“A breathable crib mattress is a bedding product designed to allow air to flow through, thereby optimizing air circulation and ventilation,” says Debbie Gerken, a Certified RN in NICU, Certified Pediatric Gentle Sleep Coach, Postpartum Parent Educator and founder of Sleep Like a Baby Consulting.
“These mattresses often are constructed with breathable fabric layers or an open-spaced spongy type of foam,” she notes.
So why should you get one? A high-quality breathable mattress may help reduce the risk of SIDS, with the idea that if your baby rolls over to sleep on their tummy they can still breathe through the mattress, and is useful at preventing overheating, which is great if your house doesn’t have AC or your kid often wakes sweaty.
Parents still need to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for safe sleep though.”A baby should be placed down on their back, on a firm, flat surface and in a crib or bassinet free from blankets, pillows, bumpers, and toys,” says Gerken.
What to look for in the best breathable crib mattress
Ready to start sleep training? Transitioning your kid from the bassinet? Or still pregnant and just working on your baby registry? When shopping for the best breathable crib mattress, Gerken recommends considering all of the below factors before adding to cart:
- Free from polyurethane foam: This is important, as its petroleum base may cause a chemical release over time.
- Waterproof: Look for a mattress that’s waterproof or has a waterproof cover to protect the mattress, and therefore, the baby from mold and fungus growth effects.
- Flame retardant-free: Make sure the mattress is free from flame retardant chemicals, and rather, contains natural materials that are naturally flame retardant.
- Easy to clean: Can it be washed in a bathtub? How can it be dried? How long does the drying take? Make sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines for keeping the mattress clean and hygienic. This is one of the most important parts of shopping for a crib mattress, and an often overlooked point.
The best breathable crib mattress picks 2023
SleepOvation Baby Crib Mattress
The only FDA-approved crib mattress on the market, the SleepOvation scores major points for breathability, with knitted-in air channels engineered all throughout the mattress and sleep surface to keep your little ones cool and safe as they sleep. The mattress is also designed to support the spine and relieve excessive pressure on the head, which is especially reassuring if your babe prefers to sleep on their back or already has a slight flat spot you’re stressing about.
Because getting a mattress clean is no easy feat, the SleepOvation comes with a simple zip-off cover you can throw in the wash when spit-up or accidents happen. The infant side is water-resistant, while the toddler side is completely waterproof for potty training—or when your unruly two-year-old decides to take their diaper off or dump out an entire sippy cup of milk in the crib.
A dual-sided design offers a firm but comfortable sleep space for infants and a cozy, medium-firm foam side for toddlers—just flip the mattress over when you’re ready to transition them. We love the cushy-yet-supportive design that can fit snugly in all standard cribs.
- Extremely breathable
- Designed to relieve pressure on infants’ head
- Free of chemical flame retardants and other harmful chemicals
- Water-resistant for infants and waterproof for toddlers
- Machine-washable, OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 cover for easy cleaning
- Only the toddler side is waterproof