Best Crib Mattress for Tummy Sleep

best crib mattress for tummy sleep


Best Crib Mattress for Tummy Sleep

It is no secret most babies prefer to sleep on their stomach.  Moreover, parents prefer it too. 

Why? When a baby sleeps on their stomach, they are less apt to startle, they sleep longer, and better.  Consequently, when baby sleeps longer, parents sleep longer too.

However, we know tummy sleeping is dangerous for babies.  There are many peer-reviewed studies dating back to the 1970’s confirming the risk factors associated with infant’s sleeping on their stomachs.  

What if Baby Insists on Sleeping on His Stomach?

What if your baby insists on sleeping on his stomach?  Or, what if he must sleep on his stomach for health reasons?  

Is there a crib mattress making tummy sleeping safe?  To answer this question, we must first identify the reasons tummy sleep is considered unsafe.


crib mattress that is best for stomach sleep


Here is what we know about babies sleeping on their stomach,


When a baby rolls onto his stomach, his airways can become obstructed.  This is especially true if he is on a soft surface. Soft surfaces include a soft mattress, blankets, quilted surfaces, and soft toys.  Moreover, when a baby is swaddled and he rolls over, he can end up face and nose down on the mattress.  He may not be able to turn back over, lift his head, or position himself to a safe breathing position.  

Consequently, one of the best ways to make a crib mattress safe for tummy sleep is to eliminate the risk of suffocation.   


Equally concerning is when an infant is “rebreathing.”  Rebreathing is when an infant rebreathes his exhaled air which is rich in carbon dioxide (CO2).

Dr. Brad Thatch and colleagues are the first to study the effects of rebreathing when infants are lying on their stomach while sleeping.  According to Thatch, “The first few times babies who usually sleep on their backs or sides shift to the prone (lying face down) position, they have a 19-fold increased risk of sudden death.”   

“We wondered if these babies, finding themselves face down, fail to turn their heads to breathe easier. If so, is this because their reflexes haven’t developed far enough or because they just don’t wake up?” Thatch states.

The Study

Thach and colleagues study 38 healthy infants.  These infants are aged 3 to 37 weeks.  They construct a moderately asphyxiating surface.  This surface consists of a comforter placed over a foam rubber crib mattress.  A two-inch deep circular depression lies directly beneath the baby’s face. When babies sleep face down on the surface, they “rebreathe” air they have exhaled. This air can have high amounts of carbon dioxide. A catheter taped beneath the babies’ noses allows monitoring of carbon dioxide levels.

After four to five minutes of the infants sleeping face down on this surface, all 38 babies awake and attempted to get fresher air.  However, only half of the babies in the study lifted and turned their heads to either side when they sensed the air was stale (rich in carbon dioxide).  in other words, only half the babies are able to increase their supply of oxygen-rich air.


In stark contrast, the other half of the infants in the study nuzzled the bedding or only briefly lifted their heads.  They then resumed sleeping face down.  According to the study, nuzzling produces only a transient lowering of carbon dioxide levels at the nose. 

In contrast, complete head turns produces larger, sustained decreases in carbon dioxide. Additionally, head lifts also reduced carbon dioxide levels.  However, the decrease lasts only as long as the baby’s head is raised.

The difference between the two groups is, the group responding to the stale air – rich in carbon dioxide – has more experience sleeping on their stomach. 


Best Crib Mattress for Tummy Sleepers

In summary, researchers suggest babies learn through experience which head movements decrease the discomfort associated with breathing high carbon dioxide levels. Consequently, babies with experience sleeping on their stomach are better able to avoid conditions that may trigger SIDS. Additionally, the research results support the hypothesis, advanced by others.  The hypothesis is SIDS may result from insufficiently learned airway protective responses. 

In other words, some infants just don’t respond when they are rebreathing their exhaled air.

Find out more about the science of crib mattresses to know if yours is safe. 

Good Head-Lifting Is Not Sufficient To Protect Baby

Further, the findings indicate good head-lifting ability while lying on their stomach may not be sufficient to protect a baby from SIDS. “Many parents think if a baby can lift his head, he or she is okay to sleep prone.  “This is false assurance,” Thach says. “Parents and other caregivers should never place an infant in the prone position.  Additionally, back-sleeping should continue to be strongly encouraged to protect against SIDS.”


An elevated core body temperature is identified in many SIDS related deaths.  Research suggests stomach sleeping inhibits the ability for infants to release heat and regulate body temperature.  This is especially true among low-birthweight babies.  Sleeping on a fiber filled crib mattress causes heat to trap under a baby.  The trapped heat can artificially elevate their core body temperature.


Many parents believe stomach sleeping infants are less likely to aspirate.  Or, they will accidently breathe aspirated fluids into their lungs if they spit up. 

Others believe the positioning of the trachea and esophagus make it less likely for infants to aspirate if they spit up if they are back sleeping.  Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies to determine if either is true.  At this time, it is only conjecture.


What if there is a crib mattress addressing all the risk factors associated with stomach sleeping?  Not just some of the risk – like most breathable crib mattresses – but all the risk!

Most breathable mattresses are foam based or have layers of foam and fiber filling.  Additionally, there are crib mattresses with plastic “sponge” like cores with quilted toppers.   All these mattresses allow some air to pass through. 

