Best Crib Mattress and Crib Mattress Reviews

The best crib mattress has firm support and fits snugly into the crib so there are no gaps whatsoever. These are the two most important safety features.

Firmness is necessary so your baby doesn’t sink into the mattress far enough to hinder breathing. Suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are real dangers that can result from a too-soft mattress, especially for young infants who cannot turn themselves around.

A snug fit makes sure that your baby can’t get trapped or caught between the crib and the mattress. Standard Crib Mattress Size is set by law, and cannot be less than 27 1/4 inches by 51 5/8. You can easily test the fit by pushing your fingers between the mattress and the crib. If you can fit two fingers inside, the gap is too big. The thickness of the mattress should be no more than six inches.

The best crib mattress is made from either an innerspring or foam core. While polyurethane foam is the most common (and probably the cheapest), latex is becoming more popular. An innerspring covered with latex padding is also very attractive to health-conscious, budget conscious parents.

All-organic versions are becoming more available and are popular with parents who want to give their babies the ultimate non-allergenic mattress. To some, the organic style IS the best on the market.

Weight Matters

No matter which type you choose, your baby’s mattress needs to be lightweight enough to lift easily. Since you will be changing the sheets and pads quite frequently, make sure it will not cause any extra hardship, as taking care of a baby is challenging enough without a weightlifting session added to the mix!

Pads and Protectors

The best baby mattress is well protected from moisture and bacteria. While standard versions offer plastic vinyl coverings, an organic or all-natural mattress would most likely use water-resistant wool or flannel with tightly-woven cotton covers, as vinyl coverings may contain phthalates (see below). Some natural mattresses offer a non-toxic waterproof plastic covering made with food-grade polyethylene (PETE), which does not leach harmful chemicals. See below under “Phthalate Free” for more details.

Inflammable yet Non Toxic

The best crib mattresses contain nontoxic fire retardants. An organic crib mattress might use wool covering to offer necessary inflammability as required by law. Make certain that whatever you ultimately choose for your baby has the least toxic ingredients as possible.

Phthalate Free

Best crib mattresses are phthalate free. Phthalates are chemicals used in plastics to add flexibility and softness. They have been linked to a variety of ills, including asthma, cancer, and reproductive abnormalities. It is especially important to protect babies and children from these toxins because they are especially vulnerable.

Phthalates are present in the vinyl coverings used in crib mattresses. Although the worst class of these chemicals have been banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) effective February 10th of 2009, there are still some allowable phthalates that are considered less toxic to infants and children, and unless otherwise specified, most crib mattresses will still contain these chemicals that are not banned. Yet to be on the safe side, you would want to avoid the entire class of these toxins.

Sealy crib mattresses describe all their models as “phthalate and flammability compliant.” That is good, but is it good enough? To be compliant simply means that their mattresses do not contain any substances banned by law. Well, I would hope so! Sealy does seem to offer some quality crib mattresses, though, and at least they do give out the information.

Simmons makes crib mattresses but does not mention phthalates anywhere on their official site. Serta makes them as well, but offers nothing on their company site either. You would need to go directly to the retailer to get the specs on Serta crib mattresses.

This is an unfortunate state of affairs from the big mattress names that could easily give out information important to parents. I would presume that all big-name brands are at least compliant on this issue.

For a completely phthalate-free (best) crib mattress, check out Naturepedic. They seem to offer some truly superior baby mattresses, and even better, they are sold in retail stores throughout the country.

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