Every day, newborns sleep for an average of 16 hours, and at 3-5 years children still
sleep for 11-13 hours a day. Babies and young children spend at least half a day or
more in a sleep environment during their first five years of life. Products in the sleep
environment must be safe, because that is where babies and young children are
most commonly left unattended for long periods.
Choosing a mattress for your baby’s Moses Basket, Pram, Crib, Cot or Cot Bed is confusing with such a choice on the market.
No doubt you will also receive helpful but perhaps conflicting advice from family, friends, web reviews etc. Here all the facts you need to help you to choose the right mattress for you and your baby.- We have pulled no punches here, there is a lot of information we can share with you, our team has over 30 years experience in manufacturing and retailing baby mattresses. Grab a coffee and favourite munchie we will make you a cot mattress expert in 10 mins,
The thicker the mattress the better!
Depends - In mattresses like most other things, quality is more important that quantity - however certainly avoid 7cm cheap foam mattresses unless you are using them for occasional use. Look for quality dent resistant foam, CMHR28 or equivalent as a minimum. Coir mattresses can be thinner and give the same support, coir is so much firmer than foam.
Waterproof Protection and the Toxic gas theory
This all kicked off in the late 80's and the theory was discredited by a UK government report, however several scientists still claim that toxic gases released from foam cot mattresses, when breathed or absorbed by a sleeping baby, can cause cot death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These claims have not been scientifically proven.
The supporters of this theory claim that if body fluids reach the mattress core then they react with the fire retardancy chemicals in the mattress and this may cause a gas to be given off called Stibine gas. Stibine gas is highly toxic.
There are all sorts of scary things to read on the internet about "cot mattress wrapping"! If you are concerned about this then look at our Safeguard range of cot mattresses. We developed this range of mattresses to ensure that no gas could be created from the core and the mattress has maximum breathabilityand comfort via the MaxiSpace cover.
"Theory or not", there is no doubt that it is vital with synthetic mattresses to avoid body fluids getting to the core of the mattress.
There are many different fabrics to choose from, select one that is breathable as well as waterproof, use a fabric such as Futura which is breathable and waterproof or a quilty or coolmax or spacer fabric that is breathable but has a waterproof protective base or protective slider underneath. PVC or PU is wipe clean and waterproof but not breathable. If you buy a mattress like this ensure that it has a washable cover on the top of the PU or PVC that holds air for your baby to breath, either because it is quilted or it is a spacer type fabric like Maxi - Space. NB we prefer PU as opposed to PVC as PVC has some questions about it being carcinogenic.
This is a term used to explain what occurs when you use a spacer type fabric like “Maxi space”, Spacetec, CoolMax with quilting etc this will allow a much better airflow around the body, it will help reduce heat and sweating and afford better breathability.
CoolMax, Outlast, Thermsleep etc.
These are fabrics that wick away heat, these are specially-engineered polyester fibres. These fibres can be combined with quilting to enhance their properties and give a luxury feel. However natural fibres like cotton will do this to some extent naturally. The best natural fabric to wick away heat is bamboo. Bamboo apart form being gorgeous and soft has many other properties that make it the ideal material to use as a baby sheet. http://www.cotmattress.com/_products-bamboo-cot-mattress-bedding.php
Every Mattress sold in the UK should conform to British Standards, BS7177, BS1877, these relate to quality of filling and flammability.
Mattress Sizes For Cots and Cot Beds
This is all about the gap left between the side of the mattress and the side of the cot. Prior to us going with EU regulations the gap recommended was not to be more than one inch all the way round. It meant if you pushed the mattress right into one corner tight against the bars you would not get more than a two inch gap. This was then reduced to 4cm (2cm all the way round) when we went metric. For some reason the EU commission are going to suggest a reduction to 3cm!
There are 4 main sizes of cot mattress 117 x 54, 120 x 60, 127 x 64, and some less popular sizes of 112 x 55, 121 x 61, 130 x 70, 131 x 71,
There is one main size of cot bed mattress which is 140 x 70 (sometimes this is called 139 x 69 but effectively it is the same size).
Hypo-allergenic - basically means non- allergy producing. Many mattress retailers use this as a sales pitch. Means nothing if you do not keep your mattress covers and the centre core clean
Mattresses can be divided in two main groups Synthetic or Natural
Synthetic Mattresses (makes up over 90% of the total sold in the UK )
They have to perform several tasks,
breathability, waterproofing, comfort, prevent overheating, hygiene / cleaning
Covers can be made up of different layers to perform these tasks, a cover could be made of a material which is thick enough to generate its own breathability (micro climate) and have a waterproof lining underneath to protect the core. It is important to prevent body fluids from getting to the mattress core and breeding bacteria and reacting with the synthetic products used.
There is also a question over PVC as being carcinogenic. PVC and PU will not breathe and increases the risk of over-heating. If you have mattress covers that can be washed at 60°c then this temperature will kill most bacteria and dust mites. You do not need to wash fabrics like bamboo or microfibre at 60°c as bacteria cant live in them.
