When looking for the best baby mattress you can possibly find, no doubt there are several distinguishing factors in making this important decision for your baby. There are several types of crib mattresses on the market, so which one do you choose and what plays a factor in your decision?
As with buying a car, if you simply go to the mattress store and browse around without actually knowing “what’s under the hood,” you’ll find that they all pretty much seem the same – rectangle shape, firm, cute print design. If you just pick based on what looks best, like with baby walkers, obviously you’re going to end up with something decent, but does it really have all the qualities in your Must Have List?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CRIB MATTRESS
If you’re in the market for a crib mattress, you won’t have to worry about a huge checklist of “must haves.” All mattresses sold in stores need to meet rigorous manufacturing standards in relation to products used and overall safety of the final product. For this reason, there are only a few items you really need to worry yourself with.
1. A Firm Mattress
First and foremost is safety. You’re probably already at least moderately aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and you’ll be relieved to know that the rate has been declining for over a decade now – possibly due to greater awareness. However, a firm mattress with tight bedding is one of the primary suggestions to lower the chance that your infant succumbs to suffocation in their sleep.
Each year in the United States, about 4,000 infants die suddenly of no immediately, obvious cause. About half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months.
Spring vs. Foam
A quality mattress should maintain its form for some time, so this comparison really depends on the reliability of the mattress you buy – perhaps based on the quality of materials used by the manufacturer and definitely backed-up by actual buyer testimonials (see below for those crib reviews).
Spring and Foam-type mattresses are typically priced about the same and general guidelines should be that they are firm for younger infants. Again, all crib mattresses and retailers must meet the standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which ensures general safety for your baby regardless of material used.
- Spring Mattresses are heavier based on the material used alone, but may be more durable in the middle of the bedding where the infant or toddler sleeps.
- Foam Mattresses are normally a lighter mattress, making them easier to move, clean and replace linens.
2. A Nice, Snug Crib Fit
Tagging along the safety precautions, you should ensure that your mattress fits snug into your crib. It is commonly recommended that the 2-finger test be used to ensure there is not too wide of a gap between the mattress and crib wall. If you can fit more than 2 fingers, your baby has a higher chance of getting an arm or leg wedged in the space and injuring themselves.
Mattresses don’t have a lot of components, so there are generally not a lot of complaints voiced over them. Here are a few recurring issues amongst those who have bought and used them.
- Some mattresses, more than others, have a tendency to have indentations in the center of the bed before too long
- Depending on the size of your mattress, it may not fit snug into the crib you have purchased
- Not firm enough for a newborn
SAFETY INFORMATION FOR BABY MATTRESSES
Indoor air quality has been linked to our health, so products that receive GREENGUARD Certification have satisfied the comprehensive testing of low emissions of indoor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – with the manufacture of furnishings frequently tied to indoor pollution. The Gold Certification provides stricter guidelines for sensitive individuals, such as children.
The CertiPUR certification is set up through a not-for-profit organization and assures that an independent laboratory has tested furniture (including mattresses) for specific indoor emissions and multiple other harmful products.
Part 1633 of the Code of Federal Regulations states the flammability requirements that all mattress sets need to adhere to before commercial sale.
BEST BABY MATTRESS
(click links to see Amazon Reviews)
|Sealy Soybean Foam-Core||GREENGUARD Gold||$120||5/5|
|Moonlight Slumber “Little Dreamer”||CertiPur||$185||4.5/5|
|Safety 1st Transitions Baby and Toddler||GREENGUARD Gold||$45||4/5|
|Sealy Baby Firm Rest||GREENGUARD Gold||$90||4/5|
|Sealy Baby Posturepedic||GREENGUARD Gold||$115||4/5|
|Simmons Beautyrest, 2-in-1||GG Gold, CertiPUR||$175||4/5|
|Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams||GREENGUARD Gold||$50||3.5/5|
|Dream On Me “Twilight”||No||$35||3/5|
We all know the Sealy brand – synonymous with comfort from well over a century of mattress innovation and ingenuity. So of course when they make a crib mattress, it’s going to be rated at or near the top. Not only the best baby mattress on the list, it’s also available at an excellent price. It’s constructed with a soy based foam core for additional durability (and to appease the eco-conscious family), tough waterproof covering, manufactured square corners for a snug crib fit, as well as “breathable” side slats to help circulate air flow. It’s also made in the U.S.A. and comes with a lifetime warranty on worksmanship and materials.
