What Size Mattress Is Needed for a Toddler Bed?

Mattress size should not be complicated. All you need to do is pick the type of bed, and there’d be a corresponding size. Next, you’d choose the thickness (or height). Finally, scratch your head as you try to decide on the cover and protector – and the type and design are too many. For a toddler bed – as if you are not busy enough parenting – the last thing you want to do is spend too much time.

The accepted standard size of mattresses for toddler beds is 28 x 52 inches. Once you buy one, you’d think it should fit any toddler bed. Sadly, that is not the case. You see, the bed frame dimensions and mattress size of many manufacturers are not the same. If you did not scratch your head sifting through mattress accessories, then you would – after finding out it is too loose or cannot fit into the frame.

What Is the Standard Size of Crib and Toddler Mattresses?

As per the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a full-size standard crib should have interior dimensions of 28 ± 5/8 (W) x 52-3/8 ± 5/8 (L) inches. The crib mattress should measure at least 27-1/4 (W) x 51-1/4 (L) inches and not more than 6 inches thick.

CPSC does not have a specific guideline for toddler mattresses, but the generally accepted standard is 28 (W) x 52 (L) inches. You could consider both “crib” and “toddler” mattresses as one and the same for simplicity, but used on different bed types.

Note: Some manufacturers produce mattresses labeled for toddlers, giving the impression that toddler and crib mattresses are not the same. But they are, really. The toddler mattress should also not be confused with a regular child’s bed, which uses a twin-size mattress.

Can You Use A Crib Mattress for Toddler Bed?

In the United States, a crib mattress should fit any standard size toddler bed. As you will find out, though, that is not always the case. There are two possible reasons for the variance in size, which may result in a bad fit.

1. Cost Cutting

CPSC’s interior dimensions guideline for a standard crib allows a 5/8 inch tolerance – or nearly 1.6 cm. Some manufacturers make their beds/mattresses following the smallest dimension, while others opt for the higher measurements. Fewer materials used means cheaper cost. Although the savings does not seem to make sense, it really does for large manufacturers that produce products in huge quantities.

2. Different Standards (H3)

Another reason for the variance is the different standards used.

Infant/Toddler Bed Mattress Size:

MetricImperialLocal Bed Type
USA71 x 132 cm28 x 52 inCrib
UK70 x 140 cm27.5 x 55 inCot
Europe60 x 120 cm23 x 47 inInfant Bed
IKEA US60 x 120 cm IKEA Crib
IKEA UK 23 x 47 in 

Looking at the above table, you can see the different sizes used in the United States, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe. Even IKEA, which is very popular in the USA, also does not necessarily follow American standards.

Note: A third reason for the variance is the popularity of themed toddler beds and other styles that do not follow the standard crib/toddler bed size.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Toddler Bed Mattress?

When you choose a toddler bed, some safety considerations include inspecting the bed frame’s slats. They should not be too large or too small. The best mattress should also be the right size that it fits snugly. If there is a gap, try inserting two fingers. A successful insertion indicates that it is too loose and could potentially cause an unknowing toddler finger jam.

For simplicity, buy the mattress from the same brand as the toddler bed. Otherwise, you have to make sure to purchase the correct size. In some cases, you may have to manually measure the dimensions for certainty and peace of mind.

Apart from size, other considerations merit your attention too.

1. Firmness

Generally, the more expensive mattresses have higher densities. A firm mattress – most especially when used in cribs – can reduce the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from occurring. It is also better able to provide the needed support to keep a healthy spinal alignment.

A soft mattress, on the other hand, does tend to sag. In the worst-case scenario, a “too soft mattress” can also be a suffocation hazard.

One way to test if a mattress is dense enough is to press a finger in the center or near the edges. Once you release the pressure, the material should revert back to its original form quickly.

2. Foam or Innerspring Coil

A high-quality foam toddler mattress, by and large, is more than enough to last until your toddler graduates to a regular children’s bed.

Toddler mattress with innerspring, on the other hand, offers far superior benefits. For one, it is much more durable than foam. More importantly, the edges are structurally better. Foam mattresses have weaker edge support. It may not pose a danger when new, but your child may jam a finger once it sags.

3. Waterproof

Try to look for a waterproof toddler mattress, and hope the cost is well within your budget. Apart from making cleaning much more manageable, it prevents moisture (and pee) from soaking into the material. A waterproof pad is helpful but not highly efficient.

4. Chemicals

One reason you want to choose a reputable brand is its track record of providing durable mattresses and transparency on safety. Cheap imports are precisely that – cheap. But they may contain potentially toxic chemicals.

Get the Best Toddler Mattress for Your Child

You may skimp a little on yourself but not for the child. We are not saying that you should buy the most expensive one on the market. Since you have the time to prepare, try to do a little digging on some recommended brands’ background. Before purchasing, check to ensure that it will fit snugly into the toddler bed. Also of utmost importance is making sure that the materials used are safe and that it has the characteristics of an ideal mattress for toddlers.

Once you have found a few brands to choose from, then pick a design – or much better, let your child pick a design or theme. In other words, you do the groundwork, but have fun with your bundle of joy choosing the mattress that will be put on the toddler bed.

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