Are you looking for a good quality crib mattress that will provide the required firmness, support and comfort for your baby or infant to sleep safely on? Then we highly recommend you check out this guide on the best crib mattresses reviews 2021 to find out the top rated crib mattresses that will meet your baby’s or toddler’s sleeping needs in terms of safety, comfort, firmness, support and breathability.
While the above features are usually the ones that most parents look out for, the quality and durability of the crib mattress are also very important features that are normally affected by the price of the crib mattress. From what we’ve researched and discovered, it’s evident that more expensive crib mattresses are usually of better quality than those models which are cheap and very affordable. Even though this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune in order to get a good quality crib mattress, it’s still important to know that you get what you pay for when it comes to crib mattresses.
And if you’re a parent who is still undecided on the type of crib mattress you want to get for your baby, we highly recommend you first check out this awesome guide on how to choose a baby crib mattress. Additionally you can also check out our detailed and in-depth buyer’s guide below that touches on the types of crib mattresses, the important features to look for and basically everything that pertains to choosing a good quality crib mattress for your baby. We have even touched on “organic” crib mattresses and listed two of them in our reviews below.
Best Crib Mattresses Reviews 2021
1.Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer
Even though it might appear to be a bit expensive at first glance, the moonlight slumber little dreamer is still one of the best crib mattresses you can get on the market today. In fact, this is the crib mattress that provides the optimum balance in terms of functionality, versatility, ease-of-use and price. Thanks to its dual side sleep system design, it provides a two-stage sleep system for your baby or toddler. One side has extra firm, eco-friendly plant based foam layer to provide your baby with a firm and comfortable sleeping surface. When your baby grows to become a toddler, you simply flip the mattress over to the other side to provide him/her with a slightly less firm and comfortable sleeping surface suitable for toddlers.
If your baby messes on it while sleeping, you can easily wipe the cover clean with a damp towel or using water and soap in case there’s a big blowout. This is made possible by the water resistant, stain resistant and odor resistant medical grade durable stretch fabric that’s used on the cover. Unlike most crib mattresses on our list, the seams on this one have an extra tight stitching on them to allow for minimal exposure thus making it resistant to bed bugs and dust mites. At around 11 pounds in weight, this crib mattress is not the lightest nor is it the heaviest but still, you’ll be able to change the beddings easily due to its square corners and edges.
With the health and safety of your baby in mind, it’s greenguard gold and CertiPUR-US certified to ensure it has very low VOCs. This means it’s free from harmful flame-retardant chemicals like PBDE and others like PVC, vinyl, chlorine and nanoparticles. It’s also non-indoor air polluting to ensure it doesn’t produce any toxic scent in your baby’s nursery.
All in all this is definitely a great crib mattress that’s highly recommended. Even though it’s pricey for a few parents, the performance, versatility and durability it provides make it well worth the high price.
Dual sided thus versatile
Very durable to last a number of years
Very easy to clean when baby messes on it
No chemical smell
Waterproof cover ensures no liquid is seeped into the mattress
Safe sewn seams make it dust and bed bug resistant
A bit pricey for some parents
2.Colgate Eco Classica III
The colgate eco classica III also provides dual firmness thus making it suitable for both babies and toddlers alike. When your baby is still an infant you can use the firmer side to provide him/her with a firm, flat and even surface not just for sleeping on but also for the necessary resistance needed for turning, pushing up and standing up on unassisted. Once your baby becomes a toddler, simply flip the mattress over to offer him/her a less firm but super comfortable surface to sleep on. Additionally, the 6 inch thick, dual firmness mattress makes it fit snugly or moderately snugly in any crib and in fact it passes the two fingers test very well which means the space between the side of the mattress and the crib frame is no more than two fingers. The 6 inch mattress thickness also ensures the sheets fit tightly enough to prevent your infant from pulling them lose and posing as suffocation hazard.
At only 9.4 pounds in weight, it is incredibly light and this means you’ll have a very easy time when fitting or removing the beddings. The certified organic cotton cover with waterproof backing is closest to your baby’s skin even though when you pour liquid on the mattress it soaks right in and the waterproof backing does little to help in cleaning up the top layer.
The fact that this crib mattress is greenguard gold certified means it passes all standards for indoor air quality and more than 10,000 volatile organic compounds to ensure it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions. It’s also made with Certi-PUR-US certified ecologically friendly foams with plant oils to provide a safe and healthy sleeping environment for your baby or toddler.
