We tested each product over three months in a hands-on side-by-side comparison method. Using the products side-by-side gave us the opportunity to compare them hands-on. We scored each under five metric which were broken down into subcategories for accuracy and attention to detail.
We ultimately wanted to assess how well each product performed day-to-day. We looked at details such as accessibility from the parent bed, size, and weight as it relates to the ability to move the product from room to room or for travel, ease of cleaning, as well as any extra features and how well they performed.
We considered the materials in and around the sleeping area and whether or not these materials could impair or inhibit a baby's ability to breathe. This observation includes the design and construction of the sidewall materials. While most of the options had mesh sidewalls or wood slats, some have fabric surrounds, and at least one has a padded inner liner covered in a thick canvas exterior.
We tested the mattress and fabric of each product as it comes without accessories. We measure compression using a blank and the fit of the mattresses inside the sleeping area.
We also made efforts (to the best of our ability) to push the mattress aside or to compromise the side walls to assess if a baby could position themselves in such a way that could potentially cause injury or death. Though not foolproof or a guarantee, we think it is a good start and important information.
We take a close look at the finer details of each product to assess things like sturdiness, the integrity of the materials and craftsmanship, as well as attention to detail and indications of quality control. The scores are comparative of how one product compared to the others in the review as well as how it appeared and functioned as a standalone product. While this is somewhat subjective, the differences between products are evident.
We researched each product with their eco-health in mind; specifically what materials they use and what those materials may contain by way of toxic chemicals or substances that can potentially off-gas or be harmful to babies. These include, but are not limited to, flame retardants and VOC's from MDF materials.