How To Choose The Right Crib Mattress Size: The Complete Parents’ Guide
With a baby on the way, you are likely going to spend a significant amount of time designing a nursery, which requires making decisions about everything from paint colors to diaper storage. In addition to these design choices, you’ll also have some decisions to make about the place where your little one will spend most of their time — the crib.
Choosing a crib and the correct crib mattress size are major decisions not only for the design of your nursery but also for your baby’s safety. In this article, the experts at Newton Baby discuss the types of cribs and their corresponding crib mattress sizes so that you can make an informed decision for your new little one.
Crib Types: Advantages And Disadvantages
The color and style of the crib you choose for your baby’s nursery are important, but size is another critical factor to consider. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when making your decision about which type of crib to purchase.
A standard-sized crib is the typical go-to for most parents. Measuring around 28 inches by 52 inches, standard cribs are significantly larger than mini cribs.
While a standard (or regular) crib is often more expensive than a mini crib, the biggest advantage of a regular crib is that your child will get several years of use out of their baby bed.
Many standard cribs can be converted into toddler beds, so you won’t need to buy a new bed once your child discovers how to escape from their crib. But if you decide to switch things up and buy your little one a fun toddler bed, you can purchase a toddler bed frame and use the same standard crib mattress.
You can probably guess the advantages of a mini crib just from its name. At 24 inches wide and 38 inches long, the mini crib is smaller than a standard-sized crib. This small size is especially useful if your nursery is short on space.
Additionally, mini cribs are ideal if your new baby will be sharing a bedroom with their older sibling or if you’re putting two cribs in the same nursery for twins. You can also purchase a mini crib to leave at grandma and grandpa’s house to make overnight stays more convenient.
If you need a portable crib that can easily roll around the nursery, choose a mini crib with wheels. Just be sure the wheels are locked and the crib is securely in place when you’re not moving it.
Finally, compared to standard cribs, mini cribs are easier on your wallet. But before you make your decision based on that fact alone, remember that your baby will outgrow their mini crib — usually around two years old or, sometimes, earlier. At that point, you’ll need to buy a bigger bed to fit your growing toddler.
As with all baby items, there’s no shortage of adorable touches and unique additions when it comes to cribs. While standard and mini cribs are rectangular, some cribs are available in special shapes — like circles or ovals — and have mattresses to match.
These cribs are a good option if you want to add a unique design element to your baby’s nursery. Shaped cribs are often smaller than standard ones, though, so keep that in mind while you’re crib shopping.
Choosing The Right Crib Mattress Size
Once you have picked out the best crib for your baby, all that’s left to do is to choose the right mattress. While this may seem easy, there are a few things to consider as you shop. The first thing to know is the difference between mattress sizes.
When it comes to crib mattress sizes and the safety of your baby, you want to be sure that the mattress fits inside the crib snugly with as little space as possible between the two. A large gap can pose a safety risk for your baby.
As a rule, when the mattress is inside the crib, you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between it and the crib frame. But let’s talk more specifically about each crib mattress size.
Crib Mattress Size: Standard
As you might guess from the name, the standard crib mattress is the typical mattress size for baby cribs.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, a standard (or regular) crib mattress should be no more than 6 inches thick and measure at least 27 1/4 inches wide and 51 1/4 inches long.
Tips For Selecting The Right Standard Crib Mattress
If you have a standard-sized crib for your little one to snooze in, you’ll need a standard-sized crib mattress.
As we mentioned, the size of these mattresses is regulated. However, there is a bit of wiggle room within the regulated size of a crib. A standard crib can be ⅝ of an inch larger or smaller than the regulated 28 by 52 ⅜ rectangle.
A standard mattress will typically fit a standard crib, but because of this small variation, you will still need to check to make sure your mattress fits properly — not too big and not too small.
Here’s an example: if your crib is on the large side of the regulated measurements and your mattress is on the small side, you may end up with a gap in-between the mattress and the crib. Always check the fit before putting your baby in bed for the first time.
Crib Mattress Size: Mini
Coming in smaller than the standard crib mattress is the mini crib mattress. The government does not regulate the size of mini crib mattresses as they do for standard ones. However, the typical size is 24 inches wide and 38 inches long.
