Best crib mattress reviews, baby to toddler – 2021 Update
An apology for the delay
First of all, we’d like to apologize for the wait to our readers who asked us to dive into testing and reviewing crib mattresses more tha year ago.
It took full year to complete this guide in a way that lives up to our testing and review standards.
It took about months just to put together a team that’s competent enough to test and make the recommendations on the best crib mattress. Only one of our core team is a mom, so we had to go out and get help.
What’s what? – a quick video intro from Andy
5 Best Crib Mattresses
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, PVC and phthalates-free
, PVC and phthalates-free
waterproof fabric, foam
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Last updated – June 2018
Initial choices made by Materials Technology Engineers
For this one we had to be extra careful.
So, apart from our Editor-in-chief who is a Materials Technology Engineer we brought in two of his colleagues (Vasco Tobia from the Materials Science University of Torino, Italy and Marguerite Turner) on a part-time basis just o help us out with this guide.
We’re using the opportunity to thank them – it would not be possible to put this information together without their expertise.
Reviewed by 18 mom bloggers
Once we separated the wheat from the chaff and had a list of 18 products to test, we reached out for help. And who could to it better that MOMs using these products every day. We asked them to give the shortlisted products a try, test them and rate in 7 quality categories.
It’s the same quality categories our Material Engineers used to shortlist the best baby mattresses:
The top-rated crib mattress – Newton Wovenaire
Safety first – a mattress born in water
This product is for parents who don’t compromise, because the safety and quality comes with a price tag to match.
There’s a good reason for that – it’s the patented meshy polymer that this Newton is made of. The material is unlike anything else we’ve seen in the industry and second to none when it comes to safety.
If safety is a priority, you probably don’t have to bother and look at other baby mattress reviews – in our book, the Wovenaire is the king of the hill.
How is it made?
Not cheap, but worth it
That doesn’t mean that the other mattresses we’re about to look at are not good or safe – but the water-treated polymer used for the Newton Wovenaire cannot be compared to any type of memory foam or latex – it’s in a category of it’s own.
That’s why it’s not cheap, but worth every dime.
Minimal imprint means less risk of your bundle of joy getting tangled in the bedding
The little one will not leave imprints on the surface, it’s too firm for that, and it’s the imprints and indentations that might form over time with lower quality products increase the risk of getting tangled in the bedding and overheating.
Newton Wovenaire carries the Greenguard Gold certification, which means it offers a safe sleeping environment and it’s fully recyclable.
Breathable like no other
The cover and the mattress are both breathable, keeping the infant from overheating, which is a suspected cause of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The core of the mattress is 90% air – in case you’re wondering, this doesn’t mean it’s an air mattress (which are not safe for babies). It only means that the materials used (Woven water-treated polymers) are that breathable like no other. If you haven’t, take a minute to watch the video above – it fully explains our point.
100 % washable – both the cover and the mattress
This is an important one – with most models, the cover is washable and that’s about it. This is the only mattress on the list that you can actually wash – not just the cover but the whole thing.
Highest safety ratings
The polymer used is food-grade. This doesn’t mean that you can eat it, but it does mean that it is completely free of any chemicals.
The nature of the material allows for the the mattress to breathe, wicking heat away from the sleeping infant. To put it simply -it will keep your toddler from getting sweaty.
In our ratings, this is by far the safest crib mattress.
It’s the innovative polymer mesh material that puts the Newton Wovenaire at the very top. It also makes it very easy to clean and maintain – both the cover and the mattress itself are washable.
Runner up – Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer baby crib mattress review
Waterproof & antimicrobials
Most mattresses we looked into excel in one or two of the quality aspects – not Moonlight Slumber – this one is a complete package.
It’s made using antimicrobial materials.
The cover is toxin-free nylon, while the core of the mattress is high-density foam. The nylon cover is very durable and designed to last.
Antimicrobials in the cover of the Little Dreamer reduce the chance of mildew or mold growing in the seams or penetrating the surface. They also make the mattress more germ-resistant, which is important for a surface that will come into contact with all kinds of fluids and semi-solids.
