How to Pick a Crib Mattress
When you are having a baby, there is a significant number of items that you may have never considered that you will now need to become informed on before purchasing in order to make the best decision possible for the health and well-being of your baby. Chief among these baby-related items is selecting the right crib mattress for your baby. You may be wondering the best way to pick a crib mattress. What do you look for? What do you avoid? How much should you be spending? What type of mattress should you choose? Are there red flags to watch out for as you look for the right crib mattress? These questions are common. To help you select the ideal crib mattress for your baby, we have put together an introductory guide that delves into the different aspects of a crib mattress you will need to consider before settling on the right crib mattress.
The Importance of Finding the Ideal Crib Mattress
Before you begin searching for the best crib mattress for your baby, it is important to understand why this decision matters and the significant difference a crib mattress can make for you and your baby’s life. While it may not feel like it, infants sleep on average roughly eighteen hours a day. This means that your baby will be spending a significant portion of its time in its crib, which results in a tremendous amount of interaction and exposure to the crib mattress. Finding a mattress that fits the crib properly is of the utmost importance for the safety and well-being of your baby. Any gaps between the crib mattress and the crib could pose a potential danger to your baby. In addition, finding a crib mattress that is the right firmness is also extremely vital as a crib mattress that is too soft can conform to the shape of your baby’s head or face, which can increase the risk of suffocation or in extreme cases, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). With this in mind, it is easy to see why selecting the right crib mattress for your baby is a decision that should be researched and considered carefully before deciding on the right crib mattress.
The Two Main Types of Crib Mattresses
As you begin your search for the best crib mattress, you will notice that the majority of crib mattresses available fall into one of two main categories: innerspring or foam mattresses. Below is an overview of both innerspring and foam crib mattresses that delineates both the positive and negatives of each option.
- Innerspring Crib Mattresses: Innerspring crib mattresses are constructed utilizing a core that is made out of steel coils. These steel coils form the structure of the mattress and aid in the stability and sturdiness of the mattress. On top of these steel coils, an innerspring crib mattress with have different layers of cushioning that make the mattress more comfortable and appealing. The quality and type of materials used will be a key factor in the price of an innerspring mattress. Commonly used layered cushioning materials on top of the steel coils include polyester, cotton, and foam. It is also important to know that many descriptions of innerspring crib mattresses will include the number of coils in the mattress, the coil count, as well as the thickness of the coil, the steel gauge. When looking at these descriptions, keep in mind that the higher the number of steel coils used in the construction of the mattress, the more supportive it will be. In addition, as you look at descriptions that tell you the thickness of the coil, remember that the lower numbers are a thicker coil. One thing that is important to be aware of when looking for an innerspring crib mattress is that some innerspring mattresses can be quite pricey, particularly if they possess a higher coil count. In addition, an innerspring crib mattress will likely be heavier than a foam mattress due to the steel coils used in the construction of the mattress.
- Foam Crib Mattresses: The second common type of crib mattress available is made from foam. Many parents prefer foam crib mattresses because they are considerably lighter than an innerspring mattress. The average foam crib mattress weighs anywhere from five to thirteen pounds, while the average innerspring mattress weighs fifteen to thirty pounds. This difference in weight can be substantial when changing the sheets on the crib mattress as it will require more exertion and strength to move around. Foam crib mattresses are often made from polyurethane, a type of foam resin. If you want to select the ideal foam crib mattress for your baby, make sure that the material the foam is made out of does not contain any harmful toxins or chemicals as your baby will be pressed against the mattress frequently and inhaling harmful substances could have adverse effects. Look for a natural crib mattress and a crib mattress without flame retardant to ensure you are selecting the best crib mattress for your baby’s well-being. It is also ideal to target an organic baby mattress when looking for the best crib mattress for your infant. In addition to being more lightweight, foam crib mattresses are also durable. However, it is important that you make sure the foam crib mattress is resilient enough to prevent the foam forming to your baby’s face. To do this, simply press your hand into the mattress and watch the foam to see how quickly it returns to its original form. The quicker it returns to its original shape, the better, as this indicates it is resilient. In addition to doing this quick test, make sure you read all of the specifications for the crib mattress before deciding on one. When looking at its features, look for a crib mattress that has a higher density foam, as this indicates that it is firmer, which is better suited to a baby.
While innerspring and foam crib mattresses possess different respective benefits and drawbacks if you purchase a high-quality version of either type of mattress it should provide adequate support for your infant or toddler and maintain its form over time.
Safety Guidelines for Choosing a Crib Mattress
With this understanding of the differences between innerspring and foam crib mattresses in mind, it is important to keep in mind some key safety guidelines when choosing a crib mattress for your child. Below are a handful of the most important safety guidelines to follow as you shop for the right crib mattress for your baby.
