Best Crib Mattresses & Pads for Babies & Toddlers Reviewed in 2018

Babies have a full agenda each day of eating, filling their diapers, and sleeping. Infants spend an average of 16 hours each day sleeping. (Sounds like the dream, doesn’t it?) Given how much of their early years are spent cuddled up in their cribs, we understand how important it is to many families that they invest in a comfortable, safe mattress which promises quality and longevity.

If your baby is having trouble sleeping soundly, consider whether their mattress is the right fit for them. Like adults, babies may be fussy about the texture of their mattress. They may also be responding to chemicals some manufacturers slip into their crib mattresses. While in a perfect world, they would be disclosing every chemical used in their products, not all companies are so transparent. We suggest aiming to buy mattresses made from organic or all-natural resources. Look for mattresses that are padded, but not too thick. (Overly thick mattresses pose the risk of suffocating babies who roll and sink into them.) Additionally, mattresses that are too soft can conform to baby’s body and cause breathing hazards or SIDS.

If you’re uncertain about whether to buy foam or innerspring, if you’re still trying to figure out the most important priorities in a crib mattress for your family, or if you’re curious about the necessary firmness, and potential toxic materials in various brands, read on below. We’ve gathered our 10 favorite market products, and answered any questions you may have below. Sleep tight, little ones!

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By Amanda Milewski:

It is critical that your baby has a crib mattress made with nontoxic materials that also offers firm support for his/her developing bones. Our panel of experts combed the internet and have created this top 10 list to help you with your selection. We have added a couple of new mattress options and have researched and reviewed the product information to ensure that it is both accurate and up to date.

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Crib Mattresses & Pads for Babies & Toddlers

Nontoxic Materials

After the recent reports by top universities and whistleblowers who published their findings regarding the use of toxic and harmful chemicals in mattresses, public outcry followed. Alarmed families were shocked to learn that they were putting their loved ones at risk without even being aware of it. This also led to the investigations of crib mattresses, and how they compared. Unfortunately, the findings were the same, and parents everywhere were horrified when they found out that even some of the most-trusted brands were using harmful chemicals in their products. This is why it has become so important to choose a crib mattress that uses only natural or organic materials, or as close to natural as possible. Your growing baby’s health is always our top priority, which is why we created a list of only the best all-natural and organic crib mattresses.

Quality

When it comes to mattresses, finding one that fits within your budget can be a challenge. Retail prices for high-quality crib mattresses can range widely depending on thickness, amounts of materials used, and things like certifications from prominent health organizations. For this reason, we felt it was necessary to present a wide spectrum of price points, without sacrificing top quality. Because of the demand for natural and organic baby products, it is easier now than ever before to find a well-made crib mattress within your budget. The mattresses on our list are durable and long-lasting, and never lose their firmness even after years of regular use. A quality crib mattress should offer not just a pleasing appearance or economical price, but also longevity. Although your baby will eventually outgrow their crib mattress, you should still look at it as an investment that will help to safeguard your baby’s health.

Comfort

As adults, we take great care when purchasing a mattress to find one that suits our comfort needs, whether that be an extra-firm mattress, a memory-foam core, or an adjustable head and feet area. We should take the same amount of care and time researching the best crib mattress to ensure our children are 100 percent happy. After all, they’re the ones who are going to spend many hours in the crib, so it’s important to find a crib mattress that offers superior comfort. There are also health and developmental reasons for the importance of a quality crib mattress; your baby’s spine and limbs are still growing and don’t yet have a natural support that adults do, so it’s recommended to buy a crib mattress that offers firm support. As a general rule, your baby should never be “sinking” into the mattress. A growing baby’s bones need a surprising amount of support at this stage, and what may feel too firm to an adult is often perfect for a baby.

Water-Resistant Fabric Covers

Messes are to be expected when you’re a mom, so it’s always a plus when baby products are designed from the beginning to make clean up as stress-free as possible. Things like waterproof fabric covers, fire-resistant layering, and stain-resistant materials all help to make these crib mattresses not just safe, but easy to manage as well. A thick and reliable mattress cover is absolutely necessary because it prevents soiling of the inner mattress material. Because accidents are bound to happen, a large majority of the products on our list feature resilient waterproof covers that you can depend on not to leak through. Another essential covering is a fireproof or fire-resistant layer, which is the latest innovation to hit the market. These days, instead of using toxic fire retardants in crib mattresses, eco-conscious companies are using natural plant materials that are known to already have an inherent flammability resistance.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some of the toxic materials I should avoid when buying a crib mattress?

