If you buy a cot, you need a cot mattress. Sounds simple enough, but, as with all babycare products, it really isn't. Granting your little one a sound and safe sleep depends on how much care you take into picking the item their little head will be resting on for months, maybe years to come. Whilst there is room for choice in, say, picking fibre over foam or a the size, here's five essential things you need to ensure a baby's cotbed mattress is:
#1 NewWith the economy and environment being what it is, we will nearly always advocate for anything reusable, to help give your wallet and the planet an extra hand. However, this is a particular case where we can only recommend something totally brand new. The Lullaby Trust, an organization who provides specialist support for bereaved families and provides expert advice on safer baby sleep, recommends a new mattress if you can't ascertain the history of a second-hand one. It's always better to be on the safe side, and to put your baby's well being first.
#2 Waterproof/Water-resistantMost high quality mattresses, like those from Kidtech, come with a thermally bonded polypropylene cover that totally surrounds it, but more importantly is water-resistant. Having a soft layer that's protected from wetness and odour helps both parent and child get through those more difficult first few years of nights, and ensures the mattress can continue to be used through each mess and mishap.
#3 Hypo-allergenicHelping to reduce the risk of eczema and asthma by providing the necessary protection against dust mites, a hypo-allergenic mattress features a removable layer that you can wash at 60 degrees Celsius to cause fewer allergic reactions. Whilst extra necessary if there is a history of asthma in your family, it's a precaution every parent should take, especially when it makes them easy to clean and provides bountiful peace of mind.
#4 BreathableA foam mattress that allows for good air movement and heat dissipation will ultimately keep your baby's temperature and moisture in the right place. Though a baby's sleep is ultimately affected by factors such as air temperature, the ventilation of the room and the blanket used, a mattress that has guaranteed breathability provides a baby a comfortable and safe sleep from the effects of precipitation, and perspiration.
#5 SafeMattresses, if not to the right safety specifications, can be a potential risk factor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There's much you can do to reduce these dangers yourself, such as sharing the room with your child or ensuring they sleep in the feet to foot position (placing babies towards the bottom of the cot and tucking them in carefully, ensuring sheets are no higher than their shoulders, to prevent them wriggling underneath the covers), however it's important to buy from a responsible manufacturer who only sells mattresses that comply with BS1877-10:2011+A1:2012, the bedding specification for children's cots mattresses, and BS7177:2008+A1:2011, which determines the fire safety of mattresses.
If you have any tips or thoughts on how and where to buy good mattresses for your baby, or sleeping advice in general, please do share either here in the comments or on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.