However, in these types of crib mattresses, the mattress is doing the breathing and not your baby!

A Revolutionary Breathe-Through Crib Mattress Design

The SafeSleep® Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is a revolutionary design with no fiberfill or core of any kind.  Instead, it has a thin air-permeable topper suspended firmly over an open base where air travels freely up and down.  

The SafeSleep® is designed by a leading pediatrician and a safe sleep expert.  The design of the SafeSleep® addresses all the safety, sanitary, and health issues associated with conventional, organic, and breathable crib mattresses.  It’s design to allows an infant to breathe normally through the mattress.  

Most importantly, it not only eliminates the risk of suffocation.  It also eliminates the risks of carbon dioxide rebreathing and overheating.  SafeSleep® is the #1 pediatrician recommended crib mattress.  Because of its’ safety design, it is the best crib mattress for tummy sleep.

Safest and best crib mattress for tummy sleeping





The SafeSleep® is a completely breathe-through crib mattress.  There is no foam, fiber, or plastic core to impede airflow.  Your baby is breathing through an open weave fabric, 1/8 inch thick.  The SafeSleep® is completely air-permeable.  Air travels quickly up and down through the surface and circulates in and out of the open sides. 

Best of all, constant and uninterrupted air flow means baby can breathe “normally” directly through the surface of the SafeSleep® crib mattress.  It’s perfect for tummy sleepers and babies sleeping face down. It is the ideal mattress for a baby crib.

This design creates a continuous oxygen rich environment for your baby.  An oxygen rich environment promoting safer, better, and longer sleep for your baby.  

Most Crib Mattresses Allow Carbon Dioxide to Accumulate

Unfortunately, most crib mattresses allow carbon dioxide accumulation. Not SafeSleep®.  The SafeSleep® Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is scientifically tested and proves to eliminate the risk of rebreathing. 

An infant takes a breath every 1 to 2 seconds.  Carbon dioxide is gone from the SafeSleep® mattress in less than ½  a second.  Most notably, carbon dioxide is gone before your baby takes in their next breath of air – even if sleeping face straight down. 

No other crib mattress can make this claim.


breathable crib mattress testing
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Overheating is identified as a risk factor for SIDS. There is no fill or core in the SafeSleep® crib mattress to artificially elevate your baby’s body temperature. 

The passive air-flow design of the SafeSleep® makes it superior in heat dissipation.  As a result, your baby will sleep better and longer without waking up in a sweat. 


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The design of the SafeSleep® creates a far superior environmentally safe and sanitary sleep condition for your baby. 

The SafeSleep® has no fill or core material, making it resilient to pathogens, bacteria, germs, dust mites, mold, and other allergens.  With no fiber fill, there is no place for these germs and fungi to reside. 

Further,  SafeSleep® does not contains any waterproofing or flame retardant chemicals, creating a more comfortable sleeping environment.  The passive air-flow helps helps keep a baby’s eczema in check


Crib Mattress for Tummy Sleeping Baby
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Impressively, SafeSleep® is the only crib mattress that is washable from top to bottom and cover to core without the use of a bathtub or shower.  The SafeSleep® consists of an air-permeable topper suspended over a hollow core.  The revolutionary locking bar system allows for quick and easy removal of the sleep surface from the base. 

When it comes to mattress cleaning time, the SafeSleep® shines supreme! 

It’s simple.  Remove the topper.  Throw it in the washing machine and dryer.  Next, wipe the base clean.  The topper dries in less than 10 minutes on a medium dryer heat setting.  The base of the mattress is easily cleaned and sanitized.  Simply wipe it down with a soap and water mixture using a damp cloth.  The base section never needs to be removed from the crib.

We don’t believe a baby’s crib mattress belongs anywhere near a pathogen filled bathroom.


Best breathable crib mattress for tummy sleeping
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No need for a water-resistant cover

Mattresses with fill and core materials, including many breathable mattresses, require a water-resistant cover to prevent seepage of fluids into the mattress.  Additionally, a water-resistant cover allows dispelled liquids to pool on the mattress surface.  Puddled liquids, including spit up, can be re-inhaled.  Furthermore, a wet sleep surface is uncomfortable and can cause skin irritation. 

The design of the SafeSleep® eliminates the need for a water-resistant cover.  Instead, the SafeSleep® allows the seepage of fluid through the mattress surface onto the mattress base – far below your sleeping baby.  The liquids are easily wiped clean. 

More importantly, the mattress surface dries in minutes by air.  Your baby won’t be lying in an uncomfortable wet spot. 

Find out more about what to look for when choosing a crib mattress for your baby

SafeSleep® Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is Rated as the Safest and Best Crib Mattress for Tummy Sleep

Don’t leave your baby’s safety, health, and comfort to chance.  If your baby is a tummy sleeper, give yourself the peace of mind knowing your baby can breathe normally through their crib mattress.  

The SafeSleep® Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is endorsed by leading AAP Physicians and policy makers.  Not to mention, it is the only crib mattress pediatricians and respiratory therapists prescribe for infants who must tummy sleep for health reasons.  It is considered the safest and best crib mattress based on AAP safe sleep guidelines and scientific testing.  

There is no mistake pediatricians believe the SafeSleep® is the best crib mattress for tummy sleep .  

Shop for the best crib mattress for tummy sleep today.  

Want more facts and information, read crib mattress facts and information

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