Is it that time already? Time to transition your “baby” to a toddler bed for the first time? I’ve been through this three times already and going on four, so I have a bit of experience when it comes to this. One question a lot of parents ask me is, “Does a crib mattress fit a toddler bed?”. The answer is quite simple, but there are a few things that you should know before I get to that.
You might be interested in: The Best Toddler Beds
Not All Are Alike
Contrary to popular beliefs, not all crib mattresses are made the same, meaning not all of them can be used or should be used in a toddler bed. So why would it be possible for one and not the other? There are few reason for this, let’s check them out.
They May be Unsanitary
Over time, crib mattresses take quite a beating. The longer your baby sleeps on it, the more wear and tear there’s going to be, which could include loose threads, rips in the material, exposed foams, all able to be penetrated by dust mites, bed bugs, mold, and bacteria. These are all very bad for your child.
The best thing to do before you decide to put the crib mattress on the toddler bed is to check for these defects. If you see any of them, throw the mattress away and start over.
Lack of Comfort and Support
As mattresses are used over time, they tend to sag, especially if it’s made of cheap foam or crummy springs. As a general rule of thumb, the more firm the mattress, the better for your baby. Your best bet, if you have a crib mattress that you want to use in the toddler bed, is to ensure it’s still firm. If it’s a little on the soft side, that’s fine since there isn’t a high risk for SIDS anymore.
Although it can be a little soft, it should still offer good support for your growing child. It is important to keep their spine properly aligned, and that can’t happen if their mattress doesn’t have proper support.
It’s only recently that crib mattresses have made their appearance as “eco-friendly”. Even just a few years back, those plain foam mattresses were very popular. But, did you know that they may contain high amount of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds? These chemicals are also commonly found in home cleaners and sprays.
A study from 2013 by the Clean and Healthy New York organization, reported that “out of the 190 crib mattresses investigated, 72% of them contained one or more chemicals that have been linked to health risks”. Among these chemicals were polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane foam, PVC, and phthalates. Alone, phthalates can cause asthma or allergies and PVC, which is made from chlorine, can cause cancer.
So, if you plan to use your crib mattress as a toddler bed, I suggest reading the label before you do. If your mattress has any of these chemicals, I don’t suggest using it. If you are now considering organic mattresses, we have you covered.
If you are planning for the future, there are a few things you can do to ensure your mattress is going to hold up long enough to be used in a toddler bed.
— Density is Key
The denser, the better. The heavier the foam mattress is, the more dense and firm it is. This is important because if it’s really dense, it isn’t going to break down and sag as quickly as a thinner mattress would. A good way to test this is to give it the squeeze test. All you need to do is press your hands together on the sides of the mattress and if you can push in too easily, it’s not going to last. A nice, dense mattress won’t have much slack to it.
— Coil Count for Innersprings
Innerspring mattresses are generally more durable than foam because the coils are made from steel. These coils are meant to withstand a whole lot of pressure over time. Generally, a good coil count to ensure durability and support for many years would be around 150 coils with a gauge of 15.5 or lower. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel.
The other thing you want to look for is the coil borders. The coil will wrap around the perimeter of the mattress. This will allow the edges to stay intact for a longer period of time.
— Waterproof or Machine Washable
My favorite feature of any toddler mattress is to be waterproof or washable. Babies are going to pee, poop, throw up, and spill bottles and sippy cups on their mattresses. Having a waterproof or washable mattress makes cleaning a lot easier and it keeps the mattress sanitized and healthier for a lot longer.
— Go Green
The best thing to look for is the CertiPUR-US certification. This means that the product has been tested for quality and they are usually low on VOCs and contain all natural materials.
The Question Answered
So, to answer the initial question as to whether or not a crib mattress can be used in a toddler bed, yes, it can. You should make sure you thoroughly inspect any mattress that is given to you or that you have taken out of storage or out of the crib.
Even though your baby was just using it, there’s a lot that could happen to it in a short amount of time. Be sure to inspect it for bugs, rips, sagging, lumps, and bumps. You should also make sure it fits the toddler bed. You don’t want your child falling in any cracks.
As always, if you enjoyed this article and know someone who would find this helpful, go ahead and share it. Good luck with the crib to toddler bed transition!