Pros: Uniformly firm but not hard – No plastic odor out of the box – Fits well in standard cribs – Lightweight and easy to clean – waterproof plastic exterior easy to clean – No complaints of sinking
Cons: Less than 30% soybean oil used in foam core
The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer is another highly rated crib mattress, not to mention one of the brands’ best sellers. This all- foam mattress shows up atop the list with multiple parent-approved qualities. It uses firm high-density foam for the toddler side and Extra-firm high-density foam for the infant side to support multiple growth phases of your baby. This hypo-allergenic crib also comes with a waterproof covering, squared corners for a cozy fit and built to support all the safety standards you would expect in a mattress.
Pros: Dual sided for baby and toddler use – Consensus nice and firm for baby – Easy to clean waterproof covering – Good fit on standard cribs
Cons: Expensive versus competing brands – Complaint about length not matching mfg specs (though others verify snug fit for most cribs)
Safety 1st has been in the baby safety products business for quite some time providing parents with some of the best options for your growing baby, such as with their top rated Ultrasonic Humidifier. With their Transitions Baby and Toddler mattress, you will find dual firmness levels which is ideal for a growing child – firm on the baby side, added cushioning on the reverse for use of a toddler. Durable construction, a water-repelling cover, good price-to-value and meeting all the top safety standards make this another quality choice.
Pros: Good fit for most cribs – Lightweight for easy changes – Firm, as advertised – No smells out of packaging
Cons: Hard to tell difference in “transitions” of each side – May develop indentations – Tight fit for certain crib sheets, causing bow in mattress – May be too hard for some tastes
As you’d expect, the Sealy brand has another crib mattress that rates as one of the best for babies. This one, however, is manufactured with 204 interlocking steel coils for added durability, 2 non-allergenic layers with antibacterial surface covers and passes all major safety regulations in order to provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Not to mention it’s made in the U.S.A and comes with a 20 year warranty on all worksmanship and materials.
Pros: Firm enough for baby use – Waterproof covering, easy to clean – Lightweight and easy to change
Cons: Multiple reports of indentation where baby sleeps – Airflow pocket may not let enough air escape causing some ballooning
Yet another popular choice amongst parents is the Sealy Baby Posturepedic mattress. Not to be outdone by many of their other models, the Baby Posturepedic is constructed with a 220-coil system designed to respond to your baby’s movement with corresponding support. Additionally it has 4 hypo-allergenic layers, with the 2 core layers providing stability and the outer layers creating a more comfortable sleeping environment. It also has a waterproof cover, meets or exceeds all appropriate safety standards and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Pros: Good fit for standard cribs – Lightweight for easy cover changes – Firm enough for infant
Cons: May develop premature indentions – Not as firm as many would like
The Simmons line is another name tied to mattress and other quality bedding products. The Beautyrest Beginnings crib mattress is another highly touted option as it provides the dual-purpose, 2-in-1 mattress to support your growing toddler. In addition to its dual functionality, the Sleepy Whispers Deluxe includes a 231-coil support with waterproof covering, hypo-allergenic features, meets or exceeds all federal safety standards, as well as being made in the U.S.A.
Pros: Firm throughout, no indentation complaints – No chemical smell out of the box – Dual purpose, infant/toddler – Easy to clean, waterproof covering
Cons: May be too firm on both sides – Prone to early wear and tear – Heavier than foam
Another widely purchased crib mattress is the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams model. Despite being a budget-friendly option amongst $100 competitors, it still rates as one of the highest among those who have happily used them. Like their Transitions 2-in-1 mattress, the Heavenly Dreams crib mattress is hypo-allergenic, durable and constructed with a vinyl, waterproof cover. It also passes all standard safety regulations.
Pros: Nice and firm – Waterproof and easy to clean – Snug fit on standard cribs – Lightweight for quick and easy sheet changes
Cons: Not the softest option available – Middle may sink after time – Cover may be prone to tears
Last but not least is the Dream On Me Crib and Toddler mattress, that comes in as the most budget-friendly option for your baby. A lightweight option, this mattress is made with 88 interwoven coils for durability, a hypo-allergenic foam layer, waterproof cover and meets standard safety regulations. Note: It is not specified by manufacturer if it is a GreenGuard Gold certified product.
Pros: Budget option – Good fit for standard cribs – Easy to clean, waterproof cover – Nice print design
Cons: Too soft for infant – Cheap looking plastic cover – More appropriate for toddler – Makes noises when baby moves or shifts – May take a month or more for delivery
As you can tell, there are several viable options that distinguish themselves from one another. The best baby mattress you can find, of course, should meet the stated criteria above of being firm and fitting snug into your crib (check manufacturer dimensions). The most desirable baby mattress will logically be more expensive – with better constructed materials – and will have favorable reviews from previous owners of these mattresses. Often purchased alongside a new mattress are waterproof crib pads or a fitted crib sheet for added comfortability, to keep your infant from sweating from the actual mattress cover, as well as to protect the integrity of your new mattress.