Choosing the Best Crib Mattresses for Baby (2017 Guide & Reviews)
After I found out that I was expecting with my daughter, I had no idea just how much time and energy was going to go into setting up my nursery.
One area I certainly had no expertise in was the topic of crib mattresses. Silly me thought that I could plop down just any old mattress and my baby would have a great night’s sleep!
But, little did I know that purchasing a mattress was one of the most important things I could do!
At first, comfort was my main priority. I’d do anything possible to get my little girl to sleep soundly. But after extensively researching the topic, I learned that my main concern should be to get her to sleep safely!
After all, your baby will spend about 16 hours in their crib. Don’t you want to make sure they are resting their head on something that is not only comfortable, but is also a top rated item for safety?
So which are the best crib mattresses?
Crib Mattress Reviews
The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is considered one of the safest crib mattresses around, and it's my pick as the best crib mattress on the market today.
It has a super firm sleeping surface, yet it’s very comfortable.
I love this mattress because it can be used for not just your baby’s crib, but for their toddler bed as well!
The mattress is foam, so it’s not difficult to move around when you want to change the sheets. The foam itself is very safe for your baby to be around, and it's free from toxic chemicals like PVC.
It’s actually made of high quality medical grade foam that has a natural internal fire barrier too, which is important if there is an emergency.
The mattress has a streamlined and simple shape with clean lines. It is smooth and about five inches thick. So, when you place your fitted crib sheet on it, it looks as though your crib was taken off a showroom floor.
That’s how crisp and beautiful it makes your bedding look!
While it may be moderately priced, I truly believe that you get what you pay for with this piece.
I was very impressed with how high quality it looked and felt, and I never worried that my son couldn’t change his position with ease. He never sunk into the foam and always appeared comfortable.
Also, as my son grew older, I’d sometimes allow him to sip on a cup of water if he had a cold or if it was very hot. Once in a while, his cup spilled open.
I knew I had a great mattress and that it had great stitching because the liquid never collected around the sides of the mattress. It just sat on top, so I could wipe it up with ease.
In fact, the entire mattress was waterproof and cleaned great when he had an accident (or twelve!)
This is the mattress I used, and I highly recommend it!
The Sealy Soybean Foam-Core is a name you can trust and also a pretty great bargain buy (click here to check the price on Amazon), and it's also a pretty damn good crib mattress.
This crib mattress is actually composed of soybean oils (mattresses have come a long way) from American grown plants.
It’s a foam mattress, so it’s light weight yet extra firm. If a mattress could be considered “healthy,” this would be the adjective I’d use to describe it!
Because it is entirely water resistant and it can wipe clean, it prevents allergens from clinging to it, which is important for a lot of babies (you never know if your child will have allergies).
Plus, its soy based foam is high density, so it will sag less over time and it supports an infants’ fragile body wonderfully. And, it is considered to be an awesome, breathable mattress which is a must during the summer time!
It also has square corners, so it ensures a snug fit for your baby’s bedding. The mattress has been put through a lot of different quality tests, and the mattress passed with flying colors.
It has even been awarded one of the best mattresses for babies, according to women and moms across the country.
If you are on a budget, but don’t want to sacrifice quality or safety, this is a great mattress to consider.
One of the finer mattresses on the market today, the Colgate Classica (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a favorite among many moms I know.
It may be on the pricier side for a foam mattress, but many moms agree that it’s well worth the price, as the mattress is eco-friendly, made from plant-based foam, and its cover is 100% certified organic cotton.
The best thing about it is that it is very firm, and it has a waterproof backing, so nothing can get into the mattress.
It is also dual use, so it doubles as a crib mattress and is also fit for a toddler bed. Much like the Moonlight Slumber mattress, it helps create a seamless look for your bedding, mostly because the mattress itself is about six inches thick.
Another plus is that the brand is known for excellent customer service, so if you have any questions or concerns when the mattress arrives, they will take care of it quickly for you.
The only con is that some parents complain about it being not breathable enough, stating that the top of the mattress always felt warmer than it should.
But, I have several girlfriends who selected this model and they never noticed a problem.
All in all, it’s a nice mattress that is greener than most.
A highly rated and award winning crib mattress, the Naturepedic No Compromise (click here to check the price on Amazon) is composed of good-for-you materials.
While it’s similar to a foam mattress, you won’t find any polyurethane foam in it. It has American grown organic cotton filling and is waterproof.
Also, after researching this mattress I learned that its surface does not allow dust mites to penetrate it.
