Table of Contents
- Everything You Need to Know About Crib Mattresses
- Crib Mattress Buying Guide
- Our 5 Picks for Different Crib Mattress Size
Our children are our everything. We all want to give them the best that money can buy. Few things have as much of an impact on the overall health and happiness of everyone in the family as your child’s sleep habits. This is especially true during the newborn stage – when babies are asleep more than they’re awake.
But, figuring out which crib mattress is truly the best can be confusing. There are so many options and each claims to be the best in class.
What should you look for? Which brands should you trust? How much should you expect to pay?
Everything You Need to Know About Crib Mattresses
Given that children spend a significant chunk of their days asleep (the younger they are, the more they sleep), creating an environment conducive to restful sleep is critical. Thankfully, parents have dozens of options to choose from. Regardless of your specific requirements, there’s a crib mattress that checks all the boxes.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available options you should consider crib mattress size, brand reliability, and price points. These three factors will guide you in your decision-making process.
For a better understanding of exactly what you’re looking for, read on for a deep dive into crib mattress manufacturing. But first, take a moment to review some sleep safety basics.
Tips for Creating a Safe Sleeping Environment for Babies
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back.
- Keep your baby’s crib in your bedroom. If your bedroom is too small to accommodate a crib, try a bassinet or cradle crib.
- Do not use rolled-up blankets or supports to keep your baby on their back. These increase the risk of suffocation.
- Always put your baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet — never on a couch, chair, waterbed, or other surfaces. These surfaces are not designed to ensure your infant has enough air to breathe while sleeping.
- Never put stuffed animals, pillows, or anything else in the crib with your baby.
- Keep your baby’s temperature stable by adjusting the room temperature to ensure it is not too warm.
This traditional mattress type uses steel inner coils to create a sturdy and resilient mattress. For comfort, a layer of polyester, cotton, or foam forms a few layers above the coils.
There are two terms you’ll need to know when shopping for innerspring mattresses: a coil count and the steel gauge. A mattress coil count refers to the number of steel coils within the mattress. The higher the coil count, the more supportive the mattress. The steel gauge refers to the thickness of coils within the mattress. The lower the number, the thicker the coil. Innerspring mattresses do tend to be both more expensive and heavier.
According to Consumer Reports, innerspring mattresses should be between 135 and 150 coils and be made of 13/5-gauge steel.
Made of a foam resin called polyurethane, foam mattresses are popular because they’re lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. When shopping for foam mattresses, there are a couple of things you will want to look at.
First, check the mattress’ resiliency by pressing your hand on the mattress and seeing how long it takes to bounce back to its original shape. The faster it bounces back, the better.
Next, check the density by picking the mattress up to see how heavy it is or squeezing the sides of the mattress. Denser mattresses will be both heavy and hard to squeeze at the sides.
Double-sided mattresses offer parents the best of both worlds. These mattresses have a firmer side for infants on one side and flip over for a softer and more toddler-appropriate side.
The beauty of this option is that you can easily transition your child from a crib to a toddler bed without having to replace the mattress. The only pitfalls of double-sided mattresses are the price tag and the amount of attention you must pay when changing the sheets. It’s critical to make sure you’re always facing the correct side up.
Crib Mattress Buying Guide
How to Choose the Right Crib Mattress
Choosing a mattress for your infant or toddler is not all that different than choosing a mattress for yourself — with a few additional considerations. Beyond comfort, you’ll want to consider how easy it is to clean, how expensive it is, and how it’s made.
Here are the key things to look for when browsing options:
|Size||The average size of a standard full-size crib mattress should be at least 27.25 x 51.25 inches – with a thickness of 6 inches. Mini crib mattresses, on the other hand, should be 24 x 38 inches.|
|Firmness||Crib mattresses are designed to properly support your baby’s bones as they grow. This means that they’re firmer than adult mattresses. The best way to ensure the mattress you choose is right for your baby is to make sure it’s rated for infant use.|
|Waterproof||Most crib mattresses come with an outer surface made of vinyl or polyethylene to ensure they’re waterproof. If yours does not or if you are using a fabric mattress, be sure to buy a waterproof cover.|
|Material||For parents who feel more comfortable with organic products, many crib mattresses are made from natural and organic materials and promise minimal chemical use during manufacturing. Vinyl, woven covers, cotton, and natural fiber covers are all considered safe by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.|
To ensure your child’s mattress is the right size, use two fingers to test how much space lies between the edge of the mattress and the crib rail. If the gap is more than two fingers wide, the mattress is too small for your crib and increases the risk of injury and suffocation.
Other Crib Mattress Shopping Tips
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to narrow down your choices, let’s review a few more details you won’t want to overlook when buying a mattress.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a manageable number, take some time to research:
- Necessary certifications
- Return policies
- Shipping fees and timelines
- Customer reviews
- Amazon ratings
Organic vs. Non-Organic
As we learn more about the chemicals that go into the manufacturing processes and the impact these chemicals have on our health and the health of the environment; increasing numbers of parents are opting for organic products — regardless of the size of crib mattress you need.
