traditional choices, although you can also purchase this stylish crib in white or gray. Like the Rory Crib from Graco, it’s convertible and can be used as a toddler bed. Plus, the Land of Nod offers a wide range of matching furniture for a fully coordinated nursery.

The Luxury Sleeper

Looking for a crib or bassinet that will do pretty much everything except feed your child? You need the SNOO Smart Sleeper from Happiest Baby. It makes more than a little dent in your budget ($1,160!), but the positive reviews indicate it just might be worth it. The company claims that the SNOO is “the safest and most effective baby bed ever made!” First, you put your baby in the SNOO 5-second swaddle, which clips into the crib so it’s impossible for your baby to flip onto his or her tummy. It also chooses the best motions and sound based on whether or not your child is upset (slow swing and soft rain for sleepy baby; fast jiggles and womb sounds for crying). The only drawback we saw? Your baby outgrows the SNOO by six months. Too bad, because we want one for grown-ups!

Crib Guidelines

Any new crib you buy will be subjected to rigorous safety standards. If you’re buying used, only purchase cribs made after 2012; in 2011, new crib regulations took effect in the United States, so any crib manufactured after that time should be safe for your child. Look for a crib that has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). A full-sized crib with stationary sides and simple lines is safest, since your infant is less likely to get clothing caught in elaborate scrollwork and finials. Whether you choose one of the cribs above or opt for one of the thousands of other varieties out there, make sure your little one is both comfortable and safe as he or she snoozes.