A: The first step you can take to improve your baby’s health is to educate yourself by becoming more aware of what to look out for when you’re ready to buy your first crib mattress. Because there are so many reports out there that can sometimes have conflicting information, it’s important to learn about the most common toxic chemicals that pop up frequently on safety reports. Some of these include flame retardants, phthalates, and common fragrance chemicals found in house-cleaning solutions like limonene. These and other toxic chemicals are classified as VOCs or volatile organic compounds.

Q: How easy are these mattresses to clean?

A: You’ll be surprised just how easy they are! The crib mattresses on our list are all designed with you the parent in mind, by using materials that are easy to clean and resistant to stains and spills. And, because most of these crib mattresses have waterproof covers, when accidents do happen you never have to worry about the inner core of the mattress being ruined. With these mattress covers, all it takes is a quick wipe with a damp cloth for most spills. Also, several of these crib mattresses feature removable covers that can be machine-washed for even easier maintenance! By machine-washing your baby’s mattress cover at a hot temperature, this will help kill any bacteria or dust mites.

Q: How do I know if these will fit my crib?

A: The great thing about these crib mattresses is that many of them are already able to fit the standard and most common crib size, which tends to be around 52 by 27 inches for most cribs. Most crib manufacturers follow these standard measurements, so if you are unsure whether your crib is considered a standard size, then it’s best to use a measuring tape to get an accurate measurement before buying a crib mattress. This will ensure that the mattress fits perfectly inside the crib and lays flat, which is important for your baby’s overall comfort.

Q: Which ones offer a fire-protection layer in the mattress?

A: Finding a crib mattress that offers natural, flame-resistant materials used to be almost impossible. But thankfully, today’s modern and eco-conscious crib mattresses come with the same amount of flammability safety precautions, but without the use of toxic flame retardants. This really is a win-win for families who are concerned about their baby’s health, but who appreciate the safety assurance of fire-resistant materials. Some of the options on our list that offer such protection include the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Crib Mattress and the Colgate Eco Classica III. All of these crib mattresses pass the federal guidelines for flammability standards.

Q: How firm should my baby’s mattress be?

A: This can often seem contradictory to many parents. It’s easy to assume that you should buy only the softest crib mattress available for your baby. However, this is not actually the case. Because a baby’s bones are still developing, they need even more support than you would think. For this reason, health experts recommend a mattress that is as firm as possible, but still comfortable. A general rule of thumb is that the mattress should spring back up when you push down on it and not leave a deep hand imprint. The options on our list are all designed to give your baby the best support possible by offering firm bedding with soft materials.

Q: What are some of the natural stuffing materials used in these crib mattresses?

A: This is largely in response to the toxic chemicals used in synthetic foams, which have been shown to produce harmful off-gases. Since then, there has been an explosion of natural and organic materials on the market that offer today’s modern families more options and control over their children’s health. Instead of man-made toxic stuffing materials that release toxic fumes over time, these crib mattresses are made with things like recycled organic plant matter, such as the Sealy Soybean Crib Mattress that uses an all-natural soybean foam. Another great example is the Natural Mat Coco Mat, which uses the outer material of coconuts for the mattresses inner stuffing, providing a truly sustainable and effective inner core.

Q: What are the different types of baby mattresses available to me?

A: There are two types of baby mattresses to choose from: foam and innerspring. A foam mattress will likely have more variety for baby’s comfort, be lightweight, and the less-expensive option. Organic foam mattresses are available, but check to make sure if this is a priority for you. They’re also less durable, often lack edge support, and wind up with indentations pretty easily. Cheaper foam mattresses may not hold up as well or as long as the more expensive variety, but they’re good if you’re on a tight budget, and can easily be replaced. Both memory foam and gel foam are available. Memory foam contours and adjusts for our bodies, and gel retains temperature. If your mattress is a little smaller than the crib, aim for something with better edge support so your baby doesn’t roll into the cracks (this can lead to suffocation and SIDS). Innerspring or coil mattresses, on the other hand, are geared for longevity and firm support. These are your best options if you intend to use the mattress for more than one child, or give/have received it as a hand me down. Innerspring mattresses are heavier and cost more, but will last far longer than their foam counterparts. They have solid edge support, but poor covering can lead to exposed springs, so be careful to check the mattress regularly for any wear and tear.

Sources

  1. Baby Center Staff, How to buy a crib mattress, Online Article,
  2. Olga Naidenko Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor for Children's Environmental Health and Tasha Stoiber, Senior Scientist , What to Look for When Buying a Crib Mattress, Online Article,
  3. Gloria , How Firm is Firm Enough for a Baby Crib Mattress?, Blog Article,
  4. Admin, What is the Standard Crib Mattress Size?, About Page,
  5. The University of Texas at Austin, Crib Mattresses Emit High Rates of Potentially Harmful Chemicals, Cockrell School Engineers Find, Informative Article,