A good crib mattress not only helps a baby sleep cozy through the night but also helps promote healthy growth and ensures safety too. Babies and toddlers spend more than half of their first five years of life in a sleep environment of some sort. Generally, newborn babies tend to sleep an average of 16 hours a day, and children aged 3-5 years sleep an average of 11-13 hours. For this reason alone it’s obvious that their surroundings and bedding should be second to none.
There is an abundance of brands and products available on the market but choosing the right one can be pretty daunting to say the least. That’s why we have chosen and shortlisted them for you. See below for general information and crucial buying guide, plus our chosen top 5 reviews and summary of the best crib mattress for your baby.
Things To Consider When Buying
When adults are looking to buy we most commonly look for one that provides comfort, support, and possibly pain relief. We often forget about safety when it comes to our own bedroom purchase. However, when choosing for baby, safety is the one thing that we cannot neglect. Weighing up which crib mattress to buy is probably one of the most important nursery decisions you’ll make when it come to a baby’s safety and well being. The below factors are crucial for anyone in the market for a new baby mattress.
- Size Guide
Size is extremely important; infact the United States government has regulated both crib and mattress size to ensure safety for babies, and peace of mind for parents.
The dimensions of your new mattress depend on the interior dimensions of the crib itself. According to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the interior crib dimensions are defined to be that of 28 ± 5⁄8 inches width x 52 3⁄8 ± 5⁄8 inches length. The actual mattress size must be a minimum of 27 1/4 inches width x 51 1/4 length. If you own a very old crib it’s worth checking the interior dimensions because it was probably manufactured before regulations were set and could potentially be at risk.
The gap between the mattress and crib sides can pose a serious risk of suffocation which is why a gap of no more than 1.25″ should be present between the edge of the mattress and the frame. Some places you will read this as “no more than two fingers” but this is not accurate advice, 1.25″ is the correct measurement. The depth or thickness of a U.S standards compliant crib mattress can be no more than 6″ from top to bottom when lain out flat.
- Firmness Recommendation
The CPSC recommends using a firm, flat surface to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If a surface is too soft it can create depressions and increases the risk of of suffocation. Consumer Reports suggests this test: “Press on the mattress in the center and at the edges. It should snap back readily and should not conform to the shape of your hand”.
- Compliance Standards
All crib mattresses must comply to 16 CFR 1632 and 1633 federal flammability standards. If buying one with foam, it should be CertiPUR-US® certified, which verifies the polyurethane foam inside meets standards for content, emissions, and durability, and has been analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. The GREENGUARD certification is also worth taking note of as many products will advertise this; it “gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits, which contribute to the creation of healthier interiors.” When it comes to buying an organic mattress, the best way to tell if it’s truly organic is by checking whether it is certified by the GOTS. Although there are many GOTS approved certifiers throughout the world, the largest certifier in the US is OTCO.
- Price Range
The price all depends on the quality and type you opt for. Generally, the budget, thinner foam mattresses start at about $50. The better and denser models can easily cost as much as $200. Innerspring models are the more popular option and tend to range from $100 to more than $250. Organic mattresses are slightly pricier but for good reason; they generally start at about $150 and can reach more than $500.
Types Of Crib Mattresses
There are three main types that you need to know about which are Foam, Innerspring, and Organic:
The foam version is made of polyurethane. It still remains a very popular choice for parents and is generally cheaper than innerspring or organic options. Like other types these are also available in a variety of different depths, the most popular being between 3 and 6 inches. They are also the lightest of the three options which makes cleaning baby mess and changing the sheets an easier task. Most polyurethane models out there weigh less than innerspring mattresses but this is good; think about how many times you’ll be cleaning it or changing the sheets. A typical polyurethane baby mattress weighs approximately 7 – 11 pounds.
Although innerspring is usually more expensive than polyurethane this still remains a hugely popular option. The firm level of support provided by the coils (springs) is great for orthopedic support and safety; plus innerspring is one of the most popular choices for full sized adult mattresses so parents tend to stick with what they have experience with. Comfort and support is measured in the number of coils inside. Common coil numbers are between 50 – 200; the more springs inside mean more cost, but this isn’t the only way to measure firmness. Wire thickness, if stated in the product description is a handy way to measure firmness level. A lower gauge means thicker wire, which is stronger and therefore firmer. For best results look for one with 150+ coils and a gauge of 15.5 or lower.
Over Innerspring and Foam, the organic option is usually the most expensive, but there is good reason for the higher price. These are the healthiest available as the 100% organic material (usually cotton) eliminates potentially harmful chemicals and allergens. Of the many different materials used in foam versions, some can potentially be harmful to your child, especially if they are prone to allergies. Considering your child will be in close contact with the surface of the mattress and its contents on a daily basis for some years, it’s important to consider the potential long term hazards of using traditional polyurethane types instead of the healthier organic mattress.
