What is the best crib mattress for your baby?

Your baby spends over 70% of their first year sleeping in their crib.  Therefore, finding the best baby crib mattress is an important decision. 

Additionally, baby’s good health starts with good sleep.  Therefore, creating an ideal sleep setting starts with choosing the best baby crib mattress.

In this crib mattress article we explore the following:

About Crib Mattresses

SafeSleep® is our pick for best crib mattress 

The SafeSleep® gets top pick for its safety, comfort, washability, and  convenience.  Features we like:

  • Provides a healthy, and safe sleep environment. 
  • The design is remarkable in that it has no fiberfill or core materials.
  • Air flows freely up & down through the surface.
  • It has the ideal temperature control. 
  • When tested, you can breathe normally through it.
  • It has the highest safety ratings from leading AAP physicians and safe sleep experts.
Best Crib Mattress

Federal Regulations Mattresses Must Meet

Flammability Testing:

Crib mattress makers must conform to two basic regulations.  The first, federal standard 16 CFR 1633.   This law is also known as, “Flammability” or  “Open Flame” test.  All mattress sets must pass this test, including crib mattresses.  This law went into effect July 1, 2007.  To date, he Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) over sees the compliance. 

Federal Standard 16 CFR 1633 requires mattress manufacturers to put their mattress design through a 30-minute test. This test follows a very strict plan.  Ultimately, it is conducted over an open flame. Hence, the name “Open Flame” test. 

Ideally, if the mattress design passes the test, then it has approval for selling.  However, if it fails the test, the manufacturer cannot legally create the mattress.  The manufacturer can make changes.  But, must resubmit the mattress for testing.

Testing of Flame Retardant Chemicals/Methods:

Currently, no testing is available to tell if the flame retardants manufacturers use contain harmful chemicals.  Consequently, to be considered our best baby mattress pick, there are no fire retardants in the mattress.

Proper Size Requirements of a Crib Mattress

Additionally, crib mattresses must meet proper size  requirements.  For example, a mattress for use in a standard-size crib must be at least 27 1/4 inches wide by 51 1/4 inches long.  Further, the crib mattress height cannot be more than six inches. 

Specifically, length and width limits are set to prevent wedging between the mattress and crib sides.  And, the height limit prevents infants from falling out of the crib while standing.

Other suggested requirements, such as proper labeling of fiber content, are voluntary.

As you can see, there are very little regulations placed on crib mattress manufacturers.  The irony is, your child spends a lot more time on their crib mattress than in their car seat.  We all know, car seats must go through a lot of testing.

CPSC and FDA Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly update guidelines to promote infant safe sleep.  In particular, these guidelines are useful in helping parents make safe product choices. 

Retrospective Studies:

Guidelines made by safety organizations are based on retrospective analysis.  These analysis include infants who have been injured or died. By definition, a retrospective study is an observational study that looks at death and injury cases that already happened before the study begins. 

In other words, retrospective studies look backwards.  Additionally, they study causes of suspected risk or safety conditions with similarities.  Finally, they compare them to a result set at the start of the study.

The point we often over look, is the fact there are no scientific studies conducted when creating safe sleep guidelines.

CPSC Crib Sheet Recommendations:

The CPSC is the first to suggest all crib mattresses using sheets, use sheets that are “tight fitting.”  In 2001, the CPCS issues a warning to parents.  Simply stated, “Avoid using loose-fitting crib mattress sheets.”

Specifically, this warning is based on retrospective studies showing 17 babies who suffocated or strangled.  The majority of them are under 12 months. These infants became entangled in sheets in their cribs.  Most notably, two of these deaths are the result of tight-fitting sheets coming off a crib mattress and strangling the infants.  

Based on this warnings, our best baby crib mattress choice eliminates the need for a  crib sheet.

Using AAP Guidelines to Choose the Best Baby Mattress

We use the AAP guidelines and additional studies on crib mattresses to choose the best baby mattress. 

Putting a baby to sleep causes many parents anxiety.  Often, parents are worried about their infant’s safety.   

Consequently, it is important to look at scientific studies to make the correct crib mattress choice.  

