Parents should be careful when choosing from among the dozens of crib mattresses available from reliable brands like Sealy. The right choice in a crib mattress isn’t just for your baby’s benefit but also for your benefit as parents! The peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that your baby is safe, secure and comfortable in his crib cannot be bought anywhere.
There’s also the fact that babies spend up to 18 hours of each day sleeping. Your baby then deserves a soft, supportive and comfortable mattress that, in turn, will promote his normal growth. You will also like it that your baby may be less fussy during his late night and/or early morning diaper changes and milk feedings.
Know the Safety Criteria First
Most newbie parents are overwhelmed by the wide variety of crib mattresses and, unfortunately, tend to choose the unsuitable ones just to get it over with. But this can be dangerous for the baby’s health, especially since the best crib mattress should comply with a set of safety standards including but not limited to:
The mattress should fit so well into the corners of the crib such that there are no gaps between the two components. Otherwise, your baby’s small hands and legs can become caught in these gaps, thus, increasing the risks of injuries. The rule of thumb is that if you can fit two fingers in the gap between the mattress and the crib’s wooden slats, then there’s no proper fit – look for another crib mattress with a larger size.
The mattress should ideally be firm for safety reasons. A soft mattress, especially memory foam, can easily and quickly conform to your baby’s head so there’s an increased risk of suffocation, even the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You may think that your cute baby should be surrounded by soft materials but you have to draw the line at a soft mattress and soft plush toys in his crib.
The mattress must also be made of non-toxic materials for safety reasons, too. Babies are more vulnerable to the effects of pesticides, adhesives, and chemical flame retardants used in many mattresses so organic, natural and non-toxic mattresses are the best way to go. Again, experts strongly recommend against memory foam in crib mattresses because it has a slight chemical smell that may affect a baby’s health.
If necessary, you can ask your baby’s pediatrician for recommended crib mattresses. You can also read informational materials on the subject before making your decision.
Know the Mattress Types Next
Choosing from among dozens of choices becomes easier when you know the two major types of crib mattresses. First, foam mattresses are typically made of polyurethane, which has several advantages. These are lighter in weight with most weighing 5-13 pounds but less springy while still providing firm support and comfort.
Second, innerspring mattresses are popular in the United States because these also have their merits. The innersprings provide sufficient back support for your baby’s still-developing spine, especially when these come in firmer configurations. The general rule is that the lower gauge number, the firmer the innerspring mattress will be.
But parents should also beware as innerspring mattresses are heavier than foam mattresses so there’s more difficulty when changing the sheets. There’s also the possibility that these can be used as mini-trampolines when your baby becomes a toddler and, thus, able to practice his jumps.
Both types, nonetheless, provide excellent support and comfort for infants and toddlers. Just be sure to choose either a foam or an innerspring mattress with satisfactory quality.
Know Quality When You See It
Your keen eye of observation coupled with your sense of touch and common sense should contribute to your ability to know quality mattresses when you see them. You will observe, for one thing, that cheap innerspring and foam mattresses have thinner seams, edgings and vinyl coverings that will dry, crack and tear faster. You will find, too, that as the price increases on crib mattresses, these design aspects become thicker with added features like reinforced laminates and puncture resistance.
Basically, quality innerspring crib mattresses have high-quality cushioning and gauge steel while quality foam mattresses are made of denser foam. Just to be sure, you should read the manufacturer’s technical description of the mattresses, read the reviews of other parents, and test the mattresses in the store before buying a crib mattress.
In fact, if a manufacturer and/or retailer cannot provide sufficient technical information about the crib mattresses, then you should be doubtful o their quality. You, the consumer, are protected by law that stipulates manufacturers should reveal what their mattresses are made of.
And be sure to push down on crib mattresses first. Your hand should spring back almost immediately when you push on a mattress, a sign that it’s the right quality. You should pick a crib mattress with a firmer feel than your own preferred firmness since your baby will require more support.
Lastly, don’t be taken in by the warranties because crib mattresses are designed for short-term use for a single baby, not for becoming hand-me-downs. Indeed, you should always buy a new crib mattress even when a secondhand mattress looks and feels okay.