Which crib bumper alternative is best?

Keeping your infant safe is a full-time job, and an important one. That’s where crib bumper alternatives come in. Crib liners and other crib bumper alternatives can prevent your baby’s limbs from getting trapped between the crib’s slats and protect them from accidentally banging their head against its side. The BreathableBaby Breathable Mesh Crib Liner lets air flow freely through the crib while keeping your child’s limbs from getting stuck.

What to know before you buy a crib bumper alternative

Horizontal vs. vertical

Vertical crib bumper alternatives are fairly new, while horizontal crib liners have been around for years.

Vertical crib liners were created in response to safety issues with horizontal liners. Infants who work their way to the crib’s side while sleeping might not get enough air to breathe with a horizontal liner, particularly if their nose and mouth are pressed against its material. Vertical liners wrap around each slat of the crib, offering padding to protect from bruises and bumps without restricting airflow near the mattress.

Solid vs. mesh

Crib bumper alternatives come in mesh and solid options.

  • Mesh crib liners are composed of thin woven fabric that lets air easily pass through. Your child will be able to breathe easily, even if their face is pressed against the material. But they have a rough texture and don’t offer as much padding as solid liners.
  • Solid liners are composed of thick materials that protect children from banging their heads into the crib’s wooden slats. They are padded, soft and a great option for older babies who need protection from the slats.


Thin crib liners are more breathable, but they’re typically plainer and less cozy. Thick crib liners are more cozy and plush, but they can sometimes restrict airflow. 

What to look for in a quality crib bumper alternative

Attachment style

There are a couple of attachment styles.

  • Ties. Crib bumper alternatives with ties are more secure, but they’re also more time-consuming to install. Make sure the ties are long enough to fasten around the crib slats securely if you select this style.
  • Hook-and-loop closures. Crib bumper alternatives with hook-and-loop closures are quicker and easier to install, but they also come off more easily. And older babies can usually figure out how to open them, so keep your child’s age in mind.

Machine washable

Children can get messy, from spit-up to diaper leaks. Even if your crib bumper alternative looks clean, you should still wash it with your other bedding. For convenience, search for crib bumper alternatives that are machine washable.

Design and color

Perhaps the decor of your child’s room follows a particular theme, or maybe their room simply needs some brightening. Crib bumper alternatives come in many styles, designs and colors, including bold and neutral tones.

How much you can expect to spend on a crib bumper alternative

They range from about $20-$70 or more, depending on their quality, features, materials and construction. The most inexpensive crib bumper alternatives go for under $30, while midrange ones cost about $30-$40 and high-end alternatives vary from about $40-$70 or more.

Crib bumper alternative FAQ

Why do some pediatricians discourage parents from using crib liners?

A. What’s in the crib has come under scrutiny over the past few years, as pediatricians express concerns that padded crib liners — as well as crib bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals and blankets — can pose a risk of suffocation. Your child might get tangled in them, and might not have the strength to break free from things that block their airway. 

In response to this concern, many brands have created mesh horizontal crib bumpers that let air pass through, and vertical crib liners that pad the crib’s hard wooden slats.

What is the difference between a crib liner and a crib bumper?

A. There isn’t a huge difference. When people talk about liners, they are usually talking about thin mesh fabric panels that line the walls of the crib, while crib bumpers refer to thick, soft panels that protect your child from bruises and bumps. But you can find both of these styles under either name. 

When do infants begin moving in their cribs?

A. Infants typically stay wherever you place them until they’re at least 4 months old. Most infants begin rolling over between 4 to 6 months, and this doesn’t stop when you place them in their crib. Many infants roll throughout the night. You might find your child stuck on one side of their crib, since they might master rolling in one direction before figuring out how to roll the other way. 

That’s why it’s crucial to buy a crib liner that won’t block their airflow, because your child may not be able to free themselves by rolling back in the other direction.

What’s the best crib bumper alternative to buy?

Top crib bumper alternative 

BreathableBaby Breathable Mesh Crib Liner

BreathableBaby Breathable Mesh Crib Liner

What you need to know: This crib liner allows for better airflow in your child’s crib.

What you’ll love: It lets air flow freely while keeping your child’s limbs from getting stuck in the crib slats. It’s machine washable and comes in solids, prints and patterns, so you can match any nursery.

What you should consider: Check the crib’s measurements before purchasing, since this product doesn’t work with all crib sizes.

Where to buy: Sold by Buy Buy Baby

Top crib bumper alternative for the money

AirflowBaby Mesh Crib Liner

AirflowBaby Mesh Crib Liner

What you need to know: The extra tall panels that come with this liner help ensure your child’s limbs stay safely inside the crib while they sleep.

What you’ll love: This liner wraps securely around your baby’s crib and also enables maximum airflow.

What you should consider: Some reviewers said it is difficult to install.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Disney Winnie The Pooh First Best Friend Secure Me Crib Liner

Disney Winnie The Pooh First Best Friend Secure Me Crib Liner

What you need to know: Winnie The Pooh, Piglet and Tigger romp on this white and aqua liner with mesh sides.

What you’ll love: This flexible four-piece liner will keep your infant’s legs and arms safely in their crib and prevent stuffed animals and pacifiers from getting stuck between the crib and the crib mattress.

What you should consider: This liner needs to be hand washed rather than washed in a machine.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.