Don’t Let Your Baby’s Crib Mattress be an Afterthought by Denise Cripps

Reprinted by permission from the USA Baby Blog:

If you had a nickel for every minute you spent obsessing over the tiniest details of your nursery, you’d probably be rich by the time your new baby spent her first night in the crib you so agonizingly selected. But, as important as your theme or décor may seem, something you rarely think about – and probably perceive as wildly unexciting – is actually one of the most important items to think very carefully about: the mattress upon which your little prince or princess is going to dream away up to 18 hours of every day. That makes buying the best new mattress you can afford a very high priority.

What to Look for in a Quality Crib Mattress

There are several important features you should consider when shopping for the most critical piece of infant bedding. Print and bring this list with you to your nearest USA Baby, and their nursery experts will help you find the perfect mattress for your needs. Some of the most important features include:


  • Buying new – It’s so tempting to take your sister up on her offer of her old baby mattress – or to nab the one at your neighbor’s garage sale – but don’t. Buying a new mattress is the only way to ensure a sanitary sleep environment. Virtually every used mattress has had liquids of all varieties leaked onto it and soaked into it; and you just can’t know how it was truly cared for or whether it was properly stored. Improper cleaning and storage both invite bacteria and mold to flourish. So buying a quality mattress priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 – $200 will do the job nicely. Lower-priced mattresses are often very low-quality, and you’ll be disappointed when you need to replace it before your toddler is ready to leave the crib. More expensive mattresses made with organic cotton and all-natural materials tend to be the firmest and are therefore the safest mattresses of all.

  • A proper fit – By law, a full-sized crib mattress must be at least 27-1/4″ x 51-5/8″, and no more than 6″ thick. So if you can, shop at a locally-owned store – like a USA Baby – with a knowledgeable staff who can walk you through the display of cribs and mattresses on the sales floor and explain the features and benefits of the options available. Because of the standardization of crib and mattress sizes, you’ll probably never find a mattress that doesn’t fit well into a certain crib, but since gaps between the edges of the mattress and the crib rails are a danger to your baby, test the fit anyway just for peace of mind. Simply check the mattress you’ve selected by placing it inside the display crib before you bring it home. The mattress should fit tightly. If you can squeeze more than two fingers between the mattress and the rail, the mattress is too small, and it poses a risk to the health and safety of your baby.

  • What’s on the inside – A crib mattress should be firm. One that’s too soft could conform to the shape of your baby’s head or face and increase the risk of suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 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 may be pressed into the mattress. Push down yourself, and see how far your hand sinks in. The more resistance, the firmer the mattress. There are basically two types of crib mattresses: foam and innerspring. Both types provide excellent support for infants and toddlers and both are equally safe. The difference, however, is their weight. An innerspring mattress with more and better steel coils and better-quality cushioning will weigh more. The same goes for a foam mattress that’s made of denser, better-quality foam. A foam mattress tends to be lighter though – about 5 to 13 pounds – compared to an innerspring which weighs about 15 to 30 pounds. So even though you’ll probably only be lifting a corner at a time to change sheets, it’s typically easier to lift a foam mattress. Lastly, manufacturers are required by law to clearly state what a mattress is made of, so educate yourself by reading the mattress label, in-store information, displays, or online specifications to learn the components of each layer you’ll be laying your baby down to sleep on.

  • What’s on the outside – The least expensive mattresses have the thinnest vinyl covers and edges that will sooner than later dry out, tear, and crack. As the mattress’s price increases, coverings become thicker, more puncture-resistant, and doubly or triply reinforced. You should go to a store – like USA Baby – that trains their employees to educate customers about the quality features of the mattresses they carry. Multi-layer covers give you the most durability over time, and some mattresses have an anti-microbial layer on top which helps prevent the growth of bacteria and mold from spit-ups and diaper leaks. You can also check to see how the mattress cover is sealed. The seams should be sturdy and without any sharp edges. If allergies run in your family, a fully sealed crib mattress may be a good choice to keep dust and other allergens away from your baby’s respiratory system.

