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Differences Between Toddler Mattresses and Baby Mattresses

by Lisa Hays, studioD

As a new parent, you have an overwhelming number of decisions to make. While it is fun to read lists of baby names and choose colors for the nursery, the most crucial decisions are those, which directly affect your baby's health. Selecting the right kind of mattress for your child is important, but it can be confusing. When you're out shopping, it is important to realize that there are differences between some baby and toddler mattresses, despite their similarities.


The dimensions of a baby mattress are different from some toddler mattresses. Crib mattresses must be 51 5/8-by- 27 1/4- inches wide, and no thicker than 6 inches. It is illegal for crib mattresses to be any other dimensions. Most toddler beds are made specifically to fit crib mattresses, so the majority of toddler mattresses are the same size as crib mattresses. However, a toddler mattress does not legally have to be a certain size, and size or thickness may vary, depending on brand.


While some toddler mattresses may be soft and cozy, it is important for baby mattresses to be firm. Soft mattresses are a hazard to babies due to the risks of suffocation and SIDS. As babies get older, the chances of suffocation are much less, so some parents opt for a softer toddler mattress, in favor of comfort.


Most baby mattresses are either innerspring or foam with a vinyl coating. Mattresses with a vinyl or waterproof coating are also useful to toddlers, who may still soak through diapers or wet the bed during potty training. Toddler mattresses sometimes offer more options, such as memory foam and pillow-top, due to the decreased risk of SIDS. Materials used in making baby and toddler mattresses vary widely with price range. Many parents opt for organic mattresses to avoid exposing their babies to dangerous chemicals.

Things to Consider

While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest baby mattress you can find, remember that your child's safety should be your first consideration in making your purchase. A mattress that is too soft can increase the risk of SIDS. In addition, if you want your newborn to be able to use the same mattress through her toddler years, you need to consider how the quality of your baby's mattress may affect its durability..

About the Author

Lisa Hays writes articles on parenting, focused on breastfeeding and natural parenting methods. She holds a bachelor's degree from Morehead State University, where she studied child development and education. She is currently working toward becoming an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.

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