-- Everything you need to know about cribs for your new baby

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Crib Mattresses

Your baby's comfort is important. The mattress you select can plays a big role in how well your child sleeps. There are several components to consider when selecting a crib mattress. The two most important factors are the size of the mattress and the firmness.

#1 The mattress should have no more than 1/2 inch between the side of the crib and the edge of the mattress. If you can fit more than 2 fingers into the gap, the mattress is not the proper fit. A tighter fit is better than having a gap.

#2 The mattress you select must be firm. Babies sleep comfortably on a mattress that might seem too hard to most adults. Be aware that using a mattress that is too soft has been attributed to some deaths due to suffication.

Now, on to the types of crib mattresses. They are either foam or coil innerspring. In general, foam mattresses are less expensive and are lighter in weight (up to about 8 lbs, depending on the thickness and quality of the foam). Innerspring mattresses are heavier (up to about 23 lbs) and come varying qualities based on number of coils and thickness.

Innerspring mattresses are generally 5 to 6 inches thick. Foam mattresses are between 4 and 6 inches. As adults, foam mattresses generally don't provide enough support, but that is not the case for babies. Foam mattress technologies have improved over the years. Manufacturers now produce high quality foam that holds up well over time and provides support to for both infants and toddlers.

When selecting a foam mattress, you want to make sure you choose a firm, dense foam. The heavier the mattress, the better because it will be more dense. You also want to test the mattresses for it's ability to spring back into shape. It should not leave impressions after weight is removed.

When selecing an innerspring mattresses, there is a bit more to consider than just thickness and number of coils. You'll also want to be aware of the number of layers and whether or not the mattress has border wires to help retain the mattress shape. In general, more layers will make the mattress more comfortable. For example, when comparing these two mattresses:

Mattress 1 has 252 coils, 1 layer, no border wire
Mattress 2 has 150 coils, 3 layers, with border wire

The 252 coil mattress may sounds better, but the 150 coil mattress with the 3 layers is most likely the superior choice.
A mattress can be purchases with or without vents. Most higher quality mattresses come with vents. Vents allow a mattress to breathe, keeping it fresh. That is the positive point of view. However, the vents also permits allergens and other airborne particles to permeate the mattress as well. Babies with increased sensitivity to allegies may do better with a mattress without vents.

Lastly, let's talk about mattress covers. There's a good chance the mattress you select will be labeled as leak proof. For added protection, you might want to consider adding a vinyl waterproof cover to your mattress. Diapers leak, accidents happen and eventually you'll even be potty training. You'll be glad you choose a waterproof cover.


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