Post updated January 9, 2023.
“If a crib mattress feels good to me, then it’s okay for my baby,” … right?
Unfortunately, no. Unless you prefer a very firm mattress, your personal firmness preferences aren’t a trustworthy metric for determining if a crib mattress is firm enough for your baby. Because you and your baby are at vastly different stages of development, your bodies have vastly different needs. (Groundbreaking, right?)
While there are no precise rules about just how firm is firm enough for a crib mattress to be, there are research-based guidelines to help you choose the right one. Let’s discuss.
How Firm Should Your Baby’s Crib Mattress Be?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that a baby mattress be firm and flat. Furthermore, the mattress should be snug-fitting and properly installed so there is no chance of your baby getting trapped between the mattress and the crib. Extra space on any side is dangerous!
Consumer Reports also recommends buying the firmest crib mattress you can find. In fact, they address the exact comment we kicked off this blog with: “Don't worry that it may feel too firm. If it feels good to you, it's too soft for your baby.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a crib mattress needs to be firm enough that it doesn’t conform to the shape of your baby’s head. More specifically, the mattress should be between an eight and a 10 on the mattress firmness scale.
A basic test to determine whether a crib mattress is firm enough for your baby is to press on the mattress in the center and at the edges. The mattress should snap back readily and shouldn’t conform to the shape of your hand – if it does, it isn’t firm enough for your baby!
Why Does My Baby Need a Firm Crib Mattress?
A crib mattress is so much more than just a mattress to an infant. The place where they’ll spend more time than anywhere else (including in your arms!), their crib mattress is their home base, their safe haven and their center of growth and development.
Because babies are growing (and growing rapidly, at that), their spines and bones need much more support than adults’ do. This is why a firm mattress is essential to your little one’s growth and development while sleeping.
Beyond that, a crib mattress needs to be firm because infants lack motor control in their early stages of development and may sink into a too-soft mattress and suffocate. A firm, flat surface ensures your baby’s health and safety. Don’t compromise on either!
3 More Crib Mattress Safety Tips
Beyond choosing a firm mattress, here are three things you can do to ensure your baby’s safety in their crib.
1. Keep Extras Out of the Crib
Surely you’ve seen photos of adorable nursery setups that include plush bedding, blankies and teddy bears in the crib. Unfortunately, these “cutesy” setups are also very dangerous for your little one. Keep soft bedding, blankets, pillows, bumpers or toys OUT of the crib to prevent suffocation, choking and other risks.
2. Choose a Certified Organic Crib Mattress
There are over 85,000 chemicals used in consumer products today – and if you think that baby product manufacturers always keep toxic chemicals out of their products (including mattresses!), you’d unfortunately be wrong. As much you want to, you can’t protect your baby from everything … there are chemicals everywhere! But you can mitigate their chemical exposure by choosing a certified organic, certified non-toxic crib mattress.
Here are a few certifications to look for when shopping for an organic crib mattress:
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certified Organic
- MADE SAFE® Certified Non-toxic
- GREENGUARD Gold® Certified Low Chemical Emissions
- UL Formaldehyde Free Validated
3. Opt for Allergy-friendly Materials
Unfortunately, many organic crib mattress manufacturers bypass petroleum-based foams (like memory foam) by using organic latex, and some use wool. Sounds great, right? However, latex and wool are known allergens. While these materials can be great options for adults who already know they are not allergic, latex and wool are not suitable for infants.
Babies aren’t born with a full allergy report, and the crib mattress is not the best way to find out what they’re allergic to! Certified organic cotton batting is best.
Here’s How Naturepedic Can Help
Every Naturepedic certified organic, certified non-toxic crib mattress offers the firm support your baby needs for a safer sleep environment. On top of that, each of our crib mattresses is made with our organic cotton batting, which creates a mattress surface that’s extremely comfortable for your baby without compromising on firmness. Soft, comfortable and firm – just right! Browse our Baby collection.