Crib Mattress Buying Guide: What You Should Know Before Buying

Crib Mattress Buying Guide

When you’re expecting, shopping for a crib mattress is part of your long to-do list. Sometimes, the excitement is eclipsed by the many buying concerns you’re hearing from other people. Some may even tell you to accept a hand-me-down. Is that all right? Aren’t baby beds affordable? Where do you start? 

We’re here to take the stress out of this activity. Read on for tips on how to choose a crib mattress. Through bite-size information, understand what types and features are available. Your little one deserves the best. And you should be feeling excited, not stressed. 

Before you proceed, here’s one thing we recommend. Go through all the sections. This is a packed article. But it isn’t something you cannot finish in several minutes.

Tips On How to Choose A Crib Mattress

Buy Brand New

Did you just welcome your firstborn into the world? While there’s room for a hand-me-down or a pre-love mattress, it’s still best to buy a brand-new one for your little potato. This ensures the bed is sanitary. Who says crib mattresses aren’t immune to bed bugs, dust mites, and skin cell debris? And with a fresh bed, you can customize the size, firmness, and materials to your baby’s needs. 

If you are still considering a hand-me-down, at least make sure you know the previous owner, and you’re confident about how they stored it. Prepare to clean and sanitize the item.

Consider Organic

Organic materials are all the sage today. A foam or innerspring baby mattress may contain layers made of organic cotton, wool, latex, and even bamboo blends. Between organic and natural options, it’s easier to verify the validity of the claims about the former. There’s no standard yet for natural consumer products in the United States. But there are certifications for organic ones.

Two things you can look for are the Oeko-Tex Standard and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). See what these certifications mean in “Safety” under the Crib Features Section

Just a heads-up, organic and natural crib mattresses tend to be more expensive than regular models.

Cover Is Not Everything

While you may like what you see or feel out of a mattress cover, the inner layers matter more. The quality of the construction and materials will determine the bed’s performance. It may feel soft and comfortable on the surface, but will the product last until your baby outgrows it? 

Also, between innerspring and hybrid, the former tend to live and perform longer. But with proper research, you can find an all-foam design that is just as durable. It all depends on what you can find inside the mattress. So check the label or ask the salesperson for accurate information.

A beautiful and comfortable cover is just a bonus.

Shop In A Physical Store

We admit we love online shopping and its convenience. But here’s a tip you can apply to your crib mattress hunting. Visit an online store, add options to your wishlist, and then search for those items in a physical store. 

Why make an effort? It will help you test your choices’ features. For instance, you can get your crib’s measurements at home. And then look for a target mattress in that size in the department store. Fit the bed into a sample crib (or ask the salesperson to do it for you). This will help you see if there’s a gap that can endanger your little one in their sleep. 

Of course, some brands provide hassle-free returns. So weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a crib mattress in-store. If you live far from the branch where the bed is available, then the former seems a better deal. 

Crib Mattress Types


Let’s take a look at foam options. The most common material used here is polyurethane. However, you can find a model that contains memory foam, latex foam, or even soybean foam. You should do a skin test first before buying plant-based or synthetic foam. Organic latex may be hypoallergenic, but your baby may be allergic to latex. If it triggers itch and rashes, discontinue use at once.

Specialized foams, like orthopedic firm versions, are also available. Usually, parents prefer this choice because it costs less. It’s also lightweight, comfortable, and easy to find. However, it tends to deteriorate faster than its innerspring/hybrid counterpart. Edge support may also be weak in some designs. This poor functionality can cause your child to fall toward the rails, which can then lead to injury.


Innerspring—and in some cases, hybrid mattresses—is the more expensive, heavier crib mattress type. It’s a bit different from the innerspring you know, which comes in cheap. When you say innerspring for babies, you’re talking about a bed that you can pass down to the next tot. It is highly durable due to the coils that make up its core. 

An ideal coil count would be between 135 and 150, but some brands offer models with above 200. More coils mean more strength and stability. And it should sport 14.5-gauge coils, which is not too thin and not too thick for the babes. The coil gauge defines the thickness of the mattress. The lower the number, the thicker the coils are. 

Innersprings command higher prices than foams. 

Crib Mattress Features


Cribs come in standard sizes. But if yours have different dimensions, measure it to be sure. Knowing the exact measurement helps in making allowances and keeping your baby safe. Choose a mattress that fits the crib perfectly. If there’s a gap, it should only be equivalent to two fingers of space. Otherwise, it will pose a safety risk. Babies can get trapped in the gutter, which can lead to suffocation.

Find a standard-sized mattress before checking out non-conventional ones. According to the law, full-sized crib mattresses should be at least 27 1/4 inches x  51 5/8 inches (width x length). If buying in a store, ask for a sample crib wherein you can place the mattress you’re eyeing.

