Mattress Buying Advice for my Baby

Until the age of two, babies spend up to 50% of their life on their cot bed mattress. For this reason, it's important to make sure that your baby's mattress is safe and supports their growth and development.

In this guide, we'll focus on what to look for when choosing a baby cot bed mattress, the types of cot bed mattress available and how to ensure the mattress correctly supports your little one.

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Baby in a crib lying on a cot bed mattress
Your baby needs a firm and waterproof cot bed mattress that fits the crib snugly

What to look for when shopping for a cot bed mattress?

It goes without saying that your baby's cot bed mattress should be the correct size for the crib. The best baby mattresses also have the following features:

1. A firm and supportive feel

Your baby shouldn’t sink into the mattress and should be supported along their whole body. It may be tempting to go for a very soft and comfy model. However, soft mattresses can increase the chances of a baby’s nose or mouth being covered. This can lead to overheating and suffocation, so a good cot mattress will always be fairly firm for this reason.

2. A removable, machine washable cover

Night-time accidents are inevitable in your child’s early years trust us, you will appreciate the ease of cleaning when the time comes!

3. A waterproof panel

Alternatively, consider investing in a mattress protector. These will ensure that no mess or liquid seeps into the cot mattress’s core (which cannot always be washed). A protector or waterproof panel will allow you to get the best, longest and most hygienic use out of your mattress as your baby grows older.

4. Breathable and made from hypoallergenic materials

To create a safer sleeping environment for your baby and ensure they can breathe freely, it is always worth checking that your cot bed mattress is allergen-free.

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Buying a cot bed mattress: FAQs

When shopping for your baby's cot bed mattress, there are a few things you'll need to consider. From mattress size, firmness and breathability, to mattress cleaning and safety, read on to discover the answers to frequently asked cot mattress questions.

What size is a cot bed mattress?

When it comes to cot mattresses, there are two standard sizes you are likely to encounter: a continental cot mattress size and a cot bed mattress.

A continental cot mattress is a little smaller, at 60cm wide and 120cm long. A cot bed mattress measures 70cm wide by 140cm long.

Standard cot bed mattress2'4" x 4'7"70cm x 140cm
Continental cot bed mattress2' x 4'60cm x 120cm

To identify which size cot bed mattress you need, first measure the crib. Cribs are usually built to match the dimensions of these cot bed mattress sizes, although there can be some small variances between brands and manufacturers.

It's very important that the mattress you choose is a good fit for the cot bed you have. Any gaps could potentially result in your little one trapping their finger or toes, so you want to make sure it's as snug as possible to the cot.

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What type of cot bed mattresses can I buy?

In terms of material, there are three main types of cot mattresses you will encounter.

1. Foam mattresses

These cot mattresses:

  • Are firm and supportive
  • Very light and easy to move
  • Typically have a lower price point than sprung mattresses

2. Foam-free mattresses

These baby mattresses:

  • Often contain more breathable fillings
  • Are typically odour-free

3. Sprung mattress

These cot mattresses:

  • Provide targeted support
  • Are often more durable and long-lasting
  • Are typically higher in quality

There are benefits to each type of cot bed mattress, so choose the one you feel is the best fit for your baby and your circumstances.

How can I make sure the cot mattress is breathable?

Cot bed mattresses include different materials to help improve breathability. For example, Relyon cot bed mattresses include breathable baby-safe fibre. These cot mattresses also include Actipro, a 100% natural treatment that guards against allergens. This helps create a cleaner, healthier sleeping surface for your little one.

When buying a cot bed mattress, always read the product description carefully, as the mattress’ breathability should be outlined.

What type of mattress cover is best?

We recommend a cot bed mattress that includes a washable and waterproof mattress cover. This will keep your baby's mattress clean and hygienic. The waterproofing helps prevent accidents from damaging the mattress, whilst the removable cover can be zipped off and machine-washed.

How do I clean a baby cot bed mattress?

Some cot mattresses feature removable covers which make it easier to clean. If your cot mattress doesn't have a removable cover, you'll need to regularly spot-clean the mattress to ensure a hygienic sleep surface for your baby.

