Three best crib mattresses
As rewarding as parenting is, it can also be anxiety inducing. All you want is to keep your children safe and happy, even at night when you're not constantly watching over them. Not only do babies sleep better on a decent crib mattress but they're also safer from the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation.
Just a quick search will show you hundreds of different crib mattresses, most of which look the same at first glance, so figuring out which one to buy can seem overwhelming. That's why we've compiled this quick yet detailed guide to the best crib mattresses.
Considerations when choosing crib mattresses
Firmness: You might think a soft mattress would be the best, most comfortable choice for your baby, but research suggests there's a correlation between mattress softness and SIDS. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, an infant should sleep on a firm mattress to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you're buying for an older baby (over one year) or toddler, however, this isn't a concern. Some crib mattresses are dual-sided, with a firmer side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
Proper fit: For safety reasons, make certain the mattress you choose fits the crib properly, with no gaps around the edges. It only takes a small gap for your baby to get caught, which could lead to suffocation. Cribs and crib mattresses must adhere to a standard size by law, but this only applies to full-size cribs, so always double-check the measurements.
Material: Most crib mattresses are made of memory foam of other high-density foam, but you'll also find innerspring crib mattresses available. Both options are fine, so it really comes down to personal preference. Whatever type of mattress you choose, make sure the materials used to make it are safe and nontoxic. Crib mattresses that are GREENGUARD certified are only made with low VOC materials. You can even find crib mattresses made entirely from organic materials.
Crib mattress features
Ventilation: Some crib mattresses have ventilation holes or are made from special breathable materials to help keep your baby from getting too warm in the night. This is an especially important feature if you live in a hot climate.
Weight: You'll regularly need to handle your baby's crib mattress to change sheets and rotate it, so an overly heavy model can be a pain. Should you be concerned about the weight of the mattress, note that foam models are significantly lighter than innerspring versions.
Crib mattress prices: While you don't have to spend a fortune on a crib mattress, we wouldn't recommend skimping too much because the most inexpensive options may be of poor quality and even potentially unsafe. That said, you can find decent basic crib mattresses for about $50 to $70. Mid-range options cost around $70 to $100, while high-end crib mattresses cost between $100 and $200.
Q. Should I rotate the crib mattress?
A. Yes, rotate your baby's crib mattress once every three months so it wears evenly and to prevent sagging. A saggy crib mattress is not only uncomfortable but could also be unsafe.
Q. My child suffers from allergies. What should I look out for in a crib mattress?
A. A hypoallergenic crib mattress may help a baby or toddler with allergies sleep more soundly. Also consider using a dehumidifier (especially if your house is damp or you live somewhere humid) because it may stop dust mites from settling in the mattress.
Crib mattresses we recommend
Best of the best: Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Crib Mattress
Our take: With a firm side to keep infants safe and a plushier side for those who are a little older, this one mattress will see your child through the early years.
What we like: Medical-grade, nontoxic, antimicrobial materials. Waterproof. Low VOC.
What we dislike: On the higher end of the price spectrum.
Best bang for your buck: Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib and Toddler Bed Mattress
Our take: A bit thinner than costlier alternatives, but it offers similar features for an affordable price.
What we like: Water-resistant vinyl outer cover. Hypoallergenic. Free from phthalates and lead.
What we dislike: Can sag in the middle over time.
Our take: This firm innerspring mattress is made from eco-friendly materials and has GREENGUARD certification.
What we like: Free from harmful or controversial chemicals. Reversible to suit both infants and toddlers.
What we dislike: Heavier than foam options.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.