BABBLE BEST: CRIB MATTRESSES
Buying a crib mattress is usually a last-minute afterthought. Let's be honest, it's not as glamorous as the crib's design or as high profile as the car seat - but shouldn't it be? Crib mattresses are an investment in your child's health and development, especially considering your baby will be on it for up to 70 percent of his or her first four years. And to top it off, some of those hand-me-down mattresses might not be safe.
Many longstanding baby products have been rethought and redesigned because they contain chemicals (BPA, PVC, phthalates, etc.) that are now considered dangerous. As of February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA) banned certain varieties of phthalates from crib mattresses (most notably found in standard vinyl coverings) after evidence linked them to endocrine system problems and possibly cancer. And the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that phthalates could cause more damage to babies than adults because their bodies are still developing.
The following mattresses all adhere to the government's new standards, and most go above and beyond, eliminating vinyl coverings altogether. Keep in mind that some of these substitutions require spray treatments to keep them wet and stain-resistant, and other mattresses require a mattress pad to keep odor, dust mites and bacteria from creeping in over time. Use your discretion as to how "natural" you're comfortable with, but have peace of mind that the mattresses in this guide (including the runners up!) are safe choices for your little one. Some might have a higher price tag than the norm, but most have been modified with organic and/or naturally derived products so both you and your baby can sleep better at night.
By far the most extravagant but also the most extraordinary crib mattress we’ve ever encountered, The Pebble won our Best Overall spot with its innovative and well-considered design (also snagging our “Best Design” accolade). Created by a diverse team of scientists, designers, social psychologists and parents, this mattress somehow combines every feature you could possibly want in a mattress – besides affordability, of course.
Focusing on the concept that a breathable, oxygen-rich sleep environment fosters infant development and longer, safer sleep, The Pebble is designed to promote airflow and temperature regulation with 100% non-toxic and natural materials like moisture-wicking eucalyptus, microbe and mold-preventing zinc, temperature-regulating organic cotton, and flame-retardant organic wool. Yes, you’ll be paying more than most cribs cost, but The Pebble takes no chemical-littered short cuts when it comes to your baby’s health. And although it’s known as “the world’s most considered infant mattress,” toddlers up to 4 years old can continue to reap the benefits.
The mattress itself is of extremely high quality, made out of a dense, breathable, hypoallergenic latex core; and the vibrantly colored coverings are not only water-resistant but designed with soft, raised “pebbles” to increase air circulation and provide sensory development. Bonus: Unlike most organic mattresses, The Pebble requires no additional mattress pad or even sheets, and the cover is machine-washable. However, additional coverings will cost you a whopping $180 each.
Bottom line: If money is no object, there isn’t another mattress on the market like this one. Looking for something safe but within your budget? Read on.