What is a Crib Mobile?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2019
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The mobile can be defined as moving sculpture, and Alexander Calder, a well known American artist, is thought to have invented these in 1931 or 1932. Early mobiles did not necessarily move, as do most crib mobiles today. Some were wind driven and others were moved by motor. The modern crib mobile is usually driven by an attached motor, and tends to rotate in circles to lively or peaceful music.

Today, the crib mobile comes in many forms, usually varying most by the type of shapes used. Many people prefer animals or things like clowns and there are even some mobiles with licensed characters like Winnie the Pooh. The typical crib mobile attaches to the rail of a crib, and has wind up music that may also vary. Many music choices are lullabies, though again music associated with licensed characters can be used too.

Many people intend for the crib mobile to keep babies interested and satisfied for a few moments. Some babies will drift off to sleep after intently gazing at a mobile, though at first your infant’s ability to see the mobile may be fairly limited. Some suggest using figures or designs that are black and white as these color contrasts are usually the first noted by babies and may be most helpful in stimulating developing vision.


You can really choose any mobile you like, and rest assured that most babies find these fascinating. They should be placed on a crib rail that is well out of reach of the baby. If your infant sleeps with one rail lowered, this may be too low for the crib mobile. Some may also attach to headboards or footboards of cribs, which is safer.

Once a baby begins sitting up or is able to perfect a few seconds of standing supported by crib rails, crib mobiles should be put away. The strings that attach to cute visual characters or interesting shapes can prove dangerous. Some mobiles have the ability to convert into fun baby toys when they can no longer be used on the crib. You can cut animals or shapes off strings, or untie them, and allow baby to play with them. You should only do this if the objects on the mobile are choke safe and intended for child play.

One thing you may want to look for is length of time music will play. Some modern mobiles may be controlled by remote instead of a simple wind up option. They may also be complex in offering different types of movement. These will typically be a little more expensive, but may fascinate baby for longer.


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