The 10 Best Crib Mattresses
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you need a crib mattress for your new bundle of joy, you'll want to choose one that meets all safety requirements for your peace of mind, while providing the right amount of comfort for your baby. Our selection includes double-sided choices that can grow with your infant to toddler-hood, some eco-friendly designs, as well as some value-priced options to meet any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 02, 2020:
Sleeptime is the only time when babies are left alone in a room, so when it comes to cribs and crib mattresses, safety is of the utmost importance. The two basic standards for crib mattress safety are that the unit fits tightly into the cribs with no gaps for baby to get stuck in, and that the surface is firm enough that infants don't sink in and have trouble breathing.
Many toddler beds are designed to make use of the crib-sized mattress, but the extra-firmness requirement means tots don't get a cushy place to sleep even though the risk of SIDS has long passed. A dual-sided mattress like the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer or the Simmons Kids Beautyrest Beginnings come with an extra-firm infant side, and a memory foam-like side for toddlers. This allows you to use the same mattress from birth until your child moves to a twin bed, so a well-made choice is worth the investment.
While the trend is moving towards all-foam mattresses, some parents may prefer a traditional innerspring like the Beautyrest has. These styles often combine spring coils for lasting firmness with a cushier foam layer on the flip side for older children. The major downside to this hybrid is the mattress tends to be quite heavy.
Another alternative to foam is our top choice, the Newton Wovenaire which is constructed of a food-grade polymer that babies can breathe through, with a breathable cover on the outside. It's a great choice for parents concerned about babies who learn to roll over in their sleep at a young age. This mattress is unusual in that you can wash it in the bathtub, and entire thing (minus the cover) is recyclable when you're done with it.
Avocado Hybrid Avocado mattresses are made with notable attention to detail, including individually cotton-wrapped innersprings that are hand tied and hand sewn without any toxic glues. Every organic component is carefully sourced, with the organic latex foam coming from farms co-owned by the company, and the organic cotton sheared from ethically raised sheep that graze freely in the Himalayas. avocadogreenmattress.com
Essentia La La All Essentia mattresses are made what they refer to as natural memory foam, which is made without harmful chemicals from organic Hevea milk. The La La is crib sized and firm enough to meet safety standards while still offering just enough memory foam cradling. Even the waterproof layer on the outside is made from food-grade materials. myessentia.com
Crib Mattress: Infanthood And Beyond
Foam may feel like the most desirable choice, and they typically are available in varying levels of thickness, ranging anywhere between three to six inches.
Without question, you should approach a crib mattress as if you are buying one for yourself. Comfort, and longevity being the most desired features here. Babies need comfort too, and the mattress you choose for them should also be able to endure childhood; being as usable in a crib, as in a toddler bed. They usually can accommodate kids well into their fifth year. In this regard, you're making an investment that'll see the apple of your eye through the next few years.
Maybe you've already shopped around for the perfect mattress to fit your perfect crib, and can't differentiate between two of them. A huge disparity, to help you out, lies in what cannot be seen: the inside. The two main types of crib mattresses are foam versus innerspring. People can debate over which is better until they're red in the face; what's important is understanding how either type will effect your infant as it grows. After all, they say babies grow the most when they sleep.
Foam may feel like the most desirable choice, and they typically are available in varying levels of thickness, ranging anywhere between three to six inches. If you're leaning towards foam, choose one that's heavy and firm; you're going to pay more for these types, but they're more resilient than ones that are too soft. You don't want the mattress to be able to conform to the babies face, and risk suffocation or SIDS.
When it comes to innerspring, you need to look out for a coil count and wire gauge, or wire thickness. The more coils, the more that mattress will support your baby. The lower number of wire gauge used, the thicker that wire is, which means it's going to be able to support more, and put up with more abuse years down the road. The ideal combination for an innerspring mattress with 135 or more coils, and 15 or lower gauged wire. These too will cost you more, but then again, your child will be doing a lot of growing on their mattress, and any added safety precaution should be warranted.
How Science Produces Crib Mattresses
Now that we've covered what to look out for in a mattress, let's cover the bases and discuss what should be avoided. Ultimately, babies spend hours each day and night lying in their bed. This can equate up to 200 or more days out of one year, cumulatively. That's a lot of time lying down on a mattress.
Just remember, the more certifiable a crib mattress is, the more it has been assessed and evaluated for babies to use.
While most crib mattresses are carefully tested and monitored for potentially toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, many will still have trace amounts of such substances, and for some parents, any can be too much. These substances are commonly present due to the use of polyurethane foams and polyester padding. According to a study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, many crib mattresses emit the same level of potentially harmful compounds as laminate flooring, an often maligned material. Only choosing a certified organic crib mattress can guarantee the absence of such materials.
On the other hand, that all sounds a little hysterical. Most foam crib mattress today are made exactly out of polyurethane and polyester; does this mean they should be avoided? No in the least. To explain this, we need to get a molecular level, literally. Foam, after all, is made from chemicals itself. As for polyurethane foam, the main derivative here is petroleum; considered hazardous in an unreacted safe, and labeled as non-toxic when completely cured.
But don't let all this talk put a worry bug in your head. Just remember, the more certifiable a crib mattress is, the more it has been assessed and evaluated for babies to use. But honestly, isn't science cool?
Tips For Adorning Your Mattress
Choosing a safe crib mattress that suits your preferences and your child's need is an important first step to creating a safe, comfortable place in which a baby or toddler can sleep. But it is only one of many factors you must consider. A crib mattress does little good without a crib in which to place it, after all, so make sure you give equal care to your research on a crib and its accompanying mattress.
The safest mattress in the world can't prevent the dangers caused by a loose, ill-fitting sheet, after all.
First and foremost, you must avoid any cribs with known safety issues. These include safety recalled cribs such as those with drop sides or wide gaps between their slats or bars, as well as any other cribs declared unsafe by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and other trusted groups.
Next, make sure you choose a crib sheet that fits snugly and securely over the crib mattress. The safest mattress in the world can't prevent the dangers caused by a loose, ill-fitting sheet, after all. And when your child is very young, remember that there should be nothing in the crib except for the close-flitting pajamas and swaddling and that crib sheet and mattress.
Any loose objects, such as blankets or stuffed animals, present a potential choking or suffocation hazard. And though once common, today crib bumpers are widely considered unsafe, as an infant can end up with his or her face wedged against the bumper and be unable to breathe. Until a child is old enough to roll and sit with ease, their crib should be a comfortable but spartan affair.