How to Choose a Crib Mattress

crib mattress

As you prepare your baby's nursery, you'll need to purchase a crib and mattress. While this purchase might seem simple, there are several tips you should remember as you begin shopping.

Types of Crib Mattresses

When you begin searching for that perfect mattress, you'll discover that there are several options available, and you'll have to take into account several features, just as if you were shopping for a mattress for your bed. There are two main types of mattresses for a crib: innerspring and foam.

Innerspring Mattress

An innerspring mattress is typically more expensive than a foam mattress. However, they may also hold up longer. The number of coils in the mattress that you choose will have a significant bearing on how well the mattress is made. It is best to purchase a mattress that has at least 150 coils, and the covering of the mattress should be thick.

Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses don't have innersprings or coils. Their firmness is dependent upon the density of the foam. This means that you should look for a foam mattress that appears firm and solid. This doesn't necessarily mean thicker, however. Foam mattresses of lesser density will not hold their shape for as long, and you may need to replace a foam mattress before your child has outgrown her baby bed. Today, many foam mattresses are as well-constructed as innerspring mattresses, however, and many parents prefer them because they are much lighter in weight, making them much easier to maneuver. Remember-pay attention to the density of a foam mattress, if this is the type of mattress you want to purchase.

Mattress Covers

You can actually purchase crib mattresses that have a vinyl, waterproof cover. These are great, as your baby's diapers won't always be leak proof. If your baby is still using his crib once you begin potty training, you'll be glad that the cover on the crib mattress is waterproof, too!

Importance of Fit

How important is the fit of your baby's crib mattress? This is a very important issue! The mattress should fit snuggly into the baby bed. The standard measurement of a basic baby bed is 51 5/8" X 27 1/4". Use the two finger check when you install your mattress into the crib. If you feel a space of more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame, the mattress doesn't fit properly.

Important Tips and Precautions

As you search for the best crib mattress for your baby, you'll want to keep these points in mind.

  • Fire-retardant Material-It is very important that the mattress you choose should be made of fire-retardant material. This should be a standard issue, but if you are using a used mattress, this may not be the case.
  • Firmness-Keep in mind that the firmer the mattress the better. Soft bedding increases the risk of SIDS. This is why it is best to purchase a new mattress as opposed to borrowing or purchasing a used one.
  • Snug Fit-Not only must the mattress be firm, but it must also fit snuggly, so there is no chance of your baby getting stuck between the mattress and the bed frame.
  • Ventilation-You should choose a mattress that has lots of vents on the sides to allow for better ventilation. These vents won't trap odors, keeping a fresher smelling mattress over time.

Mattress Brands

There are many popular mattress brands available, and many people shop according to brands. Keep in mind, however, that brand names aren't as important as the structure and manufacturing of the mattress itself. Look for the following features:

  • Density of the foam
  • Coils numbering 150 or more in innersprings
  • Fit is a standard crib size
  • Foam or innerspring mattress is very firm
  • Waterproof covering

Popular brands include the following:

How to Choose a Crib Mattress