Find the BEST Baby Crib Mattress

Crib mattresses are rarely cute, don't make funny noises nor will they hold a place of importance in the baby memory books. The main mark of distinction of the lowly baby bed mattress is that it may be the only thing in the house that gets peed on more than you. One important thing I want to tell you is that mattresses vary in size and quality. Please be sure that you get the right mattress for your baby's bed.

It's pretty easy to get carried away in choosing the baby bedding and furniture. Shopping for the baby crib mattress may not be as much fun, but it must be done correctly to be certain that it fits the crib or bassinet properly and that it is made of materials that you are comfortable with.

Baby mattresses are an area where moms should accept nothing less than perfection for their babies. If you have been pleased with Sealy Posturepedic mattresses in your own bed, you will probably feel good about putting baby down for a nap on a Sealy Baby Posterpedic crib mattress. Cover it with a Baby Luxe crib mattress pad and the job is done.

It will be a time consuming process of punching, pushing and trying all the choices in the bed of your choice. Yes ... all of them... one after the other till you get JUST THE RIGHT ONE.

Your baby crib may have come with a mattress but it may not be the best mattress for your baby! If your mattress fails any of the safety tests that are recommended, I would get a replacement that passes. A new law regarding mattress flammability went into effect in California on Jan. 1, 2004. This was a state law but mattresses in other states are expected to be in compliance, as well.

A few of the more common brands are

  • Colgate (not to be confused with toothpaste!)
  • Serta
  • Child Craft Brand
  • Evenflo
  • Kolcraft
  • Sealy
  • Simmons.

There are a wide range of prices, but you should be able to find a mattress that is suitable for around $100 to $150 unless you would rather have an organic crib mattress which may be more expensive.

You MUST perform the following tests on that mattress and be willing to bite the bullet and toss it if it does not meet all criteria. THE RIGHT ONE MUST:

    The general rule of thumb regarding mattress sizes is that if you can insert two fingers in between the crib and mattress... it's back to the drawing board, baby. That mattress is too small for the bed and this is a place there is no room for error. This means the baby could possibly get in that little space and suffocate. The ability to insert one finger or LESS is where you want to be. There you go, keep trying till you get one that fits. Mattresses for round cribs can be tested in the same way. Simply taking the crib mattress dimensions into account is not the best way to get a good fit. Mattress sizes don't mean much until you see how it tests inside your particular brand of baby bed, so test every mattress and don't take anything for granted.

    Punch it and push and squeeze it till the saleslady pages the department head and they unite forces to have you removed if you have to. But, do not purchase a mattress until you are certain that it will continue to be nice and firm and hold its shape and firmness. This is a place that baby does not need soft and cushy. It's a heartbreaking fact that some SIDS cases were due to soft bedding.

    Refer to the second sentence of paragraph No. 1. Pee, poop and spit up happen. The easier they are to clean the better. The cover should allow for easy cleanup with soap and water. If the mattress cover ,or ticking as my grandmother used to call it, fails the entire mattress is a goner. Look for a multi-layer waterproof system united with an anti-microbial outer layer to keep the bacteria at bay.

    Check ALL of the sewn seams around the edges. Somehow factory people don't sew like they used to. If your stitching starts to unravel, it's not easy to fix.

    While you're checking that stitching around the edges, check to be certain that Mr. Manufacturer has provided some vents to let the mattress breathe. If not, discard this choice. We want firmness but a non-vented item would resemble camping on an inflatable air mattress.

Let's review your two basic choices in the TYPE of mattresses available:

  • The SPRING, COIL OR INNERSPRING type mattress

As long as you do the necessary tests to check the crib mattress sizes and that it is as firm as you need it to be it's a matter of personal preference. There's nothing wrong with shopping the sales or discount stores to get better prices as long as you feel the mattress passes all safety criteria.

Foam is king in my humble opinion! A foam mattress is much easier to lift. This means your mattress will be easier to maneuver during those middle of the night diaper leak catastrophes or on sheet changing day.


  • The denser (and heavier) the foam the better
  • Foam is generally a little less expensive than an innerspring type baby mattress

If you're set on an innerspring mattress the more coils contained supposedly means the crib mattress will hold up better and be FIRMER! Also, look for supporting rods around the border of the mattress. Where foam density is important in an innerspring mattress look for springs and supporting rods. Remember, SIDS is unlikely but we have to take every precaution.

One more thing I'd like to mention is that your fitted sheet and crib mattress pad or mattress cover should fit the crib mattress snugly and securely.

If you'd like to purchase some extras to possibly prolong the life of your crib mattress and make it a little more comfortable in the bargain. You may want to take a look at some of the crib mattress pads that are waterproof.

Return to Unique Baby Gear Ideas for more information on how to choose safe baby gear and nursery furnishings.

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