Cot bed mattresses are usually wrapped in two different types of cover: fabric or PVC. Here's how to clean each type of cot mattress cover:

Removable mattress cover typeCleaning process
Fabric mattress coverVacuum regularly and wash with non-biological mild detergent
PVC mattress coverWash with warm water and disinfectant or antibacterial spray

Never dry clean your cot bed mattress as this may leave behind chemicals that could be harmful to your baby. Ensure that you never put your baby on a cot bed mattress that isn't fully dry as the moisture can increase the risk of asthma.

Can I use a second-hand cot mattress?

We do not recommend that you use a second-hand cot mattress for your baby. A second-hand mattress is likely to have:

  1. Experienced bacterial growth
  2. Lost its firmness
  3. Lost its shape

A worn cot bed mattress is likely to conform to your baby's shape and increase the risk of SIDS.

We strongly advise that you purchase a new cot bed mattress if you can. This will give you the peace of mind that it is of brand-new condition and quality, is fit for purpose, supports your baby correctly and ensures your baby sleeps safely.

What is the difference between a cot and a cot bed?

Although the terms are similar, there are some differences between a cot and a cot bed. A cot houses a baby mattress, often with a high wooden bar frame.

A cot bed is essentially a type of cot that can be used as a child gets older. Many cot beds transition into toddler beds simply by removing the bars once your child is old enough. As a result, cot beds are often larger than cots.

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Best cot bed mattresses: Our best sellers

Struggling to find the perfect cot bed mattress? Our best-selling baby cot bed mattresses are sure to provide safe, sound sleep for your little one.

Relyon Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Bed Mattress
Relyon Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Bed Mattress
  • From £154.95
  • Mattress type: pocket sprung and waterproof
  • Mattress depth: 10cm
  • Rated firm
  • Hypoallergenic

For an award-winning cot bed mattress, look no further than the Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Bed Mattress. It has the Gold award for Best Safety Product and the Silver award for Best Sleep Product at the Mother and Baby Awards 2019.

This pocket sprung cot mattress provides all the support your little one needs and it even has layers of cushioning foam for added comfort. It also features baby-safe fibres which are breathable, so you can sleep peacefully knowing this mattress ensures enhanced air-flow to regulate your baby's temperature. To top it off, the Luxury Pocket Sprung is anti-allergenic and the cover is waterproof, wipeable and can be machine washed.

Relyon Classic Sprung Cot Bed Mattress
Relyon Classic Sprung Cot Bed Mattress
  • From £114.95
  • Mattress type: standard sprung and waterproof
  • Mattress depth: 10cm
  • Rated firm
  • Hypoallergenic

For a comfy yet supportive mattress for your baby, look no further than the Classic Sprung Cot Bed Mattress. Your little one will be super supported with the firm, sprung base, which will support your baby as they grow. This cot mattress includes baby-safe fibres for better air-flow so your baby will stay comfortable as they sleep.

For your peace of mind, this mattress is treated with Actipro to protect against allergens. The cover is also waterproof, wipeable and machine washable to make dealing with accidents easier for you.

Silentnight Healthy Growth Cosy Toddler Mattress on a white background
Silentnight Healthy Growth Toddler Mattress
  • From £104.95
  • Mattress type: Eco Comfort
  • Mattress depth: 10cm
  • Rated firm
  • Hypoallergenic

The perfect transition mattress to a bigger bed! This cot bed mattress is suitable for children aged between 18 months to 4 years, so you know your child has enough space to grow with this mattress.

It features hypoallergenic Eco Comfort Fibres™, which helps to keep the cot mattress breathable and fresh. This is because the fibres let air circulate through the mattress fillings, evaporating excess moisture to keep them at the ideal temperature. The cosy knitted cover can also be removed and machine washed, so your little one can always enjoy a fresh and clean sleep.

The Healthy Growth Toddler Mattress is also made from recycled plastics, meaning it's good for the environment too!

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We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to choose the perfect mattress for your baby. Shop our range of baby cot bed mattresses that are sure to give your little one a safe, comfy night's sleep. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch and we'll be happy to help!

If you’re currently expecting, we have plenty of helpful pregnancy sleeping tips and mattress buying advice during pregnancy. Your pregnancy journey should be as easy as possible, and a good night’s sleep can help you on your way.

If you’re currently expecting, we have plenty of helpful pregnancy sleeping tips and mattress buying advice during pregnancy. Your pregnancy journey should be as easy as possible, and a good night’s sleep can help you on your way.