Let’s Talk Mattresses: What You Need to Know

June 9, 2020

First things first; good sleep is essential for the healthy development of our kiddos. 

Newborns and infants especially need a lot of rest. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that newborns spend between 14 and 17 hours sleeping every day; but due to their feeding schedule their sleep is usually broken up into a number of shorter periods. In addition to that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following sleep hours on a regular basis, including naps: 

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours 
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours 
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours 

So it’s only natural to be concerned about the safety and comfort provided by the mattresses. 

A quick recap: it’s vital you use a firm sleep surface (hard surface) like a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It is also recommended along with a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet designed for that particular product. Nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby.  For more information, head over to “How To Keep Your Baby Safe While Sleeping”. 

Based on my experience as a parent, the first thing you need to check when shopping for a crib is whether the mattress goes perfectly in it, without creating any voids which could be potentially dangerous for the baby. The second most important thing is the firmness of the product: a soft mattress has an increased probability of creating wedges and can increase the risk of SIDS  (the “sudden infant death syndrome”).  

A quick guide to infant and toddler mattresses. Things to consider when looking for the perfect mattress for your child, whether it be crib sized or not:

Buy new

Buy a new product. It is best if you can buy the crib and mattress together. If you pair those up when making the purchase, there’s a better chance that they’ll fit. And if you know your toddler to be allergic to certain fabrics, pick an organic mattress made of cotton, wool or natural latex. Yes, they cost more but they’re a great investment. 


Innerspring and foam mattresses are the main types. They can maintain their form over time if they are of high-quality. As a result they offer the best support for your kiddos. The difference is that foam is usually lighter, which makes the changing of the sheets much easier for you. 


You need a fixed frame and simple lines if you want safety for your child. The primary security feature you have to check is the distance between the panels: according to experts, that space should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches. When shopping online, I encourage you to ask the retailer about this and then check the measurements when you pick up the product.


Read what other parents have to say about various crib mattresses, especially if you’re shopping online. Take some time to analyze and compare opinions; learn from the pros and cons offered by others.


Did I mention new? New mattresses are lightweight, eco-friendly, reliable and comfy all at the same time. Most foam products present a certification showing that they are free of toxic chemicals. One innovative product is the dual-sided crib mattress, with one side firmer than the other. This particular mattress can also be of use for a toddler bed. 


5 words… Blowout, potty training, oh my. Accidents happen making waterproof and stain-resistant mattress covers are a  great investment. You can quickly wipe them down, without having to place a pee pad on the mattress. Plus, they are very light and easy to carry.

Prices and fees

I’m a fan of checking reviews and comparing prices from various retailers to help me decide where to buy from and what product to choose; and encourage you to do the same. Check the delivery fees and other related charges, if  any. The same is true for the return policy of the retailer.

Happy shopping!

And don’t forget to join our Facebook group.  You can also get the latest information by signing up for our newsletter below. 

Authored by Sharita Thompson, M.Ed, HBCE

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