The studies we use focus on four main areas of risk with baby mattresses:

Additionally, we studied the peer-reviewed published data used by the AAP to create their safe sleep guidelines.  Using these studies and the AAP guidelines, here is our list of the top ten things to consider when choosing a crib mattress:  

  1. Firmness
  2. Tight Fit
  3. No vinyl, padded, or quilted cover that can trap CO2
  4. Air permeability
  5. Significantly low CO2 retention
  6. No waterproofing chemicals
  7. No flame retardants
  8. Completely and easily washable
  9. No positional pressure
  10. Liquids will not pool on the surface

If you want to find out more about crib mattresses and scientific data check out Best Crib Mattress – The Science Speaks

 1.  Firmness is a big consideration in choosing a crib mattress

Ideally, most crib mattress makers want parents to think a firm crib mattress is needed to support an infant’s growing bones.  To the contrary, this is not accurate.  In fact, there is a big rise in plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) and hip dysplasia in young infants.  Now, this is known as an unintended consequence of the back-to-sleep campaign.

It’s important to remember, flat head syndrome is basically unknown until the popularity of the back-to-sleep campaign.  And as we know, it includes back sleeping on a firm crib mattress.

The reality is, the AAP states, “Soft bedding can increase the risk of suffocation.”  The fact is, a soft mattress allows a baby’s face to sink into the mattress surface. Consequently, this can easily block the infant’s nose and mouth. 

In contrast, firm mattresses don’t allow the face to sink into the surface.  Consequently, the nose and mouth will not be blocked.

Therefore, to be considered as the best baby crib mattress, it must be firm.

2.  Tight fit in crib is also a must to be considered when choosing a crib mattress

A crib mattress should fit tight against the sides of the crib and the side of the mattress.  To test for a tight fit, place two fingers down the side of the mattress close to the inside walls of the crib.  Make sure no extra space exists.

Additionally, the same rule applies for all infant mattresses and pads. Specifically, a tight fit helps avoid entrapment of the baby’s head and tiny limbs.

With this in mind, the best baby crib mattress has a tight fit in the crib.

3.  Your baby’s mattress should not have a vinyl, padded, or quilted covering/surface

Did you know, vinyl covers, padded, and quilted surfaces can trap heat.  If heat is trapped, it helps an infant’s core body temperature rise.  According to the AAP, it is important to avoid overheating with infant’s.  Moreover, the AAP warns against the use of padded and quilted surfaces.  The fact is, padded and quilted surfaces are known to trap harmful CO2.

Additionally, the materials used in vinyl crib mattress covers off-gas phthalates.  The fact is, phthalates are considered harmful to babies.  

With this information, our best baby crib mattress choice has no vinyl, padded or quilted covering/surface.

4.  Air permeability is a big consideration when choosing a baby mattress

Recently, science shows infants thrive both physically and emotionally in an oxygen rich environment. Also, it keeps an infant safe.

In 2011, the AAP recommends air permeable sides in play yards and bassinets.  This recommendation is based on infants  found unresponsive with their face wedged against the side of the bassinet or play yard. It’s important to know, these products have solid or fabric sides.

Finally, in 2016, the AAP recognizes air-permeable mattresses as being safer than air-impermeable mattresses for infants who roll.  

Based on these recommendations, our pick for best baby crib mattress is an air permeable and breathe-through mattress.

5.  Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  Retention is very important when deciding on a crib mattress 

While there are no scientific studies to show a direct prevention of SIDS or suffocation, the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force relies on the hypothesis of rebreathing of CO2 as a likely reason for unexpected infant deaths. 

However, a basic pathophysiological principle is the hypothesis that rebreathing CO2 is associated with SIDS and asphyxia.  In short, rebreathing CO2 is what causes most SIDS deaths.

Testing shows, crib mattresses containing fiberfill, loose cores, quilted surfaces, and even crib sheets are all shown to trap harmful levels of CO2.  

Therefore, our pick for best baby crib mattress eliminates CO2 retention.  Additionally, has a quick CO2 evaporation rate.

6.  We believe a crib mattress should not have waterproofing chemicals

Fact, a crib mattress containing any type of fiberfill, needs waterproofing chemicals.  The reason is, fiberfill crib mattresses become contaminated by a baby’s excretion.  Consequently it needs a waterproof barrier. 

Many times, the waterproofing coating contains harmful chemicals.  Common chemicals include silica, monomers, and other toxins. 

Therefore, our pick for best baby crib mattress uses no waterproofing chemicals.

