The bedding market is flooded with so many different styles, designs and qualities of mattresses to choose from. When it comes to our new born babies, who spend most of their time on their backs sleeping or resting, any assistance we can get with providing maximum comfort and functionality for their sleeping arrangements is welcome. Here we show you what your options are and how to use crib mattress reviews to research beforehand, so you increase the chances of buying the right one. As ever, there is a wealth of possibilities.
Traditional Crib Beds
Babies will typically sleep in a special miniature-sized infant bed up until the age of about 3 years. The sides of the crib will have no footholds and are vertical, making it almost impossible for the baby to get out of, which is obviously critical. They also prevent unwanted visitors like pets from getting in. At the same time these beds are designed to prevent accidents to the baby inside the crib, making sure that there are no places for the infant to trap their hands or head.
When the baby grows into a toddler the bed will also become somewhere to play, so this is an important element when considering which mattress to buy.
Crib Mattresses – Important!
A crib mattress will fit inside the frame of the bed. The most important components are inside the mattress and essentially visible so it is always vital to read the specifications detailed by the manufacturer.
You will find that a lot of the major manufacturers that design standard Kids and Adult mattresses will include a range of crib mattresses too. Other household-name manufacturers, specializing in baby products, will also include a range.
Your baby’s health is going to be the most important concern in your life. The first thing we need to ensure is that the mattress we choose is aiding, not harming, that health. So when considering the materials that your mattress is made from, let’s first state the obvious – make sure the chemicals used to treat the materials are non-toxic. This will be a given for the major manufacturers who have to adhere to strict safety regulations imposed in the US, but it is not necessarily the case for those purchased abroad.
The same applies for fire-retardancy. Whilst this is important for standard mattresses it becomes critical for crib versions.
Nowadays most of them are made from foam, coil-springs or organic material. A good foam crib mattress will be made of a firm type of foam that retains its shape well. The best ones now combine elastic and firm memory foam into the filling, which takes the weight of the baby well, provides comfort by molding well to the body and goes back to its former shape when the weight is taken off.
The organic crib mattress is becoming a popular choice as it avoids some of the potentially dangerous chemicals that can cause allergies, skin complaints or respiratory problems for your baby.
As recently as 2009, new guidelines were released in the USA, for the use of a particular chemical in crib mattresses. One of the most commonly used organic materials is wool, because of its natural flame retardant qualities. It contains no artificial additives and it allows for good “breathability” and temperature when the baby is asleep. It will also not develop any mould or mildew. Other organic varieties of these mattresses will be a blend of wool, cotton and rubber, with the latter material adding firmness.
The Firmness of Your Mattress
There needs to be a combination of comfort and firmness for your infant. An easy test you can do with a foam crib mattress if to see if you can bend it in half. If you can, then it probably doesn’t have the necessary firmness. If you can hardly bend it at all then it is too firm. One thing that parents often miss is that a mattress that won’t bend much is less likely to create pockets where suffocation can be an issue.
Other Features to Look Out For
There is such a thing as a “standard size” to crib mattresses, which should match the standard size of your crib, but be a little careful and measure before you buy to avoid any problems. Most should measure around 51.5 inches long by 27.2 inches wide, but slight variations can occur. The depth of a foam mattress should be between 4 and 6 inches, and a spring one should be between 5 and 6 inches. A common check that mothers can perform is to check if two fingers fit between the mattress and the crib’s edge. If you can fit the fingers, then the mattress is a little small.
The shape of the mattress should be such that the sheets do not fall off as the baby wriggles around, so check that the corners are clear-cut.
Weights of crib mattresses can vary. For normal mattresses this is not such an issue but single mothers, especially, will want to make sure they have one that they can easily lift up for the regular changing of sheets that is normally required.
Sometimes the manufacturer will claim that the mattress is anti-bacterial, which means that it has been chemically treated. This may or may not be a feature you are looking for, but given that the child will wet himself anyway you might be better off just investing in a good waterproof cover (see below.)
Crib Mattress Covers
Crib mattresses are usually sold with covers, which slip over them under the sheet and help protect the mattress from all of the messy situations a baby will get themselves into. These can be made of vinyl, which is waterproof and easy to wipe clean and the best ones will be well-made with double stitching for extra durability and non-allergenic.
Portable Crib Mattresses
Some parents find it very useful to buy a secondary, portable crib mattress, in addition to the main one that will be used at home. This will usually be a cheaper version of the main one, as it will be for occasional use at grandmother’s house or when your baby visits aunties or uncles. Your baby will feel relaxed if it is similar to the one at home, so take care in choosing this and ensure that all the key safety features we have mentioned are included. For your own benefit you will need to balance the needs of your infant with the ease of carrying it from place to place, so you won’t want a very heavy model, or one that is too bulky.
How to Find the Best Crib Mattress for You
Well the age-old practice of shopping around will get you far, but not unless you have researched the topic beforehand. This article has scratched the surface of the type of things that you need to look at when choosing a baby’s mattress but there is far more detailed information available freely on manufacturer’s web sites, blogs about mother and baby care and on review sites. The key is to know what you want in terms of materials, firmness and other features.
Scanning a few of these types of sites will leave you with a list of factors to consider before making your choice. Many of these you may not even have occurred to you as important. You will probably have questions and that’s great. At least you are doing your thinking beforehand instead of regretting your lack of thought a bit later.
A word about some of the review sites – if you are looking for technical analysis of the mattresses from professionals then make sure you find one that knows what they are talking about. The same applies to customer comments – not all are genuine customers and they are from people paid to put reviews up to promote a particular brand. Don’t take them too literally.
You may have been recommended a particular brand or already know what you’re getting for your money. In this case you’ll probably be comfortable with shopping around online for the best deal on one or tow particular items. If not, then you might like to touch and feel the mattress in a bedding center or mother and baby products store. That way you can perform a few of the simple “touch” tests on the mattresses and ask the salespeople the questions that you have. You can always go back online afterwards and make your purchase.
Online retailers will usually offer greater savings than brick and mortar stores. Check for promotions and sales of items that are not the latest models. This is a good way to pick up bargains, but ensure that it is an established site with good ordering, payment and delivery processes, as well as warranty provisions.
Buying a baby crib mattress will involve more reading up than buying a conventional mattress because it is not only a child’s comfort at stake but also their safety and your own workload. A poorly chosen one can be a danger and also mean that you are forever changing bedding and cleaning. Research the features, find out what you need, fix an approximate budget and then identify a few candidates to test before buying.