Choosing a crib mattress isn't as easy as finding a good price on something that looks nice. To be considered for the best crib mattress title, contenders will have to meet the highest possible standards. Crib mattresses have requirements for size, shape, ventilation and chemical emissions. Until recently, even the best crib mattress contained such toxic chemicals as formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and acetone. A slew of “flame retardants,” meant to keep baby safe from a fire under her crib, were also present.
That was as recently as a decade ago. Advances in science and mattress technology have allowed manufacturers to produce products meant to be both comfortable and safe. After all — what sleeps on the best crib mattress is the most precious thing of all.
About Crib Mattresses
“Crib mattress” is a confusing term. At any big box store or the now-defunct Toys R' Us, you could walk away with a sliver of something that felt kind of soft covered in fabric for 30 bucks. That was at the endcap, of course. That one is the doorbuster.
Take a stroll down the aisle, however, and you'll find mattresses that are rated for the smaller pack and play style cribs. You'll also find mattresses for toddler beds. Then there will be the combination crib and toddler bed mattress. As it turns out, the one you hastily grabbed was far inferior to a model with square corners and grommet vents with a better VOC rating that was only twice the meager price. No idea what any of that means? We're here to help.
What qualifies as a crib mattress?
U.S. law says a crib mattress has to be at least 27.25-inches wide and 51.625-inches long, and a maximum of 6-inches thick. The industry standard size has long been 27.5-inches wide by 52-inches long, with actual specs varying up to 0.25-inches. Crib mattresses must also meet strict standards for volatile organic chemical emissions, or VOCs, to be certified by Greenguard.
Greenguard certified mattresses are guaranteed to have low VOC emissions. When buying a foam core, known for higher levels of chemicals, you're looking for the CertiPUR-US certification. Once again, you can rest assured with this little logo that your precious sleeper won't be breathing toxic fumes.
There are other features available with crib mattresses, such as grommet vents and dual-firmness. However, the measurements listed are all that US law requires. The most critical measurement is the 6-inch thickness. Studies show anything over that, and an infant will be able to pull himself over.
What are crib mattresses made of?
Manufacturers make the crib mattresses in several different ways. Like standard mattresses, coils and foam are common. There is also a polyester/plastic construction that uses pockets of air for firmness and comfort.
Crib mattresses often serve a dual purpose. Pediatricians recommend a firm mattress for babies, reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A firm base also helps when baby starts rolling over and sitting up. On the other side, a softer foam will keep your little one comfy well into the toddler years.
How We Reviewed
To find the best crib mattress we used information and ratings from qualified experts in the field and combined them with Amazon and other reseller ratings. Customer reviews are used whenever possible so that you all have information from real people.
The products are then compared to each other individually, and a “best of” list is built. Factors for the best crib mattress include size, shape, comfort, versatility, ventilation, VOC certification, and, of course, price.
How much does the best crib mattress cost?
Crib mattresses have a diverse range of prices for a diverse range of quality. You can pick up a three or four-inch thick cheapo from your local box store for as low as $20.
Buying a quality mattress will not only last through several years, but several children. What you want to look for, however, is a bit more complex.
The 5 Best Crib Mattresses In 2018
The key factors to look for in the best crib mattress, aside from the obvious questions of quality and price, are the right measurements, square corners, and all the right safety certifications. Mattresses use materials like polyurethane foam that can emit dangerous chemicals if the manufacturer does not make them properly.
The other major consideration with a crib mattress is how it will stand up to the test of time. Some mattresses are meant to be throwaways. You can store some mattresses when you're done with them and saved for next kid.
Taking all of those things into consideration, here they are. In no particular order. The top five best crib mattresses for your child's sleep health in 2018 are on the list below.
1. Newton Wovenaire
The Newton Wovenaire is a mattress that has it all. The core of polymers and air that make this item so soft and comfortable also make it incredibly light and easy to clean. This breathable, comfortable mattress has zero odor, zero off-gassing and fits standard cribs like a glove.
This mattress isn't reversible for use as a toddler bed. According to the customer reviews, however, the Wovenaire is the perfect balance between soft and firm for both babies and toddlers. That makes this American made mattress even more appealing.
Newton's Wovenaire isn't just designed to give you a comfortable mattress at a comfortable price. It was designed with your child's sleep health in mind as well. The cover is so soft and breathable, and they recommend using it for the first few months without a top sheet, lowering the risk of suffocation.