What’s better about Moonlight Slumber
Dual-sides, a huge money saver &
great for muscle development
“Dual-sided” simply means that one side is perfect for babies, but as the little one grows into a toddler, you can just flip the mattress and continue to use it.
You’ll want a firm mattress for babies, they can’t lift their little heads independently, but want them to be able to keep trying with getting “trapped” in the bedding. This allows the infant to exercise their legs and arms without denting a hole in the surface.
The other side is softer and more comfortable, suitable for use as a toddler mattress. Once they grow enough to walk, they’ll have the strength to extricate itself from a more cushioned surface. This mattress is likely to stay with the child until they are ready to move into a regular bed.
Importance of firm edges and shape retention
The edges of this mattress are square and retain their shape even as the baby learns to stand. The dropped-edge design of the Little Dreamer makes it highly unlikely that the edge will “break in.”
Moonlight Slumber is one of the few companies that addressed the issues of edge retention with such attention to detail.
Our runner-up also features a natural fire barrier that exceeds existing standards for safety.
3rd top-rated – My First Premium Memory Foam review
Certification, safety, cleaning
It’s waterproof, making it easy to clean and maintain an acceptable level of sanitation, even in the long run.
With these certificates attached to it, you can rest assured that there are no emissions and that the foam used is high-end.
Washable mattress cover
The mattress cover is also washable, which is not always the case with products in this price range – usually, you only wash the bed linens and wipe off the mattress.
The velour cover is also removable and hypoallergenic.
Unparalleled value for money
My First Premium Memory Foam is an affordable and breathable crib mattress that offers the best support, comfort, and safety in it’s price range.
The memory foam is breathable open-cell, it draws heat away from the tiny sleeper and disburses it throughout the mattress. This keeps your little one from overheating.
Value for $ rating
This is the top rated crib mattress in the category of value for money in this update andthe most affordable option on the list.
4th best baby & toddler crib mattress
Simmons Beautyrest Beginnings
231 coils of safety and comfort
The Simmons Kids Beautyrest Beginnings is an innerspring mattress. The coils are made using what Simmons calls “Advanced Luxury Pocketed Coil”- compared to other innerspings we looked into – this Simmons offers better support and safety (all springs wrapped in natural cotton).
Safe and chemical-free
The mattress itself is wrapped in natural flame-retardant material that’s free of any potentially harmful chemicals. The fabric is non-toxic and the finish is woven TPU fabric – it’s the TPU that makes it completely water-resistant.
The blended cotton cover is organic and features medical-grade waterproof backing. As a guarantee that there are no toxins, the BeautyRest Beginnings is GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US certified.
The two certificates mean that no PBDE retardants, heavy metals, formaldehyde or harmful phthalates are used in the production.
Durable & Sturdy
The Simmons Kids Beautyrest exceeds flammability requirements and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.Construction is solid and tight, with a border edge reinforced to keep it from breaking down over time.
The company calls the design “Innofoam corner protectors” – they add to the add to both durability and longevity.
Sealy Soybean Foam-Core review
Safe without retaining heat
Sealy developed the Soybean Foam-Core with the balance between safety and heat-retention in mind. That’s a good thing – you want your bundle of joy to be comfortable, but safe from heat and the risk of suffocation.
The use of soybean foam offers a natural sleeping atmosphere. Seale Soybean products are tested for off-gassing, durability and chemical content. While it is fire-retardant, it does not contain unhealthy chemicals.
Just the right firmness
This Sealy strikes just a very good balance between stabilty and comfort.
The cover is embossed and waterproof, which makes it easy to clean, and the binding around the edges is lock-stitched. Compared to regular stitching, the lock-stitches mean better shape retention over time.
The batting is cotton-based. This, along with the cover, makes for a surface that wicks heat away from the sleeping infant. The heat is then disbursed through the cotton layer, keeping your tiny sleeper from overheating.
Now that we finally have this guide live, it gets easier – as with all our guides, the ratings will be updated on a bi-monthly basis to reflect any quality changes.