More expensive than non-organic options, they offer peace of mind for thousands of parents and boast a litany of certifications. Additionally, the materials used in organic mattresses tend to be of higher quality than those used in non-organic mattresses. Still, thanks to a host of state and federal safety regulations, non-organic mattresses are by no means unsafe and will more than suffice for your child.
If you do decide to go organic, it’s helpful to understand what some of these mattresses are constructed from.
For the most part, organic materials used in crib mattresses include:
- organic cotton
- coconut fibers
- food-grade polymers
- plant-based foam
- natural latex
Crib Mattress Size Chart
Unsure what size mattress to get? Review the crib mattress size chart below.
Our 5 Picks for Different Crib Mattress Size
Toddler Mattress: Graco Premium Foam Crib & Toddler Mattress
Thanks to the brand’s affordability, reliability, and reputation; Graco has earned its place as a market leader and consistently ranks at the top of “Best Of” lists. Free from harsh chemicals, the winner of multiple awards, and encased in a water-resistant cover; Graco’s Premium Foam Crib Mattress gives the entire family the sleep they need.
- 100 percent machine washable (simply remove the outer cover and wash in cold water on a delicate cycle)
- Foam construction that ensures breathability
- Water-resistant cover that holds up to wet diapers and spills
- Approved for infant use
Safety is the cornerstone of Graco’s mission.
Every Graco crib and toddler mattress is guaranteed to be free from any of the 10,000 chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that have proven toxicity levels. Additionally, testing done in independent laboratories confirms that Graco’s foam mattress meets the highest safety standards — including all federal safety and flammability standards. Finally, the Graco Premium doesn’t contain ozone depleters, formaldehyde, or other heavy metals.
The mattress is constructed using a highly breathable foam that ensures proper airflow and decreases the risk of suffocation. Its firmness mirrors that of recommended levels for infants and poses no threat to newborns’ breathing or muscle development.
Overall, the mattress offers your little ones a safe and cozy sleeping environment that they can grow into as they develop. For parents, the peace of mind that comes from Graco’s insistence on toxin-free manufacturing is invaluable.
Shipping, Setup, and Care Instructions
Graco buyers consistently report receiving their mattresses within days of ordering. The mattress itself is compressed to fit within a lightweight and easy-to-carry box before being shipped. It arrives on your doorstep with easy-to-follow assembly and care instructions.
Once your mattress arrives, Graco suggests opening the box in a well-ventilated room. Once you remove the mattress from the box and unwrap the plastic covering, lay the mattress on a hard and flat surface and give it up to 48 hours to fully expand into its crib-ready shape.
To clean, remove the outer cover and wash. Machine-washable for convenience, the outer cover should be washed in cold water on a delicate cycle before being hung to dry. It’s important to note that using bleach and putting your mattress in a machine dryer is ill-advised. The former can introduce dangerous toxins in your child’s sleep environment while the latter can damage the structure of the cover to prevent a proper fit after washing.
- Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval,
- 2021 Women’s Choice Award
- 2021 National Parenting Product Award
Overall, the Graco premium foam mattress checks all the boxes parents look for – and more. If you’re considering a Graco foam mattress, check out the following purchasing, care, and usage resources.
Customer Service: 1-800-345-4109
The designers, engineers, and management at Moonlight Slumber clearly understand how critical a good night’s sleep is for everyone! That’s why, as they like to say, the company “takes sleep seriously.”
Perhaps the only things Moonlight Slumber takes more seriously than sleep are safety and customer satisfaction. The brand’s Little Dreamer Crib Mattress goes above and beyond on both fronts. Loved by industry leaders, parents, mattress experts, and babies alike; the Little Dream Crib Mattress offers parents the ability to meet both infant and toddler sleep needs with a single product — thereby saving time, money, and stress.
Before we dive into the details of the mattress, let’s look at standard crib mattress dimensions and other basics.
- 2-stage sleep system that offers an extra firm mattress for infants and flips to provide a softer, more comfortable mattress for toddlers.
- Water-resistant mattress with machine-washable outer cover.
- Arrows on each side to demonstrate which side is designed for infants, and which is designed for toddlers.
- Plant oil-infused to be environmentally friendly, odor-resistant, waterproof, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and more.
- Medical grade, 4-way stretch knit outer cover
Moonlight Slumber leaves no stones unturned when it comes to safety. Both sides of the two-sided mattress are made with CertiPUR-US certified foam. Additionally, the mattress has been proven to be free from spray-on fire retardant chemicals, PVCs, phthalates, lead, and more.
