Buying a Crib Mattress: Four Questions to Consider


When choosing a crib mattress for your baby, you want something that’s comfortable, durable and—above all else—safe.

Luckily, finding good, quality crib mattresses is easier than ever before. In fact, there are so many choices that it can be hard to decide which mattress is the right one for your baby’s crib.

Here are four questions that will help you find the crib mattress that will best suit your baby’s needs.


  1. How Much Do You Want to Spend on a Crib Mattress?

Quality crib mattresses are available in a wide variety of price ranges. No matter what your budget is, you can find a good mattress that’s both durable and safe.

If you’re looking for the most affordable option, you can choose a crib mattress that has only the most basic features, but is still high in quality in terms of materials and construction.


If you don’t mind spending a little more, there are crib mattresses with extra features that might not truly be necessary, but that you and your baby will appreciate.

You can also splurge on a specialty mattress, like one made entirely with organic materials. An organic crib mattress might be a little pricier. But many feel the benefits are worth the extra cost.


Resist the temptation to buy a cheap crib mattress of questionable quality. Cheap mattresses often lack important features, like waterproofing that can protect a mattress from spills and diaper mishaps. Yes, you can buy a waterproof cover separately to protect a cheap mattress. But the combined cost will probably be about the same as if you’d bought a higher quality, water-resistant mattress to begin with.


There’s also a chance that a cheap crib mattress won’t be as safe or durable as you’d like. A cheaply made mattress could wear out before your child has outgrown the crib. And buying a new mattress will cancel out whatever money you saved buying the first, cheap one. In other words, buying one quality crib mattress would be cheaper than buying two cheaply-made mattresses.


  1. What Size Crib Mattress Do You Need for Your Baby’s Crib?

If you’re using a crib that’s a standard size or shape, you’ll have no trouble finding a good crib mattress to fit.

Measure the inside length and width of your child’s crib, and use these measurements to pick a mattress that’s the right size.


A crib mattress should fit snuggly inside the crib. If you pushed the mattress all the way to one side, there shouldn’t be more than a one inch gap between the other side of the mattress and the side of the crib. If the gap is bigger than that, the mattress is too small for that crib. Your baby could get trapped in a gap that’s too big. A large gap also increases the risks of suffocation and injury.


If you’re crib isn’t a standard size or shape, finding a crib mattress might be more of a challenge. For example, while most baby mattress manufactures make rectangular-shaped mattresses, they don’t all make mattresses for round or oval cribs. However, while it’s hard to find mattress cribs in non-traditional shapes, it’s not impossible. But you will have fewer options to choose from.


  1. Do You Want a Foam or Coil Crib Mattress?

There are plenty of differences between a foam crib mattress and a coil crib mattress.  And the type of mattress you favor will largely depend on personal preference.

Foam mattresses are often more durable and long-lasting than coil mattresses. Most foam mattresses also tend to be lighter, so they are easier to lift. This comes in handy when it’s time to change the sheets in the crib.


A foam mattress will absorb and hold in your baby’s body heat. This is great on chilly nights, because it will help keep your baby warm.

Memory foam mattresses are becoming as popular for cribs as they are for adult beds. But if you buy a memory foam crib mattress, make sure it’s not too soft for your baby to sleep on.


Most coil mattresses don’t last as long as foam mattresses do. Still, a quality coil crib mattress should last until your baby has outgrown their crib.

A coil mattress’s firmness is determined by how many coils the mattress has. The more coils there are, the firmer the mattress will be. A mattress with more coils will also last longer.


  1. How Firm Should a Crib Mattress Be?

You want your baby to be comfortable while they sleep, so buying the softest crib mattress you can find might seem like a good idea. But a crib mattress that’s too soft increases the risk of SIDS and poses a smothering hazard. If a baby somehow ends up on their stomach, their face can sink into a mattress that’s too soft. And they won’t have the ability to change out of that position.

No, a firmer crib mattress is the better choice.


When most people buy a crib mattress, they’ll push down on it to see how comfortable it feels. When you do this test on a really firm mattress, you might be convinced it’s much too hard for your baby.

But your infant will sleep comfortably on a firm crib mattress. As you’ll see when your baby spends countless hours slumbering peacefully in their crib.


It might be tempting to put something soft and cushiony in the crib for your baby to sleep on, like a pillow, or a folded up comforter. But, for safety’s sake, resist that temptation. And your baby should never sleep on an adult’s, or even a child’s, bed because the mattress is probably too soft for them.


Think twice before buying a used crib mattress. Over time, a mattress will start to lose it firmness. And by the time you get hold of a used mattress, it might be too soft for your baby to sleep on safely. It can also be difficult to tell how clean a used crib mattress really is. It might look clean to the naked eye. But it could also be harboring all sorts of things—like bacteria, mold or fungus—that you just can’t see.


Choosing from the wide array of crib mattresses on the market today can feel overwhelming. But, once you know exactly what to look for, you can cut through all the options. And, in no time, you’ll be able to find the perfect mattress for your baby’s crib.



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