These are waterproof bands that go under the cover and around the mattress to protect the core of the mattress from urine, the reason why they do not cover the whole of the mattress is that they would restrict breathability.
Foam used in the UK has to be fire retardant, that is the law, it has to conform to BS 1877 and BS 7177.
FSID - The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) do not approve of this fire retardancy being achieved by using phosphates they prefer Melamine, however Melamine makes the foam weaker!
The only way to fulfill the needs of FSIDS and the UK Law is to use CMHR foam (Combustion Modified High Resilience).
The problem with using this foam is you have to use a much higher grade CMHR28 or more to try and prevent indenting. The heavier the grade of foam the more support and the less it will indent or dip and the better it will recover.
Foam with ventilation holes in it - This used to be "the thing" 30 years ago, mattresses were made with holes at the top with netting over for breathability and the rest of the mattress covered in PVC. - We now know better - for a start new babies should now sleep feet to foot - putting holes in mattresses weakens foam and takes away support (unless you use a high grade). Vomit can get stuck in the holes and bacteria will grow. ventilation in holes are fine as long as the cover over the foam is highly water resistant and / or you can unzip the cover, take out the the foam pad and wash it in Milton or mild Detol solution, then squeeze it out like a car sponge and put it back in the machine washed cover. This only works with small Moses or crib or pram mattresses.
Some companies will use a higher grade CMHR foam somewhere between 33 - 50 in their better products, this will seriously impact on the raw material costs and the the eventual retail price. However the effects on the durability and support are amazing and truly beneficial. If a company is using a higher grade they will always mention it in their features and benefits to justify the increase in the price.
To throw a huge spanner in the works, all of Europe except us, use continental or RX foam, they believe their foam is safer and it is stronger not having Melamine in it to achieve fire retardancy.
There are more UK companies beginning to go back to RX foam, international companies selling their mattresses here will use this continental foam, but FSIDS do not recommend it.
There some amazing things that are now done with modeling foam, mostly on the continent, as they are not into springs like us Brit's (well they don't need springs as their foam is more durable). These mattresses will rival and in most cases surpass basic sprung core mattresses. This involves modeling the foam into different shapes and layers to increase durability, comfort, support and breathability.
While this does feel soft and is used on adult mattresses it is not ideal for baby mattresses. As yet there are too many unknowns and no advantages whatsoever. Memory foam has more chemicals, creates more heat and also creates pooling ( areas were carbon dioxide gases can accumulate). Babies / children are so light they do not need memory foam's pressure relieving properties. As FSIDS recommend babies need a firm surface. However some companies in the U.K are beginning to use Memory foam for baby mattress, we will not supply it for baby mattresses.
Coir and Latex
These are natural products but they can used with synthetic components for example coir with springs and coir with fibre. Latex is expensive and generally only used with natural products
Here we have three main types:-
1)Basic sprung unit,
2) mini bonnel sprung unit
3) pocket springs.
The springs support the layer of foam above them, they also remove a lot of the heat as they replace the area that was taken up by foam (which is an insulator. Air will flow over and between the springs and give better air circulation than a solid foam mattress (unless the mattress has a cover that holds pockets of air like the safeguard). The comfort is reflected in the price, mini bonnel probably more comfortable than standard sprung unit and pocket sprung are a lot more supportive and comfortable than mini-bonnel sprung units.
Metal Spring Scare
In 2009 we heard of a report regarding possible negative affects of electromagnetic field (EMF) on babies. (there is much data to read on the net on this)
The report said it is especially important for you to use a non-metallic bed for your baby, as their immature bodies are more susceptible to EMF damage.
As with all these so called scares they never are really proven nor disproven. However these scares to spur manufacturers on to develop new mattresses and inevitably results in the ability to offer superb quality ultra safe ground breaking products.
Hence it took us two years of development and an a year of testing to produce a natural pocket sprung mattress with NO METAL SPRINGS and with zip on zip off machine washable covers. It is called the Natural Supreme. It is an amazing mattress but it is expensive, it will last for years. ticks every safety box.
Natural /Organic Mattress (Approx 10% of the total mattresses sold in U. K. )
All Cot and cot-bed mattresses that are sold in the U. K.have to conform to strict British standards to ensure they are safe and non-toxic. Foam and ground breaking synthetic fabrics and metal springs are used extensively throughout millions of everyday products. These components may be able to offer better or the same durability, heat transference, breathability etc, but their benefits are created by technical innovations natural/organic mattress have these benefits inherently built in.
These are mostly cotton made of different density and weaves and if they want the term organic then the area where the cotton comes from has to be approved by an authority to say it is organic. These covers are not normally waterproof and that has been a concern with parents, the one drawback to a natural cover. Now some or these covers are made waterproof by using the minutest amount of treated fibre sandwiched in the middle of the cover, they are also washable at 60°c and are allowed to be called natural!
The core is normally made from coir which is very firm, either side of the coir is generally wool to give the coir a softer feel. The wool can be treated with various natural products like eucalyptus, lavender etc. to give it extra properties. Latex rubber being a natural product is also used and sometimes combined with coir