Babies and young children spend more than half of the first five years of life in a sleep environment. It is also the one place where they are most commonly left unattended for long periods of time.
The decision you make when buying a baby mattress for your child is so important. You want to tick the following boxes;- safe, comfortable, supportive, easy to keep clean, hygienic, durable, waterproof protection, breathable, complies to British Standards. You may have other demands: Do you want it to last for more than one baby or maybe occasional use at the grandparents etc. Your personal needs all go into the decision pot and out the other end comes a mattress you are confident to trust your new precious addition to your family in.
With such a choice in the market place, plus all the conflicting advice you will be bombarded with regarding cot deaths and chemicals it can make choosing a baby mattress very difficult.
Here are all the facts and advice you need to help you make an informed choice, come to a buying decision about the right mattress for you and your baby. This is a lengthy article, may take you 15 mins to read but it will help decide on the perfect mattress for you and your baby. What I Need From My Moses basket, Crib, Pram or Travel Cot Mattresses Foam or Natural Most of the mattresses that come with a new Moses baskets or cribs are generally the absolute minimum quality, for some bizarre reason the money has always gone into the product design and never the most important component i.
Moses basket mattresses are only in use for a few months and most of them are not used for full sleep periods so there is no need for deep mattresses to take a lot of weight, cm deep is adequate for support but your baby must sleep on a firm surface, hence the foam or coir base is of a good quality.
Your options are on what you choose for the base and cover materials, this will affect the degree of breathability, support, waterproof protection, and keeping it clean. Natural mattress generally offer more support, by their very nature they are deeper 2. However but a totally natural fully breathable, fully waterproof mattress is not available. Somewhere there is a compromise on the degree of breathablity and waterproofing. Normally petroleum based foam is the enemy in the minds of parents that want a natural mattress, Options For Crib Mattresses These are similar to the above for Moses basket mattresses, except your baby will sleep in the crib longer than a Moses basket and also be heavier as the crib will be in use for at least 6 months, or until they can sit up.
Same rules apply your baby should sleep on a firm surface, there is an advantage in having a thicker foam pad for more support and also using a higher grade foam, or even look at a crib mattress with pocket springs for the ultimate in support and durability also these deeper better quality mattresses will not dip nor dent.
Most parents feel the base is too hard and not padded enough and wish to buy another mattress. The travel cot has soft sides, if you put a thick 10 cm deep mattress up against the side of the travel cot you could create a trap between the soft side of the travel cot and the deep side of the mattress. The risk increases if your toddler can pull himself up and their foot slips between the mattress and the travel cot netting It is understandable that you wish to improve your baby's comfort but safer to choose a mattress no deeper than 4 - 5 cm the same standard apply to those suggested in a crib mattress.
This measurement is called Indentation Load Deflection ILD and this assess the firmness or the feel of foam and how it yields to weight and pressure. Probably the best arrangement is waterproof wipe clean liner over the foam pad protecting the core and a machine washable breathable cover on top. Pocket springs will last longer than basic springs and be more comfortable for your baby.
As your baby gets heavier their extra weight will push down on the foam and bring the pocket springs into operation. When it comes to a Sprung or Pocket Spring baby mattress, you have 6 cm deep springs covered by a 2 cm foam pad top and bottom. The foam pad is supported by the springs, obviously the foam takes the initial weight.
If you have an oval shaped crib or moses basket, a fitted sheet may not be available so a flat sheet firmly folded under the mattress is an alternative option. Thoroughly clean the waterproof layer and ensure the mattress is clean and dry before making it up with fresh bed clothes.
If the foam is not of a good quality, the mattress will eventually dent from the baby's head or bottom, this could happen even in just a few weeks. It is important that your baby sleeps on a permanent firm surface The cause of this denting is because foam as product does not like heat weight and damp which is precisely what a baby is!
If the baby is hotter, wetter or heavier or a combination of all three it may cause the foam to break down and the foam may dip or dent, rotating or turning the foam often helps to delay or prevent this. This link gives you all you need to know about how the best cot mattresses are made. Not necessarily, In mattresses like most other things, quality is more important than quantity, however certainly avoid cheap 7 cm foam mattresses unless you are using them for occasional use, this standard is often supplied free with cots.
The British Standard for baby mattresses currently recommends that no mattress should be over 10 cm in depth, This standard is for safety reasons to do with your baby climbing out of the cot then they can stand or pull themselves up. Good quality coir is stronger than foam and an 8. We have one voice saying that under 18 months your baby sleeps on a firmer side and there after a more responsive side.
Another manufacturer saying sleep on a semi soft side first but it is firm enough to comply with Lullaby Trust recommendations and then as the baby gets heavier turn over for a firmer side! So does this means that after a year the mattress becomes one sided and you cant turn it over as you would your own mattress to help it recover?
If anybody has had one of these mattresses for more than two years we would be grateful of your feedback. Perhaps there is a slight advantage of putting an extra layer of lambswool on a very firm coir base on one side for a new baby to improve the initial lie, thereafter it would not make any different what side was in use just turn the mattress to avoid any indentation. We did try this in with a different density and colour of foam on each side.
We requested feedback from customers who had purchased these for two years or more, All had forgotten which side was which, neither side had dipped nor dented and all were happy with the product. Foam is a man-made petroleum based product and when brand new it will have a chemical smell to it. The chemical smell of new foam happens because the foam has to release the component chemicals used in its manufacture.
