All You Need To Know About Cot Mattresses

Posted by Roger Abrahams on

All You Need To Know About Cot Mattresses

Foam  with Pocket Springs 

The Key to Comfort, Durability and Safety Is The Quality of The  Foam 

The choice of foam a manufacturer decides on is dictated by either

1) The minimum required to conform to British Standards

2) The pressure of getting to a price point

3) Put comfort, performance and durability as a priority.

In a cot mattress 6 cm deep pocket springs  are covered by a top and bottom layer of only 2 cm deep foam. total depth 10cm the British Standard

2 cm top layer of foam has the pressure of the weight of a baby from above and the pressure from the springs below.  Furthermore basic nursery foam does not like heat, weight and damp which is what a baby is!  All these things contribute to weakening the foam and making it dip or dent and giving poor support

Nightynite cot mattresses are very different we use a much higher quality of foam.offering more comfort durability  firmness and recovery.

As a guide all other UK  cot manufacturers use a basic nursery foam with a rating of 22-28  Nightynite© cot mattresses are made with a foam rating of 33 and 50 this is a massive upgrade. No other cot mattress company offers this quality which is  why our cot  mattresses give better support and last longer   

 If you want know more technical information how foam is graded - read on 

Currently the foam used to cover cot mattress springs by chains stores, department stores and some internet companies is rated at  24/130 or equivalent quality, it passes the British Standard.

24/130 -The first number "24" is the weight of the foam per kilo and indicates the density or the foam and this affects the durability. 

The second number "130" is the amount of pressure in Newtons it takes to compress the foam to 40% of its size. This measurement is called Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) and this assess the firmness or the feel of foam and how it yields to weight and pressure. and how it returns to its original shape after compression.

we would not use  24/130 foam in our cot  mattresses we would not be happy with its performance. Our pocket sprung NightyNite® baby mattresses use 30/150 foam this is a huge step up in durability, support and comfort,

For the past 15 years we have also made a pocket sprung mattress called the "Nightynite® Excellence Easychange®" this is made with 50/215 foam. 

Nobody in the UK comes close to producing a mattress that offers more in the way of;- comfort, safety, breathability, temperature control, hygiene, durability, waterproof protection. This is a genuine toddler mattress. 

One family of four who live in a small cottage have had our Excellence cot mattresses on test for over 7 years now,  eldest is 9 years old. Latest feedback .  still all sleeping comfortably on our Excellence cot mattresses, These cot mattresses are easy to maintain with Easychange® toppers and waterproof protection.

Springs or Pocket Springs

As with everything you can get good and bad components, generally all the basic springs are the same. However there can be a variation in pocket springs, some cheap ones do not give the best support, poor cot mattress pocket springs are joined by length only and not by length and width.

How can you tell? well you cant really, not until you have had the mattress for a few months and it starts to dip as your child gets heavier. There may be an indication by the lower price point.

As your child gets heavier their weight will push down on the cot mattress foam and the pockets springs will come into play then there will be a noticeable difference between ordinary springs and pocket springs. The pocket springs will be more comfortable when supporting the weight of the heavier body areas i.e. bottom back and head

Fibre Made From  Recycled Plastic Bottles

 Fibre in cot mattresses can be made from recycled plastic bottles, so a plus for the environment. Normal fibre is cheap, it is not as good as most basic quality foams, not as supportive or durable. You will see fibre mattresses on sale at bargain prices, they are O.K. for occasional use, but not a serious supportive durable cot mattress. 

On the other hand fibre can be compressed and layered to reach a heavy duty standard this is a very new process and it works well with pocket springs, lambswool tops and with our Easychange® covers.. This fibre is a similar price to top quality foam and a similar performance, but it is much more environmentally friendly, if that is important you with this high density fibre it does need a topper of lambswool to make the sleep surface more welcoming.

Natural Cot Mattresses.

These are mostly made from coir which is the compressed hair from the outside of coconuts and topped with natural lambswool. The huge advantage is that these are foam free 
On the plus side for coir it has no harmful fumes, extracted without disturbing the ecological balance, easily recycled, breathable, very durable has a high tensile strength, natural spring action, coupled with natural lambswool warm in winter cool in summer. 
You can avoid  having a solid coir block by removing the centre of the coir and replace with pocket springs and then top with lambswool. giving a natural posture pocket feel. The difference between the two designs of  these natural cot mattresses are:- The one with pocket springs is a more welcoming sleep when the child gets heavier .  

We have designed a totally natural pocket sprung cot mattress by making pocket springs out of coir instead of metal.

The Cot Mattress Covers

The absolute minimum you require from your cot mattress covers are;-

1) Give maximum breathability to your baby

2) Be easy to remove and machine wash at 60 °c

3) They protect the mattress core from  those inevitable  night-time accidents and the fabric can be wiped clean.

if you buy a cot mattress that does not give you these basic features you need to buy separate mattress protectors 

If you buy a cot mattress protector most of them are not fully breathable, they cant be or they would not be waterproof. So if you put this waterproof cover  over your mattress cover you will restrict the air going to your baby, up to you if this is important to you. 

