Crib Mattress Basics



Innerspring coils are made of steel and are heat-tempered, which means the coils bounce back into shape easily. Crib mattresses will start with an 80 coil innerspring and gradually increase to over 200 coils. When the coil count increase, this means the coils are closer together, creating less gaps in between the coil. This helps to create a firmer surface overall.

Upgraded innerspring coil crib mattresses include border wire or border rods, which is thick steel wrapped around the edges of the crib mattress for secure support. Additional features to look for include weight distribution systems, cross frames or vertical bars and corner and side protectors, like pylons, which help to make the core more durable, firmer and supportive overall.

Innerspring coil models are popular because steel coils last a lifetime. You can find high-quality innerspring coils in a variety of crib mattress models, from affordable to premium crib mattresses with upgraded features. Coil crib mattresses will weigh between 10 and 20 pounds depending on the interior core and cushion.



The most popular foam crib mattresses available are made of high-density polyurethane foam. Look for a foam core that is at least 1.5 pounds per cubic foot. There are also upgraded polyurethane foam models that are made with a percentage of natural soybean or plant oils.

Look for polyurethane foam with CertiPUR-US® Certified foam. This certification means the foam has been tested for durability and they are free of harmful chemicals. The CertiPur-US® seal will be found on crib mattress brands that use high-density polyurethane foam sourced from companies who comply with high-quality standards.

Other all foam crib mattresses include materials like polyethylene cores, which can weigh as little as 5 or 6 pounds. For more affordable models look for thermo-bonded polyester cores, which are lightweight and fit for short-term use.

Foam crib mattresses will typically weigh between 8 and 13 pounds making them easy to lift and change crib sheets and crib mattress pads. Two-stage foam crib mattresses will use a softer material on the toddler side, like a cool gel foam or memory foam.


Cushioning inside crib mattresses offer your child comfort, firmness and some can even offer a cooling effect! Hypoallergenic cushioning like polyester, cotton, organic cotton, memory foam, and new innovations like soybean cool gel foam are popular materials used inside crib mattresses.

These types of materials offer different levels of firmness. Most crib mattresses available today do not typically use coconut coir or shoddy ortho pads that used to be in crib mattresses decades ago. Instead, crib mattresses use some of the latest sleep technology to provide different levels of firmness and comfort for infants and toddlers.


A waterproof and easy-clean crib mattress surface is the most important thing to look for in crib mattress covers. Despite added protection from crib mattress pads, you want to be sure that the mattress cover and binding is waterproof to avoid liquids from seeping inside the crib mattress, which can cause mold and bacteria build up.

Vinyl laminate covers are the most popular because of they can offer durability and easy-clean surfaces that help prevent leaks from seeping inside the crib mattress.  Upgraded crib mattresses can include a hospital-grade antibacterial cover to help keep germs from spreading on a crib mattress surface. Look for crib mattresses with GREENGUARD® Certification, which means the crib mattress has been tested for chemical emissions and is safe for use with infants.

Gaining in popularity are crib mattresses made with premium fabric covers that offer a waterproof and stain-resistant coating. Woven jacquard fabrics, soft cotton fabric, and knits offer a softer sleeping surface. The fabrics should be easy to spot clean or have a coating that will help evaporate leaks away instead of seeping inside the crib mattress.


The main crib mattress certification to look for is a GREENGUARD® Certified crib mattress. GREENGUARD® measures the air quality and chemical emissions of a crib mattress. To meet these strict certification standards, an entire crib mattress and its components have been tested by an independent laboratory to verify there are not hazardous chemicals that pose a risk to infants and toddlers. The certification helps assure parents that the crib mattress has been approved for safe use with children.

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