- Beware of Mold: Many parents do not realize that mold can grow underneath the surface of the mattress, out of their sight, due to the inside of the mattress having moisture. If a small spill penetrates the mattress without you realizing, it can grow mold that can be dangerous for a newborn to be exposed to. Many crib mattresses are designed to prevent this type of mold growth through their utilization of a waterproof surface on the exterior of the mattress. This waterproof design often uses a vinyl or polyethylene surface. If the crib mattress you are considering is not waterproof, then it is important to consider purchasing a waterproof cover to encase the outside of the crib mattress and prevent any potentially harmful mold growth on or inside the crib mattress. It is also vital to be aware that even if a crib mattress is marketed as “leakproof”, this does not necessarily mean that it is completely waterproof. Waterproof crib mattress covers are also useful because they are easily removable and can be cleaned routinely to sanitize them from any bacteria or bodily fluids that are on the surface. This will help keep the crib mattress as clean and sanitary as possible, and a waterproof cover will not be a suffocation hazard because it will go underneath the sheet.
- Check the Firmness: The importance of mattress firmness in a crib mattress cannot be overstated as this is a vital factor in keeping your baby safe from suffocation. Before you decide on a crib mattress, make sure to validate that it is rated for infant use and do the firmness test outlined above to confirm that it returns to its original shape quickly and is not too soft for your baby.
- Always Buy New: There are some things in life that you may be able to buy used, but a crib mattress should not be one of them. If you are considering buying a second-hand crib mattress, it is important that you carefully consider and assess that decision before committing to it. One of the most vital reasons to buy a crib mattress new is that it will be one hundred percent sanitary for your baby. If you are buying a used crib mattress, there is often not a reliable way for you to know for certain the environment it was exposed to, how it was cared for, stored, and cleaned, or any bacteria or mold it may contain. If the crib mattress was not routinely cleaned and kept extremely sanitary, then it may have bodily fluids, mold, and/or bacteria that could be potentially harmful to your child. However, if you are considering using a crib mattress from a previous child that you know and are extremely familiar with the environment in which it was kept and cared for, then be sure to make sure you sanitize it completely and check it before using it for your child. The most sanitary and clean choice you can make for your child is to purchase a new crib mattress that is completely clean. In addition to being more sanitary, it is also important to consider the evolution of crib mattresses over time as new mattresses are likely to incorporate new features and designs to keep your baby safe, comfortable, and relaxed throughout the night.
- Check the Fit: As mentioned above, making sure that the crib mattress you select is the right size for your crib is extremely important. Before you purchase a crib mattress, make sure that the measurements for your crib mattress and crib line up and that your crib mattress will have a close fit against the frame to keep your baby safe.
Target Crib Mattresses Made from Natural and Organic Materials: As a parent, you want to do everything within your power to give your child the safest and healthiest environment possible. A crib mattress will be a huge component of their life when they are a newborn and toddler, which makes it an integral factor in their environment. Many people do not realize that some mattresses, crib mattresses included, can be laced with harmful chemicals and toxins used in their production or to be flame retardancy standards. As you search for the right crib mattress for your child, look for crib mattresses that are made from natural and organic materials to ensure that your child is not exposed to potentially harmful chemicals and toxins. One of the biggest criticisms of organic and natural crib mattresses is that they are often more expensive options. However, when the potential side effects of non-organic crib mattresses are considered, it is clear that the additional cost is well worth keeping your baby in a healthy, safe environment free from chemicals and toxins. Many non-organic crib mattresses include fabric and batting that is made from polyester, which has been linked to respiratory tract irritation and severe skin rashes. Additionally, many non-organic crib mattresses use cheap glues to keep them firm and rigid. Many of these cheap glues contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to children. One of the most pervasive aspects of the majority of crib mattresses is their use of petrochemical-derived foams, such as the polyurethane foam mentioned above. Polyurethane foams have been linked to asthma and allergy developed. The final factor to watch out for is the use of brominated fire retardants in the manufacturing of crib mattresses, which have been linked to thyroid dysfunction, developmental issues, and cancer. To keep your baby safe and free from exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, look for a crib mattress that is made from natural and organic mattress materials. The best organic crib mattress is one that utilizes unique technology to have a top-of-the-line design while also only being comprised of natural and organic ingredients that are safe for your baby. Essentia offers two healthy, comfortable, and natural crib mattresses designed with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients to make sure your baby is on the safest possible sleep surface.
Going organic with parenting can be a commitment but your baby’s health and well being are well worth it!