One of the most important things you’ll need to purchase for your nursery is a crib with a suitable mattress. The mattress is the most important part of your baby’s crib, having a good one to sleep on is essential for their comfort and safety at night.
A good crib mattress isn’t only easy to clean and comfortable, but it can also have a positive impact on your baby’s health, reducing risk of certain conditions that affect babies, properly aligning your baby’s spine, and allowing them to get a good night of rest.
- Finding the Perfect Crib Mattress
- Top 10 Best Crib Mattresses 2021
- 1. Best Overall Mattress: Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress
- 2. Longest-Lasting Crib Mattress: Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Crib Mattress
- 3. Best Premium Crib Mattress: Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed
- 4. Best Budget Crib Mattress: Milliard Premium Memory Foam Hypoallergenic Infant Crib Mattress
- 5. Best Eco-Friendly Crib Mattress: Colgate Eco Classica III Crib Mattress
- 6. Safest Crib Mattress: Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed
- 7. Easiest Crib Mattress to Clean: Milliard Crib Mattress with Flip Technology
- 8. Most Comfortable Crib Mattress: Sealy Baby Firm Rest Baby Crib Mattress
- 9. Safety 1st Transitions Baby and Toddler Mattress
- 10. Sealy Baby Soybean Foam-Core Waterproof Crib Mattress
- Guide to Buying the Best Crib Mattress
- Sleep Like a Baby
Finding the Perfect Crib Mattress
A good crib mattress is an investment, as babies spend up to 12 hours a day in their cribs for the first two years of your life. Even the most expensive mattresses cost less than 50 cents a day when the cost is spread out over time.
Buying a crib mattress can be far more complicated than choosing the theme or color for the nursery. There are so many options available that it can leave you confused. Let’s summarize some of the important factors you should consider when purchasing a crib mattress.
Check the Size Before You Buy
It’s extremely important that the mattress you buy is not too small for the crib. There are different crib sizes and even shapes. It’s advisable to buy your crib before you order a mattress (so if you don’t have one yet, read our rundown of the best cribs first). This way you will know the exact size of the mattress you need to buy.
Always follow the two-finger rule. You shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and side of the crib. This is to prevent your baby from getting stuck between the two and accidentally suffocating.
Safety and Comfort
Becoming a new parent is both exciting and nerve-racking. There are so many things to consider when preparing your child’s nursery. If you want to create a safe and comfortable environment, selecting the right crib mattress is one of the most important decisions you will make.
As your baby will spend most of his or her time in a crib, we recommend all parents should invest in a good quality mattress to put their mind at ease when their baby is sleeping.
Types of Mattresses
There are different types of mattresses available for your newborn and toddler. Your selection will greatly depend on what you’re looking for in a mattress. Innerspring mattresses are great options for parents looking for a firm mattress that’s ideal for infants, while memory foam mattresses provide a comfortable surface for toddlers—though they can get a bit hot in warm climates.
Now we’ve gone over some baby mattress basics, let’s run down 10 of the best mattresses available on the market today.
Top 10 Best Crib Mattresses 2021
Size: 52” x 27.6” x 5”
This premium foam mattress from Graco offers exceptional value. Instead of the memory foam used in adult foam mattresses, this one uses polyurethane foam for safety. The Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress fits all standard cribs and toddler beds, making it a great all-around choice for nearly anyone.
We really like the washable cover that comes with this mattress. Made from 100% polyester, the cover is easy to remove, easy to wash either by hand on in your machine and does a great job protecting the foam mattress underneath. You should also aim to wash the mattress itself regularly with cold water and mild soap.
The foam mattress is breathable to maximize airflow, with the additional convenience of being stain-resistant. It does take two weeks to fully expand, so if you need a mattress right away, you might want to consider the premium Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed instead.
The Graco Premium Foam Crib Mattress has GREENGUARD certification, ensuring it has been thoroughly tested for any chemical emissions or hazardous materials. It also meets all CPSC and ASTM safety standards.
In order to provide the proper firmness and airflow to keep infants safe while in the crib, the mattress is made from 100% polyurethane foam. The removable cover is made from waterproof polyester.
- Amazing value
- Arrives in a convenient, lightweight box
- Polyurethane foam provides excellent support and airflow for infant safety
- The removable cover makes cleaning easy
- Takes 2 weeks to fully expand
Size: 27.5” x 5” x 52”
This performance-tested mattress has an easy to clean waterproof fabric. The fabric is also a medical grade stretch knit, making it anti-microbial and odor resistant. You don’t need to worry about bed bugs living inside your little one’s mattress as it has SafeSewn seams preventing dust mites from penetrating the mattress.