If you are worried your baby has allergies, it is latex and wool free (many tots are majorly allergic to these things). It will fit your baby’s toddler bed, so there is no need to purchase another mattress.
A major plus is that this is the only mattress that I’ve come across that possesses all of the must-have characteristics, and it's also 100% organic.
So, if you go green in your home, this mattress will make a great addition to your items.
Even though it is a bit on the pricey side, many parents are willing to pay the extra buck to have something that will not only support their baby while they sleep, but will not irritate them in any way due to nasty chemicals.
A bargain buy on this list, Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams crib mattress (click here to check the price on Amazon) is hypoallergenic and is very dense (remember, the denser the mattress, the firmer it is).
It is lightweight (6 pounds) and is said to be very long-lasting.
Like all of the other mattresses, it wipes clean and is completely water proof.
It's a foam mattress that differs from the others because it has a thermal bonded core to give your baby a great night’s sleep. Their body will remain in position and won’t sink downward into the mattress.
Moms are super excited about this mattress mainly because you do get a long of bang for your buck!
It measures 52.5 x 27.5 x5.5 inches, so be sure to check that it will fit your crib without leaving any gaps.
After reading a few reviews, there were some complaints that the mattress did not fit perfectly, but those that I knew who purchased it never had any issues and they had a standard sized crib.
But, it is wise to always measure before making a purchase.
Another positive criticism of the mattress is that it keeps its firmness and shape over a number of years, so many moms use it for their child’s toddler bed too!
Why you should by a high-quality crib mattress.
You have picked out all the fun accessories for your baby’s room. All you have left is the task of picking out a pesky crib mattress. Let’s face it. As boring as crib mattresses may be, they are vital to your child’s health. That’s why we are going to go over why you should buy a high-quality crib mattress.
Every parent wants their little one to get a healthy amount of sleep. Your newborn will spend about 18 hours sleeping initially. That’s a long time for your baby to be sleeping on one surface.
Choosing which high-quality crib mattress is best for your little one can be a time-consuming task. Today we are going to take some of the mystery out of how to decide what's right for you.
Is Expensive Really Better?
Ok, so here’s the deal. The adage ‘you get what you pay for’, is true when it comes to purchasing a crib mattress. You really need to buy a high quality crib mattress.
Let me explain why.
Most low-quality mattresses have thin vinyl coverings and edges. This is what makes them deteriorate quickly. If your infant is resting on an uncomfortable surface, their sleep my be interrupted causing them to be cranky.
A study of foam from 20 different brands of crib mattresses from the University of Texas at Austin shows some scary results. The Texas researchers discovered 30 volatile organic compounds( VOC’s).
Let’s take a look at what’s inside these bad crib mattresses.
- Phenol. A strong skin and respiratory irritant
- Linalool and limonene. Fragrance allergens that can cause skin allergies
- Brominated fire retardants. Banned by countries in Europe for causing developmental problems
Infants have extremely fragile respiratory systems. Your baby will spend most of the first year of their life inside a crib. You can ensure your child isn’t breathing in toxic chemicals during this time by purchasing a high-quality crib mattress.
Besides all the chemicals being put into crib mattresses these days, there are other reasons for purchasing a high-quality crib mattress. Your baby needs something that won’t tear, crack, or dry out.
Crib mattresses that tear or crack over time are more likely to collect harmful bacteria from urine, feces, and spilled food. These are all things that can contaminate your child’s crib mattress causing it to mold.
Also, the wrong mattress could even lead to a fatal situation. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a huge concern of moms (I remember staying awake almost every night for the first week or so, making sure my baby was breathing).
The wrong mattress can increase the risk of suffocation because it’s too soft and it conforms to their head or face. This tends to happen with lower quality mattresses.
The fit is also everything! You don’t want to have a mattress that leaves any kind of gaps in your crib, because that could also threaten your baby’s safety.
What to look for in a good crib mattress.
Now that you know what your mattress should not be, here are a few things that you should look for in the mattress you select!
The variations of crib mattresses these days is crazy. The selection process can be timely, and no parent wants to choose the wrong one. Many parents put off this process for as long as possible for this reason.
With the help of this article, you will be able to decide what the best crib mattress is for your little one. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the factors that go into choosing a mattress for your child’s room.
- Firmness. Firmness matters. A firm mattress will decrease the chance of SIDS, plus it will provide your baby with the proper support their fragile body needs. Mattresses come in different levels of firmness, so while it’s tempting, pass on something that is super soft (even though it may feel more comfortable), because your baby will have trouble adjusting their position because they’ll sink into the mattress (a big no-no).
