Table of Contents
- Why Choosing the Right Crib Mattress Is Crucial
- How to Choose the Right Crib Mattress for Your Baby
- The 10 Best Crib Mattress Brands in the USA
- Crib Mattress Shopping Tips
- Review of Our TOP-3 Crib Mattresses
- Final Word
For both young and old, nothing hurts sleep quality as much as a bad mattress. For your newborn baby, a poorly chosen crib mattress can raise real safety concerns. As this article will show, the best crib mattress brands put your baby’s safety front and center.
The crib mattress you select will determine how well both you and your baby sleep at night. A baby that’s well-rested will be less fussy and require less supervision at night. So, it’s a win-win situation for you both when you select a mattress that provides a comfortable sleeping environment.
In this article, you will learn the importance of choosing the right crib mattress. You will also familiarize yourself with the best crib mattress brands, so you have a standard to guide you as you shop. To cap off this guide, we will share our top three picks for the best crib mattresses you can buy right now.
Let’s dive right in.
Why Choosing the Right Crib Mattress Is Crucial
In their first year of life, babies sleep up to three-quarters of their time. That’s 18 out of 24 hours in a day. Contrast that with the average 8 hours you should sleep as an adult but don’t always manage.
As adults, we care a lot about a bed’s comfort. So when we shop, we feel the mattress to make sure it is soft enough. And therein lies the challenge when selecting crib mattresses. Because we are drawn to softer mattresses, we can end up with the wrong crib mattress.
With a crib mattress, if it is soft for you, it is too soft. Your baby’s mattress should be extra-firm. The reasons have more to do with safety than comfort, so you should rightly be concerned.
A firm crib mattress promotes healthy breathing during sleep
Every nursing mother wants their baby to sleep as soundly as possible. Sound sleep means longer sleep, during which time you can do other chores or eat a warm meal without interruption. But your baby will not sleep soundly if their breathing is labored.
Unlike adults’, babies’ airways tend to ‘kink’. If their airways, which extend from their mouth and nose down to their lungs, are kinked, it partially blocks their breathing. As a result, your baby struggles to sleep.
A firm mattress will help keep your baby’s posture and airway straight. That greatly improves their breathing and helps them sleep more soundly. They can have longer, uninterrupted naps, which is good for them, and you.
A firm crib mattress minimizes the risk of SIDS
Infants are susceptible to death by suffocation, which is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Infant death by suffocation is more likely to happen on a soft mattress than on one that is firm and flat. As infants have very limited mobility, they can’t easily lift their heads or find a safer, more comfortable sleeping position on their own.
The danger comes when the baby rolls onto their tummy and ends up sleeping face-down. On a soft mattress that tends to conform to the body, this means their whole face – including their nose and mouth – gets buried in the mattress. Unable to roll their body to face upward, they will struggle to breathe and end up suffocating.
Soft mattresses cause poor bone development
Babies’ bones are very soft and will only develop and get stronger as the baby grows. Some of these bones are only cartilage that will have to fuse to form stronger bones.
For their bones to fuse in the right shape, the baby must sleep on a flat, firm surface. When you also consider the amount of time your baby sleeps and that they will grow fastest in their first year, it becomes clear how critical crib mattress selection is.
Firm mattresses lower the risk of entrapment
As your baby grows, they get more active. They will start to roll about in their crib. Now, if they are sleeping on a soft mattress, it is easy to lodge a leg or arm between the mattress and the crib frame.
If they are unable to free themselves, the baby can end up hurting themselves. With bones that aren’t fully developed, the baby can easily fracture an arm or a leg. You want to prevent this from happening by choosing a firm crib mattress.
A mattress that does not fit the crib and leaves gaps is just as bad as a soft one. Those gaps are an entrapment danger. With a firm mattress that fits the crib frame snugly, your baby will not have the strength to push their arm or leg in between the mattress and the crib frame.
There is a lot more to consider when choosing a crib mattress. Let’s look at the other factors that influence crib mattress selection.
