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How to Choose the Healthiest Crib Mattress

Healthy Crib Mattress Buyers Guide

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jan 15, 2018

If you were going to spend more than half your day in one place, you would want to make sure that you were comfortable and that your immediate environment was healthy and safe. Babies and toddlers spend up to two-thirds of their time in a crib or sleep environment. For that reason alone, parents need to choose wisely the crib and baby mattress to leave their children for long hours during the day and night. Below, we will look at the three most essential elements to consider when choosing a baby mattress and recommend the top crib mattresses on the market today. 

Firmness to prevent SIDS

Almost every new parent has huddled over their sleeping newborn baby, watching intently to make sure they are still breathing. While an infant's sleep is tender and endearing, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is a health threat that needs to be taken seriously. According to the Mayo Clinic, though the exact cause of SIDS is still unknown, doctors know that it is related to defects in the part of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

Finding a crib mattress that is firm and flat is one of the essential strategies to keep your baby safe while sleeping. The crib mattress you choose should not adapt to the shape of your hand when you push hard into the center. Excessive softness could create depressions, which creates very real suffocation and SIDS threat.

How To Choose The Right Crib Mattress Size?

Babies, even the most tranquil ones, do move during their sleep, and finding a crib mattress with the correct dimensions is essential to help prevent accidents that could lead to suffocation in a newborn infant. The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission regulates the size of both baby cribs and crib mattresses. The interior crib size needs to be 28 x 52 inches, while the crib mattress needs to be 27.25 x 51.25 inches, making sure that there are no more than 1.25 inches between the edge of the crib and the mattress.

Cribs mattresses that comply with these dimensions are suitable for infants and newborns and can be used for cribs that can be transitioned into toddler beds.

What Certifications Should a Crib Mattress Have?

Since infant health is such an important issue for our society, there are several government-regulated certifications for diverse baby products. GREENGUARD certification, for example, regulates interior home products for low emissions of VOCs. A crib mattress with GREENGUARD certification will then abide by strict chemical emission limits, which are obviously important for babies who spend long hours of days and nights in contact with that mattress.

Crib mattresses can be made from several different types of materials. While organic cotton crib mattresses are the most natural and healthiest option, these can be more expensive than other mattress types. If you opt for a foam crib mattress, it is important to find an option that abides by the CERTIPUR-US© certification. This will assure you that your baby mattress does not contain any toxic flame-retardants or formaldehyde and has low VOC emissions.

Be cautious of mattresses made from soy or other plant-based mattresses - a similar green-washing practice has been witnessed in the spray foam industry. Typically, these mattresses only contain a small percentage (under 20%) of actual soy, and the rest is usually a stew made primarily from petroleum-based chemicals. These mattresses also typically cost less to produce than regular mattresses but are usually offered at a premium, as the 'eco-friendly' angle is promoted.

Our Top Picks for Crib Mattresses Available Today

essentia lala

MyEssentia LaLa Natural Memory Foam

MyEssentia is one of the only companies to make memory foam mattresses with a majority of natural materials. This comfortable baby crib mattress is fashioned from the rubber tree's sap and comes with an organic cotton liner that is breathable, natural, and easy to wash. The LaLa Natural Memory Foam costs $579 but offers free shipping across the United States and Canada.

babyletto coco

BabyLetto Coco Core

Another quality baby crib mattress crafted from natural materials is offered by the company BabyLetto. The Coco Core mattress is made from a base of natural latex and coconut husks while containing absolutely no polyurethane foam, vinyl, PVC, chemical flame retardants, dyes, allergens, phthalates, PFCs, synthetic latex, or other off-gassing chemicals. It also comes with a waterproof cover and currently costs $269.

naturepedic crib

Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton

The Naturepedic No Compromise crib mattress is made from 100% organic cotton. A dust mite barrier cover ensures that your infant will not suffer from crib-related allergies. A waterproof barrier makes this mattress easy to clean for parents who are short on time. Priced at $259, this is one of the more expensive mattresses but one of the only crib mattresses that can claim to be made from 100% organic cotton. 

For more info, check out: Cribs for Healthy Nurseries

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-11-09T17:54:10+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.