how to buy a mattress for a crib

A good mattress not only makes bedtime cozier for your baby, it also supports his growing bones and keeps him safe while sleeping.
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What good is a crib without a mattress? A firm baby mattress will keep your little one safe and support his growing bones.
Note: Most cribs come with a multi-position mattress spring that allows you to adjust the mattress position as baby grows.
Adjusting to this new world can be exhausting, which is one reason why babies sleep up to 18 hours a day! That makes your crib an MVP in the baby furniture department.
We’ve put together some crib notes on the different styles available, as well as what you should look for when buying a mattress.
standard cribs are a classic choice, designed to see baby safely through infancy and early toddler times, until he’s ready for a toddler bed.
Some cribs even permit the mattress to be lowered to three or four different positions.
Crib mattresses also tend to be used for a much shorter time frame, and for lighter-weight people, so a low coil crib mattress probably won’t sag or break down like an adult mattress would.
Are fabric seams smooth from the start or do they appear stressed and ready to pop open? If allergies run in the family, a fully sealed crib mattress may be a good choice to keep dust and other allergens at bay.
Most cribs and crib mattresses are made in standard sizes these days, so the mattress size shouldn’t be an issue.
If you can’t check the fit ahead of time, find out about your baby store’s mattress return policy, so you’re not stuck with a mattress that isn’t safe with your crib.
Soft mattresses and pillow tops seem like a good choice from an adult perspective, but babies need a more solid sleep surface since they can’t move themselves out of positions where their face sinks into the mattress if they get turned over.
But what about the crib mattress? Babies aren’t often too choosy when it comes to sleeping spaces, so you don’t need to worry much about picking a crib mattress that is comfy enough.
Foam crib mattresses are usually less expensive than coil mattresses, and are just as safe, as long as they aren’t too soft.
Double check the size of the mattress against the size of your crib.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made crib safety a top priority in 2011, setting strict standards for both manufacturers and retailers.
Though you’ll still want to take any crib you’re considering through the checklist below, the CPSC standards should make crib safety assessment a lot simpler.
These requirements include stronger mattress supports and crib slats, extremely durable crib hardware, and rigorous safety testing.
Fortunately, if you’ll be bringing a new one home, you’ve got the government on your (and your baby’s) side when it comes to crib safety.
Your baby will be clocking a lot of hours in that crib until he or she graduates to a bed, so you’ll want it to be just right — right style, right size, and right color.
On the other hand, if your heart’s set on an older crib — like that antique in Aunt Anna’s attic — you’ll need to determine yourself whether it’s a safe crib or not.
Question: "I’m starting to shop for a crib, and I’m wondering about crib safety standards.
Little babies mean big baby gear purchases — and a crib may be the biggest one you’ll make right now, both in size and expense.
We want to make sure when you buy one of our Crib Mattresses online from, you’re getting the one that’s exactly right for you, whether that’s the 5" Foam Crib and Toddler Bed Quilted Mattress, the Organic Waterproof Mattress Pad, or something entirely different and unique to your home.
Great mattress, great price! Fits well in any crib.
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SIDS is the number one danger to sleeping children, and having firm baby crib mattresses reduces the risk of suffocation.
Firm baby crib mattresses, on the other hand, will keep his face from sinking in and allow him to still get plenty of air in the event he gets turned over in his sleep.
Firm baby crib mattresses should help your baby maintain a position on his back while he’s sleeping.
Soft baby crib mattresses can cause your baby’s face to sink into the mattress if he turns over on his stomach.
Babies, however, don’t need the same joint support as adults, but they do need baby crib mattresses that reduce the risk of harm from their baby furniture while they sleep.
Since firm baby crib mattresses have very little give, it’s harder for babies to roll onto their sides or stomachs.
Baby crib mattresses should be firm — as firm as possible — to keep your little one safe during the night or daytime naps.
With soft baby crib mattresses, the edges of the mattress could have enough give to enable your baby to get trapped between the mattress and the crib slats.
Safety: First and foremost, firm baby crib mattresses are the safest for your baby.
Firm baby crib mattresses will have less give, reducing the risk to your baby.
Fit: Baby crib mattresses should fit snugly in your crib with no gaps between the mattress and the slats.
A firm baby crib mattress will maintain this snug fit and will create a rigid edge to protect your baby.
You may be tempted towards the soft baby crib mattresses for your child, thinking that he’ll be more comfortable.
When you’re shopping for baby crib mattresses, safety should always come first.
For the past 12 years, I have been thoroughly investigating all aspects of the safety and toxicity of baby crib mattresses to find the best organic crib mattress – the most non-toxic and the safest crib mattresses available.
The outcome of my extensive research into all the crib mattresses on the market is that the Naturepedic No-Compromise Organic Crib Mattress is currently the only waterproof organic crib mattress available in the U.S. that is genuinely non-toxic.
There are organic crib mattresses on the market that contain organic cotton as the filling, but the outer covering is vinyl or some other type of harmful material.
For parents who do not want the waterproof plastic covering, Naturepedic also offers a non-waterproof quilted organic cotton crib mattress with a certified organic cotton covering.
The standards require that all fiber and fabrics used within a mattress, with limited exceptions, must be made from National Organic Program (NOP) certified materials and processed in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Read the report below to find out why you should never put your baby to sleep on a crib mattress with common materials and components that are toxic, why a waterproof crib mattress is essential, and why Naturepedic is the safest and best crib mattress you can buy.
