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Crib Mattress Buying Guide and FAQs

Babies often need to sleep up to 16 hours a day and a good crib mattress is integral to maximizing your baby's sleepy time. Here we've compiled everything you need to know when shopping for the best crib mattress for your little one.

Published May 25, 2016 | Share

Babies spend most of their time sleeping so it's important to have a good mattress for them to rest on. Watch the video to get tips on shopping for the best crib mattress.

Soft or firm - which mattress is better for a baby?

When it comes to your baby’s mattress, firmer is better. A mattress that’s too soft can conform to a baby’s shape and create a suffocation and SIDS hazard.

How do I test the firmness of a mattress?

In order to test the firmness of a baby mattress, Consumer Reports suggests you press on the mattress in the center and at the edges. It should snap back readily and should not conform to the shape of your hand.

What’s the difference between a foam crib mattress and an innerspring crib mattress?

Foam crib mattresses are usually made from polyurethane and occasionally latex or soy and are lighter in weight. Higher end foam mattresses can be dense but even those aren’t as heavy as the innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring crib mattresses have springs within the mattress that provide support. Crib mattresses can have up to 280 springs; the higher the spring count, the firmer the mattress. The gauge of the wire also determines firmness. A lower gauge means a thicker wire and a firmer mattress. So an ideal innerspring mattress would be 135 or more springs with a 15.5 gauge or lower. Overall, innerspring mattresses are usually a lot heavier than foam but are more durable and last longer.

Is a new crib mattress better than a used crib mattress?

A new mattress is always recommended. While lots of mattresses are hypoallergenic and dust and mite resistant, diaper leakage, bottle spills, and the like, when improperly cleaned, can cause bacteria to grow. A new mattress and always using a waterproof mattress cover eliminates this.

Of course, it’s not uncommon to hand down a mattress to siblings or relatives. If you are going to be using a previously used crib mattress, be sure to….If cleaned and maintained properly, handing down a used mattress can definitely be a cost-saving option.

What are the dimensions of a crib mattress?

As regulated by the Federal government, the dimensions of a standard crib mattress are 27 1/4 inches wide x 51 5/8 inches long and no thicker than 6 inches. Mini crib mattresses are smaller at 24 inches wide x 38 inches long and no thicker than 6 inches.

How much do crib mattresses cost?

Foam mattresses are typically less expensive than innerspring but Hayneedle has mattresses that range in price from $24 to $325.

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