How to Choose the Right Crib Mattress for Your Baby
Furnishing your new baby’s nursery is one of the most exciting things to do for expecting parents. You likely have a lot of baby essentials and nursery items to buy before the baby arrives. That can stretch the budget resulting in you having to spend less on some items.
For your baby’s sake, you want to spend as much as it takes to get them a good-quality crib mattress. The trouble is, for many first-time parents it is not always clear what a good crib mattress is. It is quite easy to get caught up in non-essential features.
Here’s what you need to consider when shopping for a crib mattress that will create the safest sleeping space for your little bundle of joy:
Safety is the most important factor when designing a sleeping space for an infant. and for crib mattresses, safe means firm, and flat. How firm should the mattress be, though?
The golden rule is if the crib mattress is soft for you, it is too soft for the baby. On the flip side, if it feels too firm and uncomfortable for you, it is probably good for the baby.
To be sure your infant’s crib mattress is firm enough, it should spring back up when you press it down with your fingers. You should choose the firmest crib mattress you can find.
As for fit, if you can slide three or more fingers between the mattress and the crib frame, that mattress isn’t a snug fit. It is too small for the crib and may expose your child to entrapment risks.
By law, a full-size crib mattress must measure 27 ¼ inches in width and 51 ¼ inches in length. It must be no thicker than 6 inches.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission also has standard dimensions for baby crib frames that manufacturers must abide by. Under the regulations, crib frames must be 28 inches wide and 50 ⅜ inches long.
If you are buying a full-size crib for your baby, it should not matter if you buy the crib mattress and frame separately. The mattress should fit the crib frame. Since the law also allows a ‘pull or minus factor’ of ⅝ inches, it is advisable to buy a crib frame and mattress from the same brand.
If you must buy a non-standard crib mattress, the law demands that you buy it together with the crib frame. Sizes for non-standard-size crib mattresses are not regulated by law. But their manufacturers are required to sell them as a full crib that includes both the frame and the mattress to ensure that the mattress fits the frame.
Crib mattresses come in two types – foam and innerspring. Both work just fine. The difference between the two will normally show in their weight, with foam being lighter. Innerspring mattresses also tend to be springier, and, for that reason, they may feel firmer.
Good quality foam is denser, heavier, and firmer, while a heavier innerspring means thicker, stronger steel was used. Don’t fall for the marketing gimmick that an innerspring mattress with more coils is firmer. That’s not always the case. What matters is the thickness of the steel used.
With innerspring mattresses, also pay attention to the materials used for padding, which is the layer above the innerspring. Foam and cotton make better quality cushioning but will be more expensive.
While a mattress’s core is more important to consider when choosing a crib mattress, the cover is also worth paying attention to. Some manufacturers will look to cut costs by using cheap, low-quality coverings which don’t last very long. Reinforced laminates and certified organic cotton coverings tend to be thicker and longer-lasting.
Diaper accidents are inevitable with your little one. When they happen, you want to make sure the actual mattress doesn’t get wet as that raises mold issues. There are a few ways you can prevent this. Either you choose a waterproof crib mattress, invest in a waterproof cover, or use a washable cover with a waterproof backing.
Manufacturers use different techniques and materials to waterproof their crib mattresses. Some use vinyl, plastic, or other synthetic or natural materials. Others design their mattresses to be washable. For your baby’s safety, certified natural covers are your best option, but we can imagine them being more expensive.
If you are going to choose a washable mattress, make sure it is stain-resistant. Generally, a waterproof mattress or one with which you use an easy-to-clean cover is better. It reduces your chores, seeing that you already have your hands full with the baby.
Unfortunately, to make your baby’s crib mattress waterproof, you could also be making it less breathable. Breathability helps regulate temperature, which creates a more comfortable sleeping environment for your baby.
Plastic, vinyl, and other materials used to waterproof crib mattresses aren’t known for their breathability. Depending on the weather, they can make your baby’s bed feel cold or too warm. For that reason, always make sure to lay a crib sheet over the waterproof mattress cover. That sheet must also fit the mattress tightly to prevent suffocation accidents.
