What to Look for When Purchasing a Crib Mattress
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What to Look for When Purchasing a Crib Mattress

Your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping in his crib! Follow this helpful guide for choosing the best crib mattress for your baby.

Published January 25, 2019

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Babies spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping, so one of the most important investments for your baby is a mattress! Shopping for the perfect crib mattress for you and your family is not an easy task. So don’t worry if you’ve spent hours, days, or weeks researching and looking for the best crib mattress. It’s worth it!

Safety is the first thing to consider when buying a bassinet or crib mattress.

1. You want the crib mattress to be firm.

Don’t be turned away by how firm a mattress is. A baby’s mattress needs to be extra firm to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and allow their bones to develop while sleeping. You wouldn’t want your baby rolling onto their face on a soft cushion. Making sure a mattress is firm and flat should be the first thing to look for, regardless of whether your baby is a back or tummy sleeper.

How do you make sure it’s firm enough? Check that you are buying a mattress for an infant, not a toddler. Although, if you find a double-sided mattress with one firm side intended for infants and one slightly softer side intended for toddlers, you’ve saved yourself some money in the long run!

2. Check that it’s mold resistant.

Safety also means assuring that the mattress materials won’t allow mold growth. Mold grows in wet areas, so you may want to buy a waterproof mattress or a waterproof cover to prevent this. Make sure that if you’re purchasing a cover, it is the correct fit for the crib mattress. Buying the same brand usually makes this a simpler task. Most waterproof crib mattresses have a vinyl or polyethylene surface. If these chemical surfaces do bother you, there are organic materials, such as wool, that are naturally resistant to mold.

3. Avoid flame retardants.

That brings us to safe materials! Although many states have legislation over baby sleep products and their flammability, flame retardants can be highly toxic. These toxic flame retardants are found in couches, mattresses, pajamas, and many other products that are then absorbed by our skin. The choice is entirely yours on whether you’re aiming for flame retardant or organic materials that, in turn, are highly flammable.

4. Consider splurging for a new crib mattress.

And think twice before using a used crib mattress. You want to know its history, so you’re not introducing mold, mildew, or dust mites to your baby’s room.

5. Make sure that the crib mattress is the correct size.

While most crib mattresses are a standard size for a standard crib, there are so many mini-cribs and bassinets on the market now that may better suit your family, so make sure the crib mattress size is correct. The mattress should be a snug fit where you shouldn’t be able to squeeze more than two fingers between the crib and the mattress.

6. No bumpers or accessories are necessary.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) suggests that you do not use crib bumpers, blankets, or any loose materials or toys that may be of suffocation or strangulation hazard. Side note: this does not include a pacifier, which is suggested to be used and may prevent SIDS.1 Read the Newly Updated Safe Sleep Guidelines from the AAP.

If you think that was a lot of information, this second part is simpler.

There are two types of crib mattresses:

1. Foam

While foam mattresses are typically made of polyurethane, which is light, flame retardant, and amongst the cheapest mattresses, many parents opt for foam crib mattresses made of organic materials. These materials may include soy, organic cotton, bamboo, and natural latex, among others. The choice is yours.

2. Spring

Innerspring mattresses consist of steel coils and any of the previously mentioned materials. These highly structured mattresses are typically more expensive and heavier, something to consider when changing those sheets!

And remember that crib mattresses often come double-sided with a firm infant side and a softer toddler side. While the price may be slightly higher for a double-sided mattress, it will save you money in the long run.

Now that you’ve learned about safe use, materials, and types of mattresses, here’s a list of some mom-approved brands:

11 of the Best Crib Mattresses

1. Naturepedic Mattresses

Naturepedic crib mattress

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The Naturepedic Mattresses are designed by pediatricians, chemists, engineers, and orthopedic specialists. The Naturepedic Organic Lightweight Classic Crib Mattress is a favorite. It’s made from organic cotton, a food-grade PVC vinyl waterproof surface to protect your baby from mold and mildew, and it’s double-sided! It costs about $269.00.

2. Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Infant/Toddler Crib Mattress

Sealy Soybean crib mattress
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An organic foam mattress made from US-grown soybeans that do not include any toxic flame retardants. It’s also double-sided and runs for a little over $100. This was a win-win for our family!

3. SleepOvation Baby Mattress

SleepOvation Baby Mattress
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This mattress is breathable and also made to reduce harmful pressure on baby’s head. It has a washable removable cover and is made in the USA with safe and healthy materials. This mattress is a 2-stage design with one side for infants and the other for toddlers. 

4. Newton Baby Crib Mattress

Newton Baby crib mattress
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The Newton Baby crib mattress is made with breathe-thru technology that makes it 100% breathable. Another feature we love is that the cover and core are completely washable. This mattress will grow with your baby and give your baby a safe and comfortable place to sleep. 

5. Nook Sleep Crib Mattress

Nook crib mattress
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Nook Sleep Crib Mattresses are some of the most organic crib mattresses on the market. Every inch of their mattresses is organic, responsibly sourced, and supremely breathable from core to cover. The cover is removable and machine washable making it easy to clean.

6. Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Mattress

Safety 1st crib mattress
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Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Mattress is a favorite lightweight and cheap mattress at a little over 7 lbs and only $88.20. It has a waterproof surface to protect your baby from mold and mildew. This mattress is GREENGUARD certified and fits standard crib sizes.

7. Lullaby Earth Crib Mattress

Lullaby Earth crib mattress
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An organic mattress that has a breathable mattress protector. It has two-stage firmness that is firmer on one side for infants and medium-firm on the opposite side for toddlers. It’s lightweight and fits most standard-size cribs. 

8. Colgate Crib Mattress

Colgate crib mattress
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This breathable crib mattress is hypoallergenic and has multiple side vents for optimal airflow. The cover is waterproof, triple-layered, and tear-resistant. It has dual-firmness that makes it supportive for infants and comfortable for toddlers. 

9. Avocado Eco Organic Crib Mattress

Avocado Eco Organic crib mattress
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A GOTS-certified organic mattress made without toxic chemicals, off-gassing, chemical flame retardants, fiberglass, or polyurethane foams. It’s made with organic cotton, hemp, and wool and a coconut husk pad to deliver breathable and safe comfort for your little one. It’s also made in the United States. 

10. Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

Babyletto crib mattress
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This mattress has a waterproof removable cover and is lightweight. It’s dual-sided, with a supportive firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers. It’s also breathable and hypoallergenic. 

11. Moonlight Baby Crib Mattress

Moonlight baby crib mattress
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Dual-sided with a high-density foam on one side to support infants and a plush foam on the other side for toddlers. It’s waterproof and durable to last for as long as you need it to. The reinforced seams help to protect your mattress. 

Also, check out Dream On Me, which carries innerspring and foam mattresses of many sizes to fit your bassinet, crib, or toddler bed.

Now you know what to consider, the different types, and the best crib mattresses. I hope this article gives you peace of mind when buying your baby’s first important investment. Best wishes!

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  • Author

Hello readers! I am a wife, first-time mom, and educator. I have a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology from the University of Colorado Denver. I’ve taught Introduction to Sociology… Read more

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