Tips For Selecting The Right Mini Crib Mattress
While you can likely purchase most mini crib mattresses and expect them to fit your mini crib, you’ll still want to double-check the fit because some mini cribs are narrower than others.
Mini crib mattresses are also available in different depths, so be sure to research the dimensions before making a decision.
Crib Mattress Size: Shaped
There are no standard specifications or government regulations for shaped crib mattresses. Shaped cribs vary in size and most will likely come with a mattress.
Tips For Selecting The Right Shaped Mattress
If you have a specially shaped crib, the same rule applies for the mattress: not too big and not too small.
If your shaped crib does not come with a mattress, you’ll want to use a tape measure to determine the appropriate size and then choose a mattress that fits snugly inside your crib without too much room around the edges.
Additional Tips For Choosing A Crib Mattress
As you begin to explore the world of crib mattresses, you’ll realize that size is not the only factor that differentiates one mattress from another. You’ll need to keep a few other factors in mind.
First of all, crib mattresses should be firm. While your older child might appreciate a soft and cozy bed, when it comes to your infant, the firmer the mattress the better. Soft mattresses can increase the safety risks for young babies.
It’s important to note, however, that “firm” does not necessarily mean hard. Traditional crib mattresses are rock-hard because, in order to prevent a baby’s head from sinking in and to avoid suffocation risk, they are encased in non-breathable plastic.
By making the Newton mattress completely breathable, we were able to make it much more comfortable as well — without any risk of suffocation.
To be sure you have a firm crib mattress, push down on it and see if it immediately springs back into place when you take your hand away.
Secondly, consider going with a breathable crib mattress . This is important because non-breathable mattresses may increase the risk of suffocation for young babies.
However, you can put yourself at ease with a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress , which allows air to flow freely for optimal breathability and temperature regulation while your little one sleeps.
Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress is made with patented Wovenaire® technology and zipped into a comfortable, washable, and breathable mattress cover.
In fact, you can get the most out of your breathable mattress by using Newton Baby’s Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad and skipping the sheet . The mattress pad is durable, comfortable for your little one, and machine-washable. It’s as easy as that!
As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, check one thing off your list and put your mind at ease by choosing a Newton Baby Crib Mattress designed with your baby’s health, safety, and comfort in mind. Every mattress made by Newton Baby is 100% breathable, 100% washable, and 100% recyclable.
With a little knowledge and the tips we’ve listed here, you can have a pretty, functional crib and crib mattress that are comfortable enough for baby to rest well and safe enough to put your mind at ease.
Baby crib mattress how to choose
Choosing a crib mattress might seem like a boring task but it’s one that warrants careful consideration. The mattress is as important as the crib, and we recommend buying the best one you can.
Why does it matter? For one thing, your baby will spend a lot of time in his crib. It might seem hard to believe, especially when you’re getting up to feed a fussy baby in the middle of the night, but infants sleep up to 18 hours a day.
You’ll want to make sure the mattress fits properly in the crib you’ve selected without gaps that could pose a danger to your baby. And the mattress should be firm. A soft one can conform to the shape of your baby’s head or face, increasing the risk of suffocation or even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
There are two general types of crib mattresses: foam and innerspring. Both types—if they’re good quality—will keep their shape well and provide excellent support for infants and toddlers. There are differences, though. Foam—usually made from polyurethane—tends to be lighter (about 5 to 13 pounds) compared with an innerspring mattress (about 15 to 30 pounds). So although you’ll probably be lifting just a corner at a time when changing your baby’s sheets, it might be a bit easier with a foam mattress. Foam is also less springy and therefore less likely to be used as a trampoline when your child is older. Still, innerspring crib mattresses are more popular in the U.S., possibly because most adults sleep on innersprings, too.
Look for Quality
Whichever type of mattress you chose, look for quality. The cheapest foam and innerspring mattresses have thin vinyl coverings and edgings that can tear, crack, and dry out over time. As prices increase, coverings tend to be thicker, puncture-resistant, reinforced double or triple laminates, or very fine organic cotton. An innerspring mattress that has more or better-gauge steel and better-quality cushioning will weigh more. The same goes for a foam mattress that’s made of denser, better-quality foam.
