What Should You Look for in a Crib Mattress?

Picking out a mattress for a newborn may seem like an easy task, but there are actually a lot of things you need to consider before making the purchase. Babies spend hundreds of hours in their crib exploring and learning to control their body, so they need to be designed to avoid virtually any kind of dangerous scenario. It’s also a good idea to talk to a physician or other medical professional for advice on choice of mattress. When it comes to the health and future of a child, it’s worth taking the time to make an informed decision.

Check for Certification

All crib mattresses in the United States must adhere to the provisions and standards set forth by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the American Society for Testing and Materials. These organizations provide oversight of the market to ensure that parents can reliably find mattresses that meet basic safety criteria. Parents are advised to purchase a new, certified mattress for their crib, and to never use one that is not specifically designated for infants. Air mattresses, water beds and other sleeping surfaces are not appropriate for a newborn unless instructed by a healthcare professional.

Finding the Right Size

Measure your crib carefully and double check results to make sure you got it right. In the United States, there are laws that require mattresses to fit snugly into position to avoid entrapping one of the baby’s limbs. If you can fit two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the crib, then it’s not the right size. In fact, a leading furniture retailer recently recalled several crib mattress product lines after multiple reports of children getting stuck, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. While no serious injuries were reported in this case, prolonged entrapment could cause permanent damage by cutting off circulation to an infant’s extremities.

Selecting Safe Materials

Crib mattresses that conform to federal health guidelines are available in three primary types: foam, innerspring, and organic. Foam is a popular selection of mattress material because it is soft, consistent and light. However, foam that is too malleable can inhibit normal bone formation and expose babies to life-threatening health issues. Organic mattresses are composed of materials that have not been treated with chemical solutions during production. Parents that choose this option should monitor their child for signs of an allergic reaction in case they have a sensitivity to the material. A high-quality innerspring mattress can be a bit more expensive than the alternatives, but they do provide stable and firm support for the infant.

Ventilation Capabilities

A well-designed crib mattress is built to ventilate air to cut down on lingering odors. It’s only a matter of time before your baby makes a mess in the bed, so it’s essential that it can be cleaned and aired out as needed. Mattresses are typically lined with small holes that allow air to pass through. Some are also designed to be breathable, allowing the baby to take in air unhindered even if their face is flush against the fabric.

Related Resource: 20 Best Sleep Products to Improve Your Health

It’s easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed when faced with the myriad of options concerning a new baby. New parents can make their life much easier by making some of these crucial decisions in the weeks or months before their due date, so they can take their time and fully examine their options. Limiting your search to new, certified products is a prudent decision for anyone that is unsure about all of the things to look for when buying a crib mattress.