The mattress is two-sided. One extra-firm, which is excellent for infants. Then, after a certain age, just flip the mattress over for a softer foam mattress that’ll be great for your toddler—although it’s still not especially soft, so babies who prefer soft mattresses might like the Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed better. The two-in-one feature helps economize over the long haul as your baby grows.
Pleasingly, the mattress is water-resistant and stain-resistant so you won’t damage the mattress by spilling things on it accidentally. Of course, you may still wish to clean it. If so, don’t use any harsh cleaning products on the mattress, and that includes diaper wipes. To clean the mattress, use a damp sponge or cloth without any cleaning products.
The mattress is made of non-toxic material and is also PVC-free, lead-free and anti-bacterial. This means it’s free of chemical nasties that could hurt your infant. It is GREENGUARD certified, which is a mark of quality.
The mattress is made of four layers. A nylon cover and a woven fire barrier means that should the worst happen, the infant will be better protected. A high-density foam enriched with plant oils and finally a firm-high density foam. It offers an excellent, safe and ideal sleeping surface for your young one.
- Antimicrobial and anti-odor material
- Dual-age design
- Quality fabric with SafeSewn seams
- Water-resistant and stain-resistant
- Easy to clean and quality tested
- The toddler side might still be too firm
Size: 52” x 28” x 5.5”
The Newton Wovenaire crib mattress comes with a machine-washable removable cover that can also be tumble dried, which makes it easy to clean.
There are spaces in the material that lets air flow through it, and this design ensures your baby can breathe through the fabric if they turn over in the night. It also promotes good temperature regulation so your baby is not too hot or cold. Finally, it’s very comfortable for your little one! Its only drawback is that it’s a bit firm for an older toddler, so it might not be as comfortable as long as something aimed at both ages like the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer.
The unique blend of materials means you should make sure not to use warm water or apply any excessive heat to the mattress, as it will shrink. Wash it with cold water and then hang it up to dry.
As well as being GREENGUARD and CPSC certified. This mattress’s unique material does more to help prevent SIDS than other mattresses. The difference may be minor compared to other mattresses, but if it’s something you are worried about, then you can be assured that the airflow of this mattress is second to none.
The Wovenaire core is 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer, and is 100% recyclable.
- The removable machine-washable waterproof cover has a beautiful 3D cloud design
- 100% recyclable and hypoallergenic materials
- The breathable fabric allows for temperature regulation
- Lightweight design
- Might be too firm for a toddler
Size: 27.25 x 52 x 5.5”
The Milliard crib mattress offers your baby comfortable and affordable luxury. Designed with comfort in mind, this mattress features special airflow to regulate your child’s temperature. The mattress cover made from bamboo is machine washable and waterproof so you can easily remove and wash the cover.
The memory foam is made so it won’t bottom out over time, allowing your young one to use and enjoy this mattress as long as they’ll fit on it. Its dual-age functionality makes it suitable for infants as well as toddlers. It’s even suitable for young children if you need to make your mattress purchase stretch even further.
When cleaning, wipe the waterproof surface with a damp cloth for spot cleaning or remove the cover and wash in the washing machine, allow to dry before re-covering the mattress. The mattress can be spot cleaned using a wet sponge or cloth, or alternatively, it can be steam cleaned.
Certified non-toxic materials used throughout the construction. The natural fiberglass lining meets all fire safety standards. It is also CertiPur-US certified.
Made with a bamboo mattress cover and a memory foam base with a natural fiberglass lining.
- The removable bamboo cover allows for easy cleaning
- Quality brand and fabric
- Hypoallergenic memory foam allows for comfortable sleep
- Waterproof cover with dual use for babies and toddlers
- No need to iron the anti-crease bamboo mattress cover
- Memory foam is a possible safety hazard
Size: 51.7” x 27.5” x 66”
This Colgate Eco Classica product is an orthopedic mattress. Its dual-age use means your child can use it as they grow, making it a good investment: just turn it over to the softer side once they outgrow the infant side.
It’s a high quality, breathable organic mattress. The foam is infused with plant oils making it a safe, chemical-free option for your baby. The certified organic waterproof cover will keep your baby dry and warm.
