Finding a firm crib mattress can be a challenge for parents. You might wonder about the right firmness of a mattress, how to check it, and why this aspect is so important?
In this article, I’ll show you how to check crib mattress firmness whether you are a new parent, setting up a nursery, or replacing an existing mattress. Let’s explore crib mattress firmness standards, steps to check it appropriately, and common signs when to replace it.
Table of Contents
Why Crib Mattress Firmness Matters?
A firm mattress is a lifesaver for your baby. From providing a cozy sleep surface to protecting against SUIDs, a firm mattress plays a crucial role. When I entered parenthood, I decided to take advice from my friends and family who had experienced it.
One bit of advice was constant from them i.e. to ensure that the crib mattress is firm enough for my infant.
But why crib mattress firmness is so important?
A firm mattress keeps your baby safe while they sleep. Approximately, 3,500 deaths from SUID occur annually in the USA, with suffocation and strangulation in bed being specific risks when infants sleep on their stomachs.
Experts advise on the importance of proper sleep surfaces to ensure your baby’s health. Sometimes, your sleeping baby might enjoy good dreams and take unexpected rolls. Therefore, a firm mattress maintains the baby’s posture in a spinal position and allows them to sleep on their back safely.
Supports Healthy Growth
Babies’ bodies are quite sensitive and prone to adapting to changes quickly. Their bones and muscles grow super fast. That’s why your baby deserves a comfortable surface that promotes healthy muscle development while aligning with their spine.
Extending the Lifetime of Your Crib Mattress
Generally, infants need a firm mattress for the first 12 months. A firm mattress won’t sag or lose its firmness quickly. Thus, when your baby gets familiar with it, you won’t have to worry about replacing it. Remember, once a good purchase, always a great saving.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Check Crib Mattress Firmness
As a mother of six kids, I tried every method to ensure that I can confidently say it has the right firmness.
With numerous trials and tests, ups and downs during my journey, I want to help you save time for taking care of your baby. You can purchase an effective mattress with this simple guidance for sure.
New Mattress: The Squeeze Test
- Press your hand firmly on various parts of the mattress surface, both at the center and the edges.
- To test the mattress, apply gentle pressure; it should not conform to the shape of your hand or sag significantly. If your hand sinks easily or the mattress feels too soft, it might not provide enough support for your baby and could be a suffocation hazard.
- Overall, a mattress that gives softness or feels that way is a sign to avoid it. Aim for a firmness rating of 8 to 10 – with 10 being super firm.
- All of the new mattresses these days have a toddler and an infant side. Make sure to test the infant side while you’re at it.
- Also, don’t forget to verify the mattress’s certifications and make sure it’s given the thumbs up by pediatricians, or have a chat with your health expert for some extra peace of mind.
Used Mattress: Visual Inspection and Manual Testing
- Check the surface for unevenness or dips, especially in areas where your baby’s head or body would rest.
- Inspect the edges of the mattress to avoid any cuts or sharpness.
- If you notice any sagging, indentations, or unevenness, it could indicate that the mattress is not firm enough.3
- Place sheets over the mattress and ensure it is fitted properly, with no bumps or wrinkles.
Regular Testing Guidelines
- First things first, it’s important to keep an eye on your crib mattress, especially as your little one starts to sprout and the mattress gets more action.
- This helps make sure that it stays nice and firm, just like it should be.
What the Experts Say About Crib Mattress Firmness and Safety?
You are your child’s best protector, and thankfully, you’ve got experts and researchers offering invaluable advice. When you’re setting up a cozy, safe sleeping space for your little one, here’s some friendly guidance from the pros:
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
First things first, your child needs to sleep on a firm, flat surface.4 It might seem less cozy than a softer option, but trust us, it’s all about the support. Also, keep the crib free of toys, stuffed animals, and pillows. And remember, the best position for your baby to sleep in? On their back, in the supine position.
American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP)
Mind the gap! Keep an eye on the space between the crib and the mattress.5 You don’t want it to be more than 2-3/8 inches. A snug fit is key to prevent any risky slips or getting stuck.
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act 2008
Check out the labels on your baby’s crib mattress. These aren’t just instructions; they’re your guide to cleaning and safety. Make sure there’s a manufacturer’s name, model, lot number, and the date of manufacture.
It’s not just about checking boxes; it’s about ensuring everything is in top shape to keep your little one safe. Plus, if you ever think about passing it on to a friend or selling it down the road, sticking to these safety standards is a pretty big deal.
A Little Friendly Advice From Me
When it comes to your baby’s sleep space, always lean towards caution and simplicity. Remember, simple is safe, and safe is sensational!
Tips for Maintaining Crib Mattress Firmness
Buying a firm mattress and then forgetting about it isn’t the way it works. Just like everything else, regular maintenance is required, even for crib mattresses. Below, you’ll find my favorite techniques and tips to maintain the firmness of your crib mattress.
Rotate the Mattress Regularly
Give that mattress a little spin every few months. It helps to keep wear and firmness even across the board. I found that rotating it every month worked wonders for keeping it nice and firm.
Avoid Jumping or Placing Heavy Objects
Keep your baby’s mattress free from any heavy objects or siblings jumping on it. Trust me; this will help it stay firm and in shape.6
Check for Signs of Wear and Tear
Form a little habit of quickly inspecting the mattress every time you put your baby down for a nap or bedtime. If you spot any sagging or tears, it’s time to consider replacing the mattress to keep your precious one safe and snug.
So there you have it – some friendly tips to keep that crib mattress in prime condition for your infant’s sweet dreams!
Conclusion on How to Check and Maintain Crib Mattress Firmness
I hope from my above tips and guidance, you will surely be able to determine if your mattress is firm enough for your baby.
Testing your baby’s mattress firmness is as easy as pie: just press firmly on various parts of the mattress surface and look for any signs of sagging or indentations. Regular checks and adherence to these guidelines can significantly extend the lifespan of your baby’s mattress.
Lastly, use my self-tested tips to maintain crib mattress firmness. Rotating it from one side to another and avoiding placing heavy objects will help keep the mattress as good as new!
And that’s great news for both your baby’s comfort and peace of mind.
- https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-safe-sleep-recommendations-back-is-best/ ↩︎
- https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/138/5/e20162938.full.pdf ↩︎
- https://greenactivefamily.com/nursery/firm-crib-mattress/ ↩︎
- https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/14600/Updated-safe-sleep-guidance-warns-against-using ↩︎
- https://greenactivefamily.com/nursery/firm-crib-mattress/ ↩︎
- https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/products-cribs.html ↩︎