While there are several factors to consider when choosing a crib mattress and setting up a safe sleep environment for your child. Parents should select "a firm mattress that is made for the crib, meaning perfect in size with a tight-fitting sheet," suggests S. Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. "There should be no space between the mattress and the sides of the crib."
And other than a fitted sheet, there shouldn't be anything in the baby's bed, particularly during the first year. "The most common mistake that parents make is putting something in the crib besides a tightly swaddled baby," says Gina Posner, MD, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. "There should be no stuffed animals, no crib bumpers and no sleep positioners. Just make sure it is a new crib that is up to current standards."
Dr. Ganjian also advises against using an old crib and mattress. "Hand me downs used to be great, but now you really have to watch out for them, since many have been recalled or are dangerous because there is some subtle defect that you might not be aware of."
In celebration of Sleep Awareness Week, we've rounded up our top picks of comfy, crib mattresses with quality features to ensure that tired newborns and tots transitioning to a toddler bed sleep like babies so Mom and Dad can rest a whole lot easier.