Choosing The Best Crib Mattress For Your Little One

The crib mattress is one of the iconic parts of the baby nursery, and for a good reason. Babies spend most of their precious time sleeping, so investing in a good crib mattress is a wise decision.


Think of the crib mattress as your baby’s first environment outside of the womb, because your baby will spend a few years of its life inside one. The importance of crib mattresses is readily evident in how many parents search Google using phrases like “best crib mattress 2016” and “crib mattress reviews.”

Trying to choose the best crib mattress you can afford can be nerve-wracking especially for new parents, but fortunately, some guidelines can help you make this decision without stressing out.

Safety Is King

One crucial distinction that separates baby mattresses from mattresses used by older children and adults is the higher priority given to safety over comfort. If someone ever told you that the best mattress for cribs should feel like a cloud, then they’re wrong. Babies have poorer motor skills, and they can suffocate when they lie face down on a mattress not suitable for them. Hence, they need a mattress that can support their full weight, even if it means sacrificing some degree of comfort. Don’t worry though, as the best baby mattress for your case should be both safe and comfortable.


Types of Crib Mattresses

When choosing the best mattresses for baby, first note that most baby mattresses can be classified into one of several types. Foam mattresses are some of the simplest out there, being composed only of two parts: a foam made out of various polymers, and an outer covering that protects the foam. Foam mattresses are lighter and easier to lift during installation and maintenance, but softer varieties are more prone to following the contours of the baby’s body, increasing the risk of suffocation. In contrast, innerspring mattresses have internal metal springs that support the mattress as well as the baby. These mattresses are heavier, bulkier, and more expensive, but are less likely to deform when the baby lies down.

A special kind of mattress is the double sided mattress. One side is firm and steady, meant for use by babies, while the other side is softer and more appropriate for toddlers. Double-sided mattresses are relatively more complex and can be quite expensive, but they are cost-effective since they can be used even as your baby grows and becomes a toddler.


In summary, different types of crib mattresses will differ regarding cost, weight, and comfort. Narrowing down your choices to a single kind of mattress will help simplify matters. However, regardless of whether you’re looking for the best mini crib mattress or the best toddler mattress, the specific characteristics of each model has a more significant impact on performance than the type of crib mattress you choose. Hence, you need to have a checklist of things to watch out for when scouting for baby mattresses.



One of the initial things you need to check is the firmness of the mattress. You can easily do this by gently pressing your palm on the surface of the material. Check if the material resists being deformed by your hand and quickly becomes flat after you release the pressure. If it does, you have some of the safest crib mattress available.

Of course, the material will have to be very firm, something that you may not be accustomed to. It is fine as long as the mattress doesn’t feel especially uncomfortable. The baby’s body will quickly adjust to the firmness after awhile.


Mattress Fit

Also, check if the mattress fits snugly against the crib walls. Any space in the walls can potentially trap fingers or present a suffocation hazard. Dust and small objects can also accumulate there, endangering your baby. If it’s possible to put more than two fingers in the space, then the mattress isn’t a good fit for its crib. Note that while crib and mattress sizes are probably standardized in your area, there can still be small but significant differences in proportions.

Weight And Density

Heavy mattresses can make cleaning and maintenance difficult. You’ll have to clean often due to inevitable diaper leaks and other spills. Hence, make sure to find a mattress that you can comfortably move around. Also, mattress density matters. Denser mattresses tend to weight more. But, they also tend to be firmer and hence safer to use. Strike a find the perfect balance when it comes to density.


Which Crib Mattress Is Best?

You may wonder what the best crib mattresses are for your baby. There are many to choose from, and here are some of the best crib mattresses money can buy. 

Sealy 2-Stage Crib Mattress 

The Sealy 2-Stage Crib mattress is firm and works for both babies and toddlers, hence its name. This makes it one of the best crib mattresses available on the market today. Give it a try. 

Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Eco-Friendlier Crib Mattress

Not to be confused with the brand of toothpaste, the Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Eco-Friendlier Crib Mattress is one of the best crib mattresses to check out. Waterproof and made from the most organic materials in the marketplace, the Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Eco-Friendlier Crib Mattress is sure to please.

LA Baby Mini Portable Crib Mattress

The LA Baby Mini Portable Crib Mattress is one of the best crib mattresses because it’s not only firm and made from quality materials, but it’s the traveler’s mattress. If you’re on the go, the LA Baby Mini Portable Crib Mattress may be a good mattress to check out if you’re in a hurry. Alternatively, any mini crib mattress works well. A mini crib mattress should be firm, but easily portable. If you travel, look for a good mini crib mattress. 


Graco Premium Foam Crib And Toddler Mattress

Another great mattress to check out is the Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress. The Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress is made from the best materials in the market today, and the mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified. This means that the Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress is one of those mattresses that doesn’t have any materials that may be toxic for your baby. It has a cover that is waterproof, and you can wash the cover of the Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress too.  From the front to the bottom to the side of the mattress, the Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress is worth purchasing. Try the Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress today.

FAQs About Crib Mattresses

What is the best type of mattress for a newborn?

Pick a mattress that is firm and doesn’t have any softness to it that the baby could sink into.
Is foam or coil mattress better for baby?

When choosing a mattress, you can pick from either a foam mattress or a coil mattress, also known as innerspring mattresses. A foam mattress is more lightweight and cheaper, but may not last as long. The opposite is true for innerspring mattresses. So in the battle between foam or innerspring mattresses, it’s all down to preference. 


What is the safest baby mattress?

Any firm, organic mattress should be quite safe. In this line of mattresses, no brand is particularly standout in regards to safety.

Are foam crib mattresses safe?

These mattresses are safe, but you do have to worry about them breaking down more frequently.

How do I know if my crib mattress is firm enough?

