Crib Mattress Safety

Crib mattress safety guidelines are an important consideration when providing a safe and hazard free environment for your loved one.  The importance of a quality mattress and safe sleeping products can't be overstated especially since your baby will spend over half of the time sleeping for the first few months and beyond.  

crib mattress safety

If you are in the market for a mattress it can seem like a simple task but with all the different options it can be confusing for parents.  The cost varies substantially which can be misleading and with the different sizes, firmness and the new line of organic products it can be challenging to feel good about your purchase. 

Every parent wants to feel comfortable and confident with the mattress they choose for their child.  We'll go over everything you need to know when choosing the right mattress for your loved one so you can feel good about what your baby is sleeping on every day and night. 

There are some features that you should consider for the absolute best in crib mattress safety.  In addition to going over all the important things to look for in a mattress we'll provide some insight into some innovative products that will make your baby's sleep time even safer with just a little bit of planning. 

Crib Mattress Safety Features

Lets get into the different features you're going to run into when shopping for a mattress.  It's important to keep in mind that you don't need the most expensive mattress and you definitely don't want to spend more money than you have to.  A mattress is something that you want to make sure is quality made and will provide years of safe comfort for your baby. 

Mattress Size and Fit

A crib mattress should be between 3 and 6 inches thick and made of high density, firm and lightweight materials.  If a mattress does not fall within these thickness guidelines you should stay away because the height of the crib rails is designed to safely fit that thickness.  If the mattress is too thick or you have extra padding you might be allowing your baby to crawl out of the crib easier, leading to serious injury. 

The mattress size should be at least 51 - 3/4" x 27 3/4" with the most commons size crib bedding of 52" x 28".  Portable mattresses for stationary cribs should not be used because they are much smaller and designed for portable mattresses only. 

The standard crib mattress size is 51 - 5/8" in length 27 - 1/4" in width and 3 to 6 inches in thickness

The dimensions of mattresses do vary slightly but the bottom line is that it needs to fit the crib you are using.  A proper fitting mattress will allow for no more than two fingers gap between the edge of the mattress and crib frame.  If you can fit more than two fingers the mattress is too small and not safe as it could cause baby getting trapped.  A simple measurement of the crib will ensure that you find the right size mattress for your specific crib. 

Its common in cribs to find adjustable height settings for the mattress at the base of the crib.  It's convenient to have the mattress high for newborns but as your baby gets older this should be lowered to prevent your baby from crawling out, especially when they start sitting up.  It's important that as soon as your baby is able to crawl out of the crib at any height that you no longer continue to use the crib. 

Mattress Firmness

A lot of parents gauge the quality of a mattress by how firm it is and while it's a great idea to ensure that it is firm it doesn't always indicate quality.  A mattress should be firm because it will reduce the risk of suffocation and provide a safe sleeping platform for your baby.  A quality mattress will stay firm over many years of use but if it does soften up with use, you should purchase a new mattress as it can pose a risk to your child. 

how firm should a crib mattress be

There are two main types of mattresses that you will find on the market today. The most common type is made with heavier inner-spring coils sandwiched between multiple layers of material that provide support and comfort.  Border rods line the outside of most mattresses to keep their shape and provide a solid perimeter that rests against the inside of the crib rails. 

A foam mattress is becoming more popular with parents because they are softer and light weight.  They are usually made from polyurethane that is designed to be comfortable while still proving adequate firmness.  In some high-end mattresses there are two sides with differing firmness so you can transition as your child grows.  The firm side should be used for newborns and can be switched for toddlers but it isn't necessary.  

Cost and Expiration

A good mattress doesn't necessarily cost more but you should look for quality and a brand name that you trust.  A good warranty isn't always an indicator of overall quality and often can be used as a sales gimmick.  You should be able to find a good quality mattress for between $100 and $300 unless you purchase a specialty mattress made with organic materials like natural latex or organic cotton. 

Mattresses don't expire but they can break down over time just as any mattress does.  It will depend on a number of variables including quality, materials, usage and how well you look after your mattress.  A mattress should be kept dry at all times not only for sanitary reasons but because it can cause the materials to crack and tear and render the mattress unsafe. 

Crib mattress safety comes down to using common sense and if the mattress doesn't appear to be in good condition, don't use it.  In a world of recycling and environmental awareness many parents choose to purchase a used mattress and it can be a great option just make sure it is still in good condition. 

Other Features to Consider

A common feature that most mattresses provide is being waterproof or washable.  A mattress should be kept as sanitary as possible and when those unexpected accidents occur it's a good idea to clean the mattress right away.  Some mattresses have a washable outer layer at the expense of not being quite as comfortable as a foam mattress.  

A washable out layer is a great option as long as the thickness of the mattress and cover don't exceed 6 inches.  A few of the higher end mattresses have the best of both worlds by providing comfort with the ability to remove the cover and wash it. 

Other features you should look for when purchasing a mattress if you are a safety conscious parent include the use of hypoallergenic materials and GREENGUARD Gold Certification which certifies products with the highest in safety standards and utmost crib mattress safety guidelines. 

Top Rated Crib Mattresses

Newton Crib Mattress

The Newton Crib Mattress is our favourite mattress because it is organic, breathable, washable and recyclable.  It is recommended by paediatricians for baby's safety, health and development due to partly to its breathable outer layer that reduces the risk of suffocation while providing more than adequate circulation to help prevent overheating. 

newton crib mattress

Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Crib Mattress

The Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Mattress is a top rated natural mattress made from soybean oils from the United States.  The cover is waterproof, stain-resistant and easy to clean while being comfortable for your baby.  It boasts the Greenguard Gold Certification which means it's healthier and more natural in materials. 

sealy soybean foam crib mattress

Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress

The Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress is a popular choice for it's affordability and simplicity.  It is hypoallergenic and features a high density thermo-bonded foam core for extra support.  It has a durable outer lining made from vinyl and polypropylene which is easy to clean and sanitary. 

safety 1st white crib mattress

We hope this information on crib mattress safety helps you make an informed decision about purchasing your next mattress.  It's important to remember to look for quality and it doesn't necessarily mean buying the most expensive mattress.  

In addition to ensuring that your crib meets all safety regulations we recommend reading about baby crib bumper pads for some very important safety information including a new alternative product that is a lot safer for your child. 

BHS Home PageBaby Crib Safety