Choosing a mattress for your toddler is a bit more complicated than choosing one for yourself. While you might be singularly focused on the comfort of your new mattress, your toddler needs a mattress that also meets certain safety requirements and that provides appropriate support for her physical development.
Look for a mattress that is certified. The high standards of this organisation will help take the guesswork out of finding a safe mattress. Also verify for yourself that the mattress fits well with the crib you use to prevent body parts from getting trapped between the crib and mattress. Consumer Reports states that the mattress is too small if you can fit more than 2 fingers between the mattress and the crib.
Two types of mattresses are available: foam and innerspring. Foam mattresses are made of polyester or polyether, weigh less than innerspring mattresses and tend to cost less. Innerspring mattresses contain coils, with the number of coils directly related to the mattress' firmness. Some parents prefer foam mattresses since they are lighter, making them easier to lift when changing sheets. Either mattress type is fine for your toddler. If you opt for an innerspring mattress, Baby Centre recommends at least 150 coils. If a foam mattress is your preference, go with the densest and heaviest you can find.
The firmer the mattress, the better for your toddler. Baby Center notes that soft bedding has been linked to many cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Neither the edges nor the centre of the mattress should give when you press on them.
Choose a mattress with a vinyl cover for better water resistance and better venting to keep the mattress odour free. The insulator pad, which prevents coils from poking your toddler through the mattress, should be made of coir fibre or fibre wrap pad. Consumer Reports also recommends foam or cotton cushioning layers over polyester, which cost less but forms pockets over time. In innerspring mattresses, border rods are essential to prevent sagging along the edges and to provide overall mattress durability over time.
According to Consumer Reports, a longer warranty does not equal a better product. Warranties are often a marketing tool, so base your mattress decision on the mattress itself rather than its warranty.