- Moderate weight. You don’t want to purchase a mattress that is lighter than air, but you also don’t want to purchase something that is as heavy as a boulder, either. There is a fine line between the two when it comes to the appropriate crib mattress. A foam mattress that weighs about 6-10 pounds is perfect. An innerspring mattress should weigh about 25 pounds. Remember, weight does not always determine if a crib mattress is high-quality or not. This makes it sturdy enough, but also light enough for you to handle it when you are changing sheets and cleaning the crib. Changing crib sheets can sometimes be an everyday task depending on messy situations. If you are prone to back issues, you may want to consider something lightweight and easy to flip.
- The fit. The right fit is everything! You don’t want to have a mattress that leaves any kind of gaps in your crib because that could also threaten your baby’s safety. Most crib mattresses are designed to fit standard crib sizes. However, you should always double check and compare the packaging to the manufacturer’s information on your crib.
- Breathable. Your little one will sweat during the night. A breathable mattress is designed specifically to keep your little one cool. The idea behind this is to allow air to flow through the surface of the mattress into an open area below the outer fabric. This will allow your baby to maintain a great night’s sleep, but also remain cool. Remember, the amount of sleep your baby gets goes hand in hand with how much you sleep. You want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, all night long.
- Water resistant. Your little one is going to have accidents! A water proof mattress can be wiped down easily. Plus, you won’t need an extra mattress pad to fit on top to protect it. You won’t have to worry about your mattress growing mold (especially around the sides), and harboring smells!
- Durable. Mattresses are generally made out of foam or innersprings. Both have pros and cons, and are comparable and contrastable (I’ll get into this later!) But, they can both be very durable depending on how they are designed. You want something that won’t break down over time or allow your baby to sink into the mattress. When picking an innerspring mattress, make sure to look at two things to determine its durability. Firstly, the number of coils, along with the gauge of each coil matters greatly. Secondly, you should take care to look at how many layers are covering those coils. Generally, the more layers, the higher-quality. When deciding on a foam crib mattress, look at what material was used for the foam. A high-quality foam mattress will often-times be dual-sided. This is so that you can use the firmer side for your infant and the softer side for their toddler bed.
Why it's important to buy new.
While you may think you are doing an awesome thing (I mean, who doesn’t like to save money), when buying a used mattress, the reality is that you are not! There are many reasons why buying or accepting a used mattress is a no-no.
Never purchase a used mattress, or accept a hand-me-down.
There are several studies that were put out there stating that using older mattresses can increase the risk of SIDS. The mattress loses its firmness and shape, and this can harm your baby.
Some other problems you want to consider are that they are kind of yucky! Think about it.
You have no idea how the previous owner took care of the mattress. Their child definitely got poop and pee on it! And, they could also be full of dust mites or even worse, bed bugs. Once you get these bad boys into your home, it’s hard to get them out.
Plus, think about your own mattress. You only get a certain amount of “life” out of it. You know when your mattress is on the fritz.
It starts to sag, lose support, and simply isn’t safe to use anymore. If this happens to your own mattress, it’s definitely going to happen to your baby’s mattress.
You only spend an average of 8 hours a night in your mattress. You child will likely spend 16 hours a night in theirs. Even with the highest quality crib mattresses out there, wear and tear is going to happen.
While this may not be true in all hand me down cases, and even if you know the person took care of it well, politely decline the offer and make the proper purchase.
If you feel uncomfortable declining the gift or you have an especially insistent co-worker, simply accept and head to the closest dump. Your friend’s feelings are not as important as your newborn’s safety.
I even decided to toss my first child’s mattress, rather than reuse it for my second child.
Better safe than sorry!
Foam mattresses vs innerspring mattresses.
You may not have put a lot of thought into what mattresses are made out of before, or how they are similar or different. But, it is good to know a little bit about them before making a selection.
When it comes to crib mattresses, there are two main types: foam and innerspring.
Parents are desperate to know what the better kind to buy is, but I am here to tell you that there isn’t a best type.
Tons of research has been done on both foam crib mattresses and innerspring crib mattresses to determine exactly that, all to no avail. Neither is superior.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both. It’s up to you as the parents to decide which is best for your little one. We will take a closer look at both in this article so that you may have a better understanding of the two.
Each has great qualities and unique characteristics, so let me break down for you how they are the same and different.
Foam Crib Mattresses
A long time ago, foam mattresses were not made great, and tended to break down and get brittle over time. I can actually still remember standing in my own crib, probably two years old, and hearing it crunch underneath my feet.
Luckily, today, they have been completely transformed.
