Buying a cot mattress for your baby isn’t just about size and price. Our research reveals the hidden cot mattress issues that you won’t be able to spot in the shops.
Although all cot mattresses look broadly similar, there are subtle differences in their construction, which can mean they don’t provide the comfort, support or convenience you think you’re getting.
Read on, as we highlight the hidden problems you should avoid when buying a mattress for your baby’s nursery.
Best Buy cot mattresses – go straight to reviews of the mattresses that will give your baby a safe and comfortable sleep
1) Springs that stop short of the sides
Whether you opt for a foam, spring, pocket-spring or natural fibre spring mattress, you want to ensure that what you buy is firm and supportive for your baby’s growing spine.
Every cot mattress we test for review is taken apart so we can take a look inside and assess what materials it’s made from and how it’s constructed. We detail the number of layers and, in the case of spring and pocket-spring mattresses, we count the number of springs.
It was while doing this that we spotted pocket-spring cot mattresses with a core quite a bit smaller than the full mattress.
- One mattress had an 8cm gap around the edges left unsupported by springs. The length of the mattress is 140cm but the pocket-spring core is 110cm long.
- Another had a 15cm border of mattress filler outside the pocket-spring core. Considering the mattress is 70cm wide, that means nearly half of the width and almost 42% of the entire mattress area is not supported by pocket springs.
Pocket-spring mattresses are generally the most expensive type of cot mattress, so you won’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t live up to expectations.
2) Only partial waterproofing
A cot mattress should have a waterproof layer that will stop liquids from soaking through to the core.
Nappy leaks and baby sick are inevitable, but you don’t want bacteria to fester in the core and make it unhygienic for your baby to sleep on. You also don’t want your baby sleeping on a damp mattress.
However, our tests recently found cot mattresses that claim to be waterproof on the label and packaging, but in fact only have a waterproof layer on the bottom side. This would trap any fluids in the mattress and make it unsanitary to sleep on.
Others we’ve seen have a partial waterproof layer that is adjustable, but can only cover a midsection of the mattress. Any areas without the protection will still absorb urine.
Our cot mattress reviews tell you whether a mattress can cope with the leaks that come its way, so you’ll know whether you need to buy a separate waterproof protector.
3) Shrinking cot mattress covers
We recommend investing in a cot mattress that comes with a cover, as it makes it so much easier to keep the mattress clean. When faced with night-time accidents, you can simply whip the cover off and pop it in the wash.
But you don’t want to be stuck fiddling with the cover, especially if you’re dealing with a soiled mattress in the middle of the night.
If a cot mattress comes with a cover, we check how easy it is to get it on and off, and we wash it several times at the recommended temperature to see whether there’s any shrinkage or rippling of the zipper.
Our star rating for washability shows how easy each cot mattress is to clean, so you won’t be wrestling with a cover when you should really be catching up on some much-needed sleep.
Don’t Buy this cot mattress!
Last week, we revealed that we’ve made the Stokke Home Bed cot mattress a Don’t Buy after a failure in a key safety test.
This test assesses whether a mattress is firm enough to prevent your baby from being smothered if he or she rolls over while sleeping.
The Stokke Home Bed cot mattress passed safety standards when it first went on sale in 2015, but the British Safety Standards were updated in September 2017 and now include this test to gauge whether a mattress is a suffocation risk.
Stokke told us: ‘The safety and wellbeing of the babies and children using our products is our number one priority and we take your concerns very seriously.
‘While we meet mandatory safety requirements in UK with our mattress, we have still ordered an additional risk assessment by a third party.
‘We can confirm that Stokke never received any report of any injuries related to this mattress or its firmness on any of our crib designs.’
Stokke also said it would take immediate appropriate measures if the third-party risk assessment pointed to the cot mattress being hazardous.
If you’ve bought this mattress, we would recommend you stop using it and contact the manufacturer.
Read our advice which details your rights if there’s a safety warning or product recall on an item you own.