Instead of turning to harsh chemicals to keep the mattress stain-resistant and odor-free; Moonlight Slumber’s innovative engineers figured out how to harness the power of plant oils for the good of their customers. Each mattress is infused with plant oils and wrapped in a woven fire barrier that is safe, environmentally friendly, and effective.
The infant side provides an extra firm and newborn-safe environment while the plush toddler side offers a comfortable and cozy mattress for children as they grow. Regardless of which side you’re using, the mattress has been proven to support children’s development from birth through toddlerhood.
Shipping, Setup, and Care Instructions
The mattress is shipped quickly and fits in an easy-to-carry box. Upon arrival, lay the mattress on a hard and flat surface in a well-ventilated room and let it sit for up to 48 hours. This gives the mattress time to fully expand and any packaging gases time to escape.
When cleaning the mattress, avoid using diaper wipes, bleach, or harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for a damp sponge and mild soap. To clean the outer cover, simply toss in the washing machine on a delicate cycle with mild detergent and hang to dry.
When using your Little Dreamer Crib Mattress, pay close attention to the arrows on the tags. These will guide you in placing the right side up and ensure your newborn has the safety and firmness they require.
- 2021 parent tested parent approved mom’s best list
- 2020 Baby Bargains Best Baby Crib Mattress
- 2020 New York Times Wirecutter Best Crib Mattress
- Nightlight 2020 Best Crib Mattress
- 2019 Mattress Advisor Top Pick
- 2018 The Bump Best Crib Mattress
Made in America using only premium materials and innovative manufacturing processes, the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Crib Mattress runs circles around most other brands by offering a way to save money on replacement mattresses, an unbeatable level of eco-friendliness and safety, and a full lifetime guarantee and flexible return policy. Reviews from parents are unanimously positive.
Customer Service: 1-847-289-0101
As cities get denser and larger numbers of parents are living in smaller spaces, the need for space-saving furniture has dramatically increased. Portable and mini-cribs have stepped up to provide comfort without eating up your entire bedroom.
Recommended for infants up to six months in age, the Dream on Me Holly 3” Fiber Portable Crib Mattress fits most mini and portable cribs, cradles your baby while they sleep, keeps moisture and toxins out, and provides parents with a modern-looking affordable option that fits in even the smallest of spaces.
- Eco-fiber inner core provides extra support
- Waterproof binding
- Soft vinyl cover
- Designed, engineered, and made in the US
- Square corner design that ensures a snug fit in mini and portable cribs
- Hypoallergenic and antibacterial cover prevents mold, mildew, and odor
- Waterproof binding keeps wetness, bacteria, and bed bugs away
Dream on Me is a leader in safe manufacturing processes. The Holy Mini Crib Mattress is GREENGUARD Gold Certified, JPMA Certified, and passes all state and federal flammability regulations. Additionally, every Dream on Me mattress has been tested for thousands of chemicals and VOCs and is proven to be free from phthalates and lead.
The Dream on Me Holly Mattress is not designed for pack and plays, or standard cribs, and buyers should be sure to check the exact measurements of their crib to ensure a safe and protected sleep environment for their baby.
Shipping, Setup, and Care Instructions
Dream on Me will ship the 3’ Holly Mattress anywhere within the United States and typically ships within a week. Once the mattress arrives, parents are advised to unwrap in a ventilated room and allow 24-48 hours of sitting time for the mattress. This gives it time to achieve its full shape and to prevent any off-gassing from impacting your baby.
Cleaning the Dream on Me Mattress is as easy as wiping it down with warm water and soap. As with any mattress your baby sleeps on, harsh chemicals should never be used for cleaning and the company advises against placing the mattress cover in the dryer. Instead, hang to dry to ensure it retains its shape.
Dream on Me provides comfort, safety, sustainability, and affordability — all within a single product.
Shaped Crib: Iceblue HD Oval Pad Mattress
For parents of newborns, convenient sleep solutions reign supreme. Bassinets, cradle cribs, moses baskets, and more give parents the peace of mind that comes from knowing their little ones are close while they sleep while providing babies with a cozy sleep environment that feels soothing and protective.
Unfortunately, most of these sleep options come with poorly made mattresses. These plastic bassinet mattresses crinkle when your little one moves, offer little to no support, and lack the comfortable feel of a full-size crib mattress.
Shaped Crib Mattresses like the Iceblue HD Oval Pad offer a solution that more than exceeds expectations. Finally, you can have the bassinet you’ve fallen in love with without sacrificing your baby’s safety or comfort.
- Organic cotton cover
- Soft and breathable
- Removable and washable mattress cover
Shipping, Setup, and Care Instructions
In most cases, the mattress pad arrives within a week. Given its size, shipping is easy and the pad does not need to be vacuumed sealed to fit into a box. This makes the initial process easier but does not eliminate the need to let the mattress pad sit for at least several hours. This will ensure off-gassing is complete and the mattress pad reaches its full size and shape.