The foam is made with non-food plant oils. The mattress is six inches thick, firm, and is hypoallergenic. It’s also water-resistant, so if spillage occurs it won’t damage the mattress.
When cleaning it, be sure to use only a damp cloth with cold water.
It’s GREENGUARD and CertiPUR-US certified. It’s also free from lead. The firmness that you expect from a baby mattress helps prevent SIDS.
Lead-free foam and organic cotton.
- Easy sheet change
- GREENGUARD Gold certified and dual design
- Safe eco foam with sleek design
- Water resistant with organic cotton cover.
- Easy to clean.
- The mattress cover can’t be removed to be cleaned separately
Size: 52” x 28” x 5.5”
The innovation with this mattress is its material. While parents are wise to think about the comfort of the baby, even more important is the safety of your child. This mattress makes sure your child is well taken care of, with the mattress itself letting enough air through to make sure that in would-be emergency situations, your child will still be able to breathe.
Newton accomplishes all that without using harsh or irritating chemicals such as latex, glue, or airborne irritants. This is thanks to the naturally formed, food-grade material of the mattress. It’s also washable and supportive.
One of the only drawbacks is price, as the mattress costs four times as much as competitors.
This Newton crib mattress and toddler bed has the same dual functionality as products like the Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed, which have two distinct softness levels on both sides to prevent suffocation, then be comfortable for healthy sleep as your child grows.
The mattress is made of an organically formed food-grade polymer that’s low odor and provides soft support without chemical production. It also includes a washable mattress cover, which is good as the cover has a slightly off smell out of the box.
- Uses an organically formed food-grade polymer as structure
- Includes washable mattress cover
- Prevents suffocation with breathable material
- Dual functionality with two
- Quite expensive
- Mattress cover has an off smell out of the box
Size: 52” x 27.5” x 5.5”
This flippable crib mattress prioritizes comfort and easy cleaning, all with an economical price. While it’s waterproof, it’s still soft on your baby’s skin once covered with the included, washable cotton cover. Each side has a different softness level, one for babies and the other for toddlers.
The mattress itself is constructed of a foam called CertiPur that’s constructed exclusively by manufacturer Milliard. That material is tested to meet safety standards, although it’s not certified to be low VOC or to hold up to Greenguard standards, one of the governing bodies for clean manufacturing.
The most important factor in preventing SIDS is a firm mattress that doesn’t move around too much: SIDS is typically caused by a lack of oxygen, so it becomes dangerous when a baby’s face can create a seal against a small surface, cutting off air. Unfortunately, that goes against the idea that a soft mattress is a more comfortable one, and children above two prefer more cushy mattresses.
This Millard mattress combines the best of both worlds, a firm side for younger babies and a softer one for babies once they’re at low risk for SIDS
Proprietary Milliard CertiPur Foam with removeable cotton cover.
- Inexpensive mattress is great for comfort and easy cleaning
- Waterproof with an included cotton cover
- Made of CertiPur foam
- Two sides adapt for safety and comfort.
- Not certified for Greenguard standards
- Not low VOC
Size: 27.25” x 51.63” x 5.75”
The Sealy baby firm rest provides optimal orthopedic support with a 204 high coil system, providing exceptional comfort—as well as a bit more noise than most crib mattresses. It’ll offer a safe space for your child while also giving them maximum comfort.
The coils provide a very firm surface for the child to rest on, while the hospital-standard material is excellent at helping to prevent illness. It also offers an impressive lifetime warranty, which is a testament to the quality of the workmanship and the confidence the manufacturers have in the product.
Be careful when cleaning this mattress not to use any harsh chemicals as the mattress will absorb them, and then your baby might absorb them too. Just wipe the waterproof surface with a damp cloth if it’s stained.
The firmness of the mattress makes it perfect for infants as they rest. It also has hypoallergenic cushioning, which only adds to the comfort. This is certainly a luxurious mattress for any little king or queen.
GREENGUARD certification and flame resistance alongside the hospital-grade material make this mattress very safe for your little one.
204 Coils, two layers of non-allergenic cushioning, Staph-Gard hospital-grade cover.
- Easy to clean and antibacterial
- Hypoallergenic and waterproof
- Firm yet exceptionally comfortable
- The mattress can be quite noisy when the baby moves around
Size: 52” x 27.5” x 5”
The Safety 1st mattress is a lightweight mattress with two sides: one side for your infant that’s firm enough for optimal safety, and a softer side for when your baby grows into his or her toddler years. The cover is made with waterproof fabric to allow for easy cleaning and to prevent liquids from penetrating into the mattress.