While there are many high quality foam mattresses, you should always purchase one from a renowned provider. Some unknown manufacturers are known to fill their mattresses with low-cost foam, and this leads to quicker deterioration.
Out of the two, foam mattresses are less expensive than the innerspring. They are also lighter in weight too. If you are on a budget, you can still get a great foam mattress for a decent price. These types of crib mattresses are also beneficial for parents who have chronic back issues.
If you have your heart set on buying a foam mattress, consider the following:
- Density. Pick a dense foam mattress. This means it will be very firm (and this is most important). A great way to tell if the foam mattress you want to buy is dense enough is to conduct the squeeze test (sounds weird, but it works). Simply see how much you can squeeze by placing your hands together on each side. If you can push it in quite a ways, leave it. If you can barely push it in, you’ve got yourself a winner! Another way to tell how dense a mattress is, is by lifting the box. The heavier it is, the denser it is. If you are unable to physically lift the item (perhaps you are purchasing online), simply compare the shipping weights to other mattresses of the same size.
- Weight. You want to pick a foam mattress that is the perfect balance between being sturdy enough for your baby, but also light enough for you to handle! Don’t forget, you will most likely be changing your infant’s sheets often.
You yourself most likely have an innerspring mattress. Does this mean that an innerspring mattress is better for your child? Not necessarily. Let’s take closer a look.
Appropriately named, they have coils inside the mattress that provide your body with the support it needs. When buying an innerspring mattress for your baby, many moms think that the more coils it has, the better it must be. This is not always the case.
After doing some research, I learned that a great innerspring mattress has about 140 coils with a gauge of 15 or lower. Look for this balance when shopping for an innerspring mattress.
Compared to foam mattresses, this kind is much more costly. It also tends to be much heavier. But, many moms like how durable, strong, and supportive these mattresses are.
Innerspring mattresses tend to also have a longer shelf life, if you will, compared to foam.
The only downside to spring mattresses, in my opinion, is that many toddlers view them as trampolines as they get older. This scared me dearly with how active my son was, so the last thing I wanted was for him to be jumping around (or even out of) his crib.
So, I’m glad I went with foam in this case.
If you need to have an innerspring mattress in your crib, be sure to consider the following:
- Border rods. These rods go around the outside of the mattress at the top and bottom. This makes it super stable and won’t allow it to sag when your baby gets old enough to creep near the edges of the crib.
- Coils. Again, while about 140 coils is ideal, a great spring mattress should have between 130-150 coils. Make sure to take into consideration the gauge of each coil as well. Ideally, the gauge in your coils should be 15 or lower.
- Price. Many moms think that they have to pay a large amount of money in order to get something high in quality. While this may be true for some baby related items, it’s not true when buying a spring mattress. Expect to pay about $200-$300 (but anything over that is crazy).
Other crib mattress options to consider.
Here are some other solid crib mattress choices that a lot of parents also like.
- my first mattress
The My First Mattress Crib Mattress (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a popular choice among parents due to its premium memory foam infant crib material which allows your baby to feel as though they are sleeping on a cloud.
It's extra-firm and high-density, so it is supportive and safe (because SIDS is a huge concern for the first year) but also comfortable. It is made of special memory foam that is CertiPUR-US certified, so your baby will stay put throughout their slumber and will not be woken up excessively from their involuntary sleep cycle movements.
Parents also love it because it is hypoallergenic, mite-proof, and anti-microbial (as well as phthalate and lead free), so they gain peace of mind knowing that their baby is fully protected from chemicals and other germs that can collect on a mattress over time.
In addition to being safe, the mattress insert exceeds federal flammability standards and you can keep it clean and looking in great shape by removing its waterproof cover whenever it needs to get washed down. Its velour cover is also gentle to a baby’s sensitive skin so it will cradle it, rather than chaff or irritate it.
The mattress is also breathable, so you don’t have to worry about your little one overheating, overnight either.
If your baby suffers from allergies, then you’ll need a hypoallergenic mattress. Milliard’s Baby Crib Mattress (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a great pick if you need something to accommodate your baby’s needs.
It offers lots of support, which as a result promotes a healthier and more restful sleep, and it helps cut down on tossing and turning because it is composed of premium foam. Parents have remarked at just how thick and luxurious it is (5.5” thick). Because its foam is naturally hypoallergenic, it also boasts antimicrobial qualities and resists mold, dust mites, and other bacteria from forming.
Parents have also noticed that their child remains at a comfortable temperature over night while laying on it, so it is very breathable (even during hot summer months) and safe. In fact, its unique technology helps increase air circulation and weight distribution. The foam gently conforms to the shape of your baby as they grow, and it maintains its design and structure.
