IMPORTANCE OF THE CRIB MATTRESS by Dennis W. Schuetz
If you think about it, the crib mattress is one of the three major purchases that a parent will make that are mainly for the baby and not just for the convenience of the parent. Because these three purchases are for the baby, it is recommended that you do not skimp when buying these three items. Not everyone can afford the best. Save money on other baby purchases but, buy the best you can afford when it comes to:
1. Car Seat – The only time you want it to do what it is designed to do is when you need it to protect baby.
Don’t buy a car seat because it is on sale. Don’t buy a car seat because it matches the interior
of your car. Buy the car seat that will best protect your baby in an accident.
2. Crib Mattress – An infant will spend up to 70% of their time sleeping on a crib mattress. This is at a time
when their bones are softer and growing faster than at any other time of their life. Most
medical experts recommend that infants need as much support as possible and
should be placed on as firm a mattress as the parents feel comfortable putting them on.
Even toddlers will spend up to 50% of their time on a crib mattress because they will
play on it until they fall asleep and, they’ll play on it until they get bored and decide to
wake you up. And, if your crib converts to a daybed, you may even want a quality
mattress that will hold up to adult bottoms sitting on it after the baby has outgrown it.
3. ????????????? - Think about this one and we will tell you the answer at the end of this article.
FOAM OR INNERSPRING OR GREEN?
A difficult decision but, you can’t go wrong. A top-of-the-line innerspring mattress is better than a medium-to-lower quality foam and, a top-of-the-line foam mattress is better than a medium-to-lower quality innerspring. So, how do you tell a better-quality innerspring mattress from a lower quality innerspring and, how do you tell a better quality foam from a lesser quality foam?
Green mattresses include natural, organic, renewable, sustainable, etc. It is possible to buy a foam crib mattress or an innerspring crib mattress that is greener than regular foam and innerspring crib mattresses. Natural and organic crib mattresses are trickier to distinguish from other green types of mattresses because there is no standard for what defines a natural or organic mattress – let the buyer beware but, we will help you with recommendations below.
INNERSPRING CRIB MATTRESSES
Many parents prefer innerspring mattresses because that is what most of us adults sleep on and, it is what we are used to. Also, it is easier to tell a better quality innerspring from a lesser quality innerspring than it is to tell a better quality foam mattress from a lesser quality foam mattress.
Buy an innerspring crib mattress that: A. has the most layers,
B. has the best quality layers.
Innerspring Layers: * The best spring unit is the one with the most steel – not the one with the most coils.
Only buy an innerspring unit with border rods that provide firmness, durability, and
extra edge support. Also, the mattress should have thick coils (the lower the gauge
number, the thicker the steel, i.e., 13.0 gauge is thicker than 15.5 gauge steel),
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* The best innerspring mattresses have two insulators: a permalator which makes the gaps
into the coils smaller and thus reduces the probability of the softer cushioning layers
sinking into the coils over time and, a natural coir fiber insulator pad made from
shredded coconut shell husks. Coir fiber is better than fiberwrap insulators. Also, coir
comes in six grades and, Colgate uses the two highest quality grades,
* The best innerspring mattresses have two or three cushioning layers. At least one layer
is often a foam layer and, the better mattresses will have a 100% natural cotton batting
cushioning top layer in addition to the bottom foam layer. Natural cotton is an
expensive material and is most effective as a top layer of cushioning,
* The heaviest, thickest vinyl cover is the best. Buy one that is triple laminated with a
nylon reinforcement layer. Colgate also makes 5-ply vinyl covered mattresses. Anti-
microbial covers are slightly more expensive but, are not necessarily better. Vinyl is still
the most used material for crib mattress covers because it is the most convenient, the
easiest to clean, the most durable, and the most cost efficient material.. All vinyls used
today as crib mattress covers are completely safe for babies based upon federal
Other mattress cover materials that are popular include cotton, damask, organic cotton,
bamboo, and nylon. All of these covers are more expensive than vinyl and they are not
naturally waterproof. Anything used to make these types of mattress covers waterproof
is not natural even if the mattress they are on is claimed to be natural or organic.
* Vents on mattresses allow the mattress to breathe and refresh itself. Many mattresses
with anti-microbial vinyl covers purposely do not have vents so that dust, pollen, etc.
can not possibly get into the mattress.
* Cloth binding is best for stronger seams,
FOAM CRIB MATTRESSES
There are three major things to look for in a better quality foam mattress:
1. the firmer the foam the better,
2. the heavier the foam, the better,
3. the more resilient the foam the better (the faster it bounces back to its’ original shape
after the weight is removed from the mattress, the better).
Also, the comments made above about the vinyl cover and the binding and the vents will apply to the foam crib mattresses as well as the innerspring crib mattresses.
GREEN CRIB MATTRESSES
A foam mattress and an innerspring mattress can also be a green mattress if the components used to make the mattress are more ecologically friendly than the comparable components usually used in making a regular style foam or innerspring mattress. Also, as has already been said but deserves repeating here, there is no standard for what defines a natural or organic or even a green mattress.
Here is one way to judge the green category of mattresses:
1. if the green mattress is an innerspring or a foam mattress, judge the mattress by the same
quality standards as listed above for those types of mattresses,
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2. for all types of green mattresses, the higher the percent of natural, organic, or green components
used in the making of the mattress then, the more natural, organic, or green the mattress. For
example, an innerspring crib mattress that calls itself an organic mattress is being loose with
their definition of organic since there is no such thing as organic steel coils.
Lastly and in summary:
A. Don’t be fooled by the brand name on the mattresses. Most crib mattresses that share the same brand
name as an adult size mattress are NOT made by the same company that makes the adult mattresses,
B. Buy the firmest mattress with the traits already mentioned above. Babies will sleep anywhere and medical
experts agree that firmer is better. If the mattress feels comfortable to you then it is too soft for baby,
C. Make sure the space between the mattress and the crib side rails and headboard and footboard is no more
than the width of two fingers,
D. Always put baby to sleep in the crib, on their back, and remove all soft bedding and cushions and pillows.
OK. Have you figured out what the third item is, besides the crib mattress and the car seat, that a parent purchases mainly for the baby and not just the convenience of the parents? Nope, it isn’t a stroller. The stroller is for the parents because baby would prefer to be carried or crawl or toddle along. Crib? No, baby doesn’t care about the style of crib or what the finish of the wood is. Diapers? No. All babies prefer to be naked and, diapers protect rugs and clothing which babies don’t care about. Give up? The answer is food. During their formative years you want to put the best nutrition in your baby during their most formative and rapid growing years.
On behalf of your baby, thank you for caring enough to read this article.
COLGATE JUVENILE PRODUCTS COMPANY