What kind of mattress is needed for a child? The parent’s answer is easy to predict: naturally the best. But before making a choice, you need to understand the variety of products.
To begin with, we note that all mattresses are divided into three types: spring (with dependent or independent spring blocks), springless, and combined.
If you are looking for a crib mattress then you can check our buying guide for the best crib mattresses under $100 to buy in 2021.
1. Spring Mattress
Let’s make a reservation right away that, regardless of the type of spring coupling, such mattresses are not recommended for children under 3 years old.
Mattresses with a dependent spring block, or Bonnell spring block. These are inexpensive products, the springs in which are fastened together. In some mattresses, the springs are “locked” in a special steel frame, which increases the safety of the sleeping child, preventing him from falling during sleep (the frame plays a barrier role).
The disadvantage of such mattresses is their sagging (several years or even months after purchase), which is dangerous for the child’s spine.
Mattresses with an independent spring block. In these products, each of several hundred springs is placed in a separate glass pouch. This design prevents the body from sagging and creating a “hammock effect”. Mattresses of this type have orthopedic functions and maximally support the spine during sleep.
The main disadvantages of products with an independent spring block are large weight (due to the dense arrangement of springs, the number of which can reach five thousand per square meter). Many cribs are simply not designed for such a large mattress weight.
2. Springless Mattress
It is more difficult to choose it since there are quite a few mattresses of this type. We are talking here about fillers for children’s mattresses, each of which has both pros and cons:
Latex Coconut Fabric. It is a layer of coconut fibers (coir) impregnated with natural latex. Products with this natural environmentally friendly filler are characterized by increased rigidity, and the thicker the coir layer, the harder the mattress will be.
Koiru is commonly used as one of the layers in innerspring and springless mattresses to regulate firmness. If you make a mattress from one coir, it will be comparable in rigidity to concrete.
Products of this type are ideal for newborns, but not at all suitable for children over three years old: a hard sleeping place is required only in the first years of life. Parents of kindergarteners and those over two to three years of age are advised to consider other options.
Foamed polyurethane foam (PPU), or foam rubber. It is one of the most common fillers for mattresses in the low price segment. It is used for the production of mattresses that are not intended for long-term use. The material can hardly be called environmentally friendly: for the production of polyurethane foam, first of all, polyol, catalysts, foam stabilizers, and water are needed.
Over time, it loses its elasticity and crumbles. Among the advantages of polyurethane foam mattresses are the low price and ease of transportation: it is quite convenient to roll such a mattress into a roll without compromising the shape.
Natural or artificial latex often used for filling mattresses in the middle and upper price segment. Natural latex is produced by foaming the sap of the hevea (rubber tree). The material is environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic. Quite soft and elastic, this material easily follows the shape of a sleeping person’s body (anatomical effect).
With the help of latex, the degree of softness and anatomical of the mattress is regulated, this is necessary so that soft tissues and blood vessels of the body are not pinched during sleep. Otherwise, you will have to toss and turn all night to release the numb body parts.
Among its advantages is also excellent thermoregulation (due to porosity) – with such a mattress it will not be cold in winter or hot in summer. In addition, natural latex mattresses are durable and can last up to 20 years.
Artificial latex is a type of polyurethane foam (foam rubber), only with improved characteristics in viscosity, softness, and elasticity.
Accordingly, it is inferior to natural latex not only in its characteristics but also in durability. Just like foam rubber, it can lose elasticity or crumble. Artificial latex products are much cheaper than natural latex products.
Memory foam, or viscoelastic foam, is a filler also called Memory Foam. A mattress of this type repeats and, most importantly, remembers the outlines of the human body.
Among the main disadvantages of this filler is the danger of formaldehyde in it, a toxic chemical compound that can cause poisoning of the body or an allergic reaction.
However, this is typically only for counterfeit products from Asia. Also, a mattress with this filler can provoke profuse sweating in the heat.
Since any filler is not ideal, mattress manufacturers try to combine several types of fillers in order to take full advantage of their best properties and level out disadvantages.
3. Combined Mattress
Fillers can be combined in many different ways. It can be, for example, a springless mattress with a layered arrangement of latex and coconut coir, or a spring mattress, in which the spring block is covered on one side with coconut and latex on the other.
Most often, combined type mattresses have one side softer than the other. Such a mattress is able to serve from the birth of a child almost until his adulthood, it is enough just to turn it over at the right time.
That is why this option is the most popular among buyers. It is able to satisfy the preferences of both parents of newborns and older children. Note, however, that not all mattresses of this type are durable.