Becoming a new parent is both overwhelming and exciting! We all know that a baby comes with a whole lot of joy, but they also bring along a number of added stresses and a slew of oftentimes-expensive purchases. As a new parent, we feel like everything needs to be in place before the arrival of our new addition. Along with painting the nursery and buying the diapers, new parents have to throw down some serious money to outfit their baby’s new digs.
Among the most important and necessary purchases for your new baby is the selection of a proper crib mattress. Your newborn will be spending up to 17 hours per day sleeping in their crib, and their sleeping surface is an important part of his safety and comfort. Lucky for us, current safety regulations on crib mattresses makes it hard to make a bad selection, but there are still a few things for you consider when going out to make your purchase. Your child’s crib should be a safe haven for him and a worry free zone for you. Follow these steps in order to make an easy and educated mattress decision at any budget.
What to look for in a crib mattress?
New Is Best
The life expectancy of a new crib mattress is only about three years. Crib mattresses are meant to last about as long as one child will use them. This means that replacing a crib mattress in between children and purchasing a new instead of a used mattress is very important. Over time, crib mattresses lose their firmness and durability. They begin to wear down over a few years of use, leading to a less than ideal place for your infant to rest.
Sagging and worn crib mattresses can pose a serious risk to your child by increasing the chances for SIDS and other sleep-related deaths. Buying new is not only the cleanest option, but also the safest! Other advantages to buying a new mattress are cleanliness and sanitary concerns.
Buying new reduces the potential for added bacteria, allergens, dust mites and mold and we know that all of these irritants should stay far away from the new baby! The most important reason to buy new is to ensure that your child’s sleeping surface is a safe and clean place to spend their resting hours. The best part is that buying a new crib mattress can be accomplished at any price-point.
Guidelines state that a firm mattress is the safest place for an infant to sleep. Though this may differ from how we choose our own sleeping surfaces, in the case of your baby, the firmer the mattress the better. In order to test the firmness of the mattress, press firmly on the center and around the edges of the surface. If the mattress quickly (almost instantly) regains shape, this is a good measure of firmness.
A firm sleeping surface is necessary in order to support the fragile, growing bodies of infants. Studies show that firm, flat mattresses also decreases the chance of potential suffocation, SIDS and other sleep related risks. Whichever choice you make in a new mattress, be sure to check for firmness.
Size and Fit
Ensuring that your infant’s crib mattress fits snugly within your crib is another very important safety check. Crib mattresses are required by law to be at least 27 1/4 by 54 5/8 inches with a mattress thickness of no more than 6 inches. Mattresses should fit tightly within the crib with no more than a 1/4 inch (4 centimeter) gap between the end of the mattress and the beginning of the crib. The best way of testing fit is to measure your crib and mattress. Though standard cribs fit the 27 1/4 by 54 5/8 inch mattress, it is important to make sure that your crib and mattress are a proper match. Some specialty cribs are longer in length or require specially sized or shaped mattresses.
A new trend in high-end cribs is a circular shape. In the case of specially shaped cribs, be sure that your custom sized mattress goes all the way to the edge of the crib and doesn’t leave a gap wide enough for even the width of two fingers. In this case the 4-centimeter rule should be followed in order to ensure that nothing can fit between the two surfaces. Another way to ensure a good fit is to look at the informational pamphlets that often come along with your new crib. Read the specifications carefully. Usually the crib manufacturer will specify a mattress size that will best fit the dimensions of the crib. If possible, it is best to test the fit of the mattress at the time of purchase in order to ensure a proper match.
Other essential points to look for in a mattress include ventilation holes and a breathable material covering. Ventilation holes can be found on the sides of the mattress, and they allow for air and moisture to escape, which is a very good thing! These are an important feature that will help to reduce the chance of odors and allergens.
Allergens such as mold are formed when moisture is trapped within the dense layers of the mattress, but with breathable options, there is no need to worry about that. Ventilation is also key in order to decrease warmth on the surface of the mattress. A cooler sleeping area is essential to a safe night’s sleep for your little one, as it is another way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Choose your Fill Material
Crib mattresses come in a variety of different materials, each with their own unique benefits. Now that we’ve discussed all of the important factors of buying a mattress, we need to choose which fill material will fit the above guidelines. In order to choose the proper mattress for your needs, we need to figure out exactly what these guys are made of. Three factors to consider when choosing your mattresses fill are budget, durability, and firmness. Below are the four most common types of mattress fills along with some pros and cons to consider.
