May 26, 2021

Mama Life || Top Tips - Shopping For A Baby Mattress

Mama Life - collaborative post

When choosing the best mattress for your baby’s bassinet, it is important to look at many factors. First and foremost, you should look at a buyer's guide for bassinet mattresses and become educated on the types of mattresses available and what is best for your baby. A good mattress is important for your baby in many ways. In the first year of life, the baby spends two-thirds of their time sleeping in their cot and is more at risk of death than anywhere else. Therefore everything should be done to minimise the risk of a possible incident and keep them safe day in day out. Babies sleep a lot, therefore the mattresses we choose for them are going to be the most vital element to ensure that they are getting restful and healthy sleep. Let’s take a deeper look into the types of mattresses and possible dangers.

What types of mattresses are available in the market?

"Breathable" mattress - a mattress that is coated with a material that has transferred air and liquids, and its core also consists of a material that allows free passage of air and liquids through it. Sponge and latex do not allow such passage.

Mesh mattress - a "breathable" mattress without a core consisting of an elastic mesh stretched on a frame.

How Hard Should a Baby Mattress Be?

When a baby is lying on their stomach (whether they turned over independently or their parents laid them this way) a situation may arise where his respiratory organs are covered when they face the mattress - which may cause breathing difficulty and even suffocation. The studies have not yet drawn an unequivocal conclusion as to the level of hardness required for a baby's mattress, and therefore a standard has been established that requires a fairly hard mattress that will certainly prevent any sagging of the baby's face inside it. However, this standard has opened the door to another type of mattress - the double-sided mattresses.

What are double-sided mattresses?

Since crib deaths occur only up to one year of age, from one year of age onwards the need for such a hard sleeping surface disappears. Therefore, the manufacturers have begun to produce a mattress that they define as "upgraded", with one side being softer, and they say it is more comfortable for a toddler and makes it easier for them to fall asleep. Babies don’t usually have too much trouble dropping off to sleep, but they can fuss for a while and this may be why - perhaps they just don’t have the right mattress.

In October 2012, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health published an article based on a real analysis of crib deaths in Germany, in which conditions in the sleeping environment were photographed and measured, including the firmness of the mattress. This study shows that there is a clear relationship between the softness of the mattress and the risk of death in the crib: the softer the mattress, the greater the risk.

Does a "breathable" mattress have an advantage over a standard airtight mattress?

If the baby's head is covered with a blanket, the advantage of the breathable mattress increases greatly. The reason: the blanket creates a kind of tent, where the CO2 concentration can rise quickly if it is an airtight mattress. The reason: the air inside the "tent" cannot disperse. If the amount of CO2 in the air that the baby breathes reaches 3%, it may be harmed after an exposure of 15-10 minutes. A CO2 level of more than 4% in the air immediately endangers it. Only a breathable mattress will allow the dispersion of CO2-saturated air in such a case and will save the baby from being poisoned. Now we know the science behind it, we can look deeper into the best mattresses.

Are all "breathable" mattresses equal in their capabilities?

Definitely not. The different mattresses are based on different types of upholstery and their core has different resistance to air passage. The network's mattresses, which have no core, excel in the free passage of air - according to tests conducted by specialist doctors. It turned out that all the "breathable" mattresses with the core did not really manage to maintain a low level of CO2 (up to 2%) - especially when a sheet was spread over them. On the other hand, a mesh mattress definitely manages to maintain low levels of CO2. Research well and you will reap the rewards.

Photo: Unsplash

So a "breathable" mattress is always better than an airtight mattress?

Yes and no. A breathable mattress is a necessary step in improving the baby's sleeping environment as it reduces risk factors that are estimated to contribute to poor health. But the free passage of air and liquids through the mattress creates a new problem that does not exist in sealed mattresses: the penetration of liquids. The baby excretes fluids (breast milk and substitutes), sweats, emits saliva, and other bodily fluids. All of these fluids seep into the core and sometimes remain in it and can turn into a fertile breeding ground for bacteria. This could pose a threat to the baby's respiratory system, their sinuses or even their feeding routine. Therefore cleanliness is key.

To maintain an adequate level of hygiene, certainly after ejection, manufacturers instruct to rinse the mattress, coating and core with soap and water and then allow them to dry completely before returning them to use. A mesh mattress takes a few minutes to dry, but not so with breathable mattresses with a core. These need a long time - between an hour and a half and seven hours - to dry completely, under optimal conditions: drying outside on a hot day when the humidity is relatively low.
Tips for a healthier/safer crib

Body secretions are one of the most prominent characteristics of infants at the beginning of their lives, a matter that requires from the mattress on the one hand resistance to the ingress of liquids, which may develop into mold. There are now baby mattresses that are also resistant to liquids. It is recommended to purchase a mattress with double insulation that contributes to ventilation, as well as a zipper - so you can wash the mattress easily. It is recommended that the zipper be hidden at the bottom of the mattress. The dimensions of the mattress must exactly match the dimensions of the cot, as a space between them may pose a danger to the baby, if they put their head in there. The thickness of the mattress ranges from 7-15 cm, and its width: 63-67 cm. The protection of the baby is of paramount importance and many studies have been adopted to look at this very thing. What are the top tips to look at for keeping your baby safe?

Head protectors in bed: The Association of Pediatricians in the United States (AAP) recommends not using head protectors in the crib. The reason: There is no evidence of injury to any baby's head due to not using head protectors, however there are dozens of documented infant deaths caused by those protectors. May cause partial or complete blockage of the baby's respiratory organs and even suffocation - if they are wrapped around the neck. An airtight head protector also does not allow CO2 to be dispersed in the room. Since CO2 is a heavy gas from the air, it is more concentrated close to the mattress.

Blankets: It is recommended to avoid using blankets and replace them with special sleeping bags if necessary. The reason: sleeping bags can not cover the face or head and cause distress. They also stay on the body all night and are not affected by the movements of the baby in his sleep. In other words: every soft item should be kept away from the baby's environment: headgear, pillows, dolls, blankets, diapers and the like. The safest bed is a clean bed from all these risk factors.

Overheating: Overheating in winter is another risk factor for cot death. Overheating creates a bothersome feeling of dryness. If the baby’s back is sweating, then that is a clear sign of overheating. Remove unnecessary layers from the baby and check the room temperature.

Humidity level: The recommended humidity levels for living rooms in general and baby rooms in particular are 50% -30%. It is recommended to purchase a thermometer combined with a humidity meter for the baby's room and be careful not to use a humidifier, as high humidity levels in the room cause bacteria to multiply and cause morbidity. Thoroughly ventilate the baby's room. For those who are worried about the bitterness of the cold in winter, it is possible to ventilate the room while the baby is not there.

Raising the mattress: Raising the mattress in the head area to a height of a few inches may reduce ejaculation cases and even reduce the risk of ear infections, especially when lying down comes immediately after feeding time. Even in this case the mattress surface should stay straight without arching the baby's neck and spine.

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