Delta Children Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, Espresso CherryDeltaEnterprise.com

Imported from China and Indonesia, Delta (also known as Delta Luv and Babies Love by Delta) is perhaps best known for their low-price cribs sold in big box stores.

Unfortunately, the company became known for something else in 2008: one of the biggest crib recalls in history. Nearly 1.6 million Delta cribs were recalled by the CPSC for defective hardware—two babies suffocated to death in their Delta cribs after the cribs’ side rails detached. The 2008 recall came on the heels of two smaller recalls in 2004 (high levels of lead paint) and 2005 (defective slats).

Obviously, this was a big black eye for Delta, which responded by redoubling their safety testing. The company built an extensive testing laboratory in their New Jersey warehouse, which an article in the New York Times described:

“Eight hours a day, five days a week, cribs are beaten and battered by machines, subjected to the kind of malevolence a demonic toddler could only dream of doling out.”

Of course, Delta had little choice in setting up this lab—tougher new safety standards for cribs went into effect in 2011 and that forced low-price king Delta to face an unsettling reality: it’s low-end cribs wouldn’t be allowed to be sold without improving their quality and durability.

So far, Delta has been recall free since 2011.

Prices range from $130 to $500, although most Delta cribs sold in chains like Babies R Us range from $150 to $330. Among Delta’s big selling point: the cribs don’t require any tools to assemble (just an included Allen wrench), making them a favorite of grandparents everywhere.

A good example of this line is the Canton 4-in-1 convertible crib. At $200, this crib includes a toddler rail to convert into a toddler bed—which is nice, since this can be an extra purchase. But, like many of these 4-in-1 cribs, the conversion rails to convert to a full-size bed are an extra $100 purchase. And while this crib is a good value, one trade-off is the exposed bolts and screw holes. This doesn’t impact the crib’s safety, just aesthetics.

Delta dresser falling apart

$200 for a dresser sounds like a deal, no? Except if the dresser falls apart after less than a year. This picture is from an online reviewer, who was none too happy with her Delta dresser as the drawers split, the wood cracked and more.

We are less enamored with Delta’s dressers, which are affordable (starting at $200 for a double dresser). The problems are myriad: the dresses are made of low quality pine which scratches easily. As one parent posted, “if you looked at the Delta dresser funny, it would scratch.” The pre-assembled drawer fronts “were literally held in place by no more than 3/16ths of a screw tip.” said another reviewer.

Delta’s dresser drawers are not full-extension—that means the drawers are shorter than the dresser is deep, resulting in less storage than you might think.

More than one parent tells us the dressers, often sold as a package of “Lifetime” furniture, barely last a year before falling apart. Delta clearly has cut corners to get to that $200 price point. But hey, let’s say money is tight but you envision upgrading your kid’s bedroom furniture in a few years—this might be a good place-holder.

The take-home message: the cribs are fine, but skip the dressers. And customer service at Delta is lacking—the company has to do a better job returning customer emails and phone calls.

FYI: Delta also owns the Simmons brand, reviewed separately. Rating: C