To clean the mattress pad, simply remove the cover and wipe it down with warm water and mild soap. Do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals to clean the cover and never put your mattress pad cover in the dryer.
Overall, the Iceblue mattress cover is a customer favorite. Negative reviews are rare and parents unanimously rave about the amount of comfort and firmness offered by Iceblue. One thing to note, bassinet and cradle crib sizes do vary. The Iceblue HD oval pad does fit most – but not all – bassinets and cradle cribs. Be sure to check the size of your crib before purchasing.
And, as always, use two fingers to ensure the space between the mattress and the crib does not exceed two fingers in width. This increases the risk of suffocation in infants.
Editor’s Pick: Naturepedic Breathable Organic Crib Mattress
Luxury meets sustainability with Naturepedic’s Organic Breathable Crib Mattress.
Hands down, Naturepedic is the winner in the safest manufacturing category. This mattress is a must-have for anyone looking to provide an extraordinarily comfortable sleep environment for their baby without sacrificing safety. Naturepedic’s mattress puts off-gassing, ventilation, and safe manufacturing to bed for good.
Boasting MadeSafe, Greenguard Gold, and Global Textile Certifications, this mini crib mattress is filled with organic cotton and is covered with a three-dimensional organic cotton cover. Waterproof, easy-to-clean, and firm enough for newborns; the Naturepedic Organic Breathable Crib Mattress meets and exceeds all expectations.
- Lightweight and fits most standard cribs
- The waterproof surface made from non-GMO sugarcane is so safe that it meets food contact standards (meaning it’s so safe that you could eat off it!)
- Easy-to-clean cover lets you wipe up messes effortlessly
- Three-dimensional surface increases airflow and improves temperature regulation
- Dual-sided for both infant and toddler use
- Recommended by Zero Toxics Product Registry, Allergy Kids Foundation, Healthy Child Healthy World, Kids for Saving Earth, Green America, American Sustainable Business Council, Clean Production Action, and More
Safety is where Naturepedic excels. The brand is known for going well above checking boxes when it comes to ensuring every product is completely free from harmful chemicals.
Not only are its mattresses filled with organic cotton; the outer cover is free from chemical fire and water repellents, and the Organic Breathable Crib Mattress exceeds all relevant state and federal flammability standards.
Given its price point, the Naturepedic Crib Mattress won’t be the right choice for every family but for those with the money to splurge, the brand offers a proven record of reliability, safety, and sustainability.
Your little one will love the comfortable sleep environment they’re given. You’ll love the deep sleep you get from knowing they’re safe and everyone will appreciate the hassle-free transition from crib to toddler bed.
Particularly in the newborn stage, safe sleeping is critical. For newborns, never put additional items or blankets in the crib. Ensure there is no more than 2 fingers’ worth of space between the mattress, and make sure your crib mattress meets all infant sleeping regulations.
While sizes can vary from model to model, most crib mattresses are 24 inches wide and 38 inches long.
While marketed as different products, crib mattresses, and toddler mattresses are not all that dissimilar, and most can be used from infancy through toddlerhood. The only caveat is that the mattress must be two-sided to provide the firmness infants require for development and safety on one side and the softness toddlers crave on the other.
Generally, a toddler crib mattress is 27 ¼ by 51 ⅝ inches in size.
Every child is different, and timelines vary but – as a rule of thumb – children are typically ready for a toddler crib mattress when they are a year old. Please consult your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
Again, timelines vary. Typically, children are ready for a toddler bed between the ages of 18 months and three years of age. If you’re considering a toddler bed; consider whether your child has outgrown their crib, can climb out of the crib, or expresses an interest in a “big kid” bed.
Babies and toddlers require a snug mattress fit for safety. Checking for the right fit is as simple as sticking two fingers between the mattress and the crib or toddler bed walls. If you can fit more than two fingers in the space, the mattress is too small and, therefore, unsafe. Always be sure to compare crib dimensions against mattress dimensions before purchasing to avoid having to return a product.
All foam crib mattresses are constructed with polyurethane foam. Most are CertiPUR-US Certified. This means that the mattress has been tested for durability and low emission levels.
There are three types of certifications crib mattresses typically hold. GreenGuard Gold Certification means that the mattress has been tested for toxins and contains minimal or non-existent emissions levels. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) confirms that the mattress’s makeup is at least 70% organic. The CertiPUR-US Seal verifies that the mattress contains a flexible polyurethane foam that’s been tested for safety.
The main difference lies in how rigorously the mattress was tested and whether tests were performed by outside laboratories. To qualify as GREENGUARD Certified, a mattress must prove it meets some of the most rigorous standards of low emissions and is free from most VOCs (volatile organic compounds). To qualify as GREENGUARD Gold, a mattress must pass tests performed by independent laboratories and prove to be free from any emissions.