It has a five-year warranty, which is a testament to its workmanship, and it won a 2019 Women’s Choice Award in the category of crib mattresses, so you know that long with being safe the cushioned side will be very comfortable for your little one.
You can’t place the entire mattress in the washing machine, but it still offers easy cleaning. Just spot clean when needed and use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe off any dirt.
The firm support for your child and GREENGUARD Gold certification mean you can rest easy knowing they are not only comfortable, but safely supported.
100% PEVA, high-density thermal bonded fiber.
- Dual-use for babies and toddlers
- Waterproof material layer
- Cushioning for toddler use providing extra comfort
- Firm and safe base for newborns preventing SIDS
- You can’t wash the entire mattress
- The waterproof cover isn’t removable
Size: 27.25” x 51.36” x 5”
The Sealy soybean mattress has a cotton cover that’s stain-, odor- and water-resistant. The extra firm base is lightweight and provides optimal safety for your newborn. The square corner design provides a snug fit for most standard cribs and toddler beds.
This mattress is suitable for newborns and toddlers. However, you may need to eventually replace it when your child reaches the upper end of the toddler age. The firmness is eventually too much for them, and you’ll be able to switch to something softer once suffocation is less of a risk.
It has a plush cotton cover and waterproof lining, and the soybean oil-based fabric is a unique offering that doesn’t compromise on comfort or safety for your baby.
Don’t use any cleaning material on the mattress surface, since this mattress isn’t suitable for washing with detergents. Spot clean if needed by using a damp cloth or sponge to wipe off any dirt without using any harsh chemicals.
CertiPur-US approved and with a PVC free cover, this mattress is very safe. The firmness provided by the foam is perfect for infants.
The soybean oil-infused fabric, natural woven fibers, and cotton cover combine for eco-friendly comfort and durability.
- Soybean oils provide a more natural option
- Stain-, odor-, and water-resistant
- Cool and firm
- You can’t wash the whole mattress
- The waterproof cover isn’t removable
- Might be too firm for a toddler mattress
Guide to Buying the Best Crib Mattress
There’s a lot to keep track of when the comfort and safety of your baby are at stake. We’ll keep it simple, understandable, and quick, so that you can spend more time on what really matters—bonding with your little one.
Babies Need Special Mattresses
If you’re buying a mattress for your newborn, make sure to select a crib mattress that’s specifically designed for babies. The major difference between a mattress for babies and a mattress for adults is the firmness of the mattress.
Although a firm mattress might be uncomfortable for an adult, this firmness is an absolute requirement for babies. A firm mattress will help prevent SIDS in babies, which is probably the number one concern parents with newborns have. It will also help with your baby’s muscle and strength development. A toddler mattress can have a slightly softer surface once these concerns become less important, but firmness is paramount in the earliest years.
Airflow is Important
Mold, bacteria and odor happens because a mattress is wet. Mattress vents will prevent moisture from building up, thus keeping the mattress clean and hygienic. It’ll also allow for easier breathability if your baby accidentally rolls to a face-down position on the mattress.
A Two-In-One Mattress Can Grow With Your Baby
If you’re looking at a long-term option for your baby, you can select a two-in-one mattress. These mattresses have different levels of firmness on each side. One side of the mattress will be firm enough for a newborn or younger baby and the other side will be softer for when the baby grows older.
More and more parents are investing in eco-friendly mattresses, and medical professionals agree that it’s a better option.
Harmful chemicals are left behind on mattresses after the manufacturing process. The chemicals might aggravate any medical conditions your baby might already be suffering from such as asthma. Organic mattresses will ensure a safe and natural environment for your baby.
What Does Organic Really Mean?
If you’re concerned about the hazardous materials and fabrics inside your child’s mattress you’ll probably look for a natural or organic mattress. There are numerous toxic materials used in adult mattresses that might cause or aggravate health problems in babies such as:
- Skin Irritants
It’s unsettling to think that your baby will be surrounded by toxins while sleeping, so something with safe materials is important. There are unfortunately no legal standards for this which makes it harder to select the best mattress. The mattress might be labeled organic referring to some parts of the mattress but not necessarily the whole mattress. In other words, the organic mattress might have an 80% plastic cover.
When you purchase a mattress, don’t simply read the label. Ask a few questions such as what other materials the mattress consists of. Look out for some safer fabric options such as:
- Plant-based foam
- Natural latex
Certification and Standards
Most mattresses will have various certifications, and that’s something you should definitely look out for. But do you know what the certifications and standards mean?