Still, you don’t have to spend a fortune or try as many mattresses as the Princess and the Pea to get a good-quality one. A mattress that costs between $90 and $200 will generally serve your baby well. Prices for foam and innerspring mattresses are comparable, ranging from $50 to $400 and up. (The more expensive ones are made with organic cotton or natural latex.) Low-priced models (less than $90) might be too soft and flimsy. Higher-priced models tend to be firmer and therefore safer.
You Can’t Tell a Mattress by Its Cover
With a mattress, almost everything that matters is on the inside. Some crib mattresses feel great in the store but begin to falter once your baby starts to use it. We’ve learned that you can’t depend on sales staff, even at reputable retail outlets, to give you accurate information. One told us, quite convincingly, that innerspring mattresses were better than foam because foam tends to "break down" after 18 months. Twenty-five years ago that may have been true, but not anymore. "A top-quality foam crib mattress will hold up just as long as an innerspring crib mattress with normal use," says Dennis Schuetz, director of marketing for the Colgate Juvenile Products Company, a manufacturer in Atlanta. That’s because foam crib mattresses have become much more durable.
Hit the Stores
Once you get a sense of options in different price ranges, you should go to a store to see what a quality crib mattress looks and feels like. One place to start? The label. Manufacturers are required by law to reveal what a mattress is made of. Don’t buy one from a manufacturer or retailer that doesn’t tell you this with in-store information, displays, or online specifications. In fact, you should be able to find out the components of each layer. And when you push down on a mattress, your hand should spring right up. Schuetz says the biggest mistake parents make is picking a mattress that’s comfortable for them. It’s better to pick a crib mattress that’s harder than you would like it to be. "If it feels good to you, it’s too soft for your baby," he says, adding that babies need more support than adults.
Buy a new crib mattress, if possible. For one thing, it ensures that the mattress is sanitary. If you buy a used mattress or accept a hand-me-down, you won’t know for sure how it was cared for or stored. Mold can grow in improperly stored crib mattresses, and bacteria can fester on the surface from liquids (diaper leakage, spit-up) that weren’t properly cleaned up. If you buy a new one for your first child and keep it clean, you can use it for your next child if you store it in a dry environment and it stays firm.
Use a Cover
Use a tightly fitting, washable waterproof mattress cover to protect the mattress and keep the baby’s sleeping environment as clean and sanitary as possible.
Test the Fit
By law, all full-sized crib mattresses must be at least 27 1/4 inches by 51 5/8 inches, and no more than 6 inches thick. If you can, shop in a store that displays crib mattresses on the selling floor, and check the fit by putting it inside a sample crib before you buy it. If you can squeeze more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib, the mattress is too small.
Don’t Worry About Warranties
Some mattresses offer warranties for one year, seven years, or even a lifetime. Don’t be swayed by a long warranty, and don’t pay extra for a mattress with a warranty. "Warranties are mostly a marketing tool to entice the consumer to spend more," Schuetz says. In general, you can expect a quality crib mattress to last as long as you’re going to use it as long as the cover doesn’t rip or tear.
We have not tested any of these crib mattresses.
How to Choose a Crib Mattress in 7 Easy Steps
Good sleep is paramount for your baby’s health and how comfortable his sleeping place is will determine the quality of his sleep. Because of this, it is of utmost importance that you find the best crib mattress for your baby. But with all the different types, sizes and thickness of mattress in the market, how can you know which one is the best for your baby? If you wish to know how to choose a crib mattress, keep on reading. This article will give you the steps to take!
What You Will Need
To find the perfect crib mattress, you will need the following materials:
- Measuring Tape
- Baby’s Crib
Are you ready to find the perfect crib bedding for your little one? Well, you do not have to wait any further! Here are some of the steps that you should take:
Step 1. Get the dimensions of your crib.
