Buying a Crib Mattress: What You Need to Know
Babies spend more time asleep than awake, up to 18-hours a day, so one of the most important investments for your baby is a mattress! And shopping for the perfect 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 number one thing to consider when buying a crib or bassinet mattress.
1. You want the crib mattress to be firm.
Don’t be turned away from 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 in a soft cushion. In fact, making sure a mattress is firm and flat should be the first thing to take note of, regardless if your baby is a back or tummy sleeper.
How do you make sure it’s firm enough? Check that you are in fact buying a mattress for an infant and 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 to prevent this you may want to buy a waterproof mattress or a waterproof cover for your mattress; make sure that if you’re buying a cover, it is the correct fit for the mattress–buying the same brand usually makes this a simpler task. Most waterproof mattresses have a vinyl or polyethylene surface, and 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 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 completely yours on whether you’re aiming for flame retardant or organic materials that in turn are highly flammable.
4. Consider splurging for a new mattress.
And think twice before using a used mattress. You want to be sure you know its history so that you’re not introducing mold, mildew, or dust mites to your baby’s room.
5. Make sure that the mattress is the correct size.
While most 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 just make sure the size of the mattress 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 necessary.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) suggest 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 however which is actually suggested to be used and may prevent SIDS.
If you think that was a lot of information, this second part is simpler.
There are two types of crib mattress:
While foam mattresses are typically made of polyurethane, which is light, flame retardant and amongst the cheapest of mattresses, many parents opt for foam mattresses made of organic materials. These materials may include soy, organic cotton, bamboo, natural latex, among others. The choice is yours.
Innerspring mattresses consist of steel coils, and any of the previously mentioned materials. These highly structured mattresses are typically more expensive and also heavier which is something to consider when changing those sheets!
And remember that mattresses often do come double-sided, a firm infant side and a softer toddler side, and 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:
- Sealy Soybean Foam Core Infant/Toddler Crib Mattress is the one we chose for our baby. It’s an organic foam mattress made from US grown soybeans, that does 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!
- Naturepedic Mattresses are designed by pediatricians, chemists, engineers and orthopedic specialists. The Naturepedic Lightweight Organic Cotton 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 runs at about $259.00.
- Nook Sleep Crib Mattresses are some of the most organic crib mattresses on the market. From core to cover, every inch of their mattresses are organic, responsibly sourced and supremely breathable.
- Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Mattress is a favorite lightweight and cheap mattress at a little over 7 lbs and only $59.99. It has a waterproof surface to protect your baby from mold and mildew.
- Also check out Colgate, an American brand that has some of the top innerspring natural and organic mattresses, and, Dream On Me, which carries both innerspring and foam mattresses of many sizes to fit your bassinet, crib, or even toddler bed.
Head over to Amazon.com to conveniently purchase your babies first important investment, and best wishes!