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification: This is a worldwide uniform certification. If you see this certificate you’ll know there are no heavy metals in the mattress and some flame retardants were also not used in the making of the mattress.
- GREENGUARD Environmental Institute: This institute will makes sure that the production is green and that there isn’t pollution during the manufacturing process.
- USDA logo: The logo that’ll tell you how the organic fibre was grown.
- GOTS: The Global Organic Textile Standard will be given to any mattress with a minimum of 70% organic fibres.
The Importance of Warranties
When buying appliances and products the first thing consumers look for is a warranty and the longer it is then often the better the mattress is made. Although a warranty can be a good indication of the manufacturers’ confidence in their products, it’s not necessarily worth paying more for one.
Don’t worry too much: each mattress on our list should last you long enough that your little one will outgrow it before it’s at any risk of falling apart. A lifetime warranty like the one offered by Sealey is a nice touch, but isn’t really a necessity with a baby mattress!
SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome can be a frightening thought when you’re a new parent. When a baby under the age of one year dies unexpectedly while sleeping without warning or any specific reason, it’s called SIDS.
It’s important to know that SIDS is still a mystery and there’s no cure. You can, however, make sure your baby’s crib and environment is as safe as possible to prevent accidents from happening:
- Safe Sleeping Position: Your baby should be sleeping on his or her back for the first six months. This will prevent them from accidentally suffocating due to not being able to turn or lift themselves up. It’s recommended that your baby stays on his or her back until the age of 12 months. It will, however, become harder to control this as they’ll be able to move around by themselves.
- Sleep Side by Side: According to research having your baby sleep in your room for the first few months can possibly prevent SIDS. Put the crib next to your bed so you’ll be able to hear your baby’s breathing easily.
- Don’t Sleep with Soft Toys: While it’s cute for cuddling outside the cot soft toys shouldn’t be left in your baby’s cot before the age of one year. Even after a year it’s best to keep the cuddle friends outside the sleeping area. Synthetic materials that are used to make soft toys can cause suffocation.
- Avoid Heavy Blankets: Although heavy blankets or duvets work great to keep older children warm and improve sleep, it’s recommended to cover infants with lightweight cotton or muslin blankets or swaddlers to prevent suffocation.
- Use a Baby Monitor: Invest in a baby monitor that also has a breathing pad. If your baby stops breathing, the monitor alarm will go off to let you know.
- Create a Smoke-Free Zone: Smoking during and after pregnancy has been linked to SIDS. Second-hand smoking can increase your newborn’s chance of developing lung-related illnesses such as asthma.
Second Hand vs New Mattresses
Buying necessities for your newborn can become costly. Optioning for second-hand products can be a great way to save on unnecessary costs. However, some items are best to get brand new and a crib mattress is one of them.
You’ll benefit from a new mattress for a few reasons:
- Hygiene: Bodily fluids and other liquids such as milk will most likely be left on a crib mattress. Cleaning the mattress doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get rid of any mold that is growing inside the foam or any other bacteria that might be present.
- Quality: Buying a second-hand mattress from an unknown source might leave you with a “fake” label or brand. Buying a new one is the best way to know what you’ll be getting.
- Long Lasting: You have no way of knowing how long a second-hand mattress has been used before the owners sell it to you. When you buy a new mattress, you’ll have an accurate idea of how long the mattress will last.
- Firmness: The firmness of a crib mattress will wear out over the years, making one of uncertain age unsafe for a newborn. Buying a new mattress will enable you to get the best out of the mattress.
Some mattresses come with a built-in mattress cover. Most of these covers aren’t removable making it harder to clean properly. It’s advisable to get a removable waterproof mattress cover if yours doesn’t come with one, in order to prevent liquids from penetrating into the mattress.
A mattress cover can be easily removed for proper cleaning. If you prefer a cotton cover you can get a waterproof mattress pad that’s placed between the cover and mattress to protect your mattress.
Waterproof crib sheets can help keep things clean, too!
Sleep Like a Baby
Parents will know that the famous saying “sleeping like a baby” is not always the case, especially when your baby reaches milestones like teething. However, when you’re lucky enough to have your baby sleeping soundly in their crib, you want to be confident that your baby is safe and comfortable. Start the exciting journey of parenthood right by investing in a good quality mattress for your baby from day one.