Standard coil mattresses
Coil mattresses are made up of hundreds of tightly wound coils that are linked together in order to provide a firm place for your baby to rest. In order to ensure a firm mattress, look at the number of coils as well us the coil gauge used to make up the mattress. The lower the gauge, the stronger and thicker the coil and the stronger the coil, the more durable and strong the mattress will be. You read that right, look for a mattress with a LOW gauge coil, a number under 15 is best.
Standard coil mattresses move together in unison, providing a very firm and durable surface. In order for coil mattresses to still be comfortable, an inch thick layer of padding provides a cover for the coils. Padding adds a comfortable layer of support as well as added durability. This means that the coils will stay safely inside the mattress. Coil mattresses offer a tough and resilient option for new parents to consider, but are heavier and higher cost than their foam alternatives. Coil mattresses are very common though, and finding a well-priced option is always possible.
Pocketed spring mattresses
Pocket spring or individual coil mattresses are made up of hundreds of steel coils that are then placed within individual fabric pockets. Separating the coils into fabric pockets provides a firm foundation while allowing for added motion. Pocket construction allows each coil to move independently, creating less transfer of movement when your baby begins to gain more mobility. Like we discussed with traditional coil mattresses, it is important to look at the number of coils and their gauge to determine the firmness of the surface. Pocket spring mattresses are able to provide an excellent combination of firmness and comfort, but come with one of the highest price tags on the market.
Foam and memory foam mattresses
Foam based mattresses provide a sleeping surface that is customized to the twists and turns of a small child. Foam mattresses come in a variety of thicknesses and qualities. Some foam mattresses have the added benefit of being double sided. This provides a longer lasting option that can sometimes be used even into the toddler years. Look for a label on your foam mattress that states whether or not the mattress can be reversed once your infant outgrows the need for an extra firm surface. If you have chosen a double-sided option, make sure to always use the correct side for your child’s age.
These options are also less cumbersome than coil mattresses, and make for an easy travel option. Memory foam mattresses provide even greater flexibility within the mattress but firmness should be tested. Foam mattresses provide a lower cost alternative to coil mattresses, but they are often less durable and less ventilated. Often times, these mattresses trap heat, leading to a warmer sleeping surface for your baby. Be sure to test all foam mattresses for density and firmness, and make sure that they bounce back quickly when weight is shifted. Foam mattresses are often better suited to colder climates, as they tend to trap warmth within their surface.
Natural and organic mattresses
Natural and organic mattresses are most often made from natural and untreated wool and cotton fibers and are free from flame retardant chemical additives. These naturally made mattresses will reduce your baby’s exposure to potentially harmful chemical products and decreasing allergy sensitivities. It is important to note that mattresses are often labeled organic fill but still have artificial coverings.
If it is your wish to go all natural, be sure to read the label carefully. There are not many regulated standards in place to classify mattresses as organic; however, there are private organizations that certify legitimate brands. If you are considering spending your hard earned money on an organic mattress, be sure to look into these useful organizations in order to find a certified organic option. Organic mattresses are often costly but are a good alternative for parents seeking to ensure that the surface and fill of your infant’s mattress are as safe and natural as possible.
The cover material of a crib mattress is the first area to show wear, so it is important to consider both durable and safe options. Thick, tear resistant coverings will increase the longevity of your child’s mattress and will leave you with one less thing to worry about once baby has arrived. Waterproof coverings are also a great option that helps to stave of wear and moisture at the same time. These coverings reduce the absorption of liquids within the mattress and make it easier to wipe any messes away.
Other options include removable covers that make them a whole lot easier to clean when your little one has a middle of the night accident. Throw these covers in the washer with the sheets and they will come out as good as new. It never hurts to have a backup cover either! Hypoallergenic coverings are a great way to reduce the amount of allergens near the mattress surface. These coverings offer an added layer of protection that keeps the dust mites at bay. Lower weight mattresses, especially foam-based mattresses are easy to transport, and make for a quicker and easier job of changing baby’s sheets.
Armed with these six easy to follow steps, you are on your way to checking off one more thing on the Before Baby To-Do List. With so many options currently on the market, you can choose a mattress that is customized to your wishes while still fitting your baby’s needs and your budget.
The vast selection of mattresses available online and in stores means that you can find a crib mattress that is both durable and secure, with a price tag that doesn’t make you run for the door. Just remember to choose a safe and snug option and you and your new baby will be sure to rest easy!
The Best Crib Mattress 2016: Our Choice
Moonlight Slumber – Little Dreamer®
The Little Dreamer crib mattress is an all foam dual firmness mattress. The mattress size is 27.5” x 52” x 5”. The 5” thick crib mattress is a two-stage sleep system that can be used for infant and toddler stage. The mattress contains a firmer foam on the infant side and a firm foam on the toddler side. The foam used in the mattress is an eco-friendly and plant based to ensure you baby’s safety and a healthier sleep is attained.
