How to Buy a Crib Mattress
Purchasing a new mattress requires careful consideration. Our mattress largely determines our quality of sleep, and a good night’s sleep has a positive impact on our health and ability to function throughout the day.
Healthy sleep is especially important for babies and toddlers. The first few years of life are largely spent in the crib; indeed, infants spend roughly 70 percent of their time in a crib and toddlers spend about half their time in the crib. This means the crib mattress you choose will have a great impact on the first years of your child’s life.
Which Crib Mattress is Right?
Like regular mattresses, crib mattresses come in two common varieties: the innerspring mattress and the foam mattress. Neither design is inherently better than the other. It is the quality of the particular mattress, regardless of the type, that will determine if it’s a good choice for your baby’s crib.
Innerspring crib mattresses are much like traditional innerspring mattresses. They have a core, which consists of steel springs, and they are covered by a comfort layer containing foam or cotton.
When choosing a crib mattress, it is best to find one that feels firm. Not only should the innerspring layer be firm and supportive, but the comfort layer should be relatively firm too. An especially soft surface increases the risk of suffocation. Small children do not weigh much, so they don’t need a particularly soft mattress. Additionally, a good, firm innerspring core will hold up to the jumping and climbing of a playful toddler.
Unlike innerspring mattresses, foam mattresses don’t use steel springs. Instead, they are molded from modern foams that are supportive and comfortable. When choosing a foam mattress, heavier is generally better. Again, it is best to choose a firmer mattress over a softer one. Memory foam is not a safe crib mattress material!
In addition to the type of mattress, the crib mattress cover ought to be considered. A crib mattress cover should be easy to clean so that your baby’s bed is sanitary. Vinyl is the usual choice because it is a cinch to wipe down.
But not all vinyl covers are the same. Choose one that is double or triple laminated if you want it to last. The highest quality vinyl covers are either made from hospital grade vinyl, which is much thicker than cheaper alternatives, or they are made from nylon reinforced vinyl. Although nylon is more expensive, it is flexible and will hold up over time without cracking or splitting at the seams.
Crib Mattress Buying Tips
Safety is essential. Most crib mattresses fit into standard cribs, but it is important that the mattress fits snugly. If there is more than a finger-width gap between the mattress and the side of the crib, then a slightly larger crib mattress would be a safer choice.
Although spending a lot of money isn’t a necessity, spending more on a high quality mattress is often a good idea. A quality mattress will hold up to a toddler, whereas a cheaper mattress might need replacing. And if you plan on having more than one child, then a quality crib mattress is a sensible investment.
My kid slept in an Ikea crib that converted into a toddler bed. So we got several years of use out of the crib, even though it was cheap. Our Ikea crib came with a mattress that fit the bed perfectly, so we never had to consider buying a crib mattress separately from the crib itself.
What kind of a crib and crib mattress do you have, and how did you like it? Leave a comment to let people know.