Figuring out how long a crib mattress is supposed to last is no easy task. There are various factors that affect the longevity of a baby mattress—some under your control and some very much not under your control.
Knowing which crib mattresses last the longest might help you decide which of several mattresses to purchase—obviously, a mattress that will, if treated gently and responsibly, easily last you over 10 years may then seem like a much better deal than one that is notoriously thrown away after 1 to 5 years. But, again, how long any mattress will last depends on a wide array of different factors, including how well it is treated, what type of material is used to make it, how well it is reinforced, where the mattress will be used, etc. So, how do you choose the longest-lasting crib mattress, and how can you care for it to keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible? Read on for our expert advice.
Main Factors That Increase A Crib Mattress’ Longevity
One of the things that can greatly enhance a crib mattress’s longevity is its capacity to withstand or deal with wet messes and spills, whether we’re talking about spilled milk or juice, water or bodily fluids. Believe it or not, even plain water can be destructive enough, especially if it seeps into the inner workings of the mattress. For one thing, it can be difficult to dry out completely, and failure to do so might lead to bacterial, fungal or mold growths. All of these can damage your baby’s health. On the other hand, a mattress that is kept dry and stain free doesn’t just look nicer—it will last longer and provide a healthier sleeping environment to boot.
Of course, stains are an eye-sore. However, when it comes to stains, it’s not just a matter of keeping mattresses looking pretty. Stains can be an indication of a more serious problem within the mattress. They can also harbor nasty bacteria and germs, especially if they are the result of pee stains or other bodily fluids. Ideally, stains should be cleaned right away but, if not, they may linger on in spite of attempts to clean them later on. Most people don’t want a noticeably stained mattress, especially if it is recently purchased.
Support & Firmness
Yet other factors that greatly affect how long a mattress lasts are support and firmness—actually, they are indications of the shape and condition the mattress is in. A mattress that quickly forms a dip or sagging is not supportive enough for a baby, and will need to be replaced when it starts to lost its shape. So, it’s a great idea to check out expert and customer reviews to make sure the mattress you are considering provides great support that lasts over time.
Quality Of Materials
Obviously, the higher the quality of the material used to make a mattress, the longer you can expect a crib mattress to last. For example, mattresses made from low-density, super-light-weight foam can’t take as much punishment as a mattress made from high-density foam. As for coil spring mattresses, well, the more coils, the lower the gauge, and the harder the metal used is, the longer you can expect a mattress to last.
Other Factors That Can Affect The Longevity Of A Crib Mattress
The following things can affect how long a mattress can last:
- The weight of the children resting on them—obviously, heavy kids will wear a mattress out more quickly than smaller, lighter kids
- How often and how well the mattress is cleaned
- Whether the mattress is placed near a heat source (especially relevant for foam mattresses), like a furnace, radiator, or even the sun. Heat tends to cook things—in essence, weakening them with time.
How to Get the Longest Life Possible out of a Crib Mattress
- Mattresses that are covered when in use will likely last longer than those not covered; this goes for mattress covers, as well as sheets. In general, don’t change diapers or set your child to sleep on an uncovered mattress, even if it is supposedly waterproof.
- Mattresses that are cleaned right away after every spill and every mess will last longer than mattresses that aren’t cleaned right away but, instead, are allowed to develop nasty stains and, possibly, mold and bacteria promoting growths.
- Mattresses that are fire-retardant or fire-resistant or, better yet, fireproof tend to last longer than other models.
- Dual-sided mattresses last longer by virtue of only one side being used for a while, only to be given a rest while the other side is used.
- A crib mattress can last for as long a crib can last. In fact, creative parents will strive to reuse the mattress after flipping it over, as children transition to a toddler bed. On average, a crib mattress can last about 3 years, provided it is not abused and treated kindly. This time period, by the way, is in line with an infant no longer being in need of a crib.
Some Other Features/Qualities To Look For In The Best Mattresses
- These are other things that you should be considering, if meditating on the durability of mattresses:
- When possible, go for dual-sided mattresses.
- Make sure the mattress offers the firmness that an infant needs for muscle/bone development.
- Make sure the mattress offers the support/comfort that a toddler needs for peaceful sleep.
- Make sure that the mattress doesn’t sink too much, if it’s for a crib—in order to prevent suffocation, SIDS, etc.
- Make sure that the mattress isn’t enormously heavy—i.e., so heavy that you won’t be able to lift it or change the sheets on comfortably.
- Go for organic and environmentally friendly materials, if they are available and affordable.
- Go for mattresses that don’t come with too many strong chemical smells (if any) and let your mattress de-gas fullybefore using it.
- If you can afford it, buy brands with an established reputation to uphold—they will generally make good on problems.
- et mattresses that come with a good warranty.
- Avoid mattresses with known toxins like vinyl, PVC, polyethylene, phthalates, polyurethane, etc.
- Make sure that the mattress comes with good air circulation and cooling capacity.
- If possible, get a mattress that is waterproof or for which you can get a waterproof cover.
- Make sure that you mattress is fireproof or fire-retardant, as long as the chemicals used aren’t toxic.
- Go for CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD certified mattresses.
- If possible look for mattress surfaces that are antibacterial, anti-mold and anti-dust mite.
- Get mattresses labeled as “easy to clean” and, as an important added bonus, “anti-staining.”
- Make sure that you check out mattress reviews and comments made on online discussion boards.
- When possible, purchase mattresses that are hypoallergenic.
- Make sure that your mattress has a waterproof & machine washable removable cover—if not, at the very least, make sure that the non-removable cover or surface is waterproof and stain-proof.
As for how long a crib mattress will last, it depends on a whole bunch of complicated and for-the-most-part uncontrollable factors. A good ballpark figure is from 3 to 5 years, but some mattresses will last much longer, while the cheaper, poorly-made ones may last for much less time. However, by choosing a mattress designed to last as long as possible and by taking good care of it, you can expect a crib mattress to last as long as your child needs it.