All in all, the colgate eco classica III is a super-comfortable premium mattress that has very high customer ratings and is free from any odor, incredibly light in weight and fits very snugly in any crib or toddler bed.
Has organic cotton cover
Fits in any standard size crib very snugly
Dual sided with very firm side for baby and less firm, comfortable side for toddler
Incredibly lightweight for easy and quick sheet changes
Free from toxic odor or smell
The organic cotton cover soaks water in
3.Newton Wovenaire ( Organic and 100% Breathable)
The newton wovenaire should be at the top of any parent’s list as far as breathable and organic crib mattresses are concerned. What we like the most about it is that it’s 100% breathable which makes it very safe for your baby to breathe through the mattress without any risk of suffocation or SIDS. Breathability is achieved through the use of two layers of spacer fabric that are highly breathable and quilted together in an attractive pattern to create soft pillows of air. The free air circulation through this mattress also ensures your baby doesn’t overheat and become soaked in sweat thus making it more comfortable.
The core materials used make it very healthy and safe without sacrificing on comfort. It doesn’t use any foam, latex, glue and springs that are commonly used in other crib mattresses to ensure there’s no allergens, toxic chemicals or off gassing. Instead, it uses the patented wovenaire core that’s 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer that still provides the comfort of latex and foam without any drawbacks. We also like how the whole mattress is 100% washable since the core is covered with a removable material that’s soft, comfortable, and water repellent and can be machine washed and then dried on a tumble. The wovenaire core can also be washed in a tub if you need to. But since the material used to cover the core is not 100% waterproof, it means that any liquid poured on the mattress is soaked right in and this makes the washing experience more time consuming and tedious when compared to crib mattresses that have a waterproof cover.
In terms of firmness, it has the right amount of firmness to ensure your baby is safe and comfortable yet it’s also cushy enough for a toddler to sleep comfortably on it. It also provides the proper support needed in all the right places when your baby is sleeping on it. At only 11 pounds in weight, this crib mattress is very light which makes it very easy to lift especially when changing the beddings.
All in all, the newton wovenaire is a great crib mattress that ticks all the right boxes as far as breathability, safety, wash-ability, comfort and durability is concerned. Yes! It’s such a great crib mattress even though it’s the most expensive on our list.
100% breathable thus the safest
100% washable and dries very fast
Materials are recyclable
Free from toxic chemicals
Not 100% waterproof thus soaks in liquids and this makes it more tedious to wash
4.Sealy Soybean Foam-Core
As a low priced and affordable crib mattress, the sealy soybean has been built using renewable soybeans to create a foam core that provides both your baby and toddler with exceptional firmness and durability. The high density core together with additional cotton cushioning ensures your baby sleeps safely and comfortably without the mattress curving under your baby. If you have a toddler, the mattress will still provide him/her with a supportive and comfortable sleeping surface. At only 8.3 pounds in weight, this crib mattress is impressively light in weight and this makes the process of changing the beddings a breeze.
If your baby experiences blowout while sleeping on the crib mattress, the pearl embossed waterproof cover has you sorted out. This cover can be easily wiped clean with soap and water when your baby messes on it and the lock-stitched binding prevents any liquids from seeping into the mattress and allergens like dust and dander from clinging to the mattress. We like the square corner design that makes it fit snugly in most standard cribs even though you still have to measure your baby’s crib before buying this crib mattress.
Parents can also get the peace of mind they deserve because this crib mattress has been thoroughly tested for flammability, phthalate, lead and other toxic chemicals to ensure it exceeds stringent US safety standards set by ASTM. It is also Greenguard gold certified for indoor air quality to provide your baby with a healthy environment for sleep.
However, this crib mattress lacks the two-sided design where one side is suitable for babies and the other side for toddlers. Because of this, we feel it falls a bit short in terms of durability and it might be more suited for babies instead of toddlers or bigger kids.
But at such an affordable price tag, this is definitely a crib mattress that any parent should consider if they want a crib mattress that’s firm, easy to clean and very light in weight.
