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FAQs about Crib Mattresses

by Jessica Gezon

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Happy baby in a crib

You've successfully chosen your crib and now you're ready to complete the set with a comfortable crib mattress. Babies sleep in a crib for a year or more, so picking the right baby mattress is an essential part of furnishing your nursery. Keep reading for the answers to frequently asked questions about crib mattresses and make sure your little one enjoys the best baby crib mattress available.

Questions about Crib Mattresses:

  1. How big should the mattress be?
    Cribs generally have a standard size, so most mattresses will work in most cribs. There is some variation, so check your mattress in your crib before assuming it fits. The best option is to measure the crib you're going to use and choose a mattress that fits exactly. If you find a mattress that doesn't fit, just trade it for a new mattress; it should be easy to find a match. The crib mattress should fit snugly inside the crib to prevent limbs from slipping between the mattress and the edge of the crib.

  2. What kind of mattress should I get?
    There are two types of crib mattresses: You can choose between foam and innerspring mattress construction. Innerspring mattresses are constructed like traditional mattresses with coiled springs providing the firmness. Experts suggest an innerspring mattress with a minimum of 150 coils. Foam mattresses are available in various densities and thicknesses; in the case of crib mattresses, density is the most important factor.

  3. Should I look for a firm mattress or a soft one?
    Providing a soft, squishy place for your little one to sleep makes sense from an adult point of view, but infants and babies require a firm mattress for their own safety. A firm mattress provides support for soft, growing bones and doesn't yield if your baby rolls over and gets stuck on her stomach.

  4. How can I tell how firm the mattress is?
    Press down on the center of the mattress with the tip of your finger. If the mattress yields immediately, it's probably too soft. If you have to press a little harder, it's probably firm enough. A firm mattress is important to help prevent suffocation.

  5. What are mattress vents?
    Mattress vents are designed to promote air flow. These vents are located on the edges of crib mattresses, either in multiple rows of tiny holes or two rows of larger holes. These vents allow the mattress to breathe as the baby moves around and prevent the mattress from popping if the child jumps enthusiastically in bed. There are some parents who worry that vents allow airborne particulates into the mattress and back out around the baby, but since the vents are on the side of the mattress (not near where the baby is sleeping), most people agree that the benefits outweigh the risks.

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