Is your crib mattress too firm to be safe for baby?
FIRM BUT NOT TOO HARD
Many adults describe their mattresses as “firm but not too hard” as their desired sleep surface.. But what does this mean when it comes to baby? How can you know for certain if your baby’s crib mattress is too firm or not firm enough? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends infants sleep on a “firm” surface but they do not further define or provide a measure for this relative term. It’s clear that infants should not be placed on soft surfaces such as pillows but what about when it comes to hard surfaces– is there a surface that is too hard for babies?
The AAP does not offer or endorse any measure of firmness, making it difficult for parents to know if their crib mattress is too firm or not firm enough. Fortunately, a relatively simple test was developed in Australia that is now the standard for determining the minimum level of firmness for infant crib mattresses in both Australia and New Zealand. This testing makes it possible for parents to determine if their crib mattress is firm enough, but falls short on determining if their crib mattress is too firm. The test applies weight to the product and measures the amount of yield on the surface. A firm product would have a small but almost imperceptible amount of give whereas a solid product would have no yield.
ARE THERE CRIB MATTRESSES THAT ARE TOO FIRM?
So back to the question of are there crib mattresses that are too firm for babies? The increase in incidence of positional plagiocephaly or flattening of the back of the head is believed to be related to the recommendation that babies be placed to sleep on their backs to avoid SIDS. This provides evidence that repeated exposure of the back of the infant’s head to the sleep surface can alter the head shape. The harder the sleep surface, the more resistance placed on the developing skull. A crib mattress that is too firm can cause undesired skull deformities in infants.
So the ideal surface to keep infants safe and avoid excessive head flattening is a crib mattress that avoids putting excess pressure on your baby’s soft skull.
At SafeSleep Technologies our mattress was tested using the Australian method and found to be ideal for babies meaning it is firm but not too hard. There are no direct positive pressure points to be considered a crib mattress that is too firm to cause possible skull deformities in infants