Easy to clean since it’s completely stain resistant and waterproof
Has squared corners so it fits snugly in any crib
Uses soybean oils that’s healthy for your sleeping baby
Has won awards due to its high quality
Lacks the two-sided design
The materials on the waterproof cover feel lower quality
5.Lullaby Earth Breeze (Truly Breathable)
The lullaby earth breeze is another crib mattress that’s truly breathable since it employs the use of advanced 3D honeycomb structure that creates a cushion of air underneath your baby for efficient airflow and breathability. It has a 2-stage dual-firmness together with edge support to help optimize the firmness levels on both the baby and toddler sides. Unlike other crib mattresses that have only one layer of waterproof material, this one has two layers of waterproof materials. The cover features a waterproof laminate just behind the 3D airflow structure and the core is also covered in an easy-to-clean waterproof surface. This is to ensure that not even a tiny bit of liquid can be soaked into the mattress thus keeping it clean and hygienic for your baby or toddler to sleep on.
Being a very breathable crib mattress means your baby can breathe through it and this makes it very safe for babies due to the very low chances of suffocation or SIDS even if your baby is sleeping on his/her stomach. It’s also very healthy for your baby or toddler since it’s free from any harmful chemicals associated with crib mattress materials such as vinyl/PVC, antibacterial biocides, PFC water-resistant treatments, GMOs, polyurethane foam and others. Even better, the whole crib mattress is as light as a feather. Weighing less than 7 pounds it’s definitely one of the lightest breathable crib mattresses you can find on the market and this means changing the beddings or removing it from your baby’s crib is a very easy and quick task.
Even though it’s on the more expensive side of the price tag, we feel the high price is worth it especially when you consider how breathable and safe this crib mattress is for your baby. Most parents also agree that the high price isn’t an issue since they get the peace of mind they deserve knowing their babies are safe no matter whether they are sleeping on their back or facing down.
Very breathable and safe
Free from toxic chemicals
Double waterproof making it mould resistant
Very easy to clean
Pricey but worth it
6.Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Classic 150
Naturepedic organic crib mattresses are one of the healthiest mattresses available on the market since they are GOTS certified to ensure they don’t have any harmful toxins or chemicals that may pose a health hazard to your baby. With that said the naturepedic no compromise organic cotton classic 150 is on the heavier side with a weight of about 20 pounds. However, it is filled with firm and comfortable 150 coils plus edge support which might be the reason for increased weight but these coils provide a firm and comfortable sleeping place for both babies and toddlers alike.
It has a 2-stage dual firmness with the firmer side for your baby and the softer comfortable side for your toddler. The waterproof surface is so pure that it meets food contact standards which means you can eat food that’s in contact with the surface without the fear of any health or safety issues. The seams are also waterproof to prevent moisture from seeping into the mattress and to make cleaning easy and hassle-free. The corners are square to enable it to fit snugly in most cribs but you’ll still need to measure the dimensions of your baby’s crib to ensure the mattress will fit as intended.
The seams are sewn very well to ensure no threads can be pulled apart and this we feel adds to its durability. Since it meets the greenguard certification standards for eliminating chemical emissions, it doesn’t emit or produce any toxic smell or odor in your baby’s nursery room.
The only downside with this crib mattress is that it’s pricey. It’s also heavy and has heat retention issues which can be eliminated using a cooling mattress pad. But on the whole this crib mattress is very comfortable, super supportive and one of the healthiest crib mattresses you can get on the market today.
Made of 100% organic cotton
GOTS certified thus free from toxins
Dual-side firmness and comfort
No smell or odor
Easy to clean
Seamless stitching to ensure durability
Water resistant making it free from mold or mildew
A bit on the heavier side
Retains a little heat
7.My First Premium Memory Foam Crib Mattress
Even though this crib mattress isn’t dual sided, it comes with great features that make it a top pick among many parents. As a memory foam mattress, it is quiet and doesn’t make any noise when your baby is moving on it unlike other traditional crib mattresses that have a plastic vinyl cover. Speaking of the cover, it features a soft velour quilted mattress cover that’s very comfortable on your baby’s skin and it’s also waterproof and removable for machine washing operations. At only 11.5 pounds in weight, it is impressively light especially since memory foam mattresses are known to be very heavy. This means bedding changes are going to be easy and quick.