Besides the mattress covers, the mattress core itself affects mattress breathability. Innersprings are the most breathable, but some foams are now also engineered to be breathable.
How much a crib mattress weighs does not affect your baby. But it affects you or the baby’s nanny. You will constantly be changing the sheets and mattress cover and cleaning the crib, which requires you to lift the mattress. A heavy mattress may be a burden you don’t want to deal with every day.
While you can find good-quality crib mattresses that weigh as little as 10 pounds, heavier mattresses tend to be of better quality. The heaviest, premium crib mattresses weigh as much as 30 pounds.
Durability is a measure of the quality of the mattress’s cover fabric, its fill/core, and construction. The best crib mattresses retain their shape and firmness and remain rip-free at least until the baby has grown enough to move to a big-kid bed. A product lifetime warranty is usually a sign of a crib mattress brand that is confident of its product’s quality.
Dual-sided crib mattresses
Babies grow fast. By their 10-month they may already be rolling around in their crib. And as they grow into toddlers it becomes less important that the mattress be extra firm. A less-firm mattress will be more comfortable.
Instead of replacing a 10-month-old crib mattress, it may make more sense to invest in a dual-sided model that you can use for longer. On one side the mattress is firm and safe for an infant and on the other, it is softer and comfortable for a toddler.
The 10 Best Crib Mattress Brands in the USA
Babies spend much of their time sleeping, so their beds must be safe and comfortable. To create the best sleeping environment for your baby, you want to stick to trusted crib mattress brands. The following 10 brands are widely considered to be the best.
Babyletto specializes in making furniture, mattresses, and bedding for infants and toddlers. The company was founded in 2010 to provide ‘safe, affordable, and eco-friendly products for modern families.
The company manufactures two types of baby-sized mattresses that it markets under the Babyletto crib mattress brand. The first is the Coco Core crib mattress that has a naturally firm coconut husk and natural latex core. Among other features, the mattresses in that line are vegan and hypoallergenic, free of chemical retardants, and have a removable cover.
The other line is the Pure Core collection, with crib mattresses that have a layered core of lightweight and fully recyclable polyester. Just like the Coco Core collection, Pure Core mattresses are vegan and hypoallergenic, made free of any chemical retardants, and have a removable cover.
Depending on the model, Babyletto crib mattresses use covers that are either water-repellent or waterproof. Some of the mattresses are double-sided, with one side engineered to be softer for toddler use.
Most of Babyletto’s crib mattresses are GreenGuard Gold certified, made from recycled materials, and fully recyclable. The company promises to replace or repair your crib mattress if it is defective or poorly made. Otherwise, all their crib mattresses have a 10-year warranty. You can review their warranty policy here.
Beautyrest is a top-rated brand of crib mattresses made by Delta Children in Wisconsin. It is part of a large stable of brands that also markets mattresses for adults. Targeted at the middle to the upper end of the market, Beautyrest crib mattresses have innovative features for safety, temperature control, and full-body support.
Depending on the actual model, BeautyRest crib mattresses use fiber from recycled materials, pocketed coils, gel memory foam, and natural cotton for their core and cushioning. The materials are chosen for their safety and firmness.
Among other features and attributes, the mattresses are waterproof, stain- and odor-resistant, and non-toxic. They have the GreenGuard Gold certification, among other endorsements. Beautyrest crib mattresses enjoy non-transferable limited warranties that run between 1 and 10 years.
Bundle of Dreams
Bundle Of Dreams claims to make the perfect crib mattresses, which are safer, healthier, more comfortable, and 100% breathable. The premium crib mattress brand uses what it calls a Bundle Fibre core that has the strength and elasticity of the highest-grade foam but, crucially, isn’t prone to off-gassing and does not contain any VOCs.
The Celcius crib mattress, for example, uses a cover made from a certified organic cotton fabric that the brand claims has superior cooling qualities. The 2-stage mattress is free of all potentially harmful chemicals, does not off-gas, is recyclable, and has a 2-inch full perimeter edge support.
