All You Need To Know About Cot MattressesChoose Foam or Natural?
Foam or Fibre cot mattresses are made from petroleum based products and manufactured with springs, Natural Cot mattresses are made from coir lambswool.
Within these two main groups are dozens of options that use a range of different components. Some cot mattresses are superbly designed, and made of top quality materials, they will last many years, offer excellent support comfort, durability, hygiene and safety.
At the other end of the scale, cot mattresses that are made from cheap components that will dip and dent after a few months use, you will might regret ever buying them they end up in landfill!
We are here to make you a cot mattress expert so you can make an informed choice on the best cot mattress for you, your pocket and your baby.
Foam and springs or foam and pocket springs - the choice of foam quality is the key!
The choice of foam a manufacturer decides on is often dictated by:-
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.
Here is how foam rating works in sprung and pocket sprung baby mattresses:-
The 6 cm deep springs in a cot mattresses are covered by a top and bottom layer of only 2 cm deep foam.
Therefore 6 cm deep springs, 2 layers of 2 cm foam gives a total depth of 10 cm.
This 2 cm layer of foam has the pressure of the weight of a baby from above and the pressure from the springs below.
Also be aware foam does not like heat, weight and damp which is what a baby is! Consequently all these things contribute to weakening the foam and making it dip or dent.
A 2 cm layer of cheap foam will not give the best support for your baby! even though it may pass the British Standard. It will probably be used to secure an attractive bargain point.
It Is All About The Quality Of The Foam - Here Is How it Works!
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.
Many years ago we too used 24/130 foam but we were not happy with its performance. Now 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.
We guarantee The Excellence cot mattress for 5 years against dipping or sinking. 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.
Natural Cot Mattresses.
These are mostly made from coir which is the compressed hair from the outside of coconuts and natural lambswool also sometimes latex and springs. The huge advantage is that they 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. There is not a lot of difference between the two designs of cot mattress. The one with pocket springs is marginally softer.
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
5) 100% Bamboo very breathable, not waterproof, very soft, not hard wearing, different weights of quilting improve the comfort, requires waterproof protector, washes well but only at 40°c. 100% bamboo has a lot of exciting properties.
Bamboo is a very soft fabric ideal for 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 2019 not 1980 we are now focused on looking after the planet see "New Baby New Mattress"
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
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.
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.
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.
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 fire retardant chemicals."