The premium flexible polyurethane foam used to construct it is CertiPUR-US certified and exceeds federal flammability and CPSC standards. As a hypoallergenic mattress it’s also mite-proof, anti-microbial and free from lead and phthalate compounds. This crib mattress is very firm for your baby to sleep comfortably on it and it doesn’t sink at all, which is something that’s common with memory foam mattresses. It is also very supportive and maintains a flat surface even when you place a heavy object on top and this is a good indicator that your baby will sleep safely on it without sinking or getting stuck in a hole due to his/her weight.
One thing that sets this crib mattress apart from the rest on our list is its breathability. It passes the heat retention test with flying colors since it cools down after only 7 seconds while others take an average of between 20-25 seconds to cool down. This crib mattress is therefore very breathable with very little chance of overheating. It’s free from any odor or smell that usually irritates some parents.
So if you were a bit skeptical about choosing a memory foam crib mattress for your baby because of safety concerns, we would confidently advise you to put those concerns aside and grab this crib mattress if a memory foam crib mattress that’s very breathable, supportive, quiet and comfortable is what you want to get for your little bundle of joy.
Removable, waterproof and washable cover
Right firmness and comfort for baby and toddler
Mite-proof since it’s hypoallergenic with anti-microbial
Slightly thinner than other crib mattresses with springs
8.Sealy Cotton Cozy Rest 2-Stage
At only 15 pounds in weight, the sealy cotton cozy rest 2-stage crib mattress is packed with features that make it durable, stable, supportive and comfortable for your baby or toddler to sleep on it safely. It provides the necessary support as your baby grows since it features 204 premium steel coils, 6 EverEdge strength pillars to safeguard your baby if he/she moves near the sides or corners, border wire along the edges and an anti-sag weight distribution system for a firm and durable core. As its name suggests, it offers two stages of comfort with a firmer side for babies and a softer side for toddlers.
It has two hypoallergenic layers that are wrapped completely around the core to provide firmness and stability and a cotton wrap encircles the whole mattress to provide extra comfort and protection to ensure your baby or toddler is comfortable and properly supported. It has square corners for a snug fit in any standard size crib but initial measurements should be made on the crib to ensure it fits snugly without leaving any space in between. The whole mattress has also been designed to provide your baby with a hygienic sleeping environment and for this purpose it has a durable, comfortable and waterproof woven cotton cover that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Additionally, the cover utilizes lock-stitched waterproof binding that prevents any liquid from seeping into the mattress thus making it resistant from mold and mildew.
For a healthier sleeping environment, it is greenguard gold certified for low chemical emissions and indoor air quality and has exceeded stringent US safety standards for flammability, lead or phthalates to ensure it never compromises on delivering the best and healthiest sleep environment for your baby. And with a lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials, this is one crib mattress that’s sure to endure many years of use.
Anti-sag weight distribution for durability
Mold and mildew resistant
6 strength pillars keep corners/sides stable and durable
Easy to clean cover
Greenguard gold approved to be healthy and safe
Fit issues with some cribs
9.Serta Tranquility Eco Firm Crib Mattress
The serta tranquility eco firm mattress is designed to help it achieve a strong, safe and stable sleeping surface for both babies and toddlers alike. It features a durable dual-sided design and is built with 120 heavy-duty innersprings to give it long-lasting firmness on both sides and has air vents that keep it fresh and breathable. It is also supportive enough thanks to the full perimeter border wire ortho-insulated layer that’s been included. The baby’s side provides just the ideal firmness that your baby needs for safe and comfortable sleep and the toddler’s side has a naturally blended cotton layer for extra comfort. The vinyl cover used feels durable and is easy to clean when your baby messes on it.
At 16 pounds in weight, it’s reasonably light and fitting or removing the beddings is still an easy task. The mattress is also very healthy and safe for your baby to sleep on it since it is greenguard gold certified to ensure it has low chemical emissions with improved indoor air quality. The polyurethane foam used in its construction is CertiPUR-US approved to be free from PBDE flame retardants, lead, mercury and any other harmful metals.
If you have a standard size crib for your baby, it fits snugly without leaving any spaces in between and this is due to its dimensions together with the squared corners and edges that also provide for easy sheet or bedding changes. That said, most parents are very happy and pleased with this crib mattress from serta tranquility and even though very few find it to be a bit noisy when the baby is laying on it, it’s definitely much less noisy than most crib mattresses out there, though.
