Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing cribs and crib mattresses since 1994. Yes, that long! In addition to hands on inspections of crib mattresses, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We take a hands-on approach to evaluating crib mattresses—that means checking density of samples for firmness and researching the various exotic materials some mattress makers use (are coconut husks safe for a baby to sleep on?).
We also gather significant feedback from our readers (parents like you who’ve read our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print). We track mattress quality and durability—does that mattress start to sag over just a few months of use?
Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of crib mattresses to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.
We meet with key company executives from the major crib mattress makers at least once a year, to stay up on the latest trends and research.
6 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Crib Mattress!
1. Forget all the fancy claims: all you need is a firm mattress with a waterproof cover.
What’s inside the mattress (foam, coil, latex, mohair, etc) is a matter of personal preference. After reviewing dozens of studies on crib mattress safety, there is no evidence that one material is healthier (or more dangerous) than another . . . despite what you might read online! Organic crib mattresses are a matter of personal preference.
Next, it should snuggly fit your crib with no gaps more than two fingers length between the mattress and the crib.
And while you’d think it would be no-brainer, there are some mattresses sold with NON-waterproof covers, so buyer beware.
2. That crib mattress could cost more than your crib.
Yep, the best quality crib mattresses can run more than the cost of a crib. Organic cotton batting, seamless covers and other quality features do cost money.
3. There’s no such thing as a “breathable mattress.”
Many parents are understandably concerned about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Unfortunately, some crib mattress makers play on this fear by claiming their super-duper mattress made from special material (unicorn husk shavings?) is “breathable” and a lower suffocation risk than non-unicorn mattresses. Quick fact check: that’s FALSE.
These magical claims may lead some parents to think it is ok to put baby to sleep on their stomach. Wrong—the safest way for baby to sleep in a crib is on their back . . . on a firm mattress.
4. Key quality feature to look for: triple laminated/reinforced vinyl covers.
These covers are more durable and less likely to tear (when you move the mattress around to change the sheets). Lower quality mattresses just have a single or double layer of vinyl.
5. Say no to that hand-me-down.
Your friend’s cousin has a crib mattress sitting in her attic that she’d love to pawn off . . . uh, we mean graciously give you. Politely refuse. Why? Bacteria and mold can grow in an old mattress, even if it has a waterproof cover—and especially if it has been stored in a dank basement or unventilated attic. We also suggest a new mattress with each baby.
6. Lighter = Better.
Babies do all sorts of things in cribs other than occasionally sleep. When it is time to change the sheets, you have to wrestle with that crib mattress. And here, lighter mattresses (usually foam) are much easier to handle than heavier options (most likely coil mattresses). Another option: go for quick change sheets that don’t require you to wrestle with the mattress.
Let’s take a look at the structure of a foam mattress vs. a coil mattress (photo credits: Sealy):
Photo credit: Paul Hanaoka
BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.