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Foam vs. Coil Crib Mattress: What’s Best For Your Baby?

by | Sep 22, 2017 | 0 comments

When you consider how much time kids spend on cribs and mattresses while they’re growing up, it’s not unreasonable to say that a crib/toddler bed is one of the most important items you will buy for your family.  An adult spends an average of 8 hours in his/her bed but, for children, the time commitment is much greater.Most children will easily spend from 10 to 14 hours per day or, roughly speaking, about half their young life.

Since they are going to spend so much time on it, the mattress that you choose for your children should be the product of intense research, the best advice you could get from friends and neighbors, and the most practical and beneficial choice (because it’s all about selecting from multiple options these days) that you could find within your budget.

Foam Or Coiled Spring—which To Go With?

One of the most important criteria that you will have to decide upon is whether to go with a foam or a coiled spring mattress for cribs and toddler beds.  Both of these options have their pluses and minuses—in other words, neither is “perfect” for any situation.  There are, however, some things that foam does seem to score on better and, by the same token, there are some things that coiled spring mattresses excel at.  Herein you will find a feature-by-feature comparison which will, hopefully, make it easier for you to decide which is best for your unique situation.

The Pros And Cons Of Foam Mattresses

One of the biggest advantages that foam mattresses enjoy is the fact that there is such a wide range of choices for consumers.  For instance, they come in the form of gel, foam, memory foam and organic foam.  Yet another advantage these mattresses enjoy is a lower price (when compared to coiled spring).


This is what foam mattresses are superior at or generally receive high marks on:

  • Come in a higher variety of comfort zones
  • Are generally lightweight
  • Some models/makes are made from organic materials
  • Can be very affordable, depending on the make & model
  • In general, they cost less than coiled spring mattresses
  • Are generally easy to keep clean
  • Do come with heat-retention ameliorating capacity


These are the deficiencies/imperfections of foam mattresses:

      • When weight is applied, indentations develop
      • Are generally less durable than coiled springs mattresses
      • Q Are generally weak in the area of “edge support”

    May become a health hazard if they get wet, possibly developing mold

      • Some makes/models come with chemical smells that may take long to dissipate (sometimes not completely)
      • May take a long time to decompress
      • Can sometimes retain heat, if not properly ventilated

A Foam Mattress Feature-by-Feature Analysis

Price/Cost Considerations

One of the advantages of foam mattresses is its great affordability—in fact, they range from a very reasonable $30 to $300+ for the better quality ones.  In general, the more expensive ones use denser foam with materials made from natural, non-toxic sources; the lower-priced ones, however, can also be a good investment.


To be fair, it’s easier to make a foam mattress organic/environmentally friendly than it is to make a coiled-spring mattress such; then again, the coiled spring variety’s non-metal parts can also be made from environmentally-friendly materials (which, coincidentally, are also “friendly” to people).  Simply put organic materials are much healthier for kids.  This is good news since regular foam can have some toxic chemicals (like polyurethane) inside that can ooze or seep (in terms of vapors) out as time goes by.  You should know, by the way, that GREENGUARD and CertiPUR-US certifications don’t necessarily mean a mattress is organic.  If you want “organic/breathable” make sure your mattress says so.We would recommend the naturepedic/newton crib mattress for your newborn infant.


Thankfully, foam mattresses come in a wide variety of comfort levels—in fact, the sky is the limit, metaphorically speaking.  Memory foam, for example, gives you a particular type of comfort that is different than gel foam.  These materials are, as a matter of fact, used regularly in mattresses made for adults—but they’re also excellent choices for kid’s bedding products.  In general, gel excels at keeping sleeping surfaces cool while also comfortably conforming to the human body; memory foam, on the other hand, is great at adapting perfectly to the human body’s contours while, at the same time, providing excellent firmness and support.

Edge Support

Edge support is important for several reasons, not the least of which because a mattress with good edge support reduces chances of kids falling off a bed.  Secondly, it can reduce chances of kids getting in trouble if there is a gap between the mattress and the crib and the rails.  Thirdly, it’s less likely that a foam mattress will sag at the ends (if maybe heavier toddlers sit on its edges), if the mattress is good and sturdy in these areas.

