How Long Does a Crib Mattress Last?

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If you’re like me, when it comes down to buying a mattress, you take the time to evaluate it to make sure it’s the best mattress for your needs. Many of the experts tell us that we should change our mattresses over a period of time. What about crib mattresses though? How do you find the best mattress for your baby and how long do crib mattresses last?

Crib mattresses tend to get more wear and tear and will typically last between 3 to 5 years. Let’s face it, babies can be messy and mattresses can get stained and worn out a lot faster than an adult mattress.

There are things that you can do to get the most out of your baby’s crib mattress. You also want to keep your baby safe, so knowing when to change a crib mattress is important.

How Long are Crib Mattresses Good for?

Baby crib mattresses stacked up

As I mentioned earlier, a crib mattress can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years. A lot depends on the quality of the mattress and how well it is taken care of. For example, using a waterproof cover can help protect a crib mattress from staining and even mold developing due to dampness. Let’s have a look at what you should consider when buying a crib mattress first.

Mattress Type

The type of mattress you use will determine the longevity of it. Most crib mattresses will come in either foam or innerspring coils. Memory foam doesn’t last as long as innerspring and will indent more quickly, which can be a risk to your baby. If you do buy an innerspring mattress, always check to make sure coils haven’t started to poke through.

Durable Cover

Another factor is the material used to cover the mattress. If the cover is thin or made of vinyl, it won’t last as long as a mattress with a nylon cover.

Liquid and Stain Resistance

Babies will have all sorts of accidental spillages, from urine, drool, spit-up, and so on. Any liquid that soaks into the mattress can shorten the lifespan of it and can cause bacteria and mold to grow. A mattress that is waterproof will last longer than one that is not. The same goes for stains, which can void any warranty your mattress may have. You can, however, buy waterproof covers to help solve that problem.

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Tips To Make a Crib Mattress Last Longer

A male parent turning over a crib mattress - a great tip for make it last for longer!

Air it Out 

If you’ve bought a new mattress, you know that it usually has that new mattress smell. It can also have volatile organic compounds or VOCs that have gotten trapped during the packaging process. VOCs can be harmful, so before you use the crib mattress that you purchased, make sure you unwrap it and let it air out for 2 to 3 days to release any trapped VOCs and odors.

Clean Messes ASAP

Adult mattresses will get their fair share of stains over time, and the same goes for crib mattresses. It’s important to wipe up any spills that happen right away to make sure there are no harmful bacteria left on your baby’s mattress. Most crib mattresses come with care tips that you can follow and having a waterproof pad or mattress cover will make cleanups easier to deal with.

Clean it Regularly

Dirt and dust will build up any mattress over time. Babies have skin that is more sensitive and may have allergic reactions to allergens. This is why you should make sure the mattress is cleaned regularly. Crib mattresses should be cleaned every 3 to 4 days.

Start with vacuuming the mattress to remove dust and dirt. Scrub any areas that are stained and make sure you have rinsed the area well. The mattress should then be disinfected and allowed to properly air out before putting it back in the crib.

Rotation

Just like an adult mattress, a crib mattress should be rotated on a regular basis. The reason for this is that mattresses will start to sink down or become worn over time. Rotating the mattress every two weeks will help stop mattresses from sinking or becoming lumpy and uneven.

Waterproof Cover

Protect your crib and toddler mattress from leaky messes and spills a waterproof fitted mattress pad cover. It’s only a fraction of the cost of a brand new crib mattress and well worth it.

Is It Time to Replace My Crib Mattress?

A sleeping baby boy in white crib with an overhead hanging toy

There are things that you can check in order to determine if it’s time to toss your old crib mattresses and get a new one.

Firmness of the Mattress 

Crib mattresses need to be firm in order to protect your baby from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A mattress that is too soft with a sinking surface can potentially envelop your baby to the point that they aren’t able to freely move. The mattress should be free of any indentations and shouldn’t sink deeply when applying pressure to any area of the mattress. If your mattress has lost its firmness, it’s time for a new one.

Threads Coming Loose

Baby’s tend to put anything and everything into their mouths, including loose threads on their mattress, which can become a choking hazard. Over time, those threads will unravel even more and can cause mattress filling to be exposed, creating another choking hazard.

Pathogen Risk

Mattresses that are older and that haven’t been properly cared for raises the risk of harmful pathogens being embedded in them, such as mildew, mold, fungus, and bacteria. This raises the risk of respiratory issues occurring for the baby, such as asthma and allergies.

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How Much Should You Spend on a Crib Mattress?

What to look for in a crib sheet?

Crib mattresses can range in price from $50 to $1,500 or more. It all depends on what features the mattress has, such as using natural latex, organic cotton, or innerspring. A good price range for a crib mattress is between $90 to around $200.

Foam mattresses are usually found on the cheaper side of the scale. The problem here is that many foam mattresses use fire retardants in the manufacturing process, which is a health hazard. You can also find innerspring mattresses for a fairly cheap price and innerspring mattresses tend to last longer. As you move to the higher end of the scale, you will find non-toxic organic mattresses, mattresses that are more breathable, with no chemicals used in the manufacturing process. You can typically spend between $200 to $500 on these.

There are other features you may want for your crib mattresses that can make them more expensive, such as allergen resistance, waterproofing, and padding. The main features you tend to see with crib mattresses are:

Innerspring Layering – with an innerspring mattress, the more layers there are, the better. Some will use higher quality cushioning and steel gauges. It’s more about the amount of steel used in the coils than how many coils there are. Coils counts can range from 80 to 280 and a good steel gauge should be between 135 to 150 for the most firmness.

Border Rods – this is essential because it gives extra firmness to the mattress in order to keep it from sagging when the baby is near the edge. They line the top and bottom edge of the mattress.

Insulator Pads – Good quality crib mattresses will have a thicker insulating pad, which covers the innerspring and makes it more comfortable for your baby. Lower range pads are made from woven polyester, which is less durable and can form pockets. Higher-end pads are made from coir-fiber and mid-range pads are fiber-wrapped.

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How to Know if Crib Mattress Fits?

You want to make sure that the mattress you buy fits the crib so that there is no way for your baby to get stuck if they roll to the edge. The mattress should have a snug fit and you can use the two-finger method to judge its snugness.

If you are able to fit more than 2 fingers between the crib and the mattress, this means it isn’t the right fit for your crib.

The best full-size crib mattresses should be at least 27 inches long and 51 inches wide, with a thickness that is no higher than 6 inches.

When Should a Baby Move from Crib to Bed?

Best Latex Crib Mattress

Babies won’t stay in their cribs forever and you will need to buy a toddler bed in time. The age range differs from one child to the next. The average range is between 1 ½ years to 3 ½ years old. Some children may be ready to sleep in a toddler bed a bit sooner or later though and that is fine.

There are some signs to look for that will tell you if they are ready to move on to a toddler bed:

  • They are able to climb out of their crib
  • They are in the potty training stage
  • They don’t fit comfortably in the crib anymore

The transition time should be done in steps, over a month or so. You also have the option of having a crib that can convert into a toddler bed, which will make the transition a bit easier. You can start by letting them have naps on the toddler bed so that they have time to get used to it. Placing the toddler bed where their crib was situated also helps stick with your bedtime routine.

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