How to Choose the Best Crib Rail Cover for Your Baby

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
December 20, 2014
toddler in a crib

Does your baby bite his crib like the baby in the picture above? If so, then your baby is likely going through the teething phase. A crib rail cover may be the very thing you need to keep both your baby and furniture safe from harm until the teething stage comes to an end.

If you are new to the world of baby products then choosing one can prove to be a daunting task. I have created this guide to help you avoid wasting your money on an ineffective baby crib cover.

Use the links below to jump to the appropriate section of the guide or continue reading from top to bottom to become an expert on crib rail covers.

Crib rail Cover Basics

Below I will quickly go over some of the commonly asked questions regarding crib rail covers. Any questions asked in the comments below will be added to this section to further help others.

What is a crib rail cover?

A crib rail cover is a layer of material that encases the railing of your baby's crib.

Why should you use a crib rail cover?

Teething is a natural stage of development that every baby goes through. During this phase, your baby will chew on many different objects to ease the irritation brought on by teething.

If you stand your baby up in his crib, you will notice that the rail lines up perfectly with your little one's mouth. This makes the crib rail the perfect option soothe your baby’s inflamed gums.

via GIPHY

A crib rail cover performs two functions:

1. Protect your baby from the crib
Baby cribs were not designed to be chewed on. If your baby chews on the crib, not only does he risk swallowing wood stain, varnish or paint chips but also risks getting splinters stuck in his gums.

If you thought your baby was cranky from teething then you definitely do not want to experience a baby with gum splinters.

2. Protect the crib from your baby
A crib is a big investment. Many parents who plan to have more than one child will often reuse a baby crib.

If you find your infant going to town on the crib rail like a beaver then it is unlikely your crib will last through this child, let alone a second. You will be amazed at just how much damage can be done to a crib by a single teething baby.

Different types of crib rail covers

Below I will examine the three most common crib rail covers as well as look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Fabric crib rail covers

baby crib cradle
Image Source: Pixabay

Advantages:

  • Commonly available
  • Absorbs baby drool
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Fits raised or uneven crib rails and styles

Disadvantages:

  • You must strictly follow the washing instructions
  • Hides part of the crib from view

The most popular type of crib rail covers is made from fabric. Not only does the fabric protect the crib from your baby’s teeth, but also provides padding, protecting your baby from falls.

Fabric covers feature straps evenly spaced along the length of the cover. These straps secure the it, preventing it from being falling or being pulled off by a curious baby.

The straps can be made from numerous soft materials such as ribbon, fabric ties or even Velcro.

Fabric teething rails come in a variety of different textures and patterns. The wide range of available styles makes it easy to choose one that matches your nursery’s decor.

A fabric option will need to be washed fairly frequently. A side effect of your baby chewing on the crib rail cover is an excessive amount of drool.

The drool then gets absorbed into the cover and will start to smell over time. Like sheets, having a spare on hand will allow you to alternate when cleaning and drying.

Plastic Crib Rail Cover

Cot 1991826 1920
Image Source: Pixabay

Advantages:

  • Does not detract from the crib design
  • Quick and simple to install
  • Easy to wipe down and clean

Disadvantages:

  • Easy for your baby to remove
  • Not all babies enjoy chewing on hard plastic
  • Drool will fall to the floor

If you have bought a unique baby crib and want to show it off then there is no point hiding it behind a fabric teething rail.

Plastic crib rail covers are transparent, allowing you to show off all aspects of your new crib while still protecting it from your teething infant.

Plastic crib rail covers simply clip onto the rail. The downside to the simple install is that a clever baby can quickly figure out how to remove a plastic protector. If your baby is too clever for his own good, you can keep the rail secured with clear zip ties.

Unlike their fabric cousins, plastic crib rail covers do not absorb drool. This means that any drool that comes out of your baby’s mouth while chewing will fall straight to the floor or crib mattress, resulting in a mess you that will require your attention.

Rubber Crib Rail Cover

baby in blue blanket
Image Source: Pexels

Advantages:

  • Does not detract from the crib
  • Quick and simple to install
  • Easy to wipe down and clean

Disadvantages:

  • Does not fasten securely to raised or uneven crib rails
  • If you remove the rail cover, the adhesive also needs to be removed
  • Excess drool will fall to the floor

Rubber rail covers are much softer than the plastic variety. Because the surface compresses, your baby will have a much easier time chewing this kind than the plastic type.

Rubber crib rail covers attach to the baby crib by an adhesive lined back. This means that when you remove a rubber crib rail protector, you will also need to remove the sticky, gunk that is left behind.

Just like plastic, rubber does not absorb your baby’s dribble. While this makes the rail cover easy to clean, it also means that any excess drool that comes out of your baby’s mouth will rain down the cover and fall towards the ground.

What to look for when buying a crib rail cover

Comparing one crib rail cover to another can be a difficult task. Especially when each box is advertising how great their rail protector is. Below are some points to take into consideration when comparing crib rail covers.

Is the crib rail cover a drool trap?

When your baby starts chewing on it there is going to be drool. Lots and lots of drool. It should not only be easy to clean but also prevent drool from building up inside it.

A fabric crib rail, for instance, can soak up drool leaving it constantly damp. The underside of a damp crib rail cover is the perfect environment for growing mold and mildew.

