If you have thought about using second hand baby items for your little one, you must be wondering if you can reuse a crib mattress.
There are a lot of baby items you can reuse for a new baby if you are looking to save money, but a crib mattress is not one of them.
Maybe you want to buy a second-hand mattress for your first baby, or you want to reuse a crib mattress from your older baby.
The truth is, reusing a crib mattress could be unsafe for your baby, and this post will show you exactly why.
Why You Should Think Twice About Reusing A Crib Mattress
These are the main reasons you should never use a second-hand crib mattress for your baby.
The Crib Mattress Could Trigger Health Conditions
A crib mattress is prone to having bugs, dust mites, bacteria and mould.
Again, a second-hand crib mattress is more likely to be contaminated compared to a new mattress.
The presence of dust mites and bacteria, etc, in a mattress can unnecessarily aggravate conditions such as eczema , asthma, conjunctivitis, and Rhinitis.
The Mattress Could Be Dirty
No matter how careful you are, accidents happen.
A second-hand crib mattress will undoubtedly be contaminated with spilled or burped milk and urine (or even poop) from leaking diapers. This leads to mould and fungus developing on the mattress.
Besides that, there will also be dead skin cells the skin naturally sheds, and dust.
All these things create a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
If you choose to reuse a crib mattress, you are actually exposing your new baby to all the bacteria and germs, putting your baby at risk of getting sick.
Mattress Won’t Be Firm Enough
Over use, even an originally firm mattress loses its firmness.
Safe baby sleep guidelines state that a baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface.
Besides affecting your baby’s posture when sleeping, a crib mattress that has gone soft increases the risk of suffocation, should your baby roll onto the surface with their head facing down.
How to tell if a crib mattress is firm enough?
A firm mattress quickly bounces back to maintain its shape once pressed.
Increased Risk Of SIDS
A study published by the British Medical Journal indicated a significant link between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and second-hand crib mattresses.
The study found that the risk of SIDS was significantly increased if the crib mattress was previously used in another home.
The evidence was not sufficient to establish exactly how a second-hand mattress causes cot death.
The above factors are reason enough to never reuse a crib mattress and rather buy a new one for your baby.
The risk is just undeniable.
What To Look For When Buying A Crib Mattress
With so many options out there, you are probably wondering the most important aspects to look for when buying a crib mattress.
Here is what to look for:
The Crib Mattress Should Be Waterproof
You want to get a mattress that is waterproof to reduce the incidence of liquids (milk, leaked urine, etc) getting soaked into the mattress and causing mould to develop.
Remember urine, milk, and sweat create a breeding ground for mould and fungus.
If your mattress is not waterproof, use a waterproof mattress to keep the fluids at bay.
You can also use waterproof covers on a waterproof mattress for added protection.
A hypoallergenic mattress helps reduce the risk of allergens.
As mentioned before, all mattresses are a breeding ground for allergens such as dust mites and bacteria which aggravate asthma and baby eczema.
Using a hypoallergenic mattress reduces allergens and consequently, the risk of allergic reactions.
If your baby is prone to allergies, a hypoallergenic baby mattress is suitable for them.
No Toxic Chemicals
Mattresses commonly contain toxic foam, synthetic materials, and flame retardant chemicals.
Your baby is exposed to the gases from these toxic chemicals while sleeping.
To protect your little one, choose a mattress that has no toxic and synthetic chemicals for your baby’s safety.
Your best option is an organic crib mattress.
However, not all organic mattresses are non-toxic.
Look for one that has an organic cotton filling and contains no toxic chemicals from the manufacturing process.
The only downside is that organic mattresses are costly and might be way off your budget, especially if you were already planning to get a second-hand crib mattress to cut costs.
So what should you do if you cannot afford an organic crib mattress?
Cover the crib mattress with a mattress cover made with food-grade polyethylene. It is safe, free of phthalates and dangerous additives.
A crib mattress should fit snugly into the crib leaving no spaces on the edges.
You should not be able to fit in two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
An improperly fitting crib mattress is unsafe. Small spaces around the mattress posea risk of a small baby’s hands,head, or feet.
Do not put props around the edges as this creates even more risk.
Should You Buy A Memory Foam Mattress?
The short answer is no.
A memory foam mattress changes shape to conform to your baby’s head and body.
This increases a risk of suffocation should your baby roll face first onto the mattress.
The American Academy Of Pediatrics states that a baby should always be put to sleep on a firm sleeping surface that does not form indents or change shape when a baby is sleeping.
For that reason, memory foam crib mattresses are not suitable since they are not in line with safe baby sleep guidelines.
You are better off getting a coil crib mattress. These types are made with metal coils which make the mattress firm enough for a small baby.
How To Take Care Of A Crib Mattress
- Air and turn it regularly
- Use waterproof mattress covers to protect the mattress from fluids and extend its lifespan
- Clean spills with a damp cloth and make sure you dry the mattress thoroughly
- Keep it away from direct sunlight
When To Replace A Crib Mattress
Replace a baby mattress at the first sign of wear and tear.
- If the mattress is no longer firm enough
- The mattress starts to fall apart and there are small pieces or threads coming off
- It has been contaminated by leaked urine and poop, as well as spilled milk. Bacteria can easily develop and put your baby at risk
- The crib mattress has been exposed to dust
Is it Safe to Reuse A Crib?
You can reuse the crib itself, but take note of the following:
- It has to still be in good condition
- Has no missing or broken parts
- The crib never been recalled
- It still has a manufacturer’s label (this way you will be able to check the expiry date and check for safety recalls)
- No rough edges, sharp points and splinters
- Meets current crib safety standards
Thoughts On Reusing A Crib Mattress
A previously used crib mattress could have bacteria and germs from sweat, shed skin, dust mites, saliva and possibly burped milk.
For this reason, it is NOT OK to reuse a crib mattress.
Rather buy a new mattress for your baby.
Is it ok to reuse a crib mattress if you know it was well looked-after?
Only reuse a mattress if you know its lifespan. Preferably if you are the one who used it.
You must be certain that you always covered the crib mattress with a waterproof cover during previous use, and you are sure you’ve always protected it from dust.
A mattress that was bought and never used can also be safe to use if you are certain you’ve always kept it covered, away from direct sunlight, and it hasn’t reached its expiry date.
The mattress should still be firm to provide enough support for your new baby during sleep.
Buying is always better instead of opting to reuse a crib mattress.
The driving factor is your baby’s safety.
Keep in mind that a second-hand crib mattress might look new and in a good condition from the outside, but it may harbor hidden bacteria from sweat and dust mites.