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Mattress Buying Advice for my Baby

Up until the age of two, babies spend as much as 50% of their life on their cot bed mattress. This is why it's important that your baby's mattress is a supportive one. The ideal mattress for your baby should:

  • be firm
  • fit the crib size
  • be waterproof
  • be washable

In this guide, we will focus on the what to look for when choosing a baby cot bed mattress, the types of cot bed mattress available and how you can ensure the mattress continues to offer optimal support for your precious one.

Baby in its crib lying on a cot bed mattress
A firm and waterproof cot bed mattress that fits your crib is the perfect choice for your baby

What to look for when buying a baby cot bed mattress

There are three main aspects to look for when choosing a baby cot bed mattress.

  • Firmness
    Don't choose a mattress that feels comfortable for you. Your baby requires greater support, therefore, he or she will need a mattress that provides a really firm surface.
    If a baby cot bed mattress responds to pressure by quickly snapping back to its original shape, then it is firm enough for your little one. A soft surface will contour to your baby's body and could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Mattress cover
    Look for a cot bed mattress cover that is washable and waterproof. This will help maintain the cleanliness of your baby's mattress.
  • Breathability
    Choose a baby cot bed mattress with features that improve breathability and freshness. For example, our Silentnight Safe Nights Foam Free Cot Bed Mattress has been treated with Purotex to reduce moisture and dust-mite allergens to create a cleaner, more breathable surface for your little one.

Types of baby cot bed mattress

There are three main types of cot bed mattress, all of which offer different benefits:

  • foam
  • standard sprung
  • pocket sprung

Foam cot bed mattresses

These mattresses are made up of fillings such as reflex foam to provide a firm sleep surface for your little one. Foam cot bed mattresses offer several benefits as explained below.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • Usually lighter in weight
  • Offers excellent support and durability
  • Great dust mite resistance
  • Fantastic value for money
  • Easy to clean
The smell of the fire retardant applied for safety may take a little longer to air than other types of cot bed mattress
A foam cot bed mattress with a comfort layer on top
A foam cot bed mattress offers great support for your baby and is fantastic value for money

Standard sprung cot bed mattresses

Standard sprung cot bed mattresses feature open coil springs surrounded by foam and fillings. Heavier open coil cot bed mattresses are likely to include thicker springs and therefore will provide better support than a foam mattress. An open coil cot bed mattress is a popular choice for a wide range of reasons as shown in the table below.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • Offers great firmness and support
  • Fantastic durability
  • A little higher in price than foam

Pocket sprung cot bed mattresses

A pocket sprung cot bed mattress features springs that are wrapped within their own cloth sleeve. A pocket sprung mattress is the most comfortable option when it comes to baby mattresses because of its ability to adapt to your baby's movements throughout the night.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
  • Excellent support
  • Great durability
  • Supports your baby as they grow
  • Usually more expensive than other cot bed mattress types
A pocket sprung cot bed mattress and the comfort layers it features to offer excellent support for your baby
Pocket sprung cot bed mattresses adapt to your baby's movements to offer enhanced support

How big should a baby cot bed mattress be?

To identify which size cot bed mattress you need, you must first take the measurements of the crib. Cribs are usually built to match the dimensions of these cot bed mattress sizes:

Mattress SizeImperial MeasurementsMetric Measurements
Standard cot bed mattress2'4" x 4'7"70cm x 140cm
Continental cot bed mattress2' x 4'60cm x 120cm

The gap between the mattress and cot should be no more than 3 centimetres (1.2 inches). Additionally, the cot bed mattress should be between 8 and 12 centimetres (3-5 inches) deep to ensure your baby gets the right amount of support they need.

Can I use a second-hand cot mattress?

We do not recommend that you use a second-hand cot mattress for your baby. We strongly advise that you purchase a new cot bed mattress since this gives you peace of mind that your baby's mattress is fit for purpose, supports your baby correctly throughout the night - and is of brand new condition and quality. A second-hand mattress is likely to have:

  • experienced bacterial growth
  • lost its firmness
  • lost its shape

A worn cot bed mattress is likely to conform to your baby's shape and increase the risk of SIDS. It is recommended you purchase a new cot bed mattress to ensure your baby sleeps safely.

How do I clean a baby cot bed mattress?

Some cot mattresses feature removable covers which make it easier to maintain a clean surface for your little one. For cot mattresses that don't have removable covers, regularly spot-cleaning your cot bed mattress is essential for maintaining a hygienic sleep surface for your baby. Cot bed mattresses can be wrapped in two different covers:

  • fabric mattress cover
  • PVC mattress cover

Below is a table which outlines the best cleaning process for each type of removable 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. It is also important to 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.

Baby cot bed mattresses: best sellers

Struggling to find the perfect cot bed mattress? Read on to discover five of our best-selling baby cot bed mattresses that are sure to provide a safe and sound sleep for your little one.

The Nighty Night Pocketed Cot Bed Mattress offers great support and durability
1. Nighty Night Pocketed Cot Mattress

  • Mattress type: pocket sprung
  • Mattress depth: 12cm
  • Waterproof and washable
  • From only £109.95

Silentnight Safe Nights Foam Free Cot Bed Mattress offers a firm and hygienic sleep surface
2. Silentnight Safe Nights Foam Free Cot Bed Mattress

  • Mattress type: Airstream i-Fibre Core
  • Mattress depth: 9cm
  • Waterproof and washable
  • From only £129.95

The Nighty Night Foam Core Cot Bed Mattress offers quality at an affordable price
3. Nighty Night Foam Core Cot Mattress

  • Mattress type: reflex foam
  • Mattress depth: 8cm
  • Waterproof and wipeable
  • From only £44.95

The Nighty Night Open Coil Cot Bed Mattress offers excellent support and comfort for your baby
4. Nighty Night Open Coil Cot Mattress

  • Mattress type: standard sprung
  • Mattress depth: 11cm
  • Waterproof and washable
  • From only £89.95

The Silentnight Safe Nights Mini Spring Cot Bed Mattress is designed to offer a safe and sound sleep for your baby
5. Silentnight Safe Nights Mini Spring Cot Bed Mattress

  • Mattress type: mini pocket springs and Airstream i-Fibre Core
  • Mattress depth: 9cm
  • Waterproof and washable
  • From only £169.95

We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to choose the perfect mattress for your baby. We have a range of baby cot bed mattresses that are sure to provide your little one with a safe and supportive night's sleep. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to provide answers to any questions you may have.

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