The Ikea Sundvik Crib Eight Months Later: A Bit of Babyproofing

Abe’s crib is the Sundvik crib from Ikea. As I’ve mentioned before, this selection was motivated primarily by price. The crib is $119, and I like the way it looks just fine. It has clean simple lines that fit in well with the nursery. It’s not flashy or exciting, but it does its job without drawing attention to itself.

I wasn’t interested in spending more on a crib for a few reasons:

1. Cribs rarely excite me, no matter how much they cost. I just….don’t care that much about cribs. They aren’t like chairs. I love chairs.

2. I had no idea whether Abe would actually USE his crib much at all. Ari loved the crib. Milo hated sleeping, but didn’t much care where he was doing it. Gus HATED the crib with a fiery passion and slept in bed with us until he was three. So, you know, I’m pretty open minded about baby sleeping arrangements. I just want everyone to sleep; I don’t care where it happens.

3. Even if babies sleep in cribs, they don’t do it for very long, relatively speaking. Abe’s my last baby; he and some kid from Craigslist are the only ones who are going to use this thing. I’d rather save my money for something that will stick around longer.

So those are all my reasons for buying the crib to start with.

When we put the crib together, my only concern, looking forward, was that the directions made it look like we’d pretty much need to take the whole damn thing apart again to lower the mattress down once Abe started pulling up on things. But, of course, at the time, that seemed too impossibly far off to even worry about.

But then, somehow, he got bigger. Big enough to start trying to pull up on things. So, a few weeks ago, we had to undertake the daunting task of lowering the mattress. I thought I would report back on this process to make my Ikea crib analysis complete.

Turns out it was pretty easy.

We didn’t have to take the whole crib apart; we just had to take one end off and then slide the bottom that the mattress rests on out and put it back in the lower position. Like this:

When we went to this, we learned that we had brilliantly thought to store the instruction manual AND the allen wrench under the mattress so that we’d be able to find them when the time came to lower the mattress:

Our minds were so sharp back before we had a fourth kid!

We opted not to put them back under there once we lowered the mattress, by the way, lest Abe somehow figure out a way to pry up the mattress while sitting on it and pull the choking hazard tools out from under there. Better safe than sorry. (note to future self: they’re in the top drawer of Abe’s changing table/dresser)

We turned it on its side like so.

Unscrewed all these little things.

And put the bottom back in at the lower position (there are only two positions). This part–fitting the little things into the little thing places–was the hardest part. But not bad. I would say the whole process took the two of us 20 minutes? With a baby crawling around distracting us.

The sad part is that we had to retire the crib skirt I made to match the curtains. I was going to just use heavy duty double sided tape and tape it farther back on the mattress board…but once the board was lowered the gap between it and the side of the crib was too tight to wiggle the fabric through. I might have been able to do it had I been willing to spend more time and get more frustrated. Instead, I’m thinking of making a couple of pillows or something.

I took this picture of it all folded up to commemorate it:

So my take on the crib after eight months of use and after the arduous mattress lowering? Yep, still good with it. And I can even still reach to put Abe down when he’s asleep. I was worried I’d have to just drop him the last half a foot or so. And that might wake him up. But no! My arms are justΒ long enough!

Just in time!

(okay, I stood him up there. But this was maybe a month ago. He’s pulling up on everything now)



The Ikea Sundvik Crib Eight Months Later: A Bit of Babyproofing — 55 Comments

  1. Great article! We also had an Ikea Sundvik which we needed to lower as our little baby was about to make a jump off the side. Thanks for helping us figure out what we needed to do and not have to interpret the directions for ourselves which would have taken longer.We also stored the tools underneath the mattress! πŸ™‚

  2. This was EXACTLY what I was hoping to find when I googled lowering the mattress. I am a single-mom and was so scared of having to do this myself. Your article is PERFECT! Thank you!!!

    • No bowing here yet! I actually took note of how there are only the 4 little bolts holding it together when we were lowering the mattress and was a little surprised…but we haven’t had any problems. Baby’s still fairly little, though–maybe when he gets bigger….I’ll definitely update if we start seeing anything like that.

  3. What mattress did you use with this crib? We are considering buying one, but have heard mixed reviews on the IKEA crib mattress, and some people seem to have a tough time finding another one that doesn’t leave a sizable gap. Thanks!

    • We have one of the Ikea mattresses–I can’t remember which one (and the baby’s asleep on it right now, so I can’t check!)–I think it was the middle one in quality–not the cheapest and not the most expensive. No problems with it here!

  4. Thanks for the review. Just curious, how tall are you? I am five feet and am nervous if I will be able to reach the little one when the mattress is lowered.

  5. Thanks for the review! Did you purchase an ikea crib mattress to fit in your crib? We are expecting our first baby and so we are learning most things as we go here πŸ™‚ It looks like the size of the crib is just a little different than a “standard” crib mattress. Just wondering if you had any problems with that. Thanks!!

