Your kids deserve the best, and a great way to give them a developmental head start is to make sure their first mattress is a good one. A sound night's sleep is even more important for young kids than it is for adults, because their muscles and bones are still growing. Installing a high-quality infant mattress in their crib is crucial for the body development of young children, and helps them to grow up with strong and healthy bodies and minds.
Keep in mind that a good night's sleep is not just important for the baby; it's also essential for the parents. A baby that's sleeping soundly on a high-quality crib mattress is also a baby that's not crying and fussing, meaning mom and dad can also enjoy a well-deserved night's rest. Follow a few simple tips to bring home a safe and comfy baby mattress, and the whole household will enjoy sound sleep and cheerful mornings.
The number one consideration when buying a crib mattress is firmness. Growing babies require a firm crib mattress for proper bodily development. In addition, young children between the ages of one month and one year are vulnerable to Sudden Infant Death syndrome, or SIDS. While it is yet unknown what exactly causes SIDS, one of the risk factors seems to be overly-soft or worn-out crib mattresses. Crib mattresses which allow too much sagging and body curvature can put a lot of pressure on a baby's lungs, muscles and blood vessels, creating a dangerous situation for young children who can't yet freely move around the bed. That's why it's important to invest in a good, firm crib mattress and replace it at least every two years.
Another important consideration when picking a crib mattress is the material. Baby mattresses come in two general types: foam and innerspring. Foam mattresses are lighter, easier to maintain and more affordable than innerspring, but some cheaply made foam mattresses out there are not suitable for babies. Before buying, push down on the pad with your hand and see how long it takes to flatten back out; the sooner it regains its shape, the better. If you are not able to pressure test the mattress, check its total weight; heavier foams are denser and firmer than lighter ones. Innerspring crib mattresses are more durable than foam but are usually slightly more expensive. They are also a bit heavier, which is a consideration if you anticipate having to frequently remove it for cleaning. Remember that the firmness of an innerspring mattress is determined not only by its spring count, but also by the thickness of wire used in the coil. Make sure to buy an innerspring mattress with at least 135 coils and a wire thickness gauge less than 15.5.
The type of ticking, or cover material, is the last thing to think about when buying a baby mattress. First and foremost the ticking should be water resistant and easy to wash. Babies can get messy whether awake or asleep, so you want a synthetic plastic or nylon cover that easily wipes clean. Something else to think about is ventilation. The mattress should have small venting hole on its sides to allow air to flow in and out, which keeps the interior dry and prevents odors from building up.