7.   There should be no use of fire retardants in a baby mattress

All crib mattresses must pass flammability testing.  If a crib mattress has fiberfill or a cover made from flammable fabrics, flame retarding chemicals are used.  These fabrics include, foam, cotton, linen, or other cellulose fibers.

Notably, fireproofing chemicals include boric acid, ammonium polyphosphate, silica, or antimony trioxide. The fact is, these harmful chemicals are considered carcinogens. 

With this in mind, our best baby crib mattress choice has no fireproofing chemicals.

8.  A crib mattress should be completely and easily washable

The fact is, Scientific studies point to the relation of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) colonization with stomach sleep position.  Staphylococcus aureus is long been recognized as one of the most important bacteria that cause disease in humans. 

It is believed, stomach sleep position increases the risk of ingesting the bacteria contaminating the crib mattress surface. 

According to these scientific studies, this bacteria may be the reason for the increased risk of SIDS in babies who sleep on their stomach.  Additionally, the AAP warns against using second-hand mattresses.  This warning is to avoid the risk of bacteria and pathogens in mattresses. 

A completely washable crib mattress eliminates the buildup of pathogens, mold, and other microorganisms.  Consequently, the our pick for best crib mattress is one that is completely washable.

9.  A crib mattress should not cause positional pressure

A firm mattress is necessary.  However, choosing a firm crib mattress that does not cause positional pressure on an infant’s delicate skull, is also an important consideration. Positional pressure is caused by too much time on a hard flat surface.

Notably, firm mattresses with dense cores and fill create direct pressure on the back of an infant’s head while back sleeping.  Additionally, they can cause the same type of pressure on an infant’s hips if lying on their side.

Therefore, the best baby crib mattress choice eliminates positional pressure.

10.  Liquids should not pool on the surface of a baby mattress

It’s no mystery, infants often spit up in the middle of the night.  Many fiberfill mattresses have waterproof barriers. These barriers cause liquids to pool on the surface.  Particularly, water barriers are intended to make spit up and other messes easy to wipe clean.  Additionally, they are used to make the mattress stain resistant. 

However, if an infant is not being supervised, pooled liquids can be dangerous.  This is especially true, if they are face-down sleeping.  Moreover, they cause an uncomfortable sleeping environment. 

Finally, our pick for the best mattress is one that wicks liquids immediately away from the surface.

Types of Crib Mattresses – Pros and Pros and Cons of Each

As you know, there are many different types of baby mattresses.  Let’s go through the different types.  This will help you in making the best baby mattress choice.  Remember, our choice is based on peer-reviewed published studies used by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe Sleep Task Force to create safe sleep guidelines.

Innerspring Crib Mattress

To start, an innerspring crib mattress is a standard crib mattress with steel coils,  It has an over layer of various cushioning materials .  These materials include such fabrics as foam, wool, polyester, cotton, or other cellulose fibers.  Lastly, this type of mattress is encased in a fabric or vinyl overlay. 

Consistently, innerspring mattresses manufacturers differentiate themselves by describing their coil count and the steel gauge thickness of the coils.  Specifically, the larger the coil count and the thicker the steel, the denser the mattress is.

Pros of innerspring baby mattresses: 

Innerspring mattresses are firm and create a tight fit in the crib.

Cons of innerspring mattresses:

Innerspring mattresses have some type of vinyl, padded, or quilted topper.  Notably, innerspring mattresses have low rates of air permeability.  Consequently, they have a high CO2 retention level. 

Further, Innerspring mattresses require waterproofing and fireproofing chemicals.  Pointing out the obvious, innerspring mattresses cannot be machine washed for disinfecting.

In addition, a mattress pad is normally used.  Mattress pad also trap additional harmful CO2.  Moreover, The AAP warns against their use.

Positional pressure cannot be avoided with innerspring mattresses.  Lastly,  liquids pool on this type of crib mattress.

Best crib mattress 2021

Innerspring Baby Crib Mattresses

Innerspring baby crib mattresses need additional bedding such as mattress pads and sheets.  On average, they range in price from $60 on the low end to $350 dollars on the high end.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of an innerspring mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight

Bad:

  • Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper
  • Low to No Air Permeability
  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface

Foam Baby Mattress

Next up, foam mattresses.  Typically, foam mattresses are made from polyurethane.  Polyurethane is a foam resin. There are different densities of foam.  Also, there are different chemical makeup of the foam.  Consequently, some foam mattresses will pass firmness testing, while others will not. 