This crib mattress receives good reviews from the customers that confirms the product description provided by the company, as it is: waterproof, dust resistant, hypoallergic and easy to clean.
This mattress is also rated high for it has the premium mattresses features like, square and cornered edges, high-quality medical grade foam, vinyl and PVC free, and also housing innersprings that increases its comfortability and take care of spinal alignment problems. The mattress fits well in the standard crib and toddler beds.
The Little Dreamer mattress is fairly light as it is about 10.3 pounds heavy. This mattress is also relatively expensive as it is sold for $196.90, but with 4.8 customer ratings and its quality we would say it is worthy it and highly recommended.
Naturepedic No-compromise Organic Cotton Classic Dual Firmness Crib Mattress
This mattress uses 100% organic cotton, making it one of the healthiest mattresses as it passes all the health certifications and tests. The mattresses have a firm flat surface that passed the CPSC firmness recommendations and they have also been thoroughly tested for chemical emissions and they have been certified to the GREENGUARD® GOLD standard.
The Naturepedic organic cotton mattress contains: seamless waterproof edges, edge support, 150 coils, organic cotton throughout, and the water proof surface. This mattress is easy to clean and it is also dust resistant.
The mattress is relatively more expensive when compared to the innerspring and the memory foam crib mattresses, but with the high level of comfort and guaranteed 100% health and safety assurance we would say the price is too way optimal. The mattress is sold at $299.00.
These mattresses also have dual firmness, with an extra firm side for infant stage and the firm side for toddler stage. The mattresses are 6” thick and they are relatively heavier when compared to other crib mattresses, they are 20 pounds heavy.
Colgate Eco Classica III
The Eco Classica III is a multi-layered memory foam mattress that contains an organic cotton cover. The Eco Classica III is 6” thick and it has a dual firmness feature, which makes it usable for infants and toddler stages.
The mattress contains eco-friendlier memory foam. The mattress has CertiPUR-US certification for high quality and GREENGUARD® GOLD certification for not having harmful chemical emissions.
The mattress is tear resistant, waterproof, non-allergic and can be cleaned easily. The mattress is relatively lighter as it is only 9.4 pounds heavy. This mattress costs $197.89 and it has relatively high customer ratings: 4.3 out of 5, and we would say it is one of the best crib mattresses in the market place right now as it makes its way up to our top 5.
Sealy soybean Foam-Core Mattress
This is Women’s choice “best for baby” award winning mattress for three consecutive years: from 2013 to 2015. The Sealy soybean is a foam based mattress covered with a cotton layer. The mattress does not have a dual firmness feature like others but it is still offering bedding services for both babies and toddlers.
The mattress is highly rated with a 4.7 star rating out of 5. The Sealy soybean mattress contains a soft fabric cover which is specially treated with hospital-grade staph-guard to protect against bacteria and allergens, hence will not have allergic reactions to your baby and / or toddler as it has also passed GREENGUARD® GOLD certification and it uses an eco-friendly foam that has passed CertiPUR-US certification for durability, harmful chemicals emission, and in-door air quality. This mattress has also passed ASTM crib mattress standards.
This mattress fits well in the common cribs and toddler beds, it has a 5” thickness. The Sealy soybean mattresses are easy to clean, 100% waterproof and they are stain resistant, they also contain square edges which makes them fit well in the square corner cribs.
This lightweight foam mattress is relatively cheaper with a price tag of $139.99 if bought from Amazon; which makes it affordable.
Simmons – Beautyrest Beginnings Sleepy Whispers
This is an innerspring mattress containing 231 pocketed coil springs for offering high quality support and luxury. This mattress is also a two-in-one crib and toddler mattress, which provides acceptable firmness on one side for the babies and acceptable softness on the other side for toddlers.
The Simmons crib mattress is waterproof, stain resistant, non-toxic, it also meets or exceeds all federal flammability standards and the mattress is GREENGUARD® GOLD and CertiPUR-US certified for a healthier indoor environment. The mattress also contains a fire protection wrap and a woven fabric cover.
This mattress has the standard 52” x 27.5” x 6” size which gives it a good fit in common cribs, the mattress is also one of the heavier crib mattresses as it is about 19.4 pounds.
This mattress received 4.1 end user ratings, the mattress is considered a little bit cheaper when compared to other high quality crib and toddler mattresses. This mattress can be bought for $141.79 from Amazon.