The Newton Wovenaire is a premium mattress you can count on to last through the toddler years for more than a couple of children. It is, however, well worth it. Of all the mattresses we're reviewing, this one is unique, and the parents agree.
2. Moonlight Slumber
The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Surface Crib Mattress is on the high end of poly-foam mattresses. With a waterproof, seamless cover and squared corners, this Greenguard Gold certified mattress offers quality and comfort. The foam is also CertiPUR-US certified for safe chemical emissions.
The mattress is dual-sided. Nice and firm for baby on one side and soft and cushy for a toddler on the other. The cover, infused with plant oils to avoid cracking, is good quality and easy to change. The lightweight — just under eight pounds — also helps with flipping and changing.
The only negative reported about this mattress was the strong smell of aff-gassing. It went away quickly, never to return. The Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer is definitely in contention for the title of the best crib mattress.
A mattress this well built with so many positive features won't come cheap. Compared to other mattresses with a similar build, the price is spot on.
3. Emily Natural Crib Mattress
The Emily Natural Crib Mattress is a traditional, coil style mattress with a huge advantage over the rest. Certified Greenguard Gold, this hypoallergenic beauty has no foam at all. The interior batting is pure, organic cotton. The innerspring system consists of 150 individual coils. There are adult mattresses out there costing a thousand bucks or more that aren't this well made.
The Emily Natural is made in the USA and certified organic. For Greenguard to allow you to call yourself organic, your product has to be 95 percent natural. You won't have to worry about chemical smells or off-gassing.
Like the Newton Wovenaire, this mattress is a great balance between soft and firm for babies and toddlers of all sizes. You won't need to flip it to the soft side for your toddler, but you can flip it to keep it clean and fresh. With no vinyl cover to block ventilation and such solid construction, you can expect your Emily Natural to take you through a few children as well.
While this is definitely in the running for the best crib mattress, it doesn't come cheap. You aren't buying the cheapest way to put a kid in a crib here; you're buying the peace of mind of a happy, healthy sleeping baby.
4. The Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Infant/Toddler Mattress Combo
This Sealy Mattress makes a lot of promises. On the big ones, it keeps its word. The mattress is CertiPUR-US safe and Greenguard certified. The size is perfect, and the corners are square. It comes with a waterproof cover, and there's a ventilation layer to keep the surface fresh and dry.
Where it fails, however, it fails hugely. The company calls it firm. According to the reviews, it isn't just firm — it's very firm. That may sit well with a newborn, but it won't be long before it keeps your little mover up at night.
Other issues reported include reports of the mattress sagging. Customers suggested flipping it every few months to get it from drooping too badly. Add to that the fact that Sealy is advertising a product as a “soybean foam,” a claim their product can't back up, and you may end up passing on this one.
As it turns out, the label calls the filling polyurethane foam, suggesting a little bit of soy is being used as a marketing ploy. However, it will take more than a promise of soybeans to make this mattress worth buying.
5. The Milliard Hypoallergenic Crib Mattress
The Milliard Hypoallergenic may be the apex of inexpensive crib mattresses. Based on quality, performance, customer reviews and price, the Milliard is one tough cookie to beat. It isn't dual-purpose, but you're looking for the best crib mattress.
Milliard offers a polyurethane foam core that is CertiPur-US certified. You won't have to worry about toxic chemicals or their emissions. It's not quite as thick as the others, though that doesn't hinder how well it keeps its shape. According to a slew of happy reviewers, you won't find a better mattress for anywhere near the money.
The cover is also very popular. Waterproof around three sides, the cover works with the mattress to vent through the bottom. It also helps protect against mold, mildew, dust mites, and certain allergens.
One of the downsides is the dark blue polka dot pad, which shows through bottom sheets if you don't add a pad. Customers also reported that it's not quite as comfortable as a $300 mattress.
That money buys you the peace of mind that you've purchased the right product for the job. Milliard's economy mattress may not be fancy like some of the others, but it is a great, functional mattress that many reviewers said their toddlers were happy to sleep on as well.
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There are far too many options to make a definitive choice. Any of the five best crib mattress contenders will give your child a quality night's sleep. For quality, value, and price, however, you can't beat the Milliard Hypoallergenic.
Those looking for a traditional style mattress will love the Newton Wovenaire. Great ventilation and a soft exterior set this mattress above the rest.
Buying a crib mattress doesn't have to be a tough decision. Remember the basics, and you'll do great. Proper measurements, square corners, and the right environmental and health certifications. Everything else is icing on the cake and personal preference.