Top 5 Comparison Table
|Brand & Model||Type||Size (inches)||Weight||Rating|
|Moonlight Slumber – Little Dreamer||Foam||52 x 27.5 x 5||10.5 lbs||5.0 / 5|
|Naturepedic – Organic Cotton Classic||Organic||52 x 27.8 x 6||16 lbs||5.0 / 5|
|Colgate – Eco Classica lll||Foam (Plant Based)||51.7 x 27.2 x 6||9.4 lbs||4.9 / 5|
|Sealy – Soybean Foam-Core||Foam (Plant Based)||51.6 x 27.2 x 5||8.3 lbs||4.9 / 5|
|Simmons – Beautyrest Beginnings||Innerspring||52 x 27.5 x 6||25.6 lbs||4.8 / 5|
Reviews Of The Top 5
Midnight Slumber – Little Dreamer
The 5″ thick Little Dreamer by Moonlight Slumber is one of the best rated in our top 5 reviews. This CertiPUR-US® certified model is free of vinyl, polyethylene, PVC, phthalates and lead. It’s a double sided mattress which will last a baby from early days well into toddler years due to an extra firm infant side, and when flipped over, a lesser firm toddler side. It has dropped side-stitched seams, is hypoallergenic, waterproof and weighs a mere 10.5 lbs. Some of our verified owners of this mattress are using the Westwood Stratton Convertible and Babyletto Hudson cribs, who all say the square and cornered edges of this model provide an excellent snug fit into the crib so there are no worries about unsafe gaps. This is not a cheap crib mattress, but you really do get the quality and safety you pay for with this one.
Naturepedic – Organic Cotton Classic
This is another top quality product from Naturepedic, one of the leading manufacturers in the organic mattress field. Naturepedic is a GOTS certified manufacturer who also meet the strictest GREENGUARD certification standards for eliminating chemical emissions. This model has won numerous awards for providing a natural, healthy and comfortable sleep environment. The Organic Cotton Classic Seamless 150 is double sided, with a firmer infant side and softer toddler side. It has seamless waterproof edges, 150 coils, edge support, 100% organic cotton throughout, and a firm easy-to-clean non-toxic waterproof surface. Again this is not a cheap mattress compared to foam and innerspring alternatives, but for an organic option this definitely sets the standard.
Colgate – Eco Classica iii
Atlanta based Colgate have been specializing in the baby mattress field for over half a century, so it’s no wonder their product appears in our top 5 comparison. The Eco Classica lll is a GREENGUARD certified orthopedic style double sided mattress. The dual firmness offers a very firm support for infants on one side, and when flipped over has a softer yet firm comfort layer for toddlers. The CertiPUR-US® certified core is plant based which means the healthier plant oils substitute the petroleum-based oils for less harmful air emissions and no nasty off-gassing odors. The lightweight 9.3 lbs Eco Classica lll is wrapped in a certified organic cotton cover with a waterproof backing, which puts healthy cloth closest to the baby and the waterproof backing lets nothing seep in. This is an all round very healthy option for a parents keen to keep their child in a natural sleep environment.
Sealy – Soybean Foam-Core
If you haven’t heard of Sealy, their mattresses and pads were voted America’s Best for Baby winning the Women’s Choice Award in 2013 and 2014. This Soybean model is an award winning addition to their portfolio. Although it’s not double sided like others in the reviews here, it offers a firm yet comfortable sleeping surface for both babies and toddlers by way of a high density core with added cotton cushioning for balance. The pearl embossed cover is 100% waterproof and stain-resistant. The hypoallergenic foam core is CertiPUR-US® certified made with soybean oils which is the healthier option to petroleum based alternatives. It features a square cornered design for added safety and quality of fit; it passes ASTM standards and is GREENGUARD Gold certified. The Sealy Soybean is a valid choice for anyone looking to buy a quality product, and definitely gets a thumbs up from us.
Simmons – Beautyrest Beginnings Sleepy Whispers
Simmons is another American big brand contender who seem to keep providing some of the best crib mattresses time after time. The Beautyrest Beginnings Sleepy Whispers is no exception. The innerspring double sided design boasts 231 pocketed coil springs for even support for your baby or toddler; one side provides ideal firmness for newborns and the flip side offers a layer of convoluted foam for accommodating growing toddlers. It comes GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US® certified which ensures this product is ideal for a healthier indoor environment. It is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, water resistant, and the natural cotton fire protection wrap has no chemicals. This one has everything you could ask for at a great price too.
Once again our conclusion has brought us to a tough decision point. Our findings from the recent mattress reviews have made it difficult to choose a single best crib mattress so we have decided to conclude with our top two favorites.
The best rated are two different types, one being traditional polyurethane foam (Moonlight Slumber’s Little Dreamer) and the other being organic (Naturepedic’s Organic Cotton Classic). Both are double sided for adaptive comfort, longevity and value, they have passed stringent testing conditions, and they are approximately the same price. However the real difference is that one is organic and the other isn’t.
If we really had to choose one or the other, to ensure s baby’s maximum health and well-being, in this case it would have to be the Naturpedic. This is because the U.S grown 100% cotton is natural, non toxic and healthy material, creating a perfect sleep environment which reduces the risk of exposure to any type of chemicals and lowers the risk of allergy.
That said, we aren’t against foam in anyway, which is why the Little Dreamer is joint top. People have been using foam crib mattresses for decades, they provide superior orthopedic support and comfort, and there is a price range to suit everyone.
When it comes to deciding on which is the best, you really do have to consider all the options, features and products out there. What suits you may not be a requirement for others, but hopefully our reviews will be helpful towards making the best choice for your baby.