You can however remove the cot mattress cover and put the waterproof  protector under the cot mattress cover. This will protect the mattress core, and if the cot mattress cover gets soiled you can take it off and wash it, and this way your baby will get more breathability through the mattress cover. 

Cot Mattress Covers - Main Fabric Choices

1) PVC - Easy wipe clean, no breathability, uncomfortable, risk of overheating, carcinogenic ( having a risk to cause cancer).

2) Polyester - breathable, slightly water resistant not waterproof, not luxurious harsh fabric, needs a waterproof protector, washes well.

3) Microfibre - very breathable, not waterproof,  different weights of quilting improve the  comfort, some light wicking away of heat properties, require waterproof protector,  washes very well. at 60°c

4) Coolmax© - very breathable, offers temperature control. Coolmax© will wick away heat but if it is backed with a quilted the heat tends to stay in the quilting! Needs to be backed with a spacer fabric, like MaxiSpace or Spacetec to disperse heat. it is not waterproof, It will require waterproof protection. However a waste of time putting a waterproof cover over expensive Coolmax© fabric it will negate its properties. The waterproof cot mattress protector has to go under the Coolmax© cover and over the mattress core.washes very well. at 60°c

Bamboo is a very soft fabric ideal for sheets kind to your babies sensitive skin. It is naturally hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial which is ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers. Bed bugs and dust mites cannot live in bamboo, bamboo will also resist mold, yeast and fungus cultivation. Natural heat wicking properties it keeps your baby cool in summer and warm in winter.  If you put a cotton sheet over a 100% bamboo cover it negates a lot of the properties. best to use 100% bamboo sheets over a Coolmax® and spacer fabric.

6) Easychange Covers. This cover design offers everything you need in a cot mattress cover, full waterproof protection and breathability, temperature control , easy wipe clean surface, a spare topper. Just zip off interchangeable machine washable toppers in either microfibre or Coolmax with Maxispace and zip on a clean one provided. Toppers are secured on an award winning waterproof protective base cover.

7) Outlux this is a regarded as a natural fabric and used on natural cot  mattresses, it is 92% cotton and 8% PU. As the amount of PU is so small we can call it a natural fabric, The PU is sandwiched in between two layers of cotton making the fabric totally Waterproof,  however it is not full breathable as the only air getting to the top of the fabric is above the PU layer.  

 Cot Mattresses and the Environment

 As the world changes with increased concern over the environment, recycling and landfill. We have discussed the advantages of  Coir, Lambswool, Fibre and metal that rusts down.

There is now a move away from some foam products, however if we have to use foam, then we can use them in a more sustainable way. 

Here at The Cot Mattress Company we too are doing our best to help reduce waste by offering products that last much longer and can be reused again and again instead of committing  them to landfill. These  cot mattresses are much more durable they will retain their shape and support.  

 This is 2020 not 1980  we are now focused on looking after the planet  see   "New Baby New Mattress"

“NEW BABY NEW MATTRESS”  was a recommendation that came about in the late 80’s. There was all sorts of scares about bacteria, fungus growing on cot mattresses, Body fluids reacting with flame retardant chemicals used in foam manufacture and giving off toxic gasses.

This is how it all started:-

There was a television program that highlighted people falling asleep smoking and setting fire to the settee and the house going up in flames!

As a result of this every bit of foam used in the house had to be made with a flame retardant.
Then came the Mr Richardson hypothesis that body fluids caused bacteria which in turn were reacting with the flame retardant used in foam production and causing toxic gasses e.g. Stibine gas and this gas increased the risk of Cot death.

This hit the headlines and this theory was promoted by " The press" and  T.V show "Cook Report" and as you can imagine caused unimaginable worry to new parents! 

The government had to step in. A leading group of experts was put together to analyse the Richardson's hypothesis and found his claims were  false well lets be kind and say unproven . If you wish to read the whole story you can see it here >

Even with this report the scare was sealed in stone and to this day it is still has some credibility with some professionals.  

Out of that scare came the following:-

Phosphorous, arsenic and antimony compounds are no longer used as fire retardants in baby mattresses

Cot death prevention advice from  FSIDS now the Lullaby Trust

Back to sleep, sleep in a well ventilated room, Feet to foot, no bumpers, so baby cannot get under covers 

Ensure your baby does not  get to hot or cold, room 16°c - 20°c .
No smoking including E-Ciggs 

and also  "New baby new mattress"

"New baby new mattress"  was because in case there was bacterial grown on the mattress and  perhaps reaction with the foam or plastic components or it could not be kept in a hygienic condition and it dipped or dented.       

Consider this:-

You should NOT use a cot mattress for a second or third child if :-

1) You do not know its history how it was looked after and how it has been maintained and cleaned

2) If the cot mattress does not have washable covers and the core is not protected.

3) If the cot  mattress has the slightest dip or dent, - not supportive.

