clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 9 Best Crib Mattresses to Safely Swaddle Your Baby in Comfort

Newborns sleep on average 17 out of 24 hours of the day, so you’ll want a trustworthy crib mattress to safely hold your baby. But you can’t apply the same standards that you would to your preferred mattress. We rounded up nine of the best crib mattresses that meet a newborn’s needs, including dual-sided mattresses that can be slept on into the toddler years.

Crib in baby’s room iStock

Safety, comfort, and value — and in that order — are key traits for parents seeking the best crib mattress. A safe mattress gives you peace of mind; comfort gives your baby (and you) a longer span to sleep soundly; and value matters, since a crib mattress won’t be a furnishing you need for the long haul.

We spoke to Dr. Elizabeth Witman about safety when it comes to infants and sleep. “There’s a ton of info out there about safe sleep, and it’s an important topic because crib deaths or SIDS — Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — have gone way down since institutions started putting out certain advice,” said Dr. Witman, a board certified pediatrician and former medical director of SAFEChild. “Safer practices, like putting babies on their back and not co-sleeping but instead having a separate space like a crib or bassinet, are both more commonly adopted now.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the latest recommendation is to have your newborn sleep nearby, but on a separate mattress. “They should be sleeping in your room until they’re six months old, but they should have their own space to sleep in with a safe mattress: No bumpers, pillows, or blankets near the head,” Dr. Witman said.

As far as soft versus firm, the answer is straightforward when it comes to babies, she said. “Firm. Babies should be on a firm mattress. No smushiness to it,” she said, adding. “Don’t worry — they like it fine.” With safety top of mind, here are nine of the best crib mattresses our This Old House Reviews Team found that’ll meet your high standards to hold your most precious cargo, nap after nap, and night after night. Plus, many of these mattresses have a flippable design that allows them to grow with your little one into the toddler years:

By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader.

Best Crib Mattress - Our Top Picks

Best Overall - Newton Baby Original Crib Mattress

Newton Baby Original Crib Mattress
Newton Baby
Courtesy of Newton Baby

Pros and Cons of the Newton Baby Original Crib

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
Build is uniquely 90% air, reducing risk of suffocation Budget-friendlier mattresses are available
Breathable build keeps mattress from overheating
Mattress is one of the quietest
Combination infant and toddler mattress
  • Mattress Type: Polymer air fiber
  • Delivery: Free shipping; delivery in 4-12 business days
  • Trial: 100 nights
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5

The Newton Baby Crib Mattress uses a proprietary “Wovenaire” core that’s 90 percent air and 10 percent food-grade polymer, i.e. plastic that’s deemed safe enough to eat off of. Visually, the unique build makes the mattress look like a work of 3D printed art or an intricate bird’s nest.

Practically, the construction means the mattress is an ideal nest for your little one: The design is exceedingly breathable, while still firm and with little give-and-take. You can literally plant your face into the mattress, and breathe right through it, giving you peace of mind for times when your baby rolls onto their tummy. The mattress also comes with a solid 100-night sleep trial and begins the first night your baby sleeps at home.

Best Splurge Crib Mattress - Avocado Crib Mattress

Avocado Crib Mattress
Avocado
Courtesy of Avocado

Pros and Cons of the Avocado Crib Mattress

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
Highly organic, hypoallergenic build One of the least budget-friendly crib mattresses
Can be flipped for use through toddler years
Excellent cooling build for parents in hot or humid climates
Water-resistant pad attaches seamlessly to corners of the mattress
Hand-made in California with GOTS certified organic cotton and wool
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (latex and coils)
  • Delivery: Free shipping in 1-3 business days
  • Trial: 100 nights
  • Warranty: 25 year limited
  • Customer Rating: 4.3/5

If you’ve overly padded your nursery budget, and have spare funds for a splurge crib mattress, take a look at Avocado’s line of made-to-order luxury organic sleep pads. And adding to the value of its baby bed, the Avocado Organic Crib Mattress has a flippable construction, with a firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers. The bed’s build is also uniquely nature-based, with a core of cotton-wrapped coils, coconut husk, and latex sourced from sustainably-grown rubber trees.

