How to Choose a Crib Mattress
Of all the things you are buying to prepare for the arrival of your little one, a crib mattress is probably not very exciting. However, even though it may seem a little boring compared to mobiles, clothes, and toys, buying a mattress is one of the more crucial purchases you will be making. After all, newborns spend a lot of time sleeping (even if it's not all the way through the night!). The right mattress can keep them comfortable and, most importantly, safe.
Let's talk about safety first. Make sure the mattress you buy fits snuggly within the crib. This is very important! If there are large gaps between the mattress and crib, your baby could get their little arms or face stuck in there. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if you can fit two fingers between the mattress and the crib, you should find a better fit. Bring your tape measure to the store with you.
Another safety feature is firmness. Mattresses for babies are quite different than anything we'd pick out for ourselves; you should be able to press your hand into the mattress and see it bounce right back when you remove your hand. According to KidsHealth.org, surfaces that are too soft can increase the risk of SIDS, which, of course, is every parent's nightmare. Firm is best!
Now, there are a couple other features that are optional. For example, you can choose between foam and innersprings. From all the research out there, there really isn't any evidence that proves one is better over the other. Consumer Reports discusses the two options and states that innersprings are more popular, probably due to the fact that most adults own innerspring mattresses. However, they go on to report that there is no real difference in quality.
Another option you have is whether or not to get a waterproof mattress. It's not necessary, but it can be extremely helpful when your little one experiences some nighttime leaking. Remember, if you purchase a waterproof mattress be sure to also purchase a mattress cover. This will be a lot more comfortable for your baby, as vinyl tends to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
You also need to decide whether or not to purchase a new or used mattress. Consumer Reports recommends that you buy new. When you buy new, you can be sure that the mattress is free from mold, is not overly worn, and you will also be sure it's a quality brand. Buying second-hand baby items is a great way to be green and save some green, but be wary when it comes to mattresses.
Lastly, you need to pick out a quality brand, and this is where Consumer Reports definitely comes in handy. The crib mattress brands that they recommend are: Colgate, Da Vinci, Dream on Me, Baby Prestige, Pediatric, Sealy, Moonlight Slumber, and Simmons Kids. You should be able to find a high quality mattress from 90 to 200 dollars.
So, hop online to do some price comparisons, but don't forget to measure your crib and bring your tape measure to the store (or check the dimensions online). Make sure the mattress is firm and, of course, waterproof, and be confident in the fact that your baby will be sleeping on the best.