  6. Hi everyone, this is a great blog, couple of things I’d like to comment on:

    – Instructiona for re-assembly: For those looking for instructions to reassemble any Ikea furniture (not just cribs) as we’ve had to in our recent move, you can always go back to the product and re-download the assembly instructions. This was really helpful since we went from a tiny apartment to a huge townhouse and wanted to re-configure the layout of some flexible series such as the Besta and Expedit.

    – Non-Ikea crib mattress: Simply put, Ikea’s cribs are quite “standard” in terms of dimensions. We recently purchased the Sundvik too as it was on sale, but our little one’s not due until end of January so I’ve had a lot of time to research on crib mattresses. Instead of buying the Ikea Vyssa Vinka ($69.99) right away, a quick search on walmart, etc and I found there were some in the $50 range instead so we held off. But after doing a lot of research, those in the $50 range appeared to have a lot of negative comments (tip: use any seller site you can to look for reviews as long as it’s the same product you’re looking at, walmart, amazon, costco, babiesrus all have .com and .ca sites with lots of reviews). Secondly, you can also find out if someone already own the crib you’re trying to match. For example, I was looking at the Safety 1st grow-with-me infant to toddler mattress and a lot of people found that the dimensions for this mattress is actually 52.5″ x 28″ instead of 52″ x 27.5″ as the product dimensions say. With that said, some users said they have a Sundvik and was able to squeeze the mattress in anyways. Which I think given that it’s more dangerous to have a gap, a snug fit is a better option. Another example is the Sealy Perfect Rest Crib mattress, at first I was impressed by the manufacturer supplied image of water beading off its waterproof surface (great for diaper leaks right?), then I read from the comments that the cover seemed “plastic-y” and non-breathable. One person even commented on it making a light crinkling noise when their baby rolled around. What’s the point? You might as well just wrap the damn thing in plastic and have your baby sweat it out on the non-breathable surface. If in doubt, try to find a store that carries the mattress you’re interested in first so you could bring a measuring tape to find out if there are any discrepancies from the description and to check out the quality, then I would go order it online from the cheaper vendors.

    – Ikea crib mattress: Now I’m leaning towards coming back to the Ikea mattress more for the warranty issue, but it appears that only select adult mattresses come with limited warranties. Still, as a long time fan of Ikea I think I would have better luck bringing back a defective product to Ikea than another big box store. Now my biggest issue was I read that some of the non-ikea foam mattresses started to have an indent where their infant slept after just a couple of months, so:
    Has anyone had issues with the Ikea mattress forming an indent from baby sleeping?
    My other question has to due with recommendations that infants should sleep on a firmer mattress whereas toddlers should go a tiny bit softer. The Sundvik crib converts to a toddler mattress but Ikea does not sell a separate toddler mattress, so:
    Can I assume that Ikea’s crib mattresses are suitable for both infants and toddlers?

    – Height of mommy (esp. Kim): I’m only 4’11” and right now I’m already concerned about picking up an infant with the crib at its raised position. I mock practice lifting an imaginary baby from 5″ above the bottom since we don’t have a mattress yet and still hope that I won’t have any problems. But Kim, think about when your toddler is older, he/she will stand or sit up (which is why you have to lower the bottom) and you won’t have any trouble lifting them out. But I am concerned about the infant stage, esp. in the middle of the night, just after having returned home from giving birth. So:
    Gretchen: at 5’3″ how hard was it to lift a newborn infant out? Not that I have much choice given almost all mattresses are 5″ thick, but I might have to consider laying a few boards (safely somehow) underneath the crib mattress until I get the hang of it.

    Thanks everyone and esp. Gretchen for this blog.

    • Thanks so much for all the great info, Cathy! Re: mattresses…we bought one of the Ikea mattresses, and it’s holding up well 20 months in. No problems with indentations or anything, and I have no plans to switch him to a different mattress until he’s in a twin bed. I’ve never had any trouble lifting him out, with the mattress in either position. The bigger issue when it’s lower (since, as you say, they’re sitting/pulling up by then) is putting them DOWN if you’re trying to put a sleeping baby in. But I don’t have a problem with it at 5’3″ and I’m guessing someone a few inches shorter wouldn’t either….

  7. Have you guys had problems with this crib at all?? I do all the time. My baby girls leg gets stuck in between the rails!! Frustrating!!tiday she even cut a cut from it being stuck. Don’t know how ? I hate this crib ! Has this happened yo you? They should have recalls on tbis crib.

    • Oh, no! I’m sorry you’re having problems! We haven’t had any trouble with ours….my older son used to get his legs stuck between the rails of the other crib we had (it was just a basic jenny lind style), though, so I know it’s no fun. We put him in sleep sacks that were closed at the bottom for awhile until he outgrew the problem. I think the spacing between crib slats is pretty much the same on all of them, though–it seems like the same thing could happen with any crib?

  8. Oops I totally thought I replied to your comment, Gretchen, until I got this update. Thanks for the info, I’m glad to know that the Ikea mattress is holding up, now if it would only go on sale before I’m due in January…
    P.S. did your little one chew the rails?