You’ll also notice attractive-looking hand-sewn stitching on the mattress — a deliberate choice to avoid glues. And rather than use potentially harmful chemical flame retardants, the Avocado crib mattress uses breathable wool batting as a fire barrier. Swaddling the entire mattress is an organic cotton cover. Each mattress comes with a machine-washable, water-resistant pad, also furnished in organic cotton.

Best Organic Crib Mattress - Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress

Naturpedic Organic Crib Mattress
Naturepedic
Courtesy of Naturepedic

Pros and Cons of the Naturepedic Original Crib Mattress

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
One of the best eco-friendly baby mattresses for price Not meant for use into toddler years, although pricier mattress models that do accommodate are available from Naturepedic
Certified for its solid use of non-toxic materials that prevent harmful emissions
Waterproof surface derived from natural sugarcane
  • Mattress Type: Cotton
  • Delivery: Free shipping in 1-3 business days
  • Trial: 100 nights
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5

You wouldn’t want to release toxic fumes when painting your nursery, just like you wouldn’t want your baby to breathe in VOCs (volatile organic compounds, often human-made, added to products during manufacturing) released from a new mattress. For that reason, all of the crib mattresses we’ve rounded up meet high environmental standards, and some, like the Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress, go even further.

The mattress is three layers of cotton, which is naturally breathable but compacted enough to create a firm feel to ensure support and health for infants. The cover is also organic cotton and is encased in a sugar-cane-derived membrane, waterproof to protect the core from liquid damage. That’s a safer alternative to the vinyl that many waterproof covers rely on. Vinyl often contains phthalates, a synthetic chemical that could adversely affect babies.

Best Budget Crib Mattress - Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams

Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress
Safetys 1st
Courtesy of Safety 1st

Pros and Cons of the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
Water-resistant vinyl cover Cover not removable
Multiple color options available Not breathable
Meets GreenGuard Gold certification for use of non-toxic materials Some parents said the bed’s durability is dubious
  • Mattress Type: Vinyl
  • Delivery: Free shipping in 1-3 business days
  • Trial: 30 days
  • Warranty: 10-year limited
  • Customer Rating: 4.6/5

It’s in the name, so you know the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams crib mattress doesn’t compromise your child’s welfare for savings. From the company that’s the brains behind the “Baby on Board” stickers so often seen on cars to promote child safety, Safety 1st made an affordable mattress with firm support made from vinyl and polyester. Because the vinyl is water- and stain-resistant, it’s easy to wipe clean in case of accidents. The bed is also free of flame retardant chemicals, GreenGuard Gold certified, and comes in multiple color options, including pink and blue.

Best Innerspring Crib Mattress - Saatva Crib Mattress

Pros and Cons of the Saatva Crib Mattress

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
Eco-friendly build that meets the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100, the most rigorous certification for being free of toxic materials High-quality, but one of the pricier crib mattresses
Toddler side when flipped
Water-repellent mattress cover is removable for machine wash
  • Mattress Type: Hybrid (latex and coils)
  • Delivery: Free shipping in 1-3 business days
  • Trial: 365 nights
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Customer Rating: 4.7/5

Saatva is a lauded brand in the mattress space and held itself to an equally high standard when crafting a crib mattress. The mattress is a little pricier but has a flippable build for toddlers to use when ready. Because of the bed’s durable build of steel coils, reinforced at the edges, your baby will feel held, and you’ll also feel supported when you sit on the edge to read bedtime stories.

Each side of the bed has a woven fiber infused with eucalyptus, to wick moisture and provide a comfortable sleep surface. On the toddler surface are additional layers of latex and wool, providing pressure relief for growing bodies. Finally, the mattress comes with a removable cover of organic cotton, treated to repel water.