All in all, the serta tranquility is a great crib mattress to consider because it’s easy to clean, durable, great in quality and yet it’s on the more affordable side of the price tag.
Dual-sided firmness and comfort
Reasonably affordable price
Fits snugly in standard size cribs
Air vents for freshness
A bit noisy when baby is laying on it
10.LA Baby Natural IV Triple Zone 2 in 1 Soy Foam
This is also another crib mattress that features CertiPUR-US certified high density soy foam core with borders that provide extra side edge support and safety. It is dual-sided with the toddler’s side featuring a CertiPUR-US memory foam with an additional polyester blend layer on both sides for unsurpassed comfort for both babies and toddlers. It provides your baby with the required firmness so he/she can sleep safely on it without compromising on comfort. It’s also supportive enough in all the right places to ensure it doesn’t sink or curve under your baby’s weight. We like the blended viscose from bamboo cover that is quilted and has a waterproof back that not only makes it look beautiful but is also hypo-allergenic and comfortable for your baby to sleep on. This cover is very easy to clean or wipe with a damp cloth when your baby messes on it.
Additionally, this bamboo cover consists of 40% bamboo fiber, 45% micro-fiber, and 15% spandex that allow it to stretch and conform to both the innerspring and soy foam core thus making it more durable. The use of bamboo fabrics makes this crib mattress great and suitable for everyone especially those babies and toddlers who have a sensitive skin. This is because bamboo fabrics are good thermal regulators and when combined with the absence of harmful chemicals, the mattress becomes healthy, safe and comfortable for your baby or toddler to sleep on it without any issues. The use of air-vents helps to keep this crib mattress cool, fresh and breathable especially during hot seasons.
The whole mattress is also mold and mildew resistant thanks to the cloth binding that’s sewn with a lock stitch to prevent the edge seam from splitting and moisture from seeping into the mattress. And at 14.4 pounds in weight, it’s still light enough to make those bedding changes easy and quick.
All the above features combine to make the LA baby natural a durable, high quality, comfortable and reasonably priced crib mattress that’s sure to impress most parents out there.
High quality and durable
Easy to clean
Resistant from mold and mildew
Hypo-allergenic with dust mite barrier
Not stain resistant
Crib Mattress Buying Guide
Though most parents don’t think that choosing a great crib mattress is an important task to do, the truth is that a great crib mattress is equally important as the baby crib that you intend to purchase for your baby. Since your little baby will be spending most of his/her childhood years sleeping in the crib, it’s important to ensure you choose a crib mattress that’s not only comfortable and supportive, but one that’s also breathable to guarantee the safety of your baby every time he/she is sleeping in the crib. Also ensure that the crib mattress fits snugly in your baby’s crib without leaving any space between the mattress and the crib. A good rule of thumb is that there should be no more than two fingers of space between the mattress and the crib. The firmness of the crib mattress is also very important for the safety of your little baby. Young infants require a firm and supportive surface that provides the resistance to turn over or push up unassisted. A soft surface can sink under your baby’s weight or conform to the shape of your baby’s face or head and this might increase the risk of suffocation or even SIDS.
Basically there are two main types of crib mattresses: innerspring and foam. Whichever type you choose, it should be able to maintain its shape and provide your baby or toddler with excellent support if it’s of good quality. However, there are some differences between these two types of crib mattresses. Foam crib mattresses are usually lighter (about 5 to 13 pounds) and are made of polyurethane. Innerspring types are heavier (about 15 to 30 pounds) and this makes them a bit cumbersome when you want to lift them out of the crib or when changing bed sheets. However, innerspring crib mattresses are more bouncy than the foam types and are therefore more likely to be used as a trampoline when your baby gets older.
Look for quality
Quality is an important factor when it comes to crib mattresses irrespective of which type you decide to go with. The common saying that “you get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to crib mattresses. Affordable and cheap foam and innerspring mattresses have thin vinyl coverings and edgings that are prone to cracking, tearing and drying out with time. The more expensive options come with coverings that are thicker, reinforced with double or triple laminates, puncture-resistant or very fine organic cotton. However, the use of quality materials can sometimes lead to increase in weight. For example, a foam mattress with a denser, better quality foam or an innerspring mattress with better-gauge steel and quality cushioning will usually weigh more. Even though price is an issue when it comes to cheap or expensive crib mattresses, you don’t need to break your bank in an attempt to get a high quality crib mattress. For both types, a price ranging from $100 to $200 is enough to enable you get a mattress that will serve your baby or toddler well. For less than $90 you can get one that might be too soft and flimsy thus uncomfortable or unsafe for your baby. Higher priced models are usually more firm and thus safer for little babies.