All of Bundle Of Dreams’ crib mattresses have GreenGuard Gold certification. The company itself boasts certifications from prestigious bodies, including the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), USDA Organic, as well as the US Trade Commission’s Organic Cotton badge. Bundle Of Dreams’ mattresses and accessories are all made in the USA.
Dream On Me
Dream On Me manufactures crib mattresses, baby gear, children’s furniture, and associated furniture. The company was founded in 1988 in New Jersey and has grown to encompass a family of brands that include Evolur Baby, and Slumber Baby.
As a good crib mattress brand that sells at affordable prices, Dream On Me prides itself on being a complete baby care solution. It has, since its founding, committed to a relentless and unwavering focus on quality and safety.
Dream On Me makes full-size crib mattresses as well as portable and playard mattresses. Its Holly 3” Fiber Portable Crib Mattress is an Amazon’s Choice, where it has sold over 13,000 units.
Kolcraft is a third-generation, family-owned company that is celebrating 70 years of making baby products this year. According to its stated mission, the company aims to make baby products that keep babies safe and parents happy.
Since 1993, the company has been in a partnership with Sealy where the two brands use Sealy technology to make crib mattresses. As a result of the partnership, Kolcraft claims that more babies now sleep on a Sealy crib mattress than any other US brand.
Kolcraft makes three different types of crib mattresses, namely steel coil, foam core, and pad crib mattresses. The mattresses are targeted at the medium to lower end of the market. The Kolcraft Pure Sleep Therapeutic 150 Waterproof Toddler & Baby Crib Mattress is quite popular on Amazon.
Kolcraft crib mattresses have a limited 1-year warranty that runs from the date of purchase. Under the warranty, the company will repair or replace any mattress found to have manufacturing defects.
Lullaby Earth has the mission ‘to create the safest and healthiest crib mattresses on the planet at prices everyone can afford. Although they are not the highest-selling crib mattress brand, the parents that have given the crib mattresses a try all sound satisfied.
According to the company itself, its crib mattresses are designed by grandparents, parents, and engineers who share an absolute dedication to safety and affordability. While the crib mattresses are not the cheapest you will find, they are known for the performance they deliver.
The safety claims the brand makes seem to hold as the company’s many certifications and endorsements show. Among these are badges from the Zero Toxics Product Registry, Green America, AllergyKids Foundation, the National Parenting Center, and Mommy Dearest. The crib mattress brand has won multiple awards.
Lullaby Earth crib mattresses are proudly made in the USA. The mattresses are covered by a non-transferable lifetime warranty.
Moonlight Slumber makes mattresses and bedding for the whole family. The company also makes mattresses for hospital beds and university dorm rooms. However, it started life making crib mattresses, which remain central to its business to this day.
Moonlight Slumber makes three models of crib mattresses. The Dreamer crib mattress is its original baby line. The Starlight crib mattress is an inch thicker and is more comfortable, which makes it a good fit for toddlers. The Mini is a mini crib mattress line.
Targeted at the premium end of the market, Moonlight crib mattresses have a BreatheWell core of luxurious OxyFlo CoolGel memory foam. The foam core is covered in a performance fabric that is ‘tough on messes and easy on people. Waterproof and stain-resistant, the mattress covers are protected by a state-of-the-art fire barrier system.
All Moonlight Slumber crib mattresses are supported by a product lifetime warranty.
Naturepedic is a sleep products brand that offers certified organic mattresses at a reasonable price. The company has been on an organic mattress revolution since 2003 and contends its mattresses transform the lives of its customers through safer and healthier sleep.
Naturepedic says it has eliminated polyurethane foam and all flame retardants from its manufacturing processes. That has helped the brand further its environmentally friendly mission. With its cheapest model starting at over $250, the brand’s crib mattresses aren’t cheap. When you consider their safety and performance features, however, they are well worth their price.
All Naturepedic crib mattresses have 2-stage dual firmness, which means your little one will grow with it, switching to the softer side when they are older. They have an innerspring core with padding of organic cotton and synthetic fiber made from non-GMO sugar cane.