Five High Quality Mattresses to Consider

With the thousands of crib mattresses on the market today, how do you know where to even begin looking? Start by asking the experts. USA Baby carries only the safest, top-quality crib mattresses, and they highly recommend the following five brands and models:

The Colgate Classica I – As the mostrecognized and popular foam crib mattress in America, the Classica I extra-firm mattress was rated #1 by the nation’s leading consumer products magazines, and has been recommended for over 14 years by other popular baby publications. Medical experts agree that the foam used in crib mattresses should be high quality, extra firm, lightweight, orthopedic, and waterproof  – all descriptive of the Classica I. Features include a triple layer nylon reinforced vinyl cover, hypoallergenic foam, a cloth binding for strong seams, and eyelet vents. The Classica I passes all federal flammability standards, as well as CPSIA safety standards, and fits all standard cribs.

The Colgate Classica III – This lightweight, high quality, dual firmness, infant/toddler, foam crib mattress features a tear-resistant, waterproof, triple-layer, nylon reinforced vinyl cover; hypoallergenic foam; cloth binding; and eyelet vents. Its orthopedic style fits all standard size cribs and toddler beds. Dual-sided firmness offers extra support for infants on one side, and greater comfort for toddlers on the other side. The mattress passes all federal flammability standards, as well as CPSIA safety standards.

The Kolcraft Omni-Pedic Staph Check – Developed exclusively for USA Baby, this mattress offers square corners for the tightest fit. It’s also designed as a two-stage mattress: one side for your newborn and the other side for your more active, growing toddler. The cover is protected with a staph guard treatment that prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing. This coiled innerspring mattress comes with a lifetime manufacture’s warranty.

The Sopora Ultimate – All the smartest features come standard with this 6″ deep, all-foam mattress with dual sleep sides. The Sopora is engineered to withstand wear and tear and provide ergonomic support for the life of your child’s time in the crib. As your child grows, their sleep surface needs change. For infants, use the ultra-firm, high-density side; then flip the mattress to the memory foam side for your toddler. This second side provides a layer of foam with faster bounce-back – produced by maximum airflow. Better airflow prevents heat retention and provides a more consistent sleep temperature. The Sopora also offers safe side seams that keep wetness out and creates a seamless waterproof edge. This prevents allergens, bed bugs, and fluids from seeping into the mattress. The medical grade, stretch-knit mattress cover is compliant with all current safety standards; is free of vinyl, PVC, and phthalate; and treated with antimicrobial protection. It cleans easily with a damp sponge and won’t retain unpleasant odors or stains. Lastly, the Sopora’s square corners and edges fit tightly into the crib and hold sheets securely to keep your baby safe.

The No-Compromise™ Organic Cotton Lightweight - This mattress matches the strength and durability of an innerspring mattress without the added weight. Layers of luxurious organic cotton batting create the perfect balance of firmness and comfort. Get the best of both worlds; firm and durable for baby, easy crib changing for parents.

Features include:

  • Easy-to-clean, 100% polyethylene waterproof surface so pure it meets food contact standards. Provides the ultimate non-toxic and stain resistant waterproof surface
  • Organic cotton fabric and filling that’s both natural and renewable, unbleached, undyed, and grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers
  • Firm, comfortable support
  • Hypoallergenic design
  • Dust mite/bed bug barrier
  • No highly-allergenic wool or latex
  • Non-toxic fire protection
  • Seamless design
  • 2-stage, dual-sided firmness
  • 27.75″ x 52″ x 6″ size also fits toddler beds
  • Square corners for a snug fit
  • 10 – 12 lbs
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Made in the U.S.A.

With these Choices, You Can’t Go Wrong

USA Baby Nashville prides itself on caring enough about their customers to learn every facet of every product they carry. In doing so, you can feel confident that we offer only the safest and best products. When you’re uncertain about the right item for your baby, no matter what it is, we’re your source for sound advice. And when it comes to health and safety issues, you only want go where you know the staff is highly trained and ready to offer the best answers, as well as the reassurances every new parent needs from time to time. Come in or call. We’re here to help.


Leave a Reply