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Finding the Best Crib Mattresses is a Slog, So We Did the Work For You

Because baby sleep is a very big deal.

Babies sleep. A lot. Getting a great night’s rest isn’t just important for parental sanity — it’s fundamental to healthy infant and toddler development. When you lay your infant down on his or her baby mattress, you want to know they’ll be safe and slumbering for as long and as soundly as they need. That’s where the best crib mattresses come into play. While the best baby mattress won’t guarantee you a delightfully restorative night of shut-eye, it can make bedtime more seamless for you, and more comfortable for your infant. Also, it’s worth noting that as of now, baby sleep products are not regulated, but that is changing in mid-2022, when a new federal rule goes into effect mandating that “any product intended or marketed for infant sleep must meet a federal safety standard.”

When it comes to mattress in particular, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers concrete guidelines that help parents narrow down their options. First and foremost, your baby should sleep on a flat surface, whether in a crib, bassinet, or play yard. Nothing else should be in the sleep space except for the baby — no blankets, no soft toys, no bumpers. In addition to fitting snugly within the crib, a mattress should be firm. In other words, it shouldn’t indent when baby rests on it.

  • You can choose between innerspring mattresses, or foam mattresses, usually made from polyurethane. With innerspring mattresses, more layers generally equal a better mattress. 

  • If you’re planning to convert your baby’s crib to a toddler bed, as most parents do, opt for  dual-firmness convertible mattresses. The newborn sleeps on the firmer side, while the toddler sleeps on the softer side. 

  • If you opt for an “organic” mattress, you should know that there’s no concrete industry standard governing exactly what that entails. But it should be GREENGUARD-certified, at the very least, because that’s a group that tests products for harmful chemical emissions.

  • Air out a mattress for at least 48 hours before sleeping on it. And whenever possible, encase it in a washable mattress cover because yes, there will be diaper blowouts and other times when things get really messy. 

The AAP also cautions against being swayed by crib mattress manufacturers that claim their products can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as there’s no evidence that this is true. Instead, the AAP recommends using mattresses that meet the CPSC’s safety standards. There’s also no proof that so-called breathable mattresses have any sort of health impact, so beware of unregulated buzzwords. 

The CPSC recommends that a mattress used in a full-size crib be at least 27 1/4 inches by 51 1/4 inches, to prevent the possibility of head entrapment and suffocation between the mattress and crib sides, and the mattress should not be thicker than six inches. 

Shopping for crib mattresses may be important, but it is hardly the most scintillating thing parents want to do. So we did the work for you. 

This stellar foam baby mattress is made without vinyl/PVC, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), polyurethane foam and flame retardants. The surface is made of breathable organic cotton. This crib mattress has a stain-resistant and waterproof surface. And it's been certified according to the GREENGUARD GOLD program for having reduced chemical emissions and uses organic cotton as its filling. It's two-sided, so can be used for both babies and toddlers. It measures 27 1/4 x 51 5/8 x 6 inches.

This GREENGUARD GOLD-certified mattress is fully washable, which is something parents of babies can appreciate because, well, babies. The Newton crib mattress measures 28 x 52 x 5.5 inches and is designed to fit all standard size cribs. It's made without foam, latex, or adhesives, and is two-sided for babies and toddlers. It's also fully washable.

Like others on this list, this mattress is GREENGUARD Gold-certified and also free of chemical flame retardants. But its biggest selling point is its multifunctional removable cover, which has a cotton surface and PVC-free waterproof backing to keep your baby nice and dry. It's dual-sided and designed to fit a standard crib.

So we have the adult mattress from Saatva, and it's pretty close to perfect. The brand's crib mattress has a removable cover because babies are messy. It's dual-sided. It's GREENGUARD Gold-certified as being free of harmful emissions. It fits all standard cribs.

If money is no object, here's the dreamiest of crib mattresses. It's hand-made in California from cotton-wrapped pocketed innersprings encased in unbleached cotton, which are top-and-bottom tied and nested and hand-sewn without glues; plus organic certified wool; organic certified flax pads; organic certified coco-fiber perimeters infused with organic latex for strong edge support; resilient organic certified latex foam; and the finest quality, organic certified cotton ticking.' Essentially, this is pretty much the most pure and flawlessly-made crib mattress you'll find. Period. The dimensions are 28 x 52 x 6 inches. The infant side is firmer, the toddler side is slightly softer.

Thanks to its individually wrapped coil springs, this mattress is the height of comfort. It has a reinforced border wire and Innofoam corner wraps, and is two-sided. The toddler side has a foam layer, made without PBDE flame retardants. The woven fabric cover has a waterproof backing. It's 52 x 27.5 x 6 inches.

This foam mattress, like others on this list, is GREENGUARD GOLD-certified and is made without toxic fire retardants. It's dual-sided and has a fiber core that offers extra firmness for babies, as well as an additional layer of foam on the toddler side for more comfort. It measures 27.5 x 52 x 6 inches and has a woven waterproof cover.

Like others on this list, this foam mattress is two-sided, with a softer side for toddlers. It's GREENGUARD Gold-certified. This one also has a built-in waterproof-backing to ensure the mattress stays dry if your child pees on it. The dimensions are 51.6 x 27.25 x 6.

An ultra-lightweight mattress, this one has the aforementioned two-stage design (firmer on one side), and layers of organic cotton to add firmness. It's GREENGUARD Gold-certified, and is made with certified organic cotton fabric and filling. You just spot clean as necessary with a solution of cold water and mild soap.

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