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Crib Mattress Safety
A good crib mattress not only makes bedtime cozier for your baby, it also supports his growing bones. But what makes a mattress good is a matter of preference. Consider cost, comfort, and longevity as your child will probably sleep in his crib for up to three years. You might want to think about convenience, too; many parents find the easiest way to change crib linens is to remove the mattress from the crib each time.
You'll have two types of crib mattresses to choose between - foam and innerspring:
- Foam mattresses Many parents prefer foam mattresses, made of either polyester or polyether, because they weigh less than innerspring mattresses. This can be important when you're changing soiled sheets at 3 a.m. plus, foam pads are less expensive than innerspring mattresses.
Foam crib mattresses are available in a variety of thicknesses. But thicker is not necessarily better; density is most important. The better foam mattresses are high-density, about 1.5 pounds per cubic foot. Unfortunately, most foam mattresses don't list density on the packing, so it's hard to know exactly what you're getting.
- Innerspring crib mattresses Some parents choose coil mattresses over foam because they keep their shape longer (though a high-density foam mattress will probably wear equally well). Manufacturers equate the number of coils in an innerspring mattress with overall firmness. Factors such as the number of turns per coil and the temper of the wire also contribute to the firmness. It's a good idea to look for mattresses with a minimum of 150 coils.
What are the right questions to ask when you get one:
- Is it the right size? If you can fit two fingers comfortably between the mattress and the side of the crib then the mattress is too small, which means your baby could suffocate if he falls between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- Is it firm? Squeeze the mattress at the edges and center to test its firmness. Firm is good. Some cases of sudden infant death syndrome have been linked to soft bedding.
- Is the ticking (mattress cover) sturdy? For water-resistance, look for double- or triple-laminated ticking reinforced with nylon. This composition is also more resistant to tears and holes.
- Is there enough venting? A mattress will smell fresher if it has plenty of vent holes, which allow odors to escape.
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