How To Choose A Crib Mattress That Is Safe For Your Newborn

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How to choose a crib mattress that is safe for your little one and will reduce the risk of SIDS and give you peace of How to Pick a Crib Mattress Without Losing Your Mind. If you’re confused by all the options and don’t know what to look for when buying a crib mattress, this article will help!

Choosing a crib mattress sounds pretty simple until you learn about all the different choices you can make when choosing the mattress for your nursery.

A proper crib mattress can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS, as well as greatly reduce the chances of your little one breathing in harmful chemicals while they sleep in sweet slumber.

After much research on crib mattresses, we decided to put together this handy guide for new parents on how to choose a crib mattress so you’re not paralyzed and not able to make a decision out of fear of choosing the wrong mattress for your newborn.

We want this guide to provide you will as much information on choosing a crib mattress so you don’t have to go anywhere else for further answers.

(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)

How to Choose a Crib Mattress

Here are some things you should look at when choosing a crib mattress for your crib.

Create Budget

A budget can help you narrow down the options on the type of crib mattress you can purchase. Standard crib mattresses fall under $200 while cleaner and greener options can cost up to $500.

Keep in mind that your little baby will spend over half of its life sleeping on this crib mattress, so it is a really important decision.

We recommend sticking to a budget when choosing a crib mattress.

While you don’t want to skimp on a crib mattress, you also don’t want to spend the entirety of your nursery budget on one. A decent mattress will set you back between $90 and $200.

Some unique qualities, on the other hand, come at a greater cost. You may need to pay more than $200 if you want a mattress made entirely of organic materials or one with an allergen-reducing cover, for example.

If you’re looking to save money, you might be able to discover an appropriate and up-to-date crib mattress secondhand. However, establishing that is challenging, given that it may be impossible to tell if it was preserved correctly or if it was ever dirty.

Choose Type

There are two traditional mattress types to choose from; foam and innerspring coil. Natural and synesthetic options are also available if you are looking for a more green alternative.

Innerspring: The innerspring crib mattresses are made with metal coils that lie inside the mattress. The coils help make the mattress nice and firm, making the surface a safe sleep environment for the baby. Innerspring mattresses provide even weight distribution and often do not cave in after the infant sleeps on them. This type of mattress is very durable and often more breathable than foam mattresses. The innerspring mattresses are also often more expensive and heavier than foam varieties.

Foam: Foam mattresses are very popular and often cheaper and more lightweight than innerspring mattresses. Even though foam mattresses are softer, they are still firm enough for your infant to sleep on unless it is memory foam, which you should avoid at all costs. Foam crib mattresses are not breathable and often do not last as long as innerspring mattresses. Because foam mattresses cost less, they will be saving you money upfront, but not in the long run. You may even need to spring for a second foam mattress when your child outgrows the crib and requires a toddler bed. Another thing that foam mattresses do that we do not love is that they can form an indent where your infant sleeps which is a safety concern. Most foam mattresses emit VOC’s and use fire-retardant chemicals within them which is why we highly recommend an organic crib mattress. If you are looking for a foam crib mattress look for the Greenguard Gold and CeriPUR-US certified stickers to pick the healthier options for your baby. Soybean foam and other plant-based foam crib mattresses are also available if you are looking for more green foam mattress options.

Natural: Organic, non-toxic and natural crib mattresses are widely available these days. These green manufactures often use unprocessed animal materials such as natural latex, wool and cotton when making the crib mattress. Some mattresses contain recycled materials too. Natural crib mattresses are made without harmful chemicals and they often emit low, or no VOC’s. They are also eco-friendly and made with sustainable materials and eco-friendly products. The lining and waterproofing part of these crib mattresses are often made with safer plastics instead of traditional PVC materials which are not safe for us or the environment. You must be aware of greenwashing when choosing a natural crib mattress as some companies actually say something is good for the environment but they don’t have the proof that it is. If you are looking for a natural or organic crib mattress, you will pay a higher price just like anything that is in the sustainable space.


If you have a mattress in mind, check the safety of it by ensuring it is firm and breathable to ensure it is safe for your newborn. The mattress you choose should be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Because safety is so important when picking a crib and mattress, federal laws have standardized the dimensions of full-size cribs and mattresses. This makes it simple to purchase the two items individually without having to worry about fit.