The whole guide and all models will be re-visited once every 6 months to make sure there are no “red lights” in terms of quality changes and include any new arrivals deserving of a mention.
Once again, we’d like to thank everybody who contributed to this guide.
Finally, ask away – feel free to share your dilemmas and questions in the comment section below. We’ll respond within 24 hours.
Stay safe and enjoy every minute of parenthood.
Sincerely – The SleepStudies Team,
Reference info on choosing the best crib mattress
For those of you who want to do some additional reading and better understand what we talked about above, below are some reference information on what to look for in a good, breathable crib mattress.
Past the information dump
Thickness, innerspring or foam, the quest for breathable fabrics that are waterproof, all create the need for so many decisions.
In none of the products above seem like a good fit or you simply want to know more, we put toghether some reference information on choosing right.
Appearance of Comfort – you’re not choosing for yourself
Perhaps the hardest prejudice to overcome in choosing a model is the appearance of comfort.
Most adults don’t think that a plastic-coated slab of stiff foam would make the ideal sleeping surface. We tend to gravitate toward support wrapped in a snuggly pillowtop that we can sink into. However, this is far from the type of mattress that an infant needs.
Babies sleep at least 16 hours a day for the first two to three years of their lives. This makes it a major factor in your baby’s health.
The fluffy pillowtop can pose a suffocation hazard for the baby unable to lift its face out of its loft, increasing the possibility of SIDS. The best baby mattresses are waterproof for obvious reasons, but that can be uncomfortably hot.
You’ll have to look for a mixture of comfort and support and for fabrics that are easy to clean yet breathable. In the crib mattress reviews we’ve seen from our material engineering team, these are the features they stress the most.
Firmness and Support – avoiding the “fluffiness trap”
CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) shared in their report that the best baby mattressese are those that are firm and supportive before anything else.
A softer surface can develop dips and depressions. These can increase the possibility of suffocation. To test the product, press the center and the edges. If it springs back easily, it’s probably firm enough.
Rule of thumb – if you can leave a handprint on the surface, it’s too soft.
Muscle development of your baby
Babies spend so much time in their cribs that they need a firm surface for muscle development. They will kick and stretch and learn to roll over.
By giving them a firm surface, you’re helping them develop hand-eye coordination more easily. The baby mattress should have simple linen – usually just a fitted sheet that fits tightly to the surface without getting wadded up.
A single blanket should be placed over the baby and tucked under the sides and bottom. The goal is to keep the baby from pulling the blanket loose and getting tangled up in it.
Stay away from crochet – no matter how beautiful
A word of warning here – these beautiful hand-crocheted baby blankets should be admired from afar. Babies have a strong gripping reflex, and they also reflexively pull their hands to their faces. This reflex will cause them to grip the edges of a cover and pull it to their faces. A crocheted cover will get their fingers entangled.
The firmness of the model is one feature of the safety provided in the crib. The surface material is another feature that keeps your baby safe. Plastic can get really hot, and this is sometimes considered to be a possible cause of SIDS.
On the other hand, you’ll want a breathable crib mattress that’s easy to clean. Fecal matter, urine, perspiration, and other fluids will undoubtedly come in contact with the surface, and you’ll have to be able to sterilize it to reduce contaminants.
How the does it fit the crib
A full-sized model has to be no less than 27 and ¼” X 51 and 5/8”. It cannot be thicker than 6 inches.
If you’re making a purchase for a crib you already own, measure the insides of the crib and match it to the exterior measurements of the baby and toddler mattress. You should be able to fit a couple of fingers between the crib and the sides. We have seen this to be a major decision junction in the crib mattress reviews submitted by or testers.
Zero tolerance for second-hand and hand-me-downs
You should always buy a new one – no two ways about it.
You have no idea how it was used.
If you bought a new one for your first child and had taken care of it, then it might be ok to use it for your next child. Not ideal, but not as closely as bad as getting a second-hand.
Comfort – not a priority for a baby
Comfort will be more of an issue once your child is a toddler.