Don’t judge a crib mattress by its cover
What’s inside a crib mattress matters more than what you see on the outside. Don’t make a habit of depending on advice gotten from sales stuff or even from reputable retail stores and convince yourself that they have accurate information about the type of crib mattress you want to buy. Even though some mattresses might feel great in the store, they might begin to falter once your baby starts to sleep on it. While in the past innerspring mattresses were known to be more durable than the foam type, that’s not the case nowadays. In fact, foam crib mattresses nowadays are much more durable than they were in the past and a high quality foam mattress is still as durable as an innerspring type if it’s used normally as intended.
Physically go to the stores
It’s important to go to the stores to be able to get a sense of what a quality crib mattress looks like and how it feels like. One important thing to look for is the label. According to law, every manufacturer is required to reveal the components used to construct their mattresses. You should also be able to know the components of each layer in a crib mattress. Avoid buying a crib mattress from a manufacturer who doesn’t reveal the building components of their mattresses using online specifications, displays or in-store information. You should also test to see how supportive the mattress is by pushing down with your hands. If the mattress is very supportive your hand should spring right up. Ensure you choose a crib mattress that’s harder than you would like it to be since babies require more support than adults for safety purposes.
Always buy a new crib mattress
For health and hygienic purposes it’s wise to ensure you buy a brand new crib mattress rather than a used one. That’s the only way to ensure that the mattress is sanitary. With a used crib mattress you won’t know its history in terms of how it was cared for or stored. If the used crib mattress wasn’t stored or cleaned up properly, there’s a high chance that mold has grown in it or there’s bacteria festering on its surface from the liquids that were accidentally poured on it such as spit-up or diaper leakage. To help save on costs, you can buy a brand new crib mattress and use it on your second baby provided it’s still firm and you always keep it clean and store it in a dry place free from moisture.
Use a cover
To ensure you keep the mattress as clean and sanitary as possible, it’s wise to purchase a cover that fits tightly on the crib mattress and is waterproof to prevent liquids from seeping into the mattress thus making it easy to wipe the surface clean using a damp cloth.
Test the fit
By law, all full-sized crib mattresses should have dimensions of no less than 27 ¼ inches by 51 5/8 inches and the thickness should be no more than 6 inches. Always hit the stores so you can test how the crib mattress fits in a crib before making that purchase. If it fits snugly in the crib, you shouldn’t be able to squeeze more than two fingers between the crib mattress and the crib. Otherwise, the crib mattress is too small and the gap in between might pose a danger to your baby.
Don’t worry about warranties
Warranties can be for a lifetime, seven years or even one year. A long period of warranty doesn’t necessarily mean that the mattress is going to be durable and you shouldn’t pay more or extra for a mattress with long warranty. In most cases, warranties are just marketing tools used to entice customers to spend more money on a product.
Types of crib mattresses
As we’ve stated above, there are two main types of crib mattresses that you can choose from as long as they are high quality and will keep their shape and provide your baby with the required firmness and support for a safe and comfortable sleep. There’s also a third type called organic crib mattresses that we will discuss below.
Innerspring – the most important features to consider in innerspring mattresses are the number of coils used and the thickness of the steel used. If it has more coils with thicker steel materials, it will be more firm. An innerspring crib mattress with about 135 to 150 coils with a 15.5 gauge coil is plenty in terms of support and thickness. Most innerspring crib mattresses also have border rods that perimeter around the top and bottom to provide extra firmness and to prevent the sides and edges from sagging. Additionally, they also have cushioning layers of polyester, cotton or foam and an insulator pad made of woven polyester. Of course, the more the number of layers and the higher-quality materials used in each of those layers together with the insulator pad, the better the crib mattress will be. But all these add some more weight to the whole crib mattress thus making it heavier.