To be sure a foam mattress is firm enough, press your hand on the mattress and see how far it sinks in. It should not sink in more than a 1/4″.

Pros of foam baby mattresses: 

Often, mattresses made from foam are lightweight and inexpensive.  Additionally, they generally have a snug fit.

Cons of foam crib mattresses:

To avoid contamination, foam mattresses have vinyl  or waterproof covers.  Further, they have a very low rates of air permeability – if any at all.  Additionally, they retain high levels of CO2. 

Since foam is a petroleum-based product, foam crib mattresses contain a fire retardant.  Specifically, petroleum-based products are highly flammable.  Also, if a foam mattress does not have a vinyl cover, it has some type of waterproofing chemical. 

The fact is, there has to be a water barrier between the surface material and the foam.  Otherwise, the foam becomes contaminated. 

The vinyl surface of a foam mattress is washable.  However, there is no way to wash or sanitize the foam interior.  The interior is where pathogens can live.

Some foam mattresses will cause positional pressure while others will not.  In other words, the amount of positional pressure is contingent on the density of the foam.  For example, the denser the foam, the more positional pressure it  causes on an infant’s head.

Additionally, the vinyl or waterproof coating causes pooling of liquids.

 

Best breathable crib mattress 2021

Popular Foam Baby Mattresses

Foam mattresses also require extra bedding.  Mattresses made of foam range in price from $39 to $200.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of a foam mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight

Bad:

  • Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper
  • Low to No Air Permeability
  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface

Latex Crib Mattress

Nest topic is Latex mattresses.  Latex mattresses are similar in construction to foam crib mattresses.  Additionally, they share many of the same features.  Like foam, there are different densities of latex mattresses.  In spite of popular belief,  pure latex does not cause allergic reactions. 

Most latex mattresses pass the firmness test,   Additionally, latex mattresses are much heavier than foam.  As a result, changing sheets can be difficult.

Pros of latex baby mattresses

Mattresses made with latex are firm.  Most often, they create a nice snug fit in the crib.  Additionally, they help keep a baby’s core temperature stable by eliminating the buildup of heat, 

Cons of latex mattresses: 

Latex mattresses have minimal to no air permeability.  In addition, CO2 can easily build up on a latex mattress.

Most latex crib mattresses contain a fire retardant.  Otherwise, they have a wool overlay.  Notably, wool creates a natural fire retardant. 

Moreover, mattresses made with latex use some type of waterproofing chemical to act as a water barrier. Additionally, the surface of  a latex mattress is usually fabric.  Being fabric, you cannot wipe it clean.  Also, it is not machine washable.

Further, most latex crib mattresses require a mattress pad.  As stated above, there are risks in using mattress pads.

Because of their density, latex mattresses cause positional pressure .  How much positional pressure.  Again, the amount of pressure depends on the density of the latex.  Lastly, liquids pool on the surface of a latex mattress.

 

Best breathable crib mattress 2021

Popular Latex Crib Mattresses

Latex mattresses also require extra bedding.  On average, the mattresses range in price from $350 to $800.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of a latex mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight
  • Some Air Permeability

Bad:

  • Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper
  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface

 

Plant Based Fiber Baby Mattress

Coconut coir is the most common type of plant-based fiber used in crib mattresses.  Normally, Coconut coir is used in combination with a foam or cotton layer overlay.   Surprisingly, coconut coir is heavier than foam. 

Pros of plant based fiber baby crib mattresses:   

Coconut coir is very firm and dense.  It creates a tight fit in the crib.  Notably, coconut coir is moisture resistant.  However, it does not do well if it gets saturated.  Consequently,  it needs some type of water barrier. 

This plant based fiber has a high level of air permeability if not mixed with other materials.  Unfortunately, we could not find a mattress of this type that did not contain a mixture of other materials.  

Cons of plant based fiber baby crib mattresses: 

Our next mattress type is a coconut coir crib mattress.  A coconut coir crib mattress retains very high levels of  CO2.  Additionally, they require some type of vinyl covering or waterproofing chemicals.  If there are no waterproofing chemicals, the coir becomes contaminated if it gets wet  Also, fire retardant chemicals are used in order to be complaint with CPSC regulations. 

Moreover, there is no way to sanitize coconut coir without ruining its structure.  Liquids pool on the surface of a coconut coir filled mattress.  