The ventilation of the mattress is a process known as 'airing' or 'off-gassing'. Every petrochemical based foam product will need to 'off-gas' to get rid of the new smell. Mattress manufacturers will try to leave the foam as long as possible in the factory after cutting it to let it air.
However the foam arrives in massive blocks the size of a small room and the foam in the middle will take longer to air than the foam on the outside. If your mattress is cut from the outside of the block it is probably fully aired. If the foam used is from the inside of the block it might need airing longer. When your mattress is made, it is sealed immediately in plastic to keep it clean and hygienic.
This will trap any air until you open the bag. You can mask the smell - use Fabreeze or talc, but it is not really worth doing. Just leave it to air for 72 hours in a well ventilated room or outside in the garden on a dry day and the newness smell will go. You will notice reviews from every cot mattress retailer without exception that say: However this is a characteristic of the mattress.
Foam is probably one of the most widely used, safest man-made products you can buy! Let it Air in a very well ventilated room or outdoors and all will be well. You may comment that you have bought furniture or cushions that have not smelt. One can get paranoid about the smell and it is possible to always detect a hit of petroleum aroma if you unzip the cover and bury your nose in the foam!
However as a test you should not be able to smell any petroleum smell from about 20 cm away with the cover on, if so ventilate more. If you buy a natural cot mattress this will not have such a newness smell, there are no petroleum based chemicals used in natural mattresses but synthetics do have some advantages over natural products when it comes to breathability and waterproof protection which we have mentioned.
My mattress has gone yellow discolouration This is perfectly normal, it is a natural characteristic of the foam to oxidise and change colour, sometimes you can buy a new mattress and it has a yellow tinge on one corner maybe where the light has got to it during transportation This discolouration does not in any way impact on the performance of the foam.
Sometimes the yellowing oxidisation starts from one end and it appears as though the mattress might be contaminated, it is not the case. In time the whole mattress with discolour evenly.
This all kicked off in the late 80's and was claimed it was the cause of cot deaths. It was later discredited by a government report, however a few people still claim that toxic gases can be present if urine comes into contact with the fire retardant components within the foam. When these gases are breathed or absorbed by a sleeping baby they can cause cot death or sudden infant death syndrome SIDS.
The supporters of this theory claim that if bodily fluids reach the foam mattress core and are left for a period of time, over 3 months then they react with the fire retardant chemicals in the foam or other components and this may cause a gas called Stibine gas to be produced, Stibine gas is highly toxic. There are all sorts of scary things to read on the internet about cot mattress wrapping, you may have already read some of these!.
Basically for piece of mind just prevent body fluids from getting to the mattress core, but don't do it in a way that affects the breathabilty of the cover or you risk your baby overheating! Protect the mattress under the cover over the foam. When you buy a new mattress ensure it has full waterproof protection. Many cot mattresses are made to hit a price point, they wont have any protection and some will have just a slider that covers only one third of the mattress which you have to position under the nappy area but your baby when it is older will move around the cot so this will not be adequate.
The Safeguard range of crib and Moses basket mattresses was developed to combat the fears of mattress wrapping. These mattresses have a completely sealed foam core that no gas could get through and no liquids could penetrate. Having a sealed mattress means maximum breathability must be maintained by the cover. This can be achieved by using a Microfibre or Coolmax and Maxi-Space cover which is fitted to the Safeguard Moses and crib mattresses.
So this is key: Remove the cover and put it over the core, it is the core you want to protect from body fluids, then put the mattress cover on top, The cover will hold air over the waterproof protector and help to avoid your baby overheating. If the cover gets soiled then easy to remove for washing and then wipe down or wash the protector if fluids have gone through. Spare cot mattress covers can be a godsend. Many mattress protectors say they are breathable but if you hold them to your mouth and try and suck air through you will see they are only partially breathable.
Some past a breathability test because if you held a boiling kettle on one side you can steam up a mirror on the other side, They are classed as water vapour permeable. However if your baby turned face down on some of these wipe clean waterproof protectors it would not get sufficient air through to breath normally. This allows you to zip on whatever sleep surface you wish for maximum breathability and comfort. There is now an even better solution The Cot Mattress Company won an award from "Mother and Baby" in for a wipe clean base cover under a breathable topper.
This instruction started in the late 80's when parents were either using second hand mattress or ones that had been stored in the loft for ages unwrapped. Also if the mattress was stored in a loft was it put away with body fluids on it and in time has it become contaminated.
When your mattress has been stored it is well wrapped in plastic so no cross contamination. Then you know the history of the mattress, you have kept it clean and it is safe to use again providing it has not lost its shape and will still give good support. Could be that buying a higher spec mattress saves you money in the long term. The report said it is especially important for you to use a non-metallic bed for your baby, as their immature bodies are more susceptible to EMF damage.
As with all these scares we have to investigate them especially if it involves a component we are selling. Looking back we are pleased with our decision. However this did manage to pose yet another question? There is a voice out there that now talks about radiation effects on babies from phones, WiFi, other electrical appliances. Coolmax, Outlast, Thermosleep, Bamboo These are specially engineered polyester fabrics that wick away heat from the body and regulate temperature, when combined with quilting they have a luxury soft feel.
The best effect by far is achieved by not quilting but backing them with a quality 3D spacer fabric like Spacetec or Maxispace. Another way to help wick away heat and more naturally is using bamboo.
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