Babies will fall asleep when they’re ready, whether you would be comfortable in that position or not. The comfort level of the doesn’t play into this as much as you would think. Choosing a firm, breathable crib mattress tops the comfort. Again, we go back to the fact that you’ll need to “turn off” some of your opinions about comfort and redefine it.
Comfort level of the baby will be more in the categories of temperature control, safety, and support. Remember, you will use a pad and a bed sheet that fits snugly over tit. This adds a layer of comfort.
Two-sided models are money savers
Some parents look for combos that have one side designed to be firm for babies and the other side more comfortable. Some of them automatically adjust to the weight of the child so that it gets more comfortable as the toddler grows.
Another feature that contributes to the comfort of the toddler and baby mattress is the breathability of the fabric. We work hard to control the baby’s body temperature and considering that babies spend ½ of their lives sleeping, we need to control their temperature in the crib.
A baby that gets too hot may be more subject to SIDS, and one that gets too cold will not rest well. So, as parents, we need to look for covers that are breathable without being a material that will get wadded up. A stable sleeping temperature will contribute to the comfort of the baby.
Breathable crib mattress – a priority
The model you purchase should have a water-resistant or waterproof cover.
Most of the will have either fabric or vinyl. Fabric can be treated to make it water-resistant, and even waterproof. Vinyl covers are usually constructed of several layers with ventilation holes. This allows the vinyl to breathe while blocking moisture. It also resists punctures and tears. If you select a vinyl cover, look for one with a three-ply cover.
It should also have side vents. This allows an exchange of air that keeps the core fresh and the sleeping surface clean.
Warm air will be wicked away from the baby’s sleeping surface and dissipated out the side vents and surface.
You also may use a waterproof cover. If you do, make sure it fits snugly to the surface so that it won’t get wadded up under the baby. They go beneath the sheet, which should also fit snugly. These two extra layers will add the level of comfort you want for the baby.
These fabrics will be breathable, helping to regulate your baby’s body temperature, while the top surface is protected from leaks and other fluids.
These covers can also be made of antimicrobial materials. This will discourage the growth of mold and mildew, which can smell bad. It can also reduce the growth of bacteria.
Since babies don’t weigh that much, it is not as necessary to turn the baby mattress over as you might think. If you have a dual-service model, you certainly don’t want to turn it over.
Cleaning is necessary, though, and maintenance will be easier if you purchase a high-quality product. Regardless of the product you choose, it should comply with the federal flammability regulations.
CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD and other labels
Any foam sleeping product should bear the CertiPUR-US logo. This assures that the foam used meets regulations concerning durability and emissions.
Another mark of quality is the GREENGUARD label. This assures that the products used in the production are safe for indoor use. For organic certification, look for a GOTS or OTCO label.
Vinyl covers are easier to clean, but you need to be sure to clean the seams, too. Blowouts are common in the baby department, and you certainly want to be able to remove the evidence. Some models have a removable cover, which is good, but removing and replacing that cover can get really old.
Soap and water are great for cleaning a baby mattress. You can also use mild antiseptics as you clean those surfaces. However, don’t use harsh chemicals because the baby will be sleeping there, after all.
Innerspring or Foam?
Innerspring models are still the most commonly purchased beds in the U.S., while other countries purchase more foam. There are good reasons for either.
Comfort is determined, in part, by the number of coils inside. The more coils it has, the firmer it is and the more it will cost.
Also, the thickness (or gauge) of the wire in the coils will determine its firmness. You should look for a product with around 150 coils, and that has about 15 gauge wire or lower.
This will make the baby mattress more comfortable and responsive to pressure from the sleeper. You should also get a product that features a bracing wire around its perimeter. This is important for maintaining its shape and springing back into place after the baby stands on the edge.
These are much lighter than innerspring.
They are available in different thicknesses, but a toddler and baby mattress should be no thicker than 6 inches. They are waterproof, too, and less expensive than innerspring models. You want a relatively firm surface that snaps back to its shape after you press on the center or edges.
You don’t want it to hold an impression because it will mold itself to the baby’s shape. If the foam is dense enough, you should be able to press it from both sides and not get very far.