Foam – these are usually on the lighter side of the scale in terms of weight and most of them are made of a petroleum-based material called polyurethane. A few types of polyurethane can contain formaldehyde; a substance to which high levels of exposure has been linked to asthma. However, CertiPUR-US certified foams are free from formaldehyde and are thus safe and healthy. In some instances, foam mattresses can be made using a small amount of soy or plant-based oil as a significant substitute for petroleum-based oils commonly used in polyurethane foam. These types of foams are touted as “green” or “eco-friendly”. There are also a few foam mattresses that are made of bamboo fiber or latex foam.
Important features in a crib mattress
Foam firmness – a high-quality foam mattress should be firm, resilient and slightly on the heavier side of the weight scale. The firmness is a safety feature for your little baby since you don’t want your baby to sleep on a soft surface that can sink or conform to the shape of your baby’s head thus posing a suffocation hazard.
Foam density – the denser the foam the better. A good way of theoretically assessing the density of a foam mattress is by comparing the weight of different brands or models. If you want to physically test the density of a foam mattress, you need to pick it up, place a hand on each side in the center and finally press your palms together. If the foam is dense enough, you won’t be able to press very far.
Innerspring layers – if you decide to buy an innerspring mattress, then ensure it has more layers and the materials used to build those inner layers are of better quality. Also, if the mattress contains better-gauge steel and better-cushioning, the weight of the innersprings usually tend to increase and this is a good indicator of high quality.
Border rods – always ensure the innerspring mattress you choose has border rods that surround the perimeter of the top and bottom. Their purpose is to provide additional firmness and support while ensuring the sides and edges are strong and supportive so that the mattress doesn’t sag if your baby moves towards or along the edge.
Coil count and steel gauge – a high number of springs or steel coils in an innerspring mattress doesn’t necessarily mean that the mattress is firmer than those with less number of steel coils. Even though a cheap innerspring mattress might have fewer numbers of steel coils than a more expensive innerspring mattress, there are cases where an innerspring mattress with less number of steel coils could be firmer than an innerspring model with more number of steel coils. But how can this be? Well, a possible reason would be that the gauge of the steel in that innerspring mattress with fewer steel coils could be thicker than the gauge of the steel coils in that other innerspring mattress that has more steel coils. The normal range of thickness of crib-mattress coils is between 19 to 12.5 gauge (the lower the number, the thicker the steel).
Insulator pad – this is the thick pad on top of the springs or steel coils in innerspring mattresses that prevents the coils from poking through. An insulator pad of good quality is very important since cheaper insulators may not hold up well. The insulator pad can either be made of coir fiber or fiber-wrap pads. Coir fiber is usually made up of shredded coconut shells while fiber-wrap pads are made from pressed scraps of cloth. Coir-fiber pads are more costly than fiber-wrap pads even though both types work equally well. Insulator pads of the lowest quality are usually made from woven polyester which is less durable and usually form pockets with time. The place where your baby rests also sinks inwards creating a safety hazard.
Cushioning layers – this is the next layer just above the coils in the mattress sandwich and is usually made of cotton, foam or polyester. Cushioning layers made of foam or cotton are more quality but add to the price. On the other hand, polyester is less expensive and isn’t ideal because it tends to form pockets over time. As a recommendation, you shouldn’t buy a crib mattress until you know the materials used in the layers.
Cover – the material used in the cover can either be vinyl or fabric. Fabric covers are more breathable than vinyl covers even though some vinyl covers have ventilation holes in them to help in air circulation. A multilayered vinyl cover is resistant to leaks, tears or punctures yet it stains better than fabric cover. Try your best to choose a crib mattress with a triple laminated cover for a tougher shell that adds to its longevity and durability.
Convertibility – at some point in the future you might be forced to convert your baby’s crib to a toddler bed when he/she gets older. For this purpose you might want to consider a crib mattress that has dual-side firmness with a firmer side for infants and a softer, cushier side for toddlers. Some models even have springy memory foam or standard foam on the toddler’s side for extra comfort. However, you shouldn’t be too quick to flip the mattress over especially if your baby becomes a toddler but still finds it comfortable sleeping on the firmer side.
Airflow pockets – these are for paranoid parents who have picked a waterproof crib mattress that doesn’t breathe through the surface and for this reason they fear it might pose a suffocation hazard to the baby. If that’s the case, you can choose a crib mattress with ventilation pockets to keep it cool and fresh.