Best Mini Crib Mattress - Newton Baby Mini Crib Mattress

Pros and Cons of the Newton Baby Mini Crib Mattress

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
Build is firm but extremely porous, reducing risk of suffocation ● More budget-friendly mini crib mattresses are available
Breathable build promotes airflow to prevent overheating
Combination toddler and infant side mattress
  • Mattress Type: Polymer foam
  • Delivery: Free shipping; delivery in 4-12 business days
  • Trial: 100 nights
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5

Size limitations in your nursery might call for buying a mini crib, rather than the standard-size crib. Fortunately, there are many options available from the best baby brands, and among our favorites is a mini mattress model furnished by Newton Baby. Newton’s standard-size mattress holds our top pick, and we like the mini mattress model for the same reasons. The woven polymer core of the mattress is highly breathable and free of VOCs. The bed has a soft, attractive, breathable cover, and there’s no need to add fitted sheets or crib sheets. In fact, it’s recommended you don’t to keep the mattress as breathable as possible.

Best Waterproof Crib Mattress - Sealy Baby Firm Rest

Sealy Baby Firm Rest Crib Mattress
Sealy Baby Firm Rest
Courtesy of Sealy

Pros and Cons of the Sealy First Rest

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
GreenGuard Gold certified Continuous coil build may make bed’s edge hard to sit on, if used with toddler bed
Excellent bang for buck Does not include machine-washable cover
Cooling innerspring build
Flippable for later use by toddlers
  • Mattress Type: Innerspring
  • Delivery: Free delivery in 5-7 business days
  • Trial: 30 days
  • Warranty: 20 year
  • Customer Rating: 4.7/5

You want those inevitable 2 a.m. accidents to disrupt sleep as little as possible, for both you and your child. Fortunately, you can quickly wipe away an oopsie as though it had barely happened if you have a waterproof (not merely water-resistant) mattress surface, which is part of the package with Sealy’s Baby Firm Rest mattress. The mattress has a durable construction of 150 intertwined steel coils to lift and support your baby, and not start to sag as they grow.

The mattress is also another of the models that can be flipped to extend its lifespan into toddler years. The underside is softer but still supportive. Plus, with a price below $100, Sealy is one of the best value baby mattresses you can find to furnish your nursery.

Best Breathable Crib Mattress - Graco Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress

Graco Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress
Graco Foam
Courtesy of Graco

Pros and Cons of the Graco Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress

Pros Cons
Pros Cons
GreenGuard Gold certified and foam is CertiPUR-US certified Foam is considered a less safe option than other materials
Dual infant and toddler mattress
Water-resistant cover included
  • Mattress Type: Polyurethane foam
  • Delivery: Free delivery 5-8 business days
  • Trial: 30 days
  • Warranty: 6-year limited
  • Customer Rating: 4.8/5

All-foam crib mattresses tend to be less expensive than mattresses with springs. The drawback though is that your baby might have to tolerate stuffier temperatures since foam can tend to trap heat compared to the more breathable innerspring. However, the Graco Foam Crib mattress has an exceptionally breathable foam core that’s still firm enough to support your baby. The water-resistant cover can also be unzipped and tossed in with your laundry for a thorough clean.

Best Two-Stage Crib Mattress - Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Crib Mattress

Midnight Slumber Little Dreamer Crib Mattress
Midnight Slumber Little Dreamer
Courtesy of Moonlight
  • Mattress Type: Memory foam
  • Delivery: Free delivery 3-5 business days
  • Trial: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Customer Rating: 4.9/5

Several mattresses featured have the two-in-one design, adding to their value, and with a price point just below $200, the Moonlight Slumber offers some of the best value of any. That means when your baby can safely sleep on a softer surface, you can simply flip the mattress over from its high-density firm side, and place it in a toddler bed (toddler beds have the same dimensions as a standard crib). The stretch-knit fabric mattress covering is also water-resistant, antimicrobial, and odor-resistant. Medical-grade seams prevent dust mites from getting into the mattress, making it more hypoallergenic.

What Makes a Crib Mattress Safe?

A desire to be close and the convenience when nighttime nursing may make co-sleeping with your baby feel tempting. But pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Witman warned she’s seen cases of co-sleeping being the cause of tragic accidents. On the other hand, Dr. Witman said that in her 30+ year career, she has “never seen a baby pass away on their back in their own crib or bassinet, which is pretty amazing.”