Naturepedic crib mattresses have a lifetime warranty. You can review the warranty details here.
Newton’s crib mattresses meet the highest standards in baby products’ safety, design, and innovation. Digging deeper into the company’s website and reviewing its crib mattress features, this appears to be a claim that the company can back up.
Newton crib mattresses are 100% washable and breathable, from cover to core. Whenever it can, the company also says it uses organic materials, which is why the mattresses’ core is recyclable. The crib mattresses have a limited lifetime warranty.
It is a testament to their quality and safety that Newton crib mattresses, despite their high prices, sell very well on Amazon, where they enjoy an average rating of 4.9 stars from thousands of reviews. If money is no object, this is among the very best crib mattresses you can buy.
Sealy is a legacy American mattress brand that has been operating since 1881. Sealy Baby is its division that focuses on crib mattresses. Unsurprising for a company that can call on mattress-making experience spanning 140 years, the brand’s crib mattresses are well-engineered and made to the highest quality standards.
Sealy Baby offers its crib mattresses in four collections – butterfly, foam, hybrid, and innerspring. The Butterfly collection has a memory foam core and is sold in the mattress-in-a-box style made popular by Casper. The mattresses have a breathable and washable knit cover.
The Hybrid collection features 2-stage mattresses that double as baby and toddler mattresses. They use a premium steel coil core along with breathable and waterproof covers, among other features. Because the company can summon its considerable resources, superior technology, and economies of scale, its crib mattresses are relatively cheap for their quality.
Crib Mattress Shopping Tips
As you go out to shop you will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of good crib mattress brands you will find. We have just reviewed the top brands on the market right now. Many of the mattresses from these brands are made right here in the USA, so you should be confident they are of good quality. Shop within those brands and you should be fine.
We have also covered the most critical crib mattress shopping advice. Below is a TLDR summary of those tips, and a few others we may have missed:
- Choose the firmest crib mattress you can find. It may mean spending more, but it will guarantee the safest sleeping environment for your baby.
- Read customer reviews. Verify manufacturer claims by reviewing feedback from people who have bought and used the crib mattress,
- Check return policies. You want to make sure the mattress is returnable in case it is defective or does not meet your expectations.
- Ensure the mattress is supported by a long warranty. Shoot for at least a 6-year warranty. The best crib mattress brands offer product lifetime warranties.
- Compare prices. There is always a chance the mattress you are considering is currently discounted somewhere else.
For the convenience it offers, you will likely be shopping for your crib mattress online. Since most people default to Amazon, we will now review three of the best crib mattresses currently available on the site.
Review of Our TOP-3 Crib Mattresses
In terms of value, this Graco crib mattress is up there with the best crib and toddler mattresses you can buy on Amazon. Over 32,000 people have voted for the mattress with their wallets and endorsed it with very high praises.
It’s not just the price that’s good about this mattress. As reported by the parents that have bought it, the quality is not bad at all. Well, at least for those that allow it time to off-gas and fully expand.
The memory foam mattress is compressed and rolled into a box, so you must give it time to expand to its full size. If the corners don’t fully expand, just give them a few gentle dabs to loosen the foam particles.
Polyurethane foam also does give off a smell when you first unbox the mattress, but that smell must have fully cleared by the time the mattress has fully expanded. In case you are concerned about the off-gassing, the crib mattress has been tested for over 10,000 VOCs and chemicals and found to be safe; safe enough for a GreenGuard Gold seal of approval.
To help you maintain a sanitary crib and protect your little one’s health, the mattress has a machine-washable waterproof cover. The crib mattress is extra thick, with the recommended firmness for infants. As well as the GreenGuard Gold and CertiPUR-US certifications, this crib mattress has won multiple awards for its quality.
Do you envisage needing additional sleeping options for your newborn baby? A mini-crib that you can easily move between rooms might be a good option. This mini-crib mattress will be a good budget-friendly option for that.