Of course, the first step that you should take is to measure the length and width of your crib. Yes, there are standard sizes for a crib mattress, but you need to find a mattress that will snugly fit your crib. Make sure to jot down the measurements and bring the list with you when you go shopping.
Pro Tip: When choosing the size of your crib mattress, make sure that only one finger can squeeze in between the gap of the crib and the mattress. Any gap larger than this is dangerous as there is a risk that your baby might slip in the gap and suffocate.
Step 2. Decide on what type of mattress you need.
There are actually two types of crib mattress, and it is important that you know the difference between the two kinds so you can determine which best suits your needs.
The first category is the foam mattress. This type of mattress is loved by many because of its pliability, making it the most comfortable type of mattress to use. However, it is not that durable. The second type is innerspring mattress which is known for its durability and excellent support, but it does not distribute weight evenly.
Step 3. Check the mattress’ firmness.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states that firmness of the mattress is one important factor to consider to prevent SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
If you opted for foam mattress, the thing that you have to consider to ensure its firmness is its weight. The heavier the mattress is, the denser it is and the denser it is, the higher the quality it has.
If you have decided to buy an innerspring mattress, the thing that you have to take a look at to ensure its firmness is the number of coils that it has. It is a must that you opt for a mattress that has over 150 coils, and it must also contain a border coil to provide additional support for the baby.
Step 4. Look for certification.
Keep in mind that quality of the mattress is important and you can determine the quality of a mattress through its certification. A certified mattress is one that complies with the safety standards that have been set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials and The CPSC.
You can usually find the certification at the side of the mattress. If the mattress has no certification, it means that did not pass the minimum requirement, and it is not safe for use.
Step 5. Inspect mattress for vent holes.
Have you noticed those covered holes located at the sides of the mattress? Those are what you call vent holes, and they are incorporated into the design of the mattress for a good reason—to allow the air to properly circulate in and out of the crib mattress.
These vent holes allow odors to escape from the mattress, keeping the mattress smelling good and fresh for a long period of time. So if you plan to buy a mattress, opt for one that has these holes.
Step 6. Choose a mattress cover.
Last but definitely not the least, you also need to decide on the type of mattress cover you wish to have. When it comes to choosing a mattress cover, there are some qualities to look out for. These include triple lamination, nylon support, and thick vinyl material.
When a mattress cover has these features, it can be able to withstand wear and tear, and it can be used for a longer period of time.
Step 7. Make the decision.
After considering all these important factors, it is time that you make the decision. Whatever decision you have made, it is important to do a final inspection of the product to make sure that it has no defects or damages.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that providing your baby a safe and comfortable sleeping space does not end in choosing the right crib mattress. You also have to properly maintain and take good care of the mattress. That means cleaning it regularly and following the care instructions that the manufacturer has provided.
Choosing the right crib mattress is important in ensuring that your baby will have quality and sound sleep. Unfortunately, the selection process is not as easy as you would want or expect it to be. With all the types and brands of crib mattresses available in the market, how would you choose the best one?
We have provided the steps you need to take on how to choose a crib mattress. All you have to do is follow these steps and take into consideration the factors mentioned above, and you can certainly find the best crib mattress for your little one.
So, what do you think of this article? Feel free to ask your questions and share your sentiments in the comments section! I am excited to know what you would have to say!
How to buy a crib mattress
The lowdown on crib mattresses
A good mattress not only makes bedtime cozier – it supports your growing baby and keeps her safe. Consider cost, comfort, and durability, as your baby will probably sleep in a crib for up to 3 years.
Types of mattresses
Foam mattressesare generally the lightest option. These are available in a variety of thicknesses, usually between 3 and 6 inches. Look for foam mattresses that are firm, on the heavier side, and resilient when you press your hand on them. Too soft a surface can conform to a baby’s shape and create a risk of suffocation and a sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) hazard.
Innerspring mattressesare coils covered with foam, padding, and fabric.
Better-gauge steel and higher-quality cushioning is heavier and more expensive, as well as firmer and more durable.
Organic mattressesare made with all-natural or organic materials, including cotton, wool, coconut fibers, food-grade polymers, plant-based foam, and natural latex. These mattresses can be innerspring, foam, or other – it’s hard to classify a mattress stuffed with coconut-husk fibers.