4) If the cot mattress is yours and you stored it in the loft  and did you seal it in a plastic bag and it is not thoroughly washable, and does not have protection to the core.

You can use a cot  mattress for another child if :-

1) You know its history and how well it was looked after

2) The cot mattress has a protector (preferably wipe clean and or washable) that will prevent body fluids getting to the core (foam or springs) and the protector sits under the cover and over the foam.

3) The covers have been washed regularly at 60°c the temperature requite to kill dust mites.

4 ) The cot mattress has no visible dents or dips has been well maintained and turned frequently

5) The cot  mattress has been stored clean and sealed in plastic. All covers or toppers protective core cover machine washable at 60°c . A fixed  waterproof  protective base cover can be cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleaner like Milton.

NB. As foam ages it Oxidises, goes yellow, this is perfectly normal and does not affect the performance of the foam in any way whatsoever,

Cot mattresses in the UK use a quality of foam called 24 / 130 sold by the major dept stores and trusted web companies this foam that covers springs will last about 1- 3 years depending on how it is maintained and rotated and the heat, weight, activity and dampness of your baby.

Nighytnite® use foam with a strength 30 /150 and 50 / 215, this is a massive step up  in quality. Nightynite foam encapsulating pocket springs will give Excellent comfort, support and durability. 

The Excellence mattresses are guaranteed 7 years they have full waterproof protection and machine washable covers. You can certainly use these mattresses for a second child if follow the instructions that come with the mattress.


Cardboard Boxes and plastic wrap

In 2013 we ceased using very heavy-duty plastic wrap for outer coverings to deliver  baby mattresses to our customers. All our cot mattresses are now delivered to you box packed using recyclable cardboard.

 Terms used in cot mattress selection

Foam mattress
This is a mattress made entirely of polyurethane foam, foam is an insulator so it will generate more heat then a spring mattress removing 40 % of the foam to put in a pocket sprung unit will reduce the heat.

Toddler bed cot mattress
This mattress is not only to fit a cot bed 140 x 70 but it should be able to support a toddler who is 5 yeas old. It is not just about the size, it is about the strength, support and durability. This cot bed mattress needs to be firm and of substantial quality
 If you buy a toddler mattress for under £80 it might fit the cot but it will not be a  good enough firm mattress to support a toddler for seven days a week over 12 hours a day.
 Crib mattress
These are called bassinets in the USA, so on Amazon this is what crib mattresses are sometimes called. A crib mattress does not need to last more than 6 months. However if you buy a good quality high density foam crib mattress or even better a sprung crib mattress this will last several babies. Also when you have finished and put your crib away because you have bought a quality crib mattress with waterproof protection and washable covers you can use your mattress again. Either if you loan to a friend of for your grandchild! It is a shame to throw a perfectly good mattress to landfill that will take hundreds of thousand of years to biodegrade.  
Moses basket.
 It is interesting that when you buy a Moses basket the mattress that comes with it is of such a poor quality, all the money goes into the design. Ironic really the reason to have a Moses basket is for your baby to spend at least 500 hours in.
 So you end up buying another  mattress which is more substantial with a removable cover you can wash at 60°c  the temperature require to kill dust mites.

Travel cot mattresses
When you buy a travel cot it comes with a very thin mattress this is because if it had a thicker one it would not pass a British Standard . Now that's a shock eh? OK the reason is because your travel cot has soft sides and if you put in a deep mattress there is a risk that your child's foot could get between the deep side of the mattress and the soft side of the travel cot  i.e.  the netting.

 So it is a balance really between your child's sleeping on what you will call a brick and having a nice mattress to sleep on. A good balance is not to go over 5 cm. Ensure your  travel cot mattress has removable cover and waterproof protection to keep  the covers hygienic.

hypoallergenic anti -allergenic

Well  it is a marketing pitch really, it  means that the material used is less likely to cause  an allergic reactions. Really there are no materials used in the manufacture of baby nursery products likely to cause allergic reactions. there is some evidences that latex cot mattresses can cause a reaction in one in 10.000 babies. 

Memory foam cot mattresses
Memory foam in a baby mattress is something to stay well clear of either as an extra memory foam topper or as part of the cot mattress. 
memory foam can cause unnecessary overheating and pooling (collection of carbon dioxide) it does not give good firm support.

Fire retardant 
Cot mattresses have to be flame retardant this process adds chemicals to the foam to make it flame retardant.

Natural mattress are naturally fire retardant.

Just to throw a spanner in the works The fire retardant laws in the UK do not apply to the rest of Europe even though we are in the EU! 

I could be mischievous here with regard to the UK fire retardant laws and say  " Is it only British babies that smoke in their cots or British parents that would  drop a cigarette end in a cot or leave a naked flame near a baby in a cot?

If there was a fire in the house, god forbid, and the baby was still in the cot it would succumb to smoke fumes before the cot mattress caught fire.

Do we have to cover all our baby products in toxic fire retardant chemicals."?


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