OK, so you have made the decision to buy a new cot bed for your baby. What is your precious little one going to sleep on? You may need to look into buying a cot mattress that is suitable. This guide will help you make the right decision.
Some cot beds come with mattresses already included, although you will generally find that this is the exception. To make sure that you keep you baby as safe as possible, there are a number of things to consider when buying a cot mattress.
The Main Factors
According to the Lullaby Trust, there are four factors that are important when choosing a mattress for your cot:
- It must be firm, not soft. His will prevent the possibility of suffocation.
- It fits tightly into the cot base and has no discernible gaps. Any gaps could be a trapping hazard for your baby.
- It doesn’t sag. Sagging could allow your baby to roll over and pose a suffocation hazard.
- It has no signs of wear and tear. Second hand mattresses may have a bit of a history and be unclean. This can be a potential health hazard.
To ensure that you choose a good mattress, look for the Safety Standard BS 1877-10:2011+A1:2012. This will ensure that mattress has been tested and meets all recommended safety standards. If in the USA, the mattress should have the relevant Federal Mattress Regulations tag and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) tags.
Types of Mattress
As with adult mattresses, cot beds are pretty much the same in the range available. Typically you should choose a mattress that is between 8cm – 10cm deep. This is perfect to support your baby. The choices of mattress type are listed below. I have also included some positives and negatives that you may consider when making your choice:
Hypoallergenic Cot Mattresses
These mattresses are very popular if you have a history of allergies or asthma within your family. This type of mattress has a quilted top layer that can be removed at any time and put into the washing machine. Doing a wash at 60°C – 140°F – will ensure that all dust mites that can cause allergies are killed.
- Very easy to keep clean
- Very often this type of mattress is a very expensive buy so is often a luxury item if it is not specifically needed.
Coil Spring Mattresses
This is the more traditional type of cot mattress. They consist of layers of foam and felt padding with a coiled spring interior and quite often come with a wipe clean PVC side with cotton on the other side.
This is a very popular choice as the airflow is increased due to the space between the spring and the material. This will help your baby to keep a more regulated body temperature. A coil sprung mattress will tend to keep their shape and last for quite some time too.
- These mattresses are relatively cheap to purchase and many manufacturers to choose from.
- The PVC side is easy to wipe clean.
- Can be turned over in warmer weather to help keep you baby cool.
- Some parents can be concerned about their baby sweating and becoming clammy when sleeping on the PVC side.
- They can be harder to clean on the cotton side, especially if your baby is a dribbler or tends to sick up quite a bit.
Foam Cot Mattresses
By comparison, foam mattresses are the cheapest of all the mattresses to buy. They are lightweight and firm and many have different features. For example, some may have ventilation holes to regulate temperature; they may have a removable wipe-clean PVC cover or they may have removable cotton covers that are easily machine washable.
- These mattresses are relatively cheap.
- They are lightweight.
- They have a variety of covers to fit.
- There are generally very few negatives, but if you choose the ventilated mattress, they can be harder to clean if not using a PVC cover, as the dribble and sick will penetrate the cotton covers.
- They may also lose some of their shape over a period of a few years.
Pocketed Spring Mattresses
These mattresses are similar to the Coil Spring Mattresses except that each of the springs is separate from the others. This gives added support and is considered to be more comfortable. They also have a much longer life than the traditional mattresses.
- They provide excellent support.
- They have a much longer lifespan.
- They are more expensive than the others although if you weigh up the lifespan and added support, they are a more cost effective choice should you have the finances available.
Dual Core Mattresses
This type of mattress is becoming more and more popular. They often have a natural fibre, such as coir – extracted from the husks of coconuts – combined with a layer consisting of foam, quite often memory foam. The second layer consists of micro-pocketed springs. Combining these two layers makes for a very firm mattress that is incredibly durable. As you baby grows, the micro-pockets will naturally adjust to the increase in weight. This ensures that the mattress never loses its shape for many, many years. This type of mattress will last on your cot bed from infancy all the way through to ages five or six.
- This mattress provides excellent support throughout your baby’s development and into nursery years.
- It is extremely hard wearing.
- I doesn’t lose its shape or firmness.
- This is possibly the most expensive of all the mattresses.
Natural Fibre Mattresses
As the name suggests, this type of mattress is manufactured using natural fibres such as coir or wool. These are often coated in latex which gives them added strength and better protection. The nature of the natural fibres also makes the mattress very breathable, so air circulates more freely helping maintain a regulated body temperature. These mattresses, like the others, have a wide variety of cotton and easy-wipe covers.
- If you are concerned about chemicals in the materials this is a very good choice of mattress.
- Long lasting, these mattresses will hold their shape for a long time and are very hard wearing.
- Not as widely available as the other mattresses, although they are increasing in popularity.
- The mattresses can be very expensive to buy.
- Regularly clean any removable covers.
- Vacuum the mattress regularly to ensure that all dust mites are kept to a minimum.
- Make sure that the mattress fits the cot bed properly. There should be no gaps that your baby could become trapped between.
- Try squeezing the mattress to check its firmness at the edges and also do this in the centre too, as this is where you baby is going to sleep.
- Make sure your mattress has the appropriate Safety Standards for your country.
I hope you find the information here helpful. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to fill out the comment form below – Martyn