When you’re expecting a baby, there are a million things to think about and prepare for. One of the big decisions you’ll have to make is what kind of new crib mattress to buy. There are two main types of crib mattresses on the market: foam and spring. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of both foam and spring crib mattresses.
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Foam Crib Mattresses
- Lighter weight than spring crib mattresses
- Often less expensive than spring crib mattresses
- Cons & Considerations
- Some are less durable than spring crib mattresses
- Must not be made from memory foam
Foam crib mattresses are made entirely of—you guessed it—foam. Sometimes they are less expensive than spring mattresses, and they’re definitely much lighter, too, which can be helpful when you need to move the crib mattress. You might be thinking: how often will I move a crib mattress? But the way a crib is positioned with rails on every side, in order to change your crib sheets you usually have to pick up one side of the mattress to wrestle the sheets on and off.
If you’re a smaller parent, or a petite person, or have any mobility issues, a light foam crib mattress can be helpful when you need to change the sheets.
Foam crib mattresses are usually designed to be very firm, which is important for babies because it reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). If you’re shopping for a good foam crib mattress, look for one that has two stages. One side of the mattress is extremely firm, the other side has a bit more ‘give’ to it. The firm side, made from denser foam, is meant for newborns and the softer side is meant for toddlers who are at a much lower risk of SIDS. These kinds of crib mattresses are often called a ‘two stage’ or a ‘two in one’ foam mattress.
On the downside, some foam mattresses retain heat, so they might not be the best choice if your baby gets hot easily. Avoiding memory foam crib mattresses or mattress toppers is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A crib mattress that is too soft, or made of memory foam, might conform to the shape of your baby’s face, which dangerously doesn’t allow for air to flow around them.
One of the best foam crib mattresses I’ve found on the market is the Newton Baby Crib Mattress, which uses ‘Breathe-Thru Technology’ that allows a baby to breathe right through the materials the mattress is made from. This super breathable crib mattress is 90% air and 10% foam; it also comes with a completely breathable mattress cover that is washable too. It’s completely washable from cover to core, hypoallergenic, and free from foam, glue, latex or springs. It’s a two stage mattress made to accommodate babies and toddlers for a good night’s sleep.
Spring Crib Mattresses
- More durable than some foam crib mattresses
- It’s possible to find organic spring crib mattresses
- Cons & Considerations
- Heavier than foam crib mattresses
- Often more expensive than foam crib mattresses
- Can be harder to clean than foam crib mattresses
Spring crib mattresses have a layer of coils in them, similar to a traditional mattress for adults. They generally cost more than foam mattresses, but some people find them to be more comfortable. These mattresses are also called innerspring mattresses. It’s possible to find a spring mattress made from organic materials and free from polyurethane foam if that’s something important to you. Spring crib mattresses also tend to be more durable, so you might get more use out of them if you plan on using them for future children as well. Sturdy innerspring crib mattresses are also a good choice if you plan on converting your crib to a toddler bed and need a toddler mattress.
Spring mattresses also usually provide better airflow than foam mattresses, so they might be a better option for babies who tend to sleep hot. The main downside of spring mattresses is that they’re quite a bit heavier than foam mattresses, which can make moving them around slightly more difficult. The heavier spring crib mattresses are often made from more premium quality products.
One good option for an innerspring crib mattress I recommend is the Sealy Baby Cotton Cozy Rest crib mattress. This two stage spring crib mattress has GreenGuard Gold certification and features an anti-sag weight distribution system on the infant side that evenly distributes your baby’s weight. It’s also made in the U.S.A. and has a waterproof top for easy cleaning. It also has a higher coil count than most baby mattresses (204 premium steel coil system).
How do you decide which type of crib mattress is best?
You could test out a crib mattress by visiting a store and lying down on both types of mattresses yourself to see which one feels better to you. Most stores will have a demo mattress of some of their most popular crib mattresses on display for people to touch or try out.
There’s no easy answer since every child (and every parent!) is different. If you’re looking for an option that’s easy to move, a foam mattress might be the way to go. If you want something that will provide maximum support and durability, a spring mattress might be a better choice.
No matter which type of mattress you go with, you may also want to invest in a water resistant removable cover. A waterproof cover is an important thing to protect your mattress from spit up and diaper leaks. Even a waterproof crib mattress could benefit from a cover that can be easily changed in the middle of the night.
How to choose a crib mattress that is safe and meets safety standards?
Safety is a very important factor in helping to decide which crib mattress will be best for you. Regardless of which type of mattress you’ve decided to purchase, looking for these standards will help point you in the right direction of purchasing a crib mattress that is safe for your child to use.
- GREENGUARD®GOLD Certification
- This means the crib mattress and its components are tested and approved by an independent third-party laboratory. These mattresses have low chemical emissions and good indoor air quality. Look for the gold standard to ensure a high quality.
- CertiPUR-US® Certified
- This type of foam is tested for durability, indoor air quality and chemical content.
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification
- This certification will guarantee certain harmful chemicals and volatile organic compounds like toxic flame retardants and known carcinogens are not present in your products.
- CPSIA certified
- The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a United States Government agency that tests products for infant and toddler durability and safety.
- Cribsie Awards
- This type of award will recognize the best products, and services, for babies and toddlers.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between a foam and spring mattress for your baby’s crib—it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Whichever type you choose, make sure to do your research and read reviews before making your purchase. And once you’ve decided on the right crib mattress, don’t forget to pick up a waterproof protector!
I ultimately decided to purchase a foam crib mattress and have found that it works nicely. It has held up well over the years of use that it’s seen from my kids without developing any dips or low spots. It has been easy to clean and move because it is so lightweight, so that is my ultimate personal recommendation. Happy Sleeping!
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