A baby cot mattress is an important investment considering the fact that babies and toddlers spend between ten and fourteen hours a day in bed. There are lots of options available in cot mattresses these days, and you’ll want to be sure to get one that’s safe, durable and easy to transition from baby crib to toddler bed.
The first question you are sure to ask yourself when seeking just the right mattress is “Foam or coiled spring – which is best”? You won’t be surprised to hear that there are pros and cons to both popular options.
In this article, we will explore these pros and cons to help you make a sound choice. Read on to learn more.
Foam mattress – Pros & cons
One very positive aspect of foam mattresses is that there are lots of choices within this category. Choose from:
- Organic foam is chemical free and hypoallergenic.
- Memory foam adapts to the contours of the body for greater comfort.
- Gel foam stays cool while conforming to the contours of the body.
These choices are comfy, light weight and fairly affordable, ranging from about £18 to £50 depending on quality and density.
They are also easy to find as foam mattresses are available online and in a wide variety of department stores, big box stores and discount stores. They often come compressed in a box, so it’s easy to pick one up and transport it home.
On the downside, right-out-of-the-box foam mattresses may have a chemical smell that can take a while to air out. Choose an organic version to avoid this problem.
Foam is not typically as long lasting as a coiled spring mattress. They break down and sag with the passage of time, and they do not tend to have firm edge support. This means that the edges wear out and lose shape pretty quickly. This can be a safety issue as worn, collapsed edges can lead to kids falling out of bed or getting stuck between the mattress and wall or crib side.
The inherent comfy aspect of foam mattresses can be detrimental. The soft, mushy texture can retain a lot of heat and become quite uncomfortable. It can also be too soft for babies to sleep safely as it may present a suffocation hazard.
Because foam is essentially a sponge, spills, sweat or urine can be difficult to remove, and these mattresses can become very smelly and develop mold problems over time. Use of a waterproof cover and regular airing can help prevent this problem.
Coiled spring mattress – Pros & cons
On the upside, an innerspring or coiled spring mattress is a more durable choice. These more traditional mattresses are a bit heavier and a bit more expensive, ranging in price from around £30 to £70, but they stand up to wear and tear and last longer than foam. They can also be handed down from one child to another safely. This is not really a good idea with foam.
These mattresses are traditional, which means they have been manufactured for a long time and have undergone numerous improvements for comfort, safety and convenience. Although not all types are environmentally friendly, some are.
Innerspring mattresses may be safer than foam because they are often fire retardant, and they typically have good, firm edge support to provide a secure fit in the crib or against the wall. These mattresses are generally more supportive, and the corners and edges are well-reinforced.
Many come equipped with a waterproof cover for ease of cleaning and prevention of bacterial and mold problems.
On the downside, these mattresses do cost a bit more and may be heavier to move about. You can’t just pick up a box full of innerspring mattress at your local grocers and carry it home on the tube, but this is possible with a foam baby cot mattress in a box.
If you choose a coiled spring mattress that does not have a waterproof cover, you will have problems with cleaning. Like anything else, if a spring coil mattress gets wet and stays wet, mold will develop. If the mattress cover is torn, the metal springs inside could cause injuries.
While a spring coil mattress is not as instantly cushy and comfy as a foam mattress, the fact is infants are better off with a firmer mattress. A firm sleeping surface helps prevent suffocation hazards and also helps build developing bones and muscles. Toddlers are typically more comfortable and sleep better with a firmer mattress than a very soft one.
Foam or spring mattress for cot – Which should you choose?
As an investment, a coiled spring mattress is the better choice, but if you are especially fond of the soft, warm cushiness of foam it may be the better choice for you. Likewise, if you just need to get a good, new cot mattress quickly and you don’t have a lot of money, foam is an excellent choice.
If you plan to keep and use your cot mattress as a toddler bed mattress and/or hand it down from one child to the next, a spring coiled mattress is a better option. You can always add a gel foam or memory foam topper for about £13 if you want that extra layer of comfort.