Only the fiber used in a mattress, such as cotton or wool, can be considered organic per the agricultural standards since these are agricultural products.
I would advise people to avoid foam and vinyl and purchase a very firm mattress that fits snugly like you said.
But I am really interested in the Sealy Soybean Foam Core Mattress and cannot find it to purchase anywhere with the exception of Amazon.
The mattress is firm, fits snuggly and it is lightweight which makes crib sheet changing as easy as it can be.
Our choice? We went with the Sealy Soybean Foam Core Mattress and couldn’t be more pleased.
Be careful of ones that could snag or tear easily and most importantly, make sure the sheet snuggly fits your crib mattress.
And there are so many options! Not to mention, while the crib mattress isn’t as glamourous as a Bugaboo stroller it is much more necessary and probably used quite a bit more in the grand scheme of things.
For more information on crib mattresses, check out our crib mattress buying guide.
This post was really helpful! I’m glad you explained what to look for in a mattress and then also offered some options and told us which mattress YOU picked and why.
So how do you choose which one? It is recommended by pediatricians and baby experts alike that going with a reputable name brand known for quality is your best bet to ensure a long lasting and safe mattress.
I even found it online on with FREE SHIPPING for only $100, so I’m VERY happy that I’ve found a good, safe mattress that is also within my budget.
I just bought my daughter’s crib and was waiting on buying a mattress until you posted this guide.
– having more coils isn’t always better but it can mean the mattress is more firm.
The “Organic Cotton” mattress you show is filled with organic cotton and food-grade polyethylene (what a zip-loc bag is made of).
Admittedly, the crib mattress was one of the tougher pieces of baby gear for me to decide on.
I wanted to find a mattress that was environmentally friendly and a safer alternative than conventional mattresses that use harsh processes when making their mattresses.
Find the perfect crib mattress to give you and your baby a better night’s sleep.
Trying to determine better quality crib mattresses from inferior quality crib mattresses, whether they be foam or innerspring, is not always easy to do because crib mattresses are a “blind” item, i.e., what is most important about mattresses is on the inside of the mattress where you can’t see it.
A good quality foam mattress will be as good for baby and last as long as a good quality innerspring crib mattress.
By the very nature of the multiple layers inside an innerspring crib mattress, there is more to talk about with innersprings and, more things upon which to judge the quality of innerspring mattresses.
So, that being said, the next obvious questions are how to tell a good quality foam crib mattress from an average or lower quality foam mattress.
What is important in an innerspring crib mattress is the number of layers it has and, the quality of each of those layers.
And, how to distinguish a good quality innerspring crib mattress from an average or lower quality innerspring mattress.
Twenty years ago the quality of foam was such that after a period of time the foam in mattresses would harden, become brittle, and break off in chunks inside the mattress cover.
Did you guess what is the third important purchase besides a car seat and crib mattress that a parent makes that is exclusively for the baby and not just for the convenience of the parent? It’s not the stroller.
If the choice is between a good quality foam mattress and an average quality innerspring mattress then, the foam is better.
A 150 coil mattress with 13.5 gauge carbon tempered steel coils and 9.0 gauge steel border rods is a good all-around crib mattress.
Border rods provide extra edge support which is important for toddlers who hold on to the crib rails and wander back and forth and, the border rods also help provide a better weight distribution over the surface of the mattress which reduces the risk of developing mattress sagging and ‘soft’ spots.
Are you looking for a “natural” mattress? Any crib mattress with a non-vinyl cover may be touted as a “natural” mattress but, a cloth cover of any material must be treated with Boric acid or other chemicals in order to pass the federal flammability standards that have been set by the government and, to make them wet resistant.
Infants will spend up to 70% of their lives on the crib mattress and, even toddlers will spend up to 50% of their time on the crib mattress because the crib, with the mattress, serves double duty as a playpen until baby falls asleep or until baby wakes up mom or dad in the morning, at night and, at nap times.
If the choice is between a better quality innerspring and an average quality foam mattress, choose the innerspring.
(For those parents who are concerned about weight of the mattress, two of our candidates, the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer, and the Lullaby Earth Eco Plus Lightweight were both under 10 pounds.
A recent reviewer stated they had "finally found the perfect crib mattress." That sentiment is echoed throughout the Little Dreamer’s many positive reviews.
We chose the Moonlight Slumber All Foam Little Dreamer for its low price, waterproof and stain resistant cover, and superior materials inside and out.
Short history: phthalates were used to increase the flexibility of PVCs, creating more durable crib mattresses that were soft, yet water-resistant.
This kind of mattress has an extra-firm infant side, and a firm toddler side, and we tested several models that had this feature.
In 2009, phthalates, which are harmful chemical compounds formed by phthalic acid, were banned from crib mattresses in the United States.
A good crib mattress should be firm, quiet when compressed, and fit snugly in your crib.
At a minimum, you want a firm crib mattress that fits snugly into your crib.
We noted that each mattress was firm enough, but the Nook Sleep Pebble Pure, and the Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Ultra 252 Traditional were the most firm of the group.
It’s the best crib mattress on the market, with solid construction, superior materials, and low price.
We did test the following mattresses, but chose the Little Dreamer for its all-around performance and superior materials.
In choosing our best crib mattress, we consulted with manufacturers, doctors, retail associates, and real-world parents.
After spending the week with these mattresses, we can safely say that the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer is the one to buy.

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