We should reiterate that this mattress is for a mini-crib and, as such, it is too small for a standard-size crib. If you have to buy it, make sure you have a mini-crib with the same dimensions. Its small size is, however, perfect if you intend to travel with your baby in the car.
As you shop for a crib for this mattress, try to stay on brand when shopping to improve your chances of getting one that fits the mattress. The Dream On Me Aden 4-in-1 Convertible Mini Crib will fit well with this mattress and is a great option. It’s also a good option if you are looking for something more comfortable for your Pack ‘n Play.
As for this mini-crib mattress, the price is hard to ignore. It is probably as low as you can get and still get a decent quality crib mattress. Despite the low price, those who have bought the mattress report that it is quite decent. It also suggests a promise of quality that the mini-crib mattress is designed, engineered, and made in the USA.
At only 2.5 lbs, the mini crib mattress is lightweight. Perhaps it’s because of the Eco-fiber core, which isn’t a heavy material. Still, the mattress is said to be acceptably firm for a newborn. It has a waterproof soft vinyl cover that should be easy to wipe down and keep sanitary. We, however, found complaints that the mattress isn’t as waterproof, so you may want to add a waterproof cover to make sure.
The Dream On Me mini-crib mattress is certified safe of VOCs, as the GreenGuard Gold certification shows. It has also passed flammability and toxicity tests to guarantee a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
For parents that are constantly on the go, a Pack ‘n Play playard will be a great investment for the little one. Completely foldable, that travel crib is lightweight and packs well. One drawback is that their pads are usually quite hard. So, parents invest in a firm, but still comfortable mini-mattress, like this one from Hiccapop.
We are not sure if this is still ‘the only double-sided pack ‘n play pad on the market’, but it remains one of the top-rated options available. A number 1 bestseller, with a 4.9-star average rating out of over 17,000 reviews on Amazon, this mattress pad has an army of parents that swear by it.
A cautionary note on size; playards come in a range of different sizes, so be sure this mattress will fit yours before you buy it. With a thickness of 3.25 inches, the mattress will guarantee plenty of support and comfort for the little one. It has an ultra-soft, hypoallergenic jacquard cover, with a lock-stitched binding to resist leaks and stains. The cover is removable and can be thrown into the machine for washing and drying.
The memory foam side of the mattress is cozy and comfortable for toddlers while the other side is purposely engineered to be firmer and safer for newborn babies. So, this is a mattress your child will grow with.
The memory foam has the CertiPUR-US seal of approval, meaning it is safe for your little one. Rounded corners help give the mattress a tighter fit that leaves no gaps that may endanger your child.
Every parent wants the coziest, safest sleeping space for their newborn baby. But as the claimed benefits and innovative features stack up, it becomes harder to work out which crib mattress brand has the best balance between performance and price.
The crib mattress brands and mini-crib, standard crib, and Playard mattress models we have reviewed are a reasonable representation of the best the market currently offers in terms of price and performance. We wish only the best for your bundle of joy and hope the crib mattress choice you will ultimately make will be the best for their safety.
Most of the leading crib mattress brands on the market today manufacture their mattresses here in the USA, even though some of the raw materials may be imported.
Moonlight Slumber, Sealy, Naturepedic, and Newton make some of the best, longest-lasting mattresses in the USA. However, durability ultimately comes down to the model you buy. In most cases, a high price points to stronger materials and better build quality.
Moonlight Slumber, Lullaby Earth and a few other brands offer lifetime warranties with their crib mattresses, which is as good as it gets. However, with an average lifetime of 8 years for the best brands, a warranty of 10 years will be just as good. The Dream On Me mattress we reviewed has a 10-year warranty.
Sealy is known to make some of the firmest crib mattresses, while brands like Moonlight and Newton have invested heavily in features and natural materials that enhance breathability and general safety.
From our research, the Graco Premium Foam Crib & Toddler Mattress has the best balance between features, performance, and price. It is quite a feat that a breathable, infant-firm mattress with GreenGuard Gold and CertiPUR-US certifications sells at the price it retails at.