Organic crib mattresses can be expensive, but some people say the peace of mind is worth the price. They contend that chemicals and industrial compounds used in standard mattresses – flame retardants known as PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), vinyl, and polyurethane foam, for instance – emit toxic gases, and that the substances used to make mattresses could harm babies. Others say materials like latex can produce an allergic reaction in infants.
As researchers continue to analyze issues of toxicity, advocates for going organic point out that if these chemicals could be harmful, the safest thing to do is to buy a crib mattress that doesn’t use them.
“Breathable” mattresses, made of materials that are supposed to allow a baby to breathe freely even if his or her face is pressed up against it, are getting more popular. Experts haven’t yet weighed in on their efficacy.
What to look for when buying
The right size:A mattress needs to fit snugly in the crib, with no space between the side of the mattress and the crib frame. If there’s a space, the mattress is too small and could be a suffocation and entrapment hazard. The size of both crib mattresses and cribs is standardized by the federal government, but due to slight variations in each, not every mattress will fit perfectly in every crib.
Firmness:The firmer the crib mattress the better (mattresses designed for older children and adults may not be firm enough). Even if it feels very stiff to you, your baby will adjust to it.Consumer Reportssuggests this test: "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."
Density:You want high density so it’s firm enough to keep your baby safe while sleeping. Most foam mattresses don’t list density on the packaging, but weight can be a good indicator. As for innerspring mattresses, manufacturers often equate the number of coils with firmness, but the gauge of the wire is just as important. Lower gauge means thicker wire, which is stronger and therefore firmer. Look for a mattress with 135 or more coils and a gauge of 15.5 or lower.
Resiliency:When you push your hand down into the middle of the mattress and remove it, how quickly does it regain its shape? Faster is better; sleeping babies make an impression on the foam, and it can be difficult for them to change position if the mattress retains their shape. Some foam mattresses are “2-stage” or “dual firmness,” with a firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
Weight:A typical foam mattress weighs about 7 to 8 pounds, although mattresses made of memory foam (an especially dense form of polyurethane) can weigh close to 20 pounds. Innerspring crib mattresses are heavier in general, weighing in at about 15 to 25 pounds. Keep in mind that you’ll be hoisting up a side of the mattress, or lifting the whole thing, when changing your baby’s sheet.
Mattress cover (ticking):For water resistance, look for double- or triple-laminated ticking reinforced with nylon. This composition is also more resistant to tears, holes, and soggy diapers. Organic mattresses usually have cotton covers; parents may want to consider a fitted waterproof mattress cover.
Venting:Look for small holes on the sides of the mattress that let air flow in and out. A mattress will smell better if it has plenty of vent holes to let odors escape. Diapers do leak, so this is important.
Cleaning:Most traditional mattresses suggest spot-cleaning only. Some have removable covers that can be machine-washed. The innards of at least one crib mattress on the market can be hosed down in the tub once its washable cover is removed.
Certification seals:Crib mattresses for sale in the United States must meet safety standards defined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials. (The Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association does not test or certify crib mattresses.) A manufacturer’s claim that a product is organic can mean a variety of things, but look for an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification (a worldwide uniform certification), which assures you that certain flame retardants and heavy metals were not used to make the mattress.
Important safety notes
- Use caution with used or secondhand crib mattresses. Some studies link used mattresses to an increased risk of SIDS, although researchers aren’t sure whether the mattresses caused the increase in risk or were simply correlated with an increased risk. (Theories that fungal activity or toxic gases in used mattresses caused SIDS have been largely laid to rest.) Experts recommend that parents avoid old, worn mattresses, particularly those with foam/padding exposed – which can increase the potential for bacterial growth – or those that hold an indentation after your hand is placed firmly on the surface, then removed.
- Air mattresses are not safe for babies. The soft surface is a suffocation hazard. As the CPSC warns, "Never place infants to sleep on air mattresses or other soft surfaces (such as water beds and adult beds), which are not specifically designed or safe for infant use."