These rules are in place to avoid inadvertent head entanglement and asphyxia between the mattress and the crib sides. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 created the legislation, which entered into force in 2011.

However, this regulation does not apply to non-full-size cribs. As a result, they must be sold with the mattress included by law.

Even if a mattress fits inside the crib you pick, you should only use it if it is a crib mattress built particularly for it. You should not cover it with a foam topper or any other non-standard crib mattress cover.

Firmness: Crib mattresses are often quite firm, but they are designed this way to keep your infant safe and sound while they sleep. You may be wondering if you should make your crib mattress softer, but that is not a good idea, even though you might be thinking a firm mattress is very uncomfortable. Research shows that softer crib mattresses create an increased risk for SIDS due to suffocation or the re-breathing of their own exhaled air which is filled with CO2. Coil mattresses are more firm, which is why they are usually a safer bet when choosing a crib mattress. If you do choose a foam mattress, choose one that is dense and firm and heavy too to keep your little one safe while they sleep.

Fit: Before making a crib mattress purchase, make sure that the crib mattress will fit snugly into your crib. There should not be a more than 2 finger gap in any area between the mattress and the crib. To make sure your crib mattress fits well, measure the inner dimensions of the crib. Most standard mattresses are 27.25″x51.25″ and the standard thickness is 6″.

Breathability: You’ll want to choose a crib mattress that is breathable. The airflow needs to flow through the fabric and coils to help regulate temperature and prevent suffocation. A more breathable crib mattress is important to eliminate mold and mildew which are harmful to your baby to breathe in.

Depth and Weight: Mattress firmness isn’t always determined by mattress depth. Coil-spring mattresses are often thicker—between 5 and 6 inches deep—than foam crib mattresses, which are typically 4 to 6 inches deep. With the exception of memory foam mattresses, foam mattresses are lighter, making them easier to lift while changing sheets.

Non-Toxic: Because a baby will spend more than half of their first year on this mattress, it should be as safe and healthful as possible. This entails eliminating harmful substances from the environment. Invest in a mattress that is as organic as feasible if your budget permits. Look for certifications such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard).

Lifespan: Some crib mattresses are reversible, with one side hard for babies and the other somewhat less firm and cushioned for toddlers. These mattresses are frequently referred to as “two-stage,” and they are clearly labelled so you know which side to use when. (After the baby’s first birthday, it’s okay to flip the mattress from the baby to the toddler side.)

Choose a nice organic crib sheet for your crib mattress and refrain from adding stuffed animals, blankets and crib bumpers to your crib.

Features To Consider In A Crib Mattress

Once you have chosen a style of the crib mattress for your newborn then you can take a look at some of these additional features that some crib mattresses offer.

Warranties: Some crib mattress manufacturers offer lifetime warranties against manufacturer defects. some manufactures offer sleep guarantees that allow you to test a mattress out and return it if you are not happy with the purchase.

Waterproof: Most crib mattresses are water-resistant and some come with waterproofing coating. If your mattress does not have waterproofing or water resistance then you might want to look into a mattress protector to protect your mattress from getting damp and eventually growing mold.

Dual Siding: Most crib mattresses are double-sided, one side for infants and the other side for toddlers. This is handy if you are going to use a convertible crib for when your baby grows into a toddler, then you won’t have to purchase a new mattress. You’ll want to make sure you are using the right side of the mattress for whichever stage your baby is on.

Crib Mattresses We Love

Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Mattress

This mattress is lightweight and durable. It is made with a high-density thermo-bonded fibre core that provides firm support and a 100% Vinyl outer cover that is water-resistant and wipes clean.

Mattress dimensions: 52″L x 27.5″W x 5″H. Weight limit: 50 lb. For optimal use, rotate the mattress every 2-3 months.

This mattress has achieved GREENGUARD GOLD Certification. GREENGUARD Certified products are certified to GREENGUARD standards for low chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage.

Fits a standard crib with internal measurements of 28⅝ in. X 53 in.

Newton Baby Crib Mattress

The Newton Baby Crib Mattress features innovative Breathe-Thru Technology that allows air to flow freely and is independently proven to reduce the risk of suffocation and CO2 rebreathing, even when your baby starts to roll over at night.