Unfortunately, this is one area where some foam mattresses may have an issue.  Foam mattresses are generally soft—that’s one of the things that people like the most about them—but that softness, if too much, can be bad for infants and even for toddlers, if there is poor edge support


Foam has the tendency, over a period of time, to lose its shape, break down or sag.  Accordingly, it may have issues to consider if it’s a hand-me-down or has been used more than once by previous kids.  A worn-out foam mattress may not be good enough for an infant (lacking the firmness it needs) or even for a toddler to whom it may not give the comfortableness that he/she needs.  As a matter of fact, foam mattresses may not be as much of a long-term investment as a coiled spring mattress.

The Pros And Cons Of Coiled Spring Mattresses

Coiled spring or innerspring mattresses in general are more durable than foam mattresses.  Then again, they cost more and are much heavier but they excel in two important departments:  long-term usefulness and for use as hand-me-down or second-hand options.  Here’s a concise evaluation of these products:


The things that make coiled spring mattresses a good investment includes:

  • They last longer, in general
  • They provide better support
  • They rate highly in durability
  • They provide excellent edge support (thought not always)
  • They do come in environmentally-friendly models/makes
  • Some provide great fire retardancy features
  • Some are waterproof and, therefore, easy to keep clean
  • They enjoy a longer manufacturing history and, therefore, more time to have undergone improvements


On the other hand, these are the negative aspects to remember:

  • Are generally pricier
  • Can also tend to sag after a while
  • Can become dangerous if rips/tears expose coiled spring
  • Can be relatively heavy & cumbersome to turn or put sheets on
  • Come with fewer comfort variations
  • Can be difficult to keep clean if not waterproof
  • May become a health hazard if they get wet, possibly developing mold

In general, coiled spring cost more than foam mattresses simply because more materials are required to build them.  This, of course, includes the metal required for the springs, not to mention the added support provided by all-around casings and reinforced edges and corners.  Although there are lower-cost models, a good coiled spring mattress will come with a higher price than foam mattresses–say, in the $200+ range.


Although it’s difficult to find expressly “organic” coiled springs mattresses, some models are environmentally-friendly, meaning that the materials used are less likely to be toxic, either to the environment (after it’s disposed of) or to the kids that have to sleep on them.  Read labels and product descriptions carefully if this is an area about which you feel strongly.


Coiled mattresses, simply put, don’t offer the same fluffiness, comfort and softness that have made foam mattresses so popular; they can, however, excel at offering good firmness.  This is especially useful for infants who should preferably not be using mattresses that sink too much or offer more comfort than firmness.  An infant needs some resistance in order to build developing muscles and bones and coiled mattresses offer that very well.  Then again, because the coiled springs help to evenly distribute weight, these mattresses can also provide the comfort that toddlers need in order to sleep more peacefully.  The better mattresses also provide comfort layers meant to allay any discomfort that metal would otherwise impart.

Edge Support

Fortunately, coiled spring mattresses (at least when you first get them) offer excellent edge support.  Coiled-lined edges is just one feature that can make these mattresses a better deal in this area.  Over time, however, even metal gives out and these mattresses will tend to lose their shape, sag and be less supportive.  This can take years, however, so for a long time at least, edge support should stay strong.


Coiled spring mattresses can last for a long time, if properly maintained, not abused, and if the recommended weight limit put on them isn’t exceeded too much over time. Metal is good at putting up with tear and wear and with constant use.  Having said all this, a coiled spring mattress’ longevity can be compromised by a number of things:  if spills and messes are cleaned properly (possibly leading to permanent stains and mold starting to grow); the mattress is ever used as a trampoline, perhaps by older siblings while Mom is out of the house; and if the mattress is left outside or allowed to get wet for any reason.


When it comes to comparing coiled spring to foam mattresses, it isn’t just a matter of taste or what you or your children like best, albeit personal preferences certainly play a role.  What matters most is that, after you look at all the pros and cons, cost considerations, types of material, comfort/support differences and wear, tear and durability concerns, you make a decision based on what’s most suitable for your unique situation and specific needs.  For some people, coiled spring are the “answer,” depending on what they want, need or must have; for other people, foam is the “must have” alternative.

The good news is that both types of mattresses have something beneficial to offer.  What you have to decide is whether the pros outnumber the cons, and if so, will that justify the price? Otherwise, maybe it’s one or two things that stand out about either of the two choices that appeal to you the most—in that case, go with your gut feelings and what’s clearly of most importance to you.

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