The first baby crib mattress purchase is an extremely important one. Making sure your newborn gets the best quality sleep is essential for their early development.
One of the first questions parents ask during the purchase aside from how much their crib will cost, is how long the mattress will last. Others wonder if they can use the same product for their second child. If you’re having similar thoughts, you’ve come to the right spot.
How Long Does a Crib Mattress Last?
Most crib mattresses last about five years (click here to learn how to choose the best crib mattress). Some of them can be used for longer. The longevity depends on the wear and tear levels, care routine, type and material of the mattress, etc.
What Affects a Crib Mattress’s Lifespan?
Type of Mattress
The type and material of the product are essential when it comes to longevity. They can also affect the sleep patterns of the newborn.
Memory foam is far less likely to stand the test of time due to its low density. It’s more prone to losing shape and support features. As a result, the structure develops indentations that constitute a significant safety hazard for the baby due to the higher risk of suffocation.
If you decide to use a memory foam solution, put it to the test beforehand. You can press the foam with your fist and check whether it will regain shape quickly. If it does, it means it has high resiliency, and it’s safer for infants.
Finally, when choosing a memory foam mattress, go for the one with a higher density. The heavier the mattress, the denser its structure.
Innerspring coil mattresses usually have a longer lifespan. They are also the traditional choice for a baby’s crib. The steel coils in the construction add to the sturdiness and overall resiliency.
However, the coils and springs tend to poke over the years. When choosing an innerspring mattress, check the steel gauge and coil count. Baby crib mattresses with thicker gauges and higher coil counts have the longest lifespan.
You can find more crib and infant product safety information on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.
Waterproof Mattress Capability
Baby crib mattresses are guaranteed to experience numerous accidents:
These accidents on your baby’s mattress can shorten the bedding’s lifespan. Moisture that gets into the mattress can cause mildew, mold, and bacterial growth. The stains can also void the warranty.
Waterproof mattresses have a much longer lifespan. For crib mattresses without waterproof capacities, you can purchase a waterproof cover to add a barrier and keep liquids from soaking into the mattress.
Durability of Mattress Covers
The type of mattress cover makes a huge difference in how durable the construction will be. Vinyl covers and similar thin ones lose integrity faster than a thicker material like nylon.
When to Replace a Crib Mattress
Most crib mattresses have a lifespan of three to five years of continuous use. Some manufacturers advise on replacements sooner. We recommend replacing the bedding when it’s no longer of good quality and shows the following signs:
- The crib mattress is over five years old.
- The structure isn’t firm anymore or has a heavy soil and stain content.
- There are visible bumps, indentations, and lumps.
- It affects your baby’s sleep.
- Has loose threads that the baby can pull or put in their mouth.
Reusing a Crib Mattress for Second Baby
There are no rules saying parents can’t reuse the crib mattress for their second child.
A rule of thumb says that you can use the mattress for another baby as long as the bed feels firm. If the baby gets enveloped in a soft mattress, there is an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Also, if the mattress is less than five years old, it probably has some life left.
If you decide to use the crib mattress again, take extra caution when storing it. Store the bedding in a dry environment. Also, keep it away from direct sunlight and heat. The best storage place is in the original box or a plastic wrap in a temperature-regulated room.
How to Make a Crib Mattress Last Longer
A proactive approach to caring for the bedding will help you get the most out of the investment. Some tips to make sure your mattress lives its longest life include:
- Cleaning up spills and other accidents the moment they happen. Use a damp cloth or mild detergent.
- Cleaning the mattress regularly.
- Purchasing and installing a protective cover.
- Storing the mattress in a dry place.
- Using antibacterial sprays to disinfect the PVC covers.
- Regular flipping and turning of the mattress for even wear distribution.
- Making sure the mattress is completely dry before putting the sheets or covers on top.
Should You Buy a Used Crib Mattress?
Many parents are tempted to get a used crib mattress for their newborn. These mattresses are usually very cheap or free. A used crib mattress can cause concerns in terms of firmness, cleanliness, and more.
It’s often impossible for parents to know about the nastiness the mattress has seen or how it was stored. Dust mites, bedbugs, and other allergens may be present in the construction. The problem is more common if the item is stored in wet and humid areas like the attic or garage.
The mattress may or may not have a cover. It could also contain non-washable spit-up or pee content.
Finally, a used mattress is less firm and may cause respiratory problems or increase the risk of SIDS. Babies need a firm mattress because they promote healthy breathing compared to when the baby sinks in the soft construction.
Unless you’re buying bedding from a family member or a close friend, we don’t recommend getting a second-hand mattress for your infant’s bed. You should buy a new crib mattress for the best value for money and ensure maximum safety for your newborn.
Does a Crib Mattress Expire?
A lifespan of an infant bed mattress is around five years. However, the mattress type, durability, and waterproof capacities can affect its longevity. For this reason, using an old or already used crib mattress isn’t the best option.
You can still reuse your bed mattress for another baby if the mattress is still firm, not heavily stained, and doesn’t impose any risk for a sleeping baby. In other cases, the smartest decision is to purchase a new crib mattress for added comfort for the baby and your peace of mind.