Waterproof cover – it’s not a bad idea to separately purchase a waterproof cover even if the crib mattress is already leak proof, since it will help protect the mattress from stubborn stains. Since they go under the sheet, mattress covers are not a suffocation hazard and will instead provide your baby with a cozier sleeping surface. Without a waterproof cover, the mattress’s vinyl cover might become chilly and uncomfortable for your baby. A waterproof cover is also great in protecting the mattress’s surface from diaper leaks since it can be quickly removed and washed. For minor spills, you can simply wipe it clean using a damp cloth.
Antimicrobial covers – even though some manufacturers claim that antimicrobial covers can help to slow the growth of bacteria and even odor-causing mold, the truth is they don’t necessarily prevent them. This means you don’t need to invest in such covers but instead try to keep the crib mattress clean by wiping it with detergent and water after your baby leaks on it to prevent the growth of bacteria. After that, put it in a crib mattress storage bag that fits snugly and is transparent to allow light to pass through since light inhibits the growth of bacteria. Then store it in a cool, dry place free from moisture.
Organic crib mattresses
Parents who are very concerned about the safety of the chemicals used in the manufacture of crib mattresses or beddings can instead opt for “natural” or “organic” crib mattresses. But since there are no legal standards that certify an organic crib mattress to be safe, it means there’s no guarantee even if you buy a crib mattress that’s labeled “organic”.
Some crib mattress manufacturers like Colgate claim that eco-friendly innerspring and foam mattresses are made with fewer chemicals, PVC and plastics together with a greater percentage of sustainable and renewable materials like coir, fast-growing bamboo, cotton, plant-based foam and natural latex.
Though there are some industry associations which have set their own standards, there’s still no specific industry standard for what constitutes an “organic” or “natural” crib mattress. For this reason, a parent who wants to purchase an organic crib mattress needs to ask a specific question regarding each component of a mattress to establish whether it meets their expectations. For example, a mattress that’s labeled organic can have a cover that’s 100% organic cotton but the inside of the mattress consists of non-organic materials. Alternatively, you can buy a crib mattress that’s all natural with only the covering on top being vinyl or plastic. But thorough research is required before purchasing a crib mattress that’s labeled “organic” since there’s a high chance of winding up with something different other than what was advertised.
Features to look for in an eco-friendly crib mattress
Cloth cover – instead of vinyl covers, most “green” mattresses have cloth covers in cotton (100% unbleached, undyed, organic cotton or even bamboo yarn). Bamboo is quickly renewable and grows faster yet the fiber is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. But there’s one issue with cloth covers, and that is they are not leak proof which means any liquid or diaper leaks will be soaked right into the mattress and create a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s therefore important to purchase a waterproof mattress pad even if you have an organic mattress labeled waterproof.
Organic, waterproof crib mattress pads – these usually consist of an organic cotton layer with majority having a layer of polyurethane if the pad is completely waterproof. A good example is the snoozy organic cotton waterproof crib mattress pad.
Wool mattress pads – for those parents who want to protect their baby’s crib mattress without using a cover made with chemicals, they can instead use pads made with wool to help absorb leaks on the mattress. However, wool pads are not necessarily 100% water resistant or truly waterproof.
Cushioning layers – instead of foam, the cushioning layers of some crib mattresses are made with natural latex rubber that’s produced from a liquid extracted from tropical trees. It’s important to note that even though some babies might be allergic to latex, it might not pose a problem especially since it’s tucked inside the core of the crib mattress. But if you still have any doubts you can avoid a mattress made with latex altogether.
Coir – this consists of coconut shell husks that are shredded and woven then bound with latex adhesive. Typically it was used as an insulator pad on top of the steel coils of high quality innerspring mattresses before the green movement came along. Even though coir is sustainable and renewable, it also adds some extra weight to the crib mattress. Nowadays, coir is used in other “natural” types of crib mattresses including both innerspring and foam.
As you can see, our guide on the best crib mattresses reviews is a very lengthy and in-depth one because we wanted to ensure we’ve touched on everything that pertains to choosing, buying and using a great crib mattress that’s firm, supportive, safe and comfortable for your baby or toddler to sleep on it. We’ve also touched on organic crib mattresses to cater to those parents who are concerned about the safety of chemicals used in foam and innerspring types of crib mattresses. We highly advice parents to choose carefully and wisely to ensure they end up with a crib mattress that’s breathable, firm, supportive, easy to clean and durable without spending a fortune in the process.