In addition, coconut coir is dense.  Therefore, it creates positional pressure on a baby’s skull.

 

Best crib mattress 2021

Popular Plant-Based Baby Crib Mattresses

 

Plant-base crib mattress range in price from $260 to $1,250 dollars.  Some models we identified need extra bedding while some do not.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of a plant-based mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight
  • Some Air Permeability

Bad:

  • Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper
  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface

 

Types of Breathable Crib Mattresses – Pros and Cons of Each

Without a clear definition, the idea behind a breathable mattress is that air flows through the surface of the mattress.  However, there are many types of breathable mattresses.  Currently, there is no clear definition of what exactly “breathable” means.  Consequently, we explore each type:

  • Open Celled Covers and Traditional Foam or Fiberfill

  • Hollow Cut-Outs or “Air Channels”

  • Spongy, Food-Grade Polymer Core

  • No Fill or Core

Breathable Baby Mattresses with Open-Celled Covers and Traditional Foam or Fiberfill

Breathable crib mattresses of this type are either a foam filled or Innerspring mattress that has an open channel, 3D spacer fabric cover.  The cover is air permeable.  It is often removable.  I like to refer to this breathable model as the “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Pros of breathable baby crib mattresses with open-celled cover and traditional foam and fiberfill

Breathable mattresses with open-celled covers and traditional fiberfill are firm.  The normally provide a tight fit in the crib.  Additionally, the covers are not vinyl or thick.  Instead this mattress type has an open-cell cover. 

Cons of breathable baby crib mattresses with open-celled cover and traditional foam and fiberfill

Since breathable mattresses with open-celled covers and traditional foam or fiberfill use traditional foam or fiberfill, they can trap high levels of CO2.  In fact, they trap higher levels of CO2 than a crib mattress without the “breathable” cover.  Hence, the “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” 

Even though the cover does not have waterproofing or flame-retardant chemicals, the same cannot be said for the core. 

As noted, foam and fiberfill mattress can cause positional pressure.  The open-celled cover is washable.  However, the core is not.  Consequently, the mattress cannot be completely disinfected. 

Additionally, liquids still pool below the open-celled cover, close to a baby.

 

Best crib mattress 2021

Open Celled Covers and Traditional Foam or Fiberfill

 

Breathable crib mattresses with open-celled covers and traditional foam or fiberfill range in price  from $200 to $350.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of this type of breathable crib mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight
  • Some Air Permeability
  • No Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper

Bad:

  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface Below 3D, Open-Cell Cover

Breathable Baby Crib Mattresses with Hollow Cut-Outs or “Air Channels”

Next is the breathable crib mattress with hollow cut-outs.  This type of breathable crib mattress is a foam crib mattress.  The difference is, it has large cut-out areas in the interior center of the foam.  In theory, air pockets form in the center of the mattress.  However, there is very little passive air flow.

Pros of breathable baby crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs: 

Breathable crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs or “air channels” are firm.  They provide a tight fit in the crib.  However, the covers are made from either synthetic or natural fibers.   Notably, these covers block airflow.

Cons of breathable baby crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs:  

Since the air channels are on the interior, breathable crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs or “air channels” offer little passive airflow on the surface. For this reason, these mattresses actually trap harmful CO2.  Most notably, these mattresses offer no advantage in reducing CO2 rebreathing risks. 

Moreover, breathable crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs or “air channels” use waterproofing chemicals by admission.  Waterproofing chemicals are used to prevent the foam inside from becoming contaminated.  Further, fire retardant chemicals are also used. 

Additionally, the risk of positional pressure exists since the mattress is comprised mostly of foam. The cover is washable.  However, the interior core is not washable.  By design, liquids pool on the surface.

 

Best safest crib mattress 2021

Hollow Cut-Outs or “Air Channels” in the Baby Crib Mattress

 

Breathable crib mattresses with hollow cut-outs or “air channels” range in price from $199 to $385

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of this type of breathable crib mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight

Bad:

  • Vinyl Cover or Quilted Topper
  • Low to No Air Permeability
  • High Rate of CO2 Retention
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Cannot be Completely Washed to Disinfect
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface

Breathable Baby Crib Mattresses with Spongy, Food-Grade Polymer Core

Moving on to breathable crib mattresses with spongy polymer cores.  This type of hybrid mattress creates a relatively firm surface. It usually has a tight fit in the crib. 

