Looking for a new crib mattress? Fortunately, you have several good options from which to choose.
Strictly speaking, crib mattresses typically contain either a foam or a spring core. However, as with any product category, the distinctions between baby mattress types can be far more nuanced, particularly with respect to their classification as “organic.” For example, a foam mattress can be either organic latex or non-organic polyurethane, and an innerspring mattress can be made with either organic or non-organic materials. Manufacturers will generally position their products according to the consumer they are trying to reach. So from the consumer’s perspective, there are three main categories of baby mattresses available on the market today, each of which are acceptable choices.
As with ‘grown-up’ mattresses, innerspring construction is a very popular choice for baby and toddler mattresses sold today. Given the ubiquity of spring baby mattresses, they are available in a wide range of prices. At the higher-end, an innerspring crib mattress may contain various special features, and will generally offer a bit more durability, which might be a particularly appealing option for those who would like to re-use their baby’s mattress with future children. With innerspring crib mattresses, look for tighter and/or more abundant coils, which make for a firmer mattress. Better models come with anywhere from 150 to 300 coils, and will feel noticeably firmer when squeezed. Spring crib mattresses also have an insulation layer that keeps the upper cushioning layers from sinking into the coils, and are then topped with a layer of padding. As with all crib mattresses, it is important that the surface of the mattress be firm, in order to ensure the baby’s safety.
Foam baby mattresses are another common choice for many parents, and are most often made with conventional polyurethane foam. With these mattresses, denser foam is better – higher-end crib mattresses have a density of at least 1.5 pounds per cubic inch in order to provide the requisite level of support, firmness, and durability. For safety purposes, a baby’s foam mattress shouldn’t conform to the body like memory foam does, and should require some pressure to make a dent with your hand. It’s a common misconception that foam crib mattresses will ‘break down’ relatively quickly – today, a high-quality foam baby mattress is durable enough to last at least as long as it takes for your child to outgrow it. As an added bonus, the light weight of a foam mattress also makes it easier to change the child’s bedding, which can be awkward given the high protective railings on most modern cribs.
Not surprisingly, many parents are increasingly seeking organic crib mattresses for their babies. Like with all organic mattresses, the appeal of an organic baby mattress stems from its natural materials and eco-friendliness. More specifically, when it comes to their children, many parents understandably have an even greater concern about exposure to chemicals than they do for themselves. To address this consideration, an organic crib mattress is typically constructed using components such as natural latex, organic cotton and wool, and other natural materials. For a baby mattress, an excellent insulation material is coir fibers, which are made from shredded coconut shells. Many green crib mattress materials – such as natural latex and certain types of organic wool – have the added advantage of being inherently anti-microbial and/or hypo-allergenic. Organic mattress cover materials, such as cotton and wool, tend to be more breathable, but may not offer the same protection against wetness as would more conventional cover materials.