- No matter what mattress parents choose, they should continue to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe-sleep guidelines and put babies to sleep on their backs on a firm, bare surface.
What it’s going to cost you
Crib mattresses start at about $40 and can range to more than $350. Organic mattresses start at about $80 and can reach $400.
Best Crib Mattresses of 2020
Choosing a crib mattress can be confusing. Here’s what to know to have your baby sleeping like, well, a baby.
During the first few months of life, your baby will spend more time asleep than awake—although it won’t always seem that way! Part of getting your little one to sleep soundly is creating a good sleeping environment.
In this article:
What Are the Types of Crib Mattresses?
There are different types of crib mattresses to choose from, but what matters most is getting a quality one. Which type you end up buying is more a matter of personal preference. Here are the options:
Innerspring mattresses:This traditional mattress type has steel coils inside, which makes it resilient and sturdy. Above the coils, innerspring mattresses have layers of different cushioning materials, such as polyester, cotton or foam.
You’ll see innersprings described by their coil count (that’s the number of steel coils in the mattress; the more coils, the more supportive) and steel gauge (the thickness of the coil; the lower numbers are thicker). Some models also have metal border rods that provide stability around the edges.
Innerspring mattresses can be pricey, especially if you’re looking into higher coil count. Reliable brands range from $80 to $300. These mattresses also tend to weigh more (something to consider for when you have to change crib sheets in the night).
Foam mattresses:These are typically made from polyurethane, a foam resin. Foam mattresses can be a great choice because they’re lightweight and durable, and are also usually the least-expensive mattress option.
When choosing a foam crib mattress, you want to make sure it’s resilient. Test this by pressing your hand on the mattress and seeing how long the surface takes to regain its shape (the faster, the better).
Also, look for a mattress that has a higher density, which makes it firmer. You can test this by how heavy it is (denser mattresses are typically heavier) or by squeezing the sides of the mattress (you won’t be able to press that hard on denser models).
Double-sided mattresses:2 for 1! These mattresses have a firmer infant side and a softer side that is more appropriate for toddlers who still use a crib or convertible toddler bed. Just flip it over to give your tot a softer, more comfortable mattress.
Keep in mind though, these models might be more expensive than some infant crib mattresses. And, you’ll have to remember to place the correct side of the mattress facing up when you’re changing the crib sheets.
How to Choose a Crib Mattress
Crib mattresses are similar to adult mattress, but with a few special considerations. Here’s what to look for in a crib mattress:
- Firmness:Crib mattresses are firmer than adult ones in order to keep babies safe and to support growing bones while they sleep. Make sure the mattress is rated for infant use.
- Waterproof:Crib mattresses should have a vinyl or polyethylene surface to make them waterproof and resist mold. If yours is fabric be sure to use a waterproof cover.
- Fit:The mattress should fit snugly against the frame. You shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib. If you choose a mini crib or bassinet, the same sizing rules apply.
- Materials:Some parents prefer mattresses made from natural and organic materials to avoid chemicals used in standard mattress production. (Note: No health effects have been evaluated yet).
Crib Mattress Safety Guidelines
Obviously, your baby’s safety is a top priority. Here are a few safety basics to keep in mind when choosing a crib mattress:
- Avoid second-hand if possible:Because of the dangers associated with mold and bacteria, it’s best to avoid a used mattress, especially if you don’t know the history of the product. Reusing one from another one of your children? Make sure there aren’t any openings in the waterproof cover where mold could’ve taken root.
- Keep the crib empty:Although they look lovely, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets shouldn’t be in a baby’s crib. That’s because they can wind up covering your baby’s face and be a suffocation hazard. Keep it to a fitted sheet only.
- Place baby on their back:The safest sleeping position for your baby is on the back. It reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death in the first year of life.
- Check before you flip the mattress:If you have a double-sided mattress, check with your pediatrician to see if the time is right to flip it over to the toddler side. Most parents make the switch when their children are about 12 months old.
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How We Chose Our Best Crib Mattresses
We asked thousands of real Babylist families about the products they love the most. We took the top products they shared with us and added our own research and insight to tell you about the best crib mattresses.