It fits most standard sized cribs, and will keep your baby in their own bed longer because the mattress will give them the feeling of being cuddled and cradled all night long, which comes in handy when your toddler starts to experience separation anxiety.
The encasement of the mattress is removable so it is easy to wash and wipe down, and it’s also waterproof in case accidents occur overnight.
When it comes to mattresses, Sealy is a name you can trust, and their Baby Firm Mattress (click here to check the price on Amazon) is known for its excellent firmness and its long lasting durability. So, you can place your newborn on it and use it until your tot is ready to transition from crib to toddler bed (and beyond).
It has a high coil count (approximately 204 coils) and it’s fully secured with a full perimeter wire border to ensure ultimate firmness, safety, and structure. It boasts an anti-sag weight distribution system, which helps against SIDS and promotes a healthy body placement while your little one is sleeping. Parents also love it because it has an antibacterial and antistatic surface that offers hospital grade protection, virtually allowing you to never have to wonder or worry about bacteria or odor spreading throughout it.
Every feature on the mattress is waterproof, so stains will wipe away easily. Plus, the materials used to make the mattress are considered Greenguard Gold, so you know your child is sleeping on a surface that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. The Sealy mattress fits all standard sized cribs and toddler beds. It also hosts a 20 year warranty on the workmanship and materials use to compose it alone.
It was voted America’s Best for Baby previously, and has always been a highly rated nursery product among parents for years.
Serta’s Perfect Start Crib Mattress (click here to check the price on Amazon) is filled with features that many parents love. First and foremost, it boasts a convenient waterproof cover that protects from accidents and bottle/water spills and staining.
It also has cloth binding so it is long lasting and durable, and is lightweight so it’s easy to move from one place to another, and when you decide to transition from a crib to a toddler bed. It also has square corners, which ensures a perfect, snug fit for fitted sheets and when placed inside standard-sized cribs.
In addition to these awesome features, the mattress is Green Guard Gold certified, so the strictest standards offered by the Green Guard Environmental institute has ensured it contains low chemical emissions, improving air quality overall and promoting a place of health for your child to rest their head.
Your baby will be fully supported and safe, and the mattress will help their crib be a place of comfort so your baby can sleep peacefully. Also, when a mattress is very firm, your child is safer from SIDS and has plenty of support as they grow.
And, because Serta is a name parents can trust, you can ensure that it maintains its form over time, so you don’t have to fret about it losing it shape or support, even after using it for a number of years.
Another favorite mattress among parents is the Simmons Kids Beautyrest (click here to check the price on Amazon).
Deriving from the Beautyrest line, your little one can be treated to a luxurious sleeping experience right from the start. The mattress contains approximately 231 lined coil springs, so you can be certain the mattress is firm and supportive. In addition to its support, it boasts a natural fire protection wrap so your child gets exposed to zero fire retardant chemicals.
It also is composed of superior woven fabric that has a medical grade, waterproof barrier to fully protect your investment. It is Greenguard Gold and CertiPUR-US certified, making it one of the safest mattresses around.
Parents have remarked that the best thing about this mattress is that it can be flipped on the side that best accommodates your baby’s needs. For example, the newborn side offers firm support, while the toddler side boasts a special foam comfort to help toddlers get a great night’s sleep.
Both sides are hypoallergenic and boast innofoam corners for awesome support and durability, and also help your tot get the best night sleep possible by promoting a healthy body temperature due to the mattress’ breathability factor.
Plus, all Simmons mattresses are made in the USA and it is one of the only mattress brands that come with a limited lifetime manufacturer warranty, so you truly know your baby is sleeping on something high quality and special.
Whether you choose a foam crib mattress or an innerspring crib mattress, simply make sure you are choosing a high-quality version. Shopping for crib mattresses may not be all that thrilling, but they certainly are one of the most important things you can buy for your baby.
There are some really good options for you to choose from. I ended up using a foam mattress just because it was easier for me to handle, and I did a lot of research prior to my purchase. But, on the flip side, I know a lot of people who swear by their innerspring mattress.
Cost was also a deciding factor in the long run for me. And, of course, safety was also a top priority. I also felt that after checking out several kinds of mattresses, the foam mattress was more comfortable than the spring mattress; and it was just as supportive.
Who knew so much goes into picking out a mattress?
Thank goodness there is a wealth of knowledge available to you today (you’re welcome) to help you make a reasoned and informed decision about which are the best crib mattresses for your baby.
No matter which mattress you select, be sure you feel confident with your choice and that you always put the safety of your baby first.