What Do I Need to Know About Crib Mattresses?
A mattress should be extra firm—so firm that you might find it too firm. It may be for you, but it is not for the baby. If the baby makes a dent in the mattress when lying on it, the mattress is not firm enough.
Also, there should be no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the crib. If you can fit two fingers into the gap, the mattress is too small for the crib and puts your baby in danger.
Typically, you will be choosing between an innerspring mattress and a foam mattress:
- Innerspring mattresses are filled with cotton and wool over steel coils. The more coils, the firmer the mattress, while there is enough cushion to keep the mattress comfortable. Also, the coils evenly distribute the baby’s weight and contour to the body for better spinal alignment. These mattresses are, by far, more durable if you plan on using it again or hand it down. They are also more expensive.
- Foam mattresses are made with lightweight polyurethane foam. The foam may be memory, gel or organic.
- Memory foam is known for its contouring abilities.
- Gel foam keep body temperature regulated and conforms to the body.
- Organic foam is not made with toxic chemicals.
Foam mattresses are much less expensive than innerspring. That doesn’t mean that you should pass one up. They do not last as long, they cost less—it may all even out for you.
Toddlers can use mattresses that are a bit less firm. You might consider mattresses that are reversible: one side for an infant, the other for a toddler.
Buy a mattress that is:
- Fitted and no more than an inch thick. The pad needs to fit snugly so that it does not slide, shift or bunch.
- Hypoallergenic, especially for a baby with allergies or sensitive skin.
- Temperature regulating with a fabric that adapts to the baby’s body temperature to keep your little one cool and comfortable.
- Stain repellent to repel and release stains and odors.
Why Does the Crib Mattress Need a Pad?
A crib mattress pad provides an extra layer of protection at a modest price. It protects the mattress and, therefore, the baby from mites, dust and other environmental irritants. Also, a pad is much easier to clean than a mattress to keep the crib sanitary and fresh.
What Type of Sheets Work Best For a Crib?
When choosing sheets for the crib, take the following features into consideration:
There are two major types of sheets: fitted sheets and flat sheets. Never use flat sheets! They are a proven safety hazard. You want a fitted sheet with a strong elastic band that is about one inch wide—a sheet that fits like a second skin. There can be no excess fabric for the baby to grab or pull on.
The higher the thread count, the thicker and softer the material, the more expensive. But your baby will be more comfortable and the higher count sheets last much long. It is better to buy a few sheets that are more expensive than buy many sheets of a lesser quality.
The standard weave pattern is one stitch over, one stitch under. This is a durable stitch, and it makes the sheet soft to the touch, but it is also more susceptible to wear and tear.
A percale sheet has a tighter weave and is a higher quality. It is strong and durable and has that crisp feel that many people prefer.