Weight & Density

Innerspring models can be heavier than their foam counterparts. If you want the former, you’re looking at an object that can weigh between 15 and 30 pounds. Foam types are lighter. You can easily find a design that tips the scale at 7 to 8 pounds. But with high-density polyurethane foams, you can get up to 20 pounds.

Meanwhile, density tells you how packed is a mattress. So if it’s heavy, it’s also likely denser. You can look for this detail on the product page of the company’s website. But if you are shopping in a physical store, try pressing the mattress in between your palms. If the mattress is dense, it won’t let you press too far.


Firmness and feel are among the important factors to consider when mattress shopping. So aside from having high density, your baby’s cushioning should also be firm. You also need a surface that’s super resilient and with zero conformity. While contouring to your shape is a must-have quality for adult beds, it may be dangerous for your baby’s body parts, especially the head. Press the center zone to test firmness.


As we said, you should be wary about crib mattress safety. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials make sure they’ve got you covered.

On top of double-checking the construction, see if there’s a certification that goes with the materials. Usually, foams are certified by the following bodies:

  • CertiPUR-USThis certification often appears in standard foam labels. But it is also applicable to crib mattresses. It guarantees that the foams used to make the product are safe and non-toxic. So no ozone depleters, certain flame retardants (PBDEs, TDCPP, and TCEP), heavy metals like mercury or lead, and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification: Having this seal means the materials used contain no harmful substances. They passed testing and screening, which arrived at this result. Just like the other certifications here, it refers to the safety of some parts of the mattress, but not all.
  • GREENGUARD Certification Program: You probably see this a lot, too, when checking out mattress options. GREENGUARD Certification is not limited to beds. Using industry and government standards, GREENGUARD tests materials in products. However, it excludes testing for natural components in mattresses. There’s actually no existing standard to screen for that one.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS provides criteria for testing textiles made from organic fibers. Its presence on a product label means the said product has at least 70% organic fibers. GOTS ensures compliance across the textile industry supply chain, keeping everyone up to speed in adopting environment-friendly ways.


Covers provide a line of defense against dirt, dust, spills, and even germs. But what kind should you buy for your baby’s bed?

Crib Mattress

Waterproof Cover

This is not sold with the bed, but it’s best to have it in handy. Any mattress cover will be wrapped around the mattress. Then, it’s covered by the sheet. You won’t have to worry about it being a choking hazard. Also, if you go for a waterproof one, you can easily clean if your baby pees and the diaper leaks.

Read: How to Get Urine Smell Out Of Mattress

Antimicrobial Covers

Antimicrobial covers promise to stunt the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew in mattresses. Its results may not be better than a placebo, according to consumer product experts. It’s up to you whether or not to get one. Alternatively, you can spot-clean the crib mattress after any leak or spill.


Children and adults alike need a mattress that lets them breathe. So when it comes to your baby’s bed, the requirement is the same. It should promote airflow and prevent suffocation. Babies love flipping their bodies over that they’re snoozing on their tummies. Ventilation pockets in their beds should prevent them from choking. 

Plus, they get to sleep cool on a well-ventilated sleeping surface. Right?


Wise and practical, choosing a convertible mattress this early should cover your child’s baby to toddler stages. And some brands make it possible with dual-firmness models. The mechanism is not far from the one behind standard-size ones. You can flip the mattress on its firm or soft side, depending on age. Babies need a firmer surface. Toddlers may look for something plusher.

But the difference is not just based on firmness. You can find designs that have one side made of soybean foam and another made of latex foam. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, though. Your toddler may still like the harder feel of their baby mattress. So consider their preference during the transition.

Read: How to Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed


Whether it’s innerspring or all-foam, you can find a high-quality crib mattress at an affordable price. Anything between $90 and $200 should serve your baby well, according to Consumer Reports. If you go for a convertible one, you can even skip buying a toddler bed. That spells savings for you.

Do you prefer organic products? A crib mattress of this caliber can cost around $300 and up.


The bottom line is that your baby deserves the best crib mattress. Just as you want your bed to align with your needs, your wee one must also feel the same. Well, if they could only talk. Of course, we know you also desire to give them the best. 

If there’s a takeaway here, it’s the fact that you have to be more vigilant than ever. It’s not enough to pick the prettiest or the cheapest option. You should go over the factors outlined here while you shop for a mattress. Don’t be anxious. You’re doing just fine. 

When it comes to mattresses and bedding, you have to keep making smart choices. You’ll be rewarded by the sight of your baby sleeping soundly one night. But stay quiet, so you don’t wake him or her up.

Don’t miss out on guides that will take the hassle out of mattress shopping. More information on sleep, mattresses, and sleep accessories can be found on