    • No rail chewing here! This one hasn’t been too big on putting everything in his mouth like some kids (ie like one of his big brothers!), though. Fingers crossed for a sale!

      • Oh that’s good to know, I thought it was a given that every toddler will chew their crib rail. There’s some pretty cool DIY fabric rail guard projects out there (e.g. but every single project has cribs with bars on all four sides unlike our Sundvik crib so I’ve been scratching my head on how to make a guard that will tie down on the two short ends that is a closed board.

        PS. I copycat’ed your DIY bed skirt but seeing how sad it was for you to have to put yours away when you dropped the bottom, instead of making one all the way down to the floor I stopped at the bottom of the first stop when the crib is raised so when I drop it it will just touch the ground. Of course this leaves a little gap still at the bottom but at least I get to use the skirt until we have to get akids bed. =)

  9. Thank you for this. About to lower the wee girl’s crib as she is getting to the grabberson stage. I put it together m’self the first time, but have been so dreading the lowering, that I’ve had her sleeping with me for the last few weeks.

    Will get off my duff tomorrow and do it.

    Thanks again!

      • I do have a question: do you find that Abe gets his little arms and feet stuck between the rungs? My girl is so wriggly and I am always responding do cries of distress where she’s managed to wedge a foot or something.

        • We haven’t had that problem, but someone else left a comment awhile back that she was having the same thing happen. I remember that happening with my oldest (long time ago and a different crib), and we ended up buying sleep sacks for him that closed at the bottom.

  10. Have you had any issues with your baby using the little ledge on the inside of the solid ends to get a toe-hold and climbing out? I just lowered the mattress on our Sundvik today and realized that little lip/ledge could make it easier for my baby to escape. I’m wishing I’d have bought a crib with spindles all the way around.

    • We haven’t, Megan (he just turned 2 now and is still sleeping in the crib). That said, none of my babies have been crib escape artists, so YMMV!

  11. Does anyone know where I could get the wooden rail to convert this to a toddler bed? My son is too big but we must have lost this piece. Please help if you know. Thanks

    • I didn’t even know there was rail needed to convert it….which must mean that we’ve lost ours, too, if we ever had one! Good luck finding a replacement πŸ™‚

      • It turns out it was never missing to start with….I thought we had lost it, but Dave revealed that he knew where it was all along.

  12. Thanks for the tutorial!!! I read this, got an allen wrench, and it truly took me about 5 minutes to lower the crib. My wife has been on me for weeks to do it… don’t tell her how quickly I got it done!!!

  13. About the crib skirt. Getting ready to make one similar to your skirt idea for this crib. Want it to the floor instead of a short one, but since you had to retire your’s when you leered the crib. Couldn’t it just be shortened when the crib is lower?

    • Definitely–I could have hemmed it, but, alas, I was too lazy ;). Once the crib was lower it didn’t seem to need a crib skirt as much, either….it just kind of looked more finished without one. but, yes, hemming it short it would have worked for sure!

  14. Sorry for misspelled comment before….should have said, since you retired your skirt when you lowered the crib, could you not have just hemmed it to make it shorter when the crib is lowered?

  15. I came across your blog because I was looking for some advice on what to do AFTER I lowered the crib. Babies leg gets stuck between rails. My mesh bed liner no longer works in the lowered position. Actually, it didn’t really fit exactly right in the high position due to no openings on the end sides of the crib. Any suggestions on what kind or how to use bumper pads with this crib in the lowered position.

    • Sorry, no advice there–we never used bumpers. My oldest used to get his legs stuck, but we never had that issue with this baby!

    • sorry for the late response; we’ve been out of town. Nope, we never had any issues with the crib; we used it until my son was about 2 1/2 then sold it on Craigslist….it seemed good as new when we sold it. HTH!

  16. Ty for posting this. It was exactly what I was looking for. I do have a concern though… After lowering the matress when baby stands in crib(just like your baby in the picture) his leg falls through the slats… Is this common? Or just my baby? Could his leg brake if he falls??

    • I don’t have the crib any more, so I can’t get the measurements for you….Ikea’s website might list them. It’s a pretty standard sized crib; our son used it until he was 2 1/2 (and around 30 pounds?), but we moved him because he wanted a regular bed, not because he had outgrown the crib. HTH!

  17. weird. ours came with these metal screws that you just unscrewed and lowered to a different hole to lower the mattress. we didnt have to take anything apart except for unscrewing those and moving them lower. im having a hard time figuring out how to convert it to a toddler bed properly bc we lost the directions and i can’t find them anywhere on ikea.

  18. Hey I saw that you moved your son into a real bed at 2 and a half – I was just wondering if this cot turns into a cotbed too? Do you think it would be possible to use for longer – like 3 or 4 years? I have no idea what I’m looking for! (1st baby due January)

    • It does turn into a toddler sized bed (if I remember right, there’s one extra rail that you have to hold onto to convert it), but we never used it that way ourselves. But, yes, it would definitely be big enough to use for a three or four year old if you wanted to!

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