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Which crib mattresses are best?

Babies are delicate, which is why choosing the right crib mattress is one of the most important decisions you can make. Crib mattresses that are too small for the crib or too soft can increase the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And an uncomfortable mattress can cause poor sleep for both your baby and you.

If you’re looking for a high-quality crib mattress, the best option is the Sealy OptiCool 2-Stage Cool Gel Crib Mattress. It uses soybean gel memory foam for comfort and cooling, plus it is waterproof, making cleaning up accidents easy.

What to know before you buy a crib mattress

Foam vs. innerspring crib mattress

Most crib mattresses use either solid foam or layer materials over springs.

  • Foam mattresses are made of memory foam and are available in various qualities. They’re lightweight and more cushioned, but cheap options can be soft to the point of being hazardous. They can also retain heat, with better mattresses using a layer of gel memory foam to counteract this.
  • Innerspring mattresses use layers of padding, usually foam or polyester, to surround a bed of springs. On average, they cost more than foam options, but you receive a more durable and supportive mattress in return. Cheap innersprings may be squeaky or uncomfortable.


The size of your crib mattress must perfectly fit your crib; gaps of any size have the potential to trap and even suffocate your baby.

The majority of cribs and crib mattresses are standardized in size, but that doesn’t rule out a mismatching size caused by having an older crib or purchasing a mattress from outside the U.S. Make sure to measure your crib before purchasing a mattress, just in case.

What to look for in a quality crib mattress


A crib mattress must be firm to be safe. No exceptions. Multiple organizations, like The Consumer Product Safety Commission, have tested and confirmed that soft crib mattresses increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Some mattresses include a firm side for infants and a softer side for when they enter their toddler years. These sides aren’t always easy to distinguish, making it paramount that you triple-check when placing your mattress.


Most crib mattresses are synthetic materials like foam and polyester. Others may use a top layer of natural materials, like soybean gel, rather than fully natural. In most cases, this won’t matter, but some babies can have allergic reactions to natural or synthetic fibers.

How much you can expect to spend on a crib mattress

Most crib mattresses cost roughly $100-$150. Some options are available as low as $25, while others can cost as much as $500. Crib mattress prices aren’t the best quality indicator, so purchase whatever seems right for you.

Crib mattress FAQ

Do I really need a waterproof crib mattress?

A. Technically, no, you don’t need to have a waterproof or even water-resistant mattress. That said, babies are going to have accidents during the night. No matter how good your diapers are, something will inevitably leak out. A waterproof or water-resistant mattress will save you a huge amount of hassle, including the potential need for a new mattress. You can also use a waterproof sheet in between your mattress and standard sheet, but that’s just another item to maintain.

What are all of the safety precautions I can take with my crib mattress?

A. Most safety precautions are only a matter of making sure everything is just right, rather than going above and beyond in some way. The basics are making sure the mattress fits perfectly, with no space between the crib and mattress and it is nice, firm and brand new. You’ll also want to make sure your sheets are perfectly fitted and won’t come loose. Don’t leave a blanket or pillow in the crib; these are safety hazards, not comforts. If you want to keep them warm, swaddle them tightly. Finally, lay your baby on their back.

What’s the best crib mattress to buy?

Top crib mattress 

Sealy OptiCool 2-Stage Cool Gel Crib Mattress

Sealy OptiCool 2-Stage Cool Gel Crib Mattress

What you need to know: This mattress has all the best features.

What you’ll love: It has a firm infant side and softer toddler side, making it useful for years. A soybean gel memory foam is cooling for warm nights. The woven cotton cover is breathable, waterproof and easy to clean. It’s made in the U.S.

What you should consider: This mattress is a little too soft for some parents. Some parents reported indentations having formed after a few months of use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top crib mattress for the money

Milliard Flip Technology Crib Mattress

Milliard Flip Technology Crib Mattress

What you need to know: This mattress is a little more affordable than others.

What you’ll love: It has both firm and soft sides for infants and toddlers, plus each side is color-coded for clarity. The cover is removable and machine-washable, plus, it has a waterproof lining. It’s made of memory foam. It fits all standard-size cribs and toddler beds. 

What you should consider: Some parents reported peeling mattress layers after a few months. Others were unhappy with the fit and the quality of the included cover.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Graco Premium Foam Crib And Toddler Mattress In A Box

Graco Premium Foam Crib And Toddler Mattress In A Box

What you need to know: This is another great pick for your baby’s crib or toddler’s bed.

What you’ll love: It has a removable, machine-washable cover with some water resistance. It fits all standard-size cribs and toddler beds. It’s made of breathable memory foam. It’s tested and certified for safety by multiple organizations. 

What you should consider: The mattress is shipped in air-compressed packaging; it takes up to two weeks for the mattress to fully decompress, with some parents reporting it never fully decompresses.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair


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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


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