However, the quilted topper is questionable.  The AAP warns against the use of quilted toppers and pads.  In particular, they trap CO2.

Pros of breathable baby crib mattresses with spongy core: 

These mattresses are relatively firm.  The usually have a tight fit.  They often have a high air permeability rate.  Additionally, they are completely washable.  One of the three mattresses listed uses waterproofing chemicals and the two others do not. 

Additionally, liquids will not pool on the surface.  However, one of the products claims to have a “waterproof” cover.  In this instance, waterproofing chemicals are used.

Cons of breathable baby crib mattress with spongy core: 

Breathable Crib Mattresses with Spongy, Food-Grade Polymer have a firm core that may cause positional pressure. 

The topper is removable for laundering.  The core is washable.  However, it requires a bathtub or shower.  We believe this is a cumbersome process.  It is also a long process.  According to both manufacturers, it takes 2-6 hours for the core material to dry.

An added concern is the fact the core is susceptible to further contamination from bathroom pathogens.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a crib mattress belongs anywhere near a bathroom.

In reference to fire retardants, most use a flame-resistant viscose (wood pulp based) barrier fabric that fits over the plastic core. 

Viscose is a man-made cellulose fiber which is flame retardant by adding “phosphorus” in the viscose matrix. The phosphorus flame retardant is mixed in at the fiber spinning stage. 

Liquids don’t pool on the surface.  On the contrary, liquids flow into the spongy, polymer core. Consequently, requiring a difficult and, we believe, a risky cleaning process.

Baby Crib Mattresses with Spongy, Food-Grade Polymer Core

Breathable baby crib mattresses with spongy, food-grade polymer range in price from $250 to $350.  Some models have a waterproof covers and some do not.

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of this type of breathable baby crib mattress:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight
  • Air Permeability
  • Lower Rates of CO2 Retention
  • Can Be Completely Washed and Disinfected

Bad:

  • Quilted Topper
  • Use of Waterproofing Chemicals 
  • Use of Fire Retardants
  • Can Cause Positional Pressure
  • Allows Liquids to Pool on Surface of Waterproof Models
  • The Core Must be Removed and Washed in a Bathtub or Shower Making it Highly Susceptible to Bathroom Pathogens

Breathe-Through Crib Mattresses with No Fill or Core

Saving the best baby crib mattress choice for last.  It’s no wonder the breathe-through crib mattress with no fill or core is our top pick. 

This two-part mattress system consists of an open frame with side openings.  Additionally, there is an open-celled, air permeable top (topper) surface that allows passive airflow. The topper is suspended over the hollow base using a unique locking bar system.

Oxygen rich air travels in the base and up through the open celled topper.  Harmful CO2 travels through the open celled topper and out the sides of the hollow base.  This design eliminates both suffocation and the risk of rebreathing CO2..

Pros of breathable crib mattress with no fill or core: 

Surprisingly, the mattress is very firm.  Additionally, it fits tight in a crib.  Most impressive is the very high air permeability rate.  This high rate of air permeability creates the ideal oxygen rich environment.  This is true even when a baby is sleeping face down.

In addition, the mattress is completely washable.  Best of all, without the hassle of having a core to bathe or shower.  To illustrate, the mattress topper slides off easily and is machine washable. The frame can be wiped clean while in the crib. No bathtub or shower is needed.  Additionally, the mattress dries in seconds versus hours. 

Since there is no fiber fill or core, there is no reason for waterproofing.  This means, no waterproofing chemicals are used. Similarly, with no fill or core, there is no need for fire retardants.  Additionally, the lack of fill or a core, eliminates the risk of positional pressure on an infant’s delicate skull.

Not to mention, liquids do not pool on the mattress surface.  Instead, there is a natural wicking of the topper.  Liquids are pulled away from the baby.  The liquids land far below the baby on the bottom of the hollow base.  They can be easily wiped clean.  Best of all, a baby is not lying in a wet spot should they expel liquids.

Cons of breathable crib mattresses with no fill or core: 

We did not find any cons in relation to the  two-part breathable crib mattresses with no fill or core.  This breathable mattress meets and exceeds our criteria used to select the best crib mattress.. 

