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How Long Does Crib Mattress Last?

by | Sep 26, 2017 | 0 comments

Determining how long a crib mattress is supposed to last is no easy task.  Needless to say, there are many variables to consider—some under your control and some very much not under your control.  Why does asking such a question matter anyway?  Well, there are several reasons why it might pay to know the expected longevity of a particular mattress model or make.

For example, knowing such might help you decide which of several mattresses to purchase—obviously, a mattress that you’ve been told 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.

Waterproof Capacity

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, diarrhea, vomit, urine, plain water, etc.  Plain water can be destructive enough, especially if it seeps into the inner workings of the mattress.  For one thing, it would then be difficult to dry out completely—failure to do so might lead to bacterial, fungal or mold growths.  Mold, of course, would be one of the worst case scenarios but the others would also bad.  On the other hand, a mattress that is kept dry and stain free doesn’t just look nicer—it will last longer than other mattresses that get messed up a lot or very badly.

Stain Resistance

Of course, stains are an eye-sore but, when it comes to stains, it’s not just a matter of keeping mattresses looking pretty.  Stains can be an indication of how well the mattress has been abused, mistreated, or just plain “used.”  They can also harbor unsavory things like blood, urine, feces, vomit, beverages, etc.  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, even if it were just 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.

Quality of the Material Used to Make the Mattress

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 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.

Peripheral Things That Can Affect The Longevity Of A Crib Mattress

The following things can affect how long a mattress can last, if only peripherally:

  • The weight of the children resting on them—obviously, heavy kids will inflict more longevity-sucking punishment than smaller, lighter kids
  • How often and how well the mattress is cleaned
  • Whether the mattress is placed near a heat-imparting 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.
  • Mattresses used in orphanages, hospitals, shelters, etc.—i.e., places where they will be used by many people on a continuously, virtually non-stop basis—will tend to last for considerably shorter time than those mattresses used by maybe only one child in a more peaceful (than a shelter) home environment.

Considerations, Reminders And Caveats In Regards To How Long Crib Mattresses Should Last

–Mattresses that are covered when in use (by a sleeping child) 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 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 mattresses that more easily catch fire.

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 prohibitively 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 appropriately before using it.
  • If affordable, buy brands with an established reputation to uphold—they will generally make good on problems.
  • Get mattresses that come with a good warranty.
  • Avoid mattresses with known toxic things like vinyl, PVC, polyethylene, phthalates, polyurethane, etc.
  • Make sure that the mattress comes with good air circulation, anti-heat-retaining 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 to achieve such 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.
  • Make sure your mattress rates highly on breathability, durability, edge support, firmness, comfort, general support, etc.
  • 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, as has been stated herein, 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.

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