If you’re decorating your nursery, you’ll soon realize that your baby’s beddings can easily cost as much (if not more) as your own. We saw one all-white linen set that included a crib sheet, crib skirt, blanket, and rail cover that cost $329.99! Why are crib sheets so expensive, when they use less fabric than any adult-sized set?

Thankfully, there are budget-friendly crib sheets that cost as low as $20, and even more that fall somewhere within the $40 to $100 range. Like all beddings, the price is affected by the material, the quality of the labor, and the brand.

 A hand-sewn and hand-embroidered nursery beddings set made of organic, moisture-wicking fabric from a luxury baby brand like Liz; Roo will cost 10 times more than anything you find in Target. But is it worth the price? In this article, we’ll talk about what kind of crib sheets you really need, and the factors to consider before you buy any kind of beddings for your baby.

If you want to know more about crib sheets brands and prices, see this article.

What’s included in a crib sheet set?

Crib sheets and other nursery beddings are often sold in sets. Picking the type of set can help you narrow down your choices, and set a reasonable budget for them. The set will include:

  • A fitted crib sheet
  • Pillowcase
  • Crib bumpers or railings
  • Crib skirt
  • Blanket
  • Comforter or quilt

Some stores will sell the whole six-piece set which comes in matching fabric, while others will sell the items individually so you can pick what you need. You can also find two or three piece sets that just include the sheet, pillow case and blanket.

 So, when you compare the prices, do check how many pieces are included in the set. You may think you’re saving on a $20 crib sheet, but you could actually get more value from a $75 set that includes several items.

Some parents also prefer to get the complete set to achieve a certain look. As the largest item in the nursery, the crib will always be the design focal point. Some sets even have coordinating nursery curtains, wall stickers, and lamp covers, to take the guesswork out of decorating.

What is the best crib sheet fabric?

  • Cotton. This is a soft, comfortable fabric that won’t irritate your baby’s skin. It is also breathable and helps to regulate temperature, which is very important in warmer months. It’s also very affordable!
  • Linen. Linen is a natural fabric, and is also safe for your baby’s skin. Like cotton, it is very breathable and ideal for regulating temperature. New linen can be rough, so it may need several wash cycles and a fabric softener before it’s ready to be used on the bed.
  • Bamboo. Fabrics like modal, rayon or lyocell are actually made from bamboo. They feel soft and cool to the touch, and can help absorb moisture so your baby stays dry and comfortable through the night. Just remember that bamboo-derived fabrics aren’t strictly “natural/organic” because of the chemicals that were used during processing.

Avoid synthetic fibers like polyester. These aren’t as breathable as other fabrics, and can irritate sensitive skin. Some polyesters can also contain flame-retardant chemicals, which is not something you want on a fabric that your curious baby will likely gnaw at.    

How can I save money on crib sheets?

Let’s be honest: many crib sheet sets are really meant to please the parents. Your baby doesn’t care what the nursery looks like.

If you want to save money, or be as practical and minimalist as possible, you can just get two or three fitted crib sheets that you can interchange when one is in the wash. If you’ll be using natural diapers, you may even need more.

Some parents also like to get a mattress pad (about $10 to $20) which they use under the crib sheet to protect the bed from the inevitable leaky diapers and spilled milk.

What are the safety considerations for crib sheets?

The biggest and most important factor when choosing any crib beddings is your baby’s safety. Here’s what you need to know.

Fitting

The crib sheet should fit snugly around the mattress. A loose crib sheet may slip free and become a suffocation hazard, especially once your baby becomes more active. Even thin fabrics can affect breathing!

Be sure to get the right size for your crib. If it has elastic bands that hold in place, make sure they are securely sewn, and won’t loosen or rip free. Check periodically for wear-and-tear. A full zippered sheet also gives you more assurance than one that’s just tucked around the corners, but they’re typically more expensive because they use more fabric.  

Some fabrics can shrink after time, which affects how well they fit. Replace any sheet that’s difficult to fit over the mattress. It can become loose while your baby’s playing alone, and that’s not a risk you want to take.

AAP Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a list of sleep safety guidelines to prevent suffocation and choking, and lower the risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

They recommend that infants should sleep on a firm surface, with no soft objects in the crib. These include pillows, heavy quilts and comforters, and crib bumpers. The reason is that these materials can accidentally cover your baby’s nose and mouth, and interfere with breathing.

But if these are the AAP guidelines, can you still safely use the baby quilts and pillows included in some crib sheet sets? The risk for suffocation from beddings significantly goes down once your baby can comfortably crawl or push away any pillow or fabric that’s covering his face. But you can take additional precautions:

  • Do not use any pillows, heavy quilts, or crib bumpers for an infant under 3 to 4 months old. If you live in a cold climate, dress him in warm clothes instead of using heavy blankets. Any blanket or swaddling material should be made of a light fabric with a loose weave.
  • If you use crib bumpers to protect your baby’s head from hitting the walls, make sure that they are securely attached. The strings should not be long enough to be a strangulation hazard.
  • Do not use any crib sheets, pillowcases or beddings that have buttons. These can come off, and could be a choking hazard.
  • Limit the toys and pillows in the crib. Your child may have a favorite blankie or stuffed toy that they can’t sleep without—just make the necessary adjustments so that the crib is mostly empty. Not only does that lower his risk for suffocation, but it gives him more room to crawl and play alone. That’s a critical part of his development!

Why are some crib sheets so expensive?

All things being equal—fabric, safety, and fitting—why are there crib sheets that cost over $100? Several factors can affect the price. Just decide which ones you feel are worth paying for.

Crib sheets designs

Some crib sheets may have unique designs or details that set them apart from mass-produced beddings.

For example, some brands may have custom-made prints or patterns, with only a limited number of sets per line. You may fall in love with a design that you can’t find anywhere else—especially if you’re looking for crib sheets that don’t have the usual baby themes of cute animals or delicate pastels.

Other crib sheets are hand-stitched and hand-embroidered, and you can see the difference in craftsmanship. These are usually marketed as “heirloom-quality” that is meant to be kept as a keepsake or even passed down through generations.

Hypo-allergenic crib sheets

Some babies may have extra sensitive skin, so you may need to spend more on high-quality fabric that is softer and was processed in a way so that is free of chemicals that could trigger reactions.

Most hypo-allergenic crib sheets are made of 100%  cotton, or specialized cotton blends that are tested for skin sensitivity.

Natural and organic crib sheets

Some parents are willing to pay more for crib sheets that are made from certified natural and organic fabric. No pesticides or fertilizers were used to grow the cotton or flax used for linen. No synthetic fibers were added, or if they were, the brand is transparent about the percentage (for example: 80% organic fabric).

Look for the fabric’s GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) score. To get certification, brands must have a plant inspection to prove that the product is properly sourced, and that no toxins were used in production.

Sustainable, environmentally-friendly crib sheets

For parents who want to practice green lifestyle, the source and sustainability of the fabric can be a deal-breaker. That’s why some are willing to pay more for fabrics made from sustainable sources, and manufactured in a way that’s kind to the planet (waste disposal, plant emissions, etc).

Fairtrade and Labor Practices

Some brands will also take pride in ethical production processes—so you don’t have to worry that your baby’s beddings are made in a crowded factory by child laborers or underpaid workers.

Many of the cheapest crib sheets can afford to give a lower price because they scrimped somewhere in production, and that usually is the cost of labor.

Brand name

Just like Louis Vuitton diaper bags, some crib sheets have a higher price simply because of the designer label.  Kim Kardashian spent $980 on one Hermes baby blanket for North’s nursery, so maybe that $300 crib sheet is a bargain after all?