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Your baby’s crib mattress is an important purchase for your nursery. Learn about the different types & features before you put your little one to bed.


After spending all that time finding the perfect crib and just the right bedding for your new baby, choosing a crib mattress might not seem like a big decision. Yet, there are several key things you should weigh over before purchasing a mattress. Comfort isn’t the most important consideration, because babies can sleep just about anywhere. It’s safety that should be your number one priority when finding the right mattress for your crib. Learn more about what types of mattresses are on the market today to help you create the safest sleeping environment possible for your little one.

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Types of Crib Mattresses

There are three main indicators of quality in crib mattress that can help you make a sound decision. Weight is important, as it helps you judge density of the foam or number of coils. Firmness is a very important indicator of quality, since firm mattresses are safer for baby. In terms of firmness, the firmer the better. Babies need a more solid sleep surface because if they get turned over, they can’t move themselves out of face-down positions, which is a suffocation risk. Also, you should determine resiliency. Does the mattress regain its original shape when weight is removed from the mattress? A quality mattress will regain its shape quickly.

Once you’ve decided on a baby crib, finding a crib mattress to fit should be easy. Most come in standard sizes, with the most common measuring 51 5/8” in length by 27 1/4” in width with a thickness of 6 inches or less. Always measure first and, remember, the mattress should fit snugly into the crib with a space of no more than two adult fingers between the mattress and the crib.

Foam Crib Mattresses

Foam mattresses are very lightweight (6-8 lbs), making changing the sheets or mattress cover easy. Look for a mattress with clear-cut corners to ensure the sheets stay on snugly & securely.

There are different types of materials that can make up the foam core of the mattress. It is important to look at all the options before you decide with type of material you want. Most foam core crib mattresses are made with polyester. In the past, polyurethane foam was often used as the support system and as padding in baby mattresses. Polyurethane foam is made from a combination of synthetic and petroleum based chemical which can release potentially harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the baby’s sleep environment. Many mattress companies have eliminated the use of polyurethane in crib mattresses.

There are some new material options for foam cores that can help provide a safer sleeping environment for your baby.

Eco Dura Bond

These cores are made from 100% recycled polyester fibers derived from water bottles. They are very low in VOCs to ensure that baby’s sleep environment is as chemical free as possible. In addition, the recycled polyester fibres in these cores are thermo-bonded and compression packed, which ensures a firm sleep surface and with uniform support.

Eco Bio Fibre

Similar to Eco Dura Bond cores, these cores have the addition of natural wool and cotton fibres. Wool is naturally mold and mildew resistant helping keep the core fresh and clean. The cotton fibres add durability and resiliency enhancing the extra firm sleep surface.

Spring Coil Crib Mattresses

These mattresses are made of coiled springs covered with a layer of foam and soft cotton fabric. One side of the mattress is usually covered in cotton fabric and the other is covered in wipe-clean plastic. The innerspring unit should have a high number of coils or springs, usually 150 or more. The higher the count of springs results in a firmer mattress, which is always best. The mattress should have an edge rod to prolong the life of the edges and mattress. The mattress cover or “ticking” should have multiple layers.

Steel Innersprings

Steel innersprings are the traditional support systems used in all types of mattresses. Innersprings made from 100% recycled high resolution steel gives the innerspring long lasting firmness and resiliency to help prevent sagging. Look for extra thick border rods in a square corner design. Border rods are very important in that they provide a strong perimeter reinforcement that helps maintain mattress shape. The square corners minimize gaps which are an entrapment hazard for a safer and snugger fit.

Bonnell Coil Type

This spring type is made from individual round coils that are tied together with a steel wire in a “pigtail’ design. Bonnell springs come in many different coil counts. A rule of thumb to remember is that the lower coil counts use thicker wire which is more resilient and higher coil counts use thinner wire. However, higher coil counts have fewer spaces between the coils which results in a more uniform sleep surface.

Continuous Coil Type

This is one of the best support systems available on the market today. They are made from a single continuous strand of wire which produces more steel surface coverage than in bonnell coil innersprings. A continuous coil innerspring provides better overall uniform support and fewer pressure points. Also, the coils in this type of spring are not tied together so there is less “coil feel” through the padding materials than a traditional bonnell innerspring.

Foam Core vs. Spring Coil

Foam or coils? It is really only a matter of preference. The polyester cores do have one advantage. They are lightweight which makes sheet changing easier on mom. On average a polyester core mattress weighs between 3 and 5 kgs (8-12 lbs) as compared to an innerspring mattress which can weigh up to 10 kgs (25 lbs). Both innersprings and polyester cores can provide excellent support as long as you ensure foam density or coil count are high enough to make the mattress firm and safe.

Other Types

Natural Fibre Crib Mattresses

The interior of a natural fibre mattress is usually coconut fibre coated in latex, which is waterproof. The covers are soft cotton.

Hypoallergenic Crib Mattresses

These come with a quilted top layer that can be easily detached from the body of a mattress, and machine-washed at 60 degrees C to kill dust mites that may cause allergies.