You want to know the cot mattress you buy for your baby will provide the body support it needs.
But it's also crucial that the mattress provides a safe and suitable place to sleep, and remains hygienic, for several years.
Here are our top five expert tips for keeping your baby's cot mattress in the best condition.
It's important a cot mattress remains firm so that it provides the support your baby needs for it's growing bones. By purchasing a durable cot mattress you can be confident it will provide the support your growing baby needs for many years to come.
We conduct durability tests on all cot mattresses, which replicate roughly two to three year's use. A cot mattress that gets four or five stars for durability will see very little change in height and firmness over time.
But how much will a durable cot mattress set you back and are there many out there? Below you can compare the price and durability scores of the 34 cot mattresses we've tested as of March 2021.
|Durability score||Number of cot mattresses with this score||Average price|
There are two reassuring takeaways from this - first that there's no significant difference in the average price between durability scores, so it will not cost you more to get a durable mattress.
Secondly, 82% of cot mattresses tested scored four or more stars. So you can be safe in the knowledge that most cot mattresses have great durability.
As well as durability, there are other important factors to consider when purchasing a new cot mattress. NHS guidance says that cot mattresses need to be firm, flat and fit the cot snugly. Doing your research and using our extensive reviews will help you to get the best cot mattress for your little one.
We recommend where possible buying cot mattresses new, especially when they are being used with a newborn.
If you need to buy second-hand, the risk can be reduced by making sure you know the history of the mattress and by checking it yourself before parting with cash.
If a reseller won't let you check if a product is safe for your child before you pay, then we'd advise looking elsewhere.
Use our checklist below to make sure you've covered the essentials.
It may be an optional purchase, but not all cot mattresses are water resistant. If liquid soaks into the mattress core it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and fester and make the mattress unhygienic. If that doesn't sound nice, imagine sleeping on it.
The Lullaby Trust recommends investing in a waterproof cover to make leaks and spills easier to clean and make your cot mattress last longer.
We test each cot mattress to see how resistant it is to moisture permeating its inner layers. We've found that some are very good at preventing this, while others allow liquids to pass through easily.
As your baby will be sleeping between 12 and 18 hours a day in their cot bed, it's important to keep the mattress clean and germ-free.
Most parents are already doing this. In our February 2019 survey of 1,008 parents, 59% cleaned the cot mattress at least once a week, if not more regularly.
There isn't a hard and fast rule on how often you should clean a cot mattress, but it's recommended you change the cover at least once or twice a week.
As such, it's handy to have spare covers to hand. We'd recommend at least three - one for the mattress, one in the wash, and one spare in case of a middle-of-the-night accident.
As part of our lab testing we see how easy each mattress is to clean - checking how easy to is to take a mattress' removable cover on and off and checking the cover doesn't shrink after several washes as that could compress the mattress and cause an unsafe gap between the mattress and the cot bed frame.
Speaking of washing - look out for mattress covers that say they can be washed at 60°C. This will ensure the wash is hot enough to kill any germs.