Fortunately, plenty of fabric teething rails have a waterproof backing to prevent drool from soaking through to the other side.

Does the crib rail cover have loops

Some crib rail covers are designed with loops. These loops are perfect for hanging extra teething toys to give your baby an alternative to chewing on the cover.

What color is the crib rail cover

When choosing a crib rail cover it is worth remembering that lighter colors stain much easier than darker ones.

While a white choice may match your nursery’s decor perfectly, extra care will be needed to maintain the crisp color.

baby's white wooden crib lowlight
Image Source: Unsplash

Which rail is the cover protecting?

Keep in mind that it is not enough to protect a single crib rail. Your baby will simply turn around and start chewing on an unprotected railing.

Long crib rails need long covers and short crib rails need shorter covers. Keep this in mind when shopping for crib rail covers.

If you only buy long covers, you will need to figure out what to do with the excess on the shorter sides and if you only buy short, then there is going to be exposed wood on the longer railings

How does the crib rail cover attach to the crib?

Examine how each cover attaches to the rail of your crib. Some attach by simply clipping on while others use ties or Velcro. If you can easily remove a crib rail cover then it is a safe bet that your baby can too.

Crib rail covers that are held in place by buttons should be avoided. Buttons can pop off and are the perfect size to be swallowed by a curious baby.

How low does the crib rail cover hang?

While a low hanging crib rail cover will be easier for your baby to chew on, it does block out your baby’s view. If your baby enjoys staring out into the nursery then stick to one that does not hang.

Best crib rail cover

You may notice that the crib rail covers in this list are all made from fabric. Surprisingly, in my testing, the fabric crib rail covers far outperformed covers made from rubber, plastic or other materials. So read on to discover the top crib rail covers available.

First Place

Fleece crib rail cover

Color:Over 10 different color options
Brand: Trend Lab

  • Waterproof backing
  • Three-piece set
  • Sherpa fleece
  • Machine washable

This crib rail cover easily took out the title of the best crib rail cover. Why? Because it comes in a set.

Many crib rail covers require you to buy each cover piece separately, despite the fact that every parent is going to want to protect all railings on their baby’s crib.

Waterproof backing prevents your baby’s drool from soaking through to the underside the cover, preventing mold or mildew from forming.

Not only is the polyester fleece soft, but is very easy to maintain. Simply throw the cover through the washing machine on a gentle cycle and hang out to dry.

Another great thing about this crib rail cover is that it comes in a huge variety of colors. More than any other crib rail I came across while researching this guide.

If your baby’s nursery has a theme then you will definitely be able to find this rail cover in a color to match.

Now There was something that I did not like about this particular crib rail cover and that is the length of the ties.

I found that they were slightly too long, leaving the ends to dangle down and be sucked on and chewed by my baby. This may, however, be me being overly panicky as a mom.

Runner up

Fleece crib rail cover

Color:Natural, White, Sage, Gray, Brown
Brand: Trend Lab

  • Waterproof backing
  • Free from nasties such as BPA
  • 100% Polyester
  • Easy to clean

This crib rail cover would have taken out first place if only it came in a set. Unfortunately, you have to buy the small rail covers separately.

I really liked that this crib rail was narrow. This not only made it easier for my baby to see outside of the crib but also easier for me to keep an eye on my mischievous little one.

Other than the size, this crib ail cover shares all the same attributes of the crib rail cover above. While the ties were still a little on the long side, I found it easy to tuck the ends up inside the cover.

Crib rail cover safety

While this type of bedding is perfectly safe when used correctly there are still some safety concerns that need to be addressed.

Don’t buy used crib rail covers

It may seem like common sense but avoid used crib rail covers at all costs. Crib rail covers are designed to be chewed on, collect drool and get covered in grime. A used crib rail cover may be crawling with bacteria or mold.

Crib rail covers are inexpensive to buy or even cheaper again to make yourself, there is simply no reason to turn to a used rail cover.

Wash your new crib cover

Once you have chosen one, it is important that you thoroughly wash it before attaching it.

This will ensure that any material left over from the manufacturing process or germs from people handling it in-store is completely removed.

Once sanitized, it is ready to be attached. Make sure the crib rail cover is secure. When properly attached, it should be difficult for your baby to remove.

A loose crib rail cover not only poses a choking hazard but may also expose sections of the rail for your baby to chew on.

Make your own crib rail cover

Whether you are feeling frugal or just plain crafty, making your own is a simple process. Below are some tutorials to make your own crib rail covers.

The first and easiest way to make your own is to hang onto your old swaddle blankets and tie them around the crib rail, overlapping them until the entire railing is protected.

If you have swaddle blankets on hand then this is by far the cheapest option you can make.

Simple DIY crib protector - A quick and simple homemade crib rail protector. Made from fleece with no sewing required.

Advanced protector - A great looking crib rail cover tutorial. While this cover does require sewing, the ability to choose any material you want leaves you with infinite design possibilities.

If you are not very crafty or uncoordinated like me then a store-bought option is an inexpensive and effective solution that works, straight out of the box.

Featured Image Source: Pexels

Related Resources
Are crib rail covers necessary for your baby?
Another crib rail cover buying guide by eBay.

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