And it’s key to stay privy to medically-sound conventions for infant sleep since sudden deaths are most associated with the crib. Reassuringly, best practices have come a long way. Another now-debunked practice is laying babies on their stomachs versus back in the crib, Dr. Witman said. “People used to worry that babies would spit up and vomit or aspirate, and that would be a cause of death if put to sleep on their backs, so health officials recommended that some babies be put prone,” Dr. Witman said.

But that was a mistake, as it turned out.

“In fact, babies do fine if they spit up, and they can clear their own airway,” Dr. Witman said. “Instead, they can die face-down from being smothered in the mattress. That’s been found to be especially true in cultures where babies sleep in thicker blankets, like sheep skins.”

Therefore, as far as mattresses and bedding, Dr. Witman had simple advice. “Babies should be on a firm mattress without any pillows or blankets or soft toys near their head.” Plush toys or pillows near the head can be “re-breathed” into, leading to trapped carbon dioxide and oxygen deprivation.

With all the most important bedroom safety bases covered, now you can dive into the minutiae of what else to consider as you browse for the ideal crib mattress.

Things to Look For When Buying a Crib Mattress

Crib Mattress Dimensions

The dimensions of cribs are federally regulated, the reasoning being that a universal standard lessens the chances of deaths or injuries from falls. Cribs must have interior measurements of 28 by 52 ⅜ inches, with wiggle room of plus or minus ⅝ an inch. This is good news when mattress shopping since you can be sure that any “standard” size mattress will fit your crib. Mini cribs aren’t regulated, and for that reason, must come with a mattress, per the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you do need to replace a mini crib mattress though, dimensions are typically 24 by 38 inches.

Materials

New parents are rightfully more mindful of their baby’s mattress materials versus their own bedding. After all, babies’ developing lungs are more susceptible to the impact of toxic exposures, and the “dosage” of any exposure will be proportionally far greater compared to an adult. For that reason, most crib mattresses meet above-and-beyond standards for low emissions and avoidance of non-hypoallergenic materials. You may still want to avoid memory foam mattresses, which are less breathable and more likely to emit harmful chemicals, when not GreenGuard Gold certified.

Thickness

The thickness of your crib mattress will correlate greatly with its durability. If you intend to use the mattress into the toddler stage, be sure the mattress is at least 4 inches thick, for longevity.

Warranty

Most crib mattresses have less robust warranties than adult-sized beds with multi-year warranties, given that their use is fleeting. However, a few have robust lifetime warranties that may be worth the investment if you plan on having multiple children.

Safety

Again, “organic mattress” is a phrase you’ll see far more often in the realm of crib mattresses, as it’s a reassuring pledge that the brand is mindful of off-gassing and its potential to be more damaging toward infants. Organic materials or not though, the most important crib mattress safety factor is firmness since a soft mattress with indentations can present a re-breathing hazard, or make it harder for an infant to turn themselves over to their back without help if they’ve flipped.

FAQ About the Best Crib Mattress

What kind of crib mattress is best for a baby?

The most important factor is lowering the risk of SIDS (the leading cause of death in infants in the U.S.) and other sleep-related infant deaths. A firm surface, free of frills, is the safest option.

How do I choose the best crib mattress?

You may want to consider a dual-sided crib mattress, to save yourself the purchase of a toddler mattress down the line. Toddler beds have the same dimensions as a standard crib. If you live in an especially hot climate, the best mattress is probably one that’s built to be more cooling. Highly breathable mattresses can also be reassuring when you aren’t there to flip your baby over from stomach to back.

Can I reuse a crib mattress?

If the mattress is still firm, with zero sagging or persistent indentations, then the answer is yes. However, even if your crib mattress has seen better days, you don’t have to throw it out. They can be repurposed as a pet bed, play pad, or even a place to kneel when meditating or gardening.

Summary of Our Top Picks for the Best Crib Mattress