In fact, breathable crib mattresses with no fill or core are the only crib mattresses recognized by AAP policy makers as reducing the risks associated with SIDS and other infant sleep related deaths.

baby crib mattress

Breathable Baby Crib Mattresses with No Fiberfill or Core

 

Breathable baby crib mattresses with no fill or core range in price from from $299 to $399

Using the AAP’s Safe Sleep Guidelines, here is a summary of the pros and cons of a breathable baby crib mattresses with no fill or core:

Rating

Good:

  • Firm
  • Tight Fight
  • No Vinyl or Quilted Topper
  • Significantly High Rate of Air Permeability
  • Significantly Low Rate of CO2 Retention
  • No Waterproofing Chemicals 
  • No Use of Fire Retardants
  • Can be Completely Washed and Sanatized
  • No Positional Pressure
  • Liquids do not Pool on Surface

Additionally, the scientific test data on breathable baby crib mattresses with no fill or core is impressive!

Our Top Pick for Best Baby Crib Mattress – SafeSleep®

SafeSleep® is our top pick for best baby crib mattress..  The SafeSleep® addresses every safety and comfort concern.  Also, it is priced $100 below the other breathe-through crib mattress.  SafeSleep® is a clear winner for our best baby crib mattress pick based on the following criteria:

  • Firmness
  • Tight fit
  • No vinyl, padded, or quilted topper
  • Air permeability rate of over 330x of fiberfill mattresses
  • Significantly low carbon dioxide retention to prevent rebreathing
  • No need for waterproofing chemicals since there is no fill to contaminate
  • No need for fireproofing chemicals
  •  Easy to wash and sanitize
  • No positional pressure on infants skull
  • Liquids are wicked away, prevents liquids from pooling on the surface

Why SafeSleep® is our top pick 

We love all the features and the design of the SafeSleep®.  Notably, it allows an infant who is face down to breathe-normally.  The open sides and open celled topper eliminates the buildup of CO2.  CO2 is a known risk factor in infant sleep related deaths.

We also like the fact, the Company uses natural and organic components.  The fact it is non-toxic and even recyclable is impressive. 

We consider it a good value.  The SafeSleep® mattress can be used for many children.  Based on the fact, the mattress is completely washable to prevent mold and bacteria growth.  

The “easy” factor is definitely a plus.  It’s machine washable and no bathtub or shower is required.  Equally impressive is the quick dry time.

Above all, it is the only crib mattress recognized by leading AAP policy makers as significantly reducing SIDS and other infant sleep related risks.  

Additional safe sleep recommendations to keep your sleeping baby safe

Avoid a Second-Hand Baby Crib Mattress if Possible

Because of the dangers associated with mold and bacteria, it’s best to avoid a used mattress.  Especially, if you don’t know the history of the product.

Reusing one from another one of your children? Make sure there aren’t any openings in the waterproof cover.  This is where mold can take root. 

However, breathable crib mattresses with no core are reusable.  Since they have no fill or core mold and and bacteria cannot accumulate.

Keep the Crib Empty

Although they look lovely, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets shouldn’t be in a baby’s crib.  They can wind up covering your baby’s face and be a suffocation or rebreathing hazard. In addition, crib sheets are associated with infant sleep related deaths.  So, don’t use them if you don’t need to.

Breathable crib mattresses with no core do not use sheets or other bedding.  Instead, the topper is easily removed for machine washing.

Don’t use sleep positioners, bumper pads, or inclined sleep products

The FDA warns parents  to  avoid the use of sleep positioners and bumper pads.  And most recently, they warn against using an inclined sleeper or putting an infant in an inclined sleep position.

Place Baby on Back

The safest sleeping position for your baby is on their back.  However, we all know babies eventually roll.  Have the peace of mind knowing your baby is breathing normally even if face down on the SafeSleep®.

Need a mattress for a Crib?  Find out from top professionals what else you should look for

Best Baby Crib Mattress Conclusion

A good night’s sleep sets the tone for any day.  This is especially true for babies. With the risk of SIDS and sleep risks, it’s important your baby is sleeping as safely as possible.  When you are confident your baby is sleeping safely, you stress less.😊  

Your first goal in choosing a crib mattress should be your baby’s safety.  Comfort is also an important consideration.  When your baby sleeps better, you sleep better.  Choosing the best  baby crib mattress for your baby should now be an easy choice. 

Not convinced?  Find our more about  breathable crib mattresses from top medical professionals and safe sleep experts.  

Remember, not all breathble crib mattresses are the same.

Breathable Crib Mattress