What Makes a Good Baby Crib Mattress?

Determining what makes a good baby crib mattress may seem like a boring task, but it’s one to carefully consider. It’s important to purchase the best one you can since the mattress is just as important as the bed itself. You’ll need to ensure the mattress fits securely inside the crib without any gaps that could endanger your baby, and opt for a firm mattress rather than a soft one that could conform to your baby’s face or head and thus increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or suffocation.

Types of Crib Mattresses

In general, there are two types of crib mattresses: innerspring and foam. Both types, if they’re good quality, will retain their shape and provide support for babies and toddlers, according to Baby Center. However, there are some differences. Innerspring mattresses usually weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and are heavier than foam, which is typically made from polyurethane and weighs between five and 10 pounds. So, even though you’ll be changing the sheet by lifting one corner at a time, foam might be easier. A toddler may also be less likely to use a foam mattress as a trampoline.

Look for Quality

Regardless of the type of mattress you choose, check for quality. The cheapest innerspring and foam mattress have edgings and thin vinyl coverings that can dry out, crack or tear over time. However, the more expensive mattresses come with coverings that are reinforced double or triple laminate, puncture-resistant and thicker. Keep in mind that both types of mattresses will weigh more, particularly if a foam mattress is made of dense foam or if an innerspring mattress has higher-quality steel or more coils.

Don’t Judge a Mattress by its Cover

Figuring out what makes a good baby crib mattress also involves interior materials as well. A crib mattress might feel good in the store, but it will quickly falter once your baby uses it. Unfortunately, you can’t always depend on the sales team to give you accurate information. For instance, if you’re told that an innerspring mattress is superior to standard foam, because foam breaks down after 18 months, look elsewhere. While that might’ve been true 25 years ago, a high-quality foam crib mattress has the same lifespan of an innerspring crib mattress with regular use.

Buy New, Not Used

If possible, buy a new crib mattress. Although you could accept a hand-me-down or used mattress, you’ll never know how if it was properly cared for or stored. If kept in a basement, attic or garage, mold could grow, and bacteria could develop on the top of the mattress from diaper leaks, spit-up and other liquids that weren’t properly cleaned. If you buy a new one and make sure you keep it clean, you can continue to use it for your child’s younger sibling as long as it stays firm and you store it in a dry environment.

Related Resource: What Makes a Good Mattress?

There are several factors that determine the quality of a baby mattress. Keep in mind the two different types of mattress, consider both the outer and inner materials and buy new if you can. By doing your research and educating yourself ahead of time, you’ll find that what makes a good baby crib mattress is relatively easy to pinpoint once you’re actually in the store.

Additional Resources on Crib Mattresses

Best Baby Crib Mattresses for Newborns & Infants 2019

What Should You Look for in a Crib Mattress?