Use your hand to test its firmness. Press down, and the mattress should spring back to its shape and not conform to your hand’s shape. If it does conform, then you need a firmer mattress.

How high should crib mattress be for newborn?

For a newborn, the baby’s crib mattress should be at its highest level possible. The baby’s crib mattress should be lowered as the baby develops and learns how to roll over and sit up.

Can babies sleep on memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses may work wonders for you, but for a baby, the mattress should be firm to avoid injury and to allow the baby to develop their movements.

Can a newborn sleep in a crib?

Yes, a crib is perfect for a newborn, but some people may prefer a bassinet due to the crib looking a little bare. 

How do I choose a baby mattress?

If you’re looking for a baby’s crib mattress, there are many ways to choose one. Do your research on websites that list the best baby products and see if there’s a mattress that’s a good fit for your situation.  

One way to do research is to look up the best crib mattresses and go from there. 


Are foam mattresses OK for toddlers?

You may wonder if a foam crib toddler mattress is okay for your child or toddler. A foam crib mattress, for a baby, can be beneficial depending on your needs. As for a toddler, a foam mattress has many benefits. Here are a few:

  • They aren’t good for jumping, meaning your toddler won’t spend time jumping on them and possibly damaging them. 
  • Foam mattresses are hypoallergenic. For a child with allergies, this is a great thing. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about attracting dust mites and other nasties. 

Why do babies need firm mattress?

Adults have their own preferences in regards to their mattresses. Some like it firm, while others like a mattress that is softer. For a baby, however, you need to make sure that the mattress is firm. Why is that?

It’s because of the baby’s growth. They need a firm surface to resist their movements. Turning around, pushing up, standing, the list goes on. A firm mattress helps keep your baby stable as they learn to explore their world. A soft mattress may be a bit problematic for that, and you should avoid a softer mattress until your baby is older.

Can you reuse a crib mattress?

You can, but you need to make sure it’s safe. How do you know if it’s safe or not? There are a few ways to find out. These include:

  • The mattress should have firmness and be able to handle you putting your hand on it, regaining the shape afterwards. If the mattress doesn’t seem firm and doesn’t seem to be that resilient, you may want to put that mattress away. 
  • Look at its frame. Is there anything that looks broken? For example, the support bar should look strong. Feel the springs. Do they stick up? If so, that’s a problem. The mattress frame should be intact and not have any problems whatsoever. If you suspect that there is a problem, then you shouldn’t use it. 
  • How clean is the mattress? If it’s not waterproof, then you may want to think about the turmoil it’s gone through. The previous owner may have peed all over it or made other types of messes. Your mattress should be as clean as possible. 
  • It needs to fit. In order to ensure it fits properly, one thing you can do is put a couple fingers between the mattress and crib. If they fit in a snug manner, the mattress is the correct size. If you can put another finger in there, this means the mattress may not be the right size. 

It is best you buy a new mattress, but if you have to buy used, use these techniques to ensure that your mattress is as good as possible. 

How thick should cradle mattress be?

The mattress should be no more than an inch and a half thick.


Are crib mattresses toxic?

Some brands of crib mattress do contain chemicals that you may want to avoid. Here are some additives to watch out for. 

  • Vinyl or PVC. This is a human carcinogen and it’s used primarily for waterproofing. A waterproof crib sounds nice, but there’s a good chance that you won’t need this in the end. If your crib mattress contains this, watch out. 
  • Polyurethane foam. If you have a foam mattress, it may contain this. One of its biggest concerns is that it’s flammable. 
  • Flame retardants may be toxic as well. These are known as PBDE or TDCPP, and they have connections to all sorts of negative effects.

If you’re a bit worried about this, it’s important that you get an organic crib mattress or a premium foam crib mattress without any toxic chemicals. Look for the best organic mattress, and make sure there aren’t any additives that seem a bit problematic. 

Do all crib mattresses fit all cribs?

A crib mattress is designed to fit all standard sized cribs, but it’s always important you double check to make sure that your mattress fits. The last thing you want is a mattress to big or too small. 

Do cribs expire?

Many baby products have an expiration date, such as car seats, and once that date has passed, you should not use it. For cribs, however, there isn’t an expiration date. You don’t have to worry about throwing away a crib past a certain date. With that said, safety standards do change and it is important that you have a crib that fits those standards. However, as long as your crib is working well, you don’t need to worry too much. 

Is it safe to elevate baby’s mattress?

You can elevate the mattress if your baby is sick, but how do you elevate the mattress and the crib safely? What you should do is put a nice, firm pillow below the mattress. This will allow your baby to stay elevated in the safest way possible.

When should I move my baby’s crib down?

Lower your baby’s crib a notch or a half notch when the baby can sit up. This usually occurs around the 5-8 month stage. You can go to the lowest once your baby can pull themselves up without any assistance.


How thick should crib mattress be?

A baby crib mattress should have a thickness of about 3-6 inches. The baby crib mattress should also come from materials that are lightweight, firm, and constructed from high density materials. The crib rails should be big enough to fit the core mattress. The mattress should fit snugly into it. If not, then you have a problem.

Other Considerations

Notice the breathability of the fabric used for the mattress. The safest baby mattress should let air flow through it with ease. With this feature, it minimizes suffocation risks and preventing any odors and fumes from accumulating. Also note how well the mattress conducts heat, as babies may overheat if the mattress doesn’t regulate temperatures well. Check if the mattress cover is waterproof and removable, which is very helpful when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of the mattress.


Finally, whether you want the best crib mattress or the best toddler bed mattress, check for certifications. You need to look for those that show compliance with safety standards. These certifications are given by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Mattresses which pass these standards are known to be the safest ones out there. Hence, choosing these mattresses will help protect your baby from unnecessary risks.

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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