Temperature regulating features to prevent overheating, eliminate sweaty backs and improve sleep quality.

Designed for both infants and toddlers and 100% washable at home.

For your baby’s health, safety, and development. Winner of numerous awards this mattress is pediatrician recommended.

Greenguard certified with lowest VOC’s, contains no foam, latex, springs, or glue. 100% recyclable.

Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress

This mattress ships compressed in a lightweight, easy-to-carry box for ultimate convenience; For optimal performance, unroll your mattress within two weeks of purchase to allow for proper expansion in a room temperature setting.

This mattress’ soft outer cover is water-resistant, removable and hand-washable; Gently unzip the outer cover, hand wash in cold water with mild soap (no bleach), and line dry to keep your child’s sleep environment fresh, clean, and cozy.

Ideal mattress firmness for your child’s comfort and safety; Mattress made of high-quality, breathable foam to maximize air flow.

This mattress is GREENGUARD Gold certified, free of prohibited phthalates, lead, and mercury, and meets all applicable federal flammability standards; This mattress is backed by a 6-year limited warranty.

This mattress is designed to fit any standard full-size crib and toddler bed; length (132.08 cm) x width (70.1 cm) x height (up to 12.7 cm); weight (3.18 kg); Mattress made of polyurethane foam. Fabric Care Instructions: Spot Clean Only

Mattress ships compressed in a small, lightweight and easy to carry box, once mattress is removed from box and unpackaged, it will start to self-expand before your eyes

Other Crib Mattresses We Are Looking At

Here are some more options for your to look at:

  • IKEA Crib Mattresses: Ikea mattresses are reasonably priced from $40-$10 and range from foam to spring-loaded options.
  • Babyletto Pure Core Mattress: A more expensive but totally eco-friendly, the babyletto pure core is a recyclable polyester mattress that is priced at around $199.
  • Moonlight’s Little Dreamer Deluxe Kids Mattress: A more expensive but amazing non-toxic double-sided mattress that ranges from $389-$448.

Mattress Covers

Many crib mattresses have a cover to safeguard your investment from spills and diaper mishaps. They are also available for purchase separately. Because this is the closest surface to the baby (just a thin fitted sheet separates the baby from this cover), search for an organic, waterproof mattress protector from Sleep & Beyond or Naturepedic that is free of harmful chemicals. You could desire a cover that includes the following features:

  • Water-resistance (again, look for a chemical-free option)
  • Possibility of breathing (to keep baby cooler and more comfortable)
  • A barrier that is hypoallergenic (to keep allergens out)

Check to verify if the cover’s seams look to be strong, regardless of the functions it offers. Plastic seams might have sharp edges, so stay away from them. Check fabric seams for tearing to ensure they are not stretched or strained.

It’s Better to Have Two
Many parents prefer having two mattress coverings on hand—one for the crib and another in case of an accident.

Replacing a Crib Mattress

Always check the warning sign on the crib for the right dimensions if you need to change the mattress in your crib. If there isn’t a label on the crib, it is likely that it is older or has been changed. If in doubt, completely replace the crib.

If you purchase a mattress and discover that it does not fit properly, return it right away and replace it with one that does. Never try to make do with cloth or foam to shore up the edges. Any fit that isn’t tight is a safety issue. 

In this case, while internet buying is handy, you may be better off purchasing mattresses from a physical store. Before making a purchase, you may double-check the dimensions and hardness.

Choosing A Crib Mattress

Keeping your baby safe at night should be the number one concern for any new parent. While there are many sleeping gadgets that you can purchase to make the sleep experience a positive one, the mattress will be the most important purchase you make.

If you are going to side car the crib or have the baby sleep with you in your room (bed sharing or co sleeping) make sure that your mattress is firm and breathable too.

how to choose a crib mattress


  1. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Full-Size Baby Cribs Business Guidance & Small Entity Compliance Guide.
  2. Federal Register. Safety Standards for Full-Size Baby Cribs and Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs; Final Rule.
  3. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs Business Guidance & Small Entity Compliance Guide.
  4. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Safe to Sleep® – Crib Information Center.
  5. Consumer Reports. Crib Mattress Buying Guide.

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