Do Crib Mattresses Expire? [Parents Must Know]

Do you remember the days before becoming a parent? We all thought that life could be super stressful and riddled with worry then.

Oh, how little we knew. It just simply does not compare to the absolute anxiety you constantly feel in your gut regarding your little one.

I don’t know about you, but putting my baby down only seemed to worsen my worry too. She only felt safe in my arms.

And that lead me to a whole host of new questions, one of which was… Can crib mattresses expire, how do I lower a crib mattress? Bassinet vs mini crib – what the difference? Swiftly followed by… How do I know I need a new one?

Well, of course, I went and did all the research to calm myself down. First, I contacted a few reputable manufacturers and then I double-checked everything they said with my health visitor.

Here’s what I found out!

Do Crib Mattresses Have An Expiration Date?

The good news is that you can take a sigh of relief because no, a crib mattress won’t expire, learn when to lower your crib mattress to increase the longevity as well.

That being said, they can still break down and need replacing and you should always check for recalls on any mattress before you use it.

Safety Checks

So, a crib mattress won’t expire, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a fair few safety checks before you place your little one down on it for the night.

The first thing to remember is that the safety standards for crib mattresses are ever-evolving.

So a mattress that was deemed safe for your first child may no longer be safe by the time your second child comes along.

Requirements For A Safe Crib Mattress

Any mattress suitable for a child should always be tested for the following:

  • Flammability
  • Phthalates
  • Lead content limits

When you receive your mattress there should always be visible tracking information on the packaging that will incorporate the following:

  • Name of the manufacturer
  • The location & date of the manufacturer
  • The batch/run number of the product
  • Information regarding the specific source of the product
Do Crib Mattresses Expire? [Parents Must Know]

Checking For Recalls

If you have an old unused crib mattress in your home before you decide to use it you must double-check to see if the specific model has been recalled.

There are several different types of crib mattresses that have been recalled over the years for not meeting some of the above criteria. The last thing you want to do is use a faulty mattress for your little one.

And even if it hasn’t been recalled, I would still do a little more research on that specific model to ensure that it meets the updated safety standards.

It’s super easy to check for recalls. All I did was search the model online followed by “recalls” and looked at the first couple pages of results. Thankfully, I didn’t find any for my model, but I was shocked at the sheer number of crib mattress recalls there were for other designs.

Why I Would Never Use A Used Crib Mattress 

When you have a baby on the way, or even once your baby arrives, it can be a real strain on your pockets, to say the least.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with picking up some used or hand-me-down items – I got many things this way.

And while there are many bits and bobs that you can pick up for pretty cheap or even free, I wouldn’t recommend your mattress being one of them.

Cleanliness & Firmness

There are several reasons for this. First of all, your little one needs a firm mattress to sleep on, and a used one is just not going to be.

Secondly, you want your baby in a clean environment when they are sleeping, and regardless of how well the used mattress has been looked after, it’s still likely not going to be clean enough for your baby.

If they didn’t use a protective cover it’s likely seen all the ‘accidents’ we parents are well accustomed to cleaning up.

And if you don’t know the home it’s coming from, well, it could have seen all kinds of ugliness.

Bedbugs, dust mites, it could have been stored incorrectly and all of these things could lead to fatal consequences which is any parent’s worst nightmare.

It’s not worth the risk. And an unfirm mattress can also cause a serious risk to your little one. When a mattress is too soft, your little one will sink into it and this can cause breathing problems.

SIDS & Used Mattresses

The main reason you should always purchase a new mattress is that studies have linked used crib mattresses to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The material of the mattresses can harbor bacteria linked to SIDS and children sleeping on older mattresses, used mattresses, or those without a protective cover are more at risk.

So, I would always recommend leaving enough money in your baby budget for a new crib mattress. and a crib with slats.

When To Replace Your Crib Mattress 

A new mattress, though it won’t expire, will begin to break down and need replacing over time. Usually, you’re looking at a lifespan of about 3-5 years.

Below are the main warning signs to replace the mattress with a new one.

  • It is more than 5 years old.
  • It has started to sag.
  • It is no longer firm.
  • It has visible bumps, lumps, and indentations.
  • It is heavily stained or spoiled

Frequently Asked Questions

What Sort Of Mattress Is Safest For A Baby?

Experts agree that the safest option for sleepy babies is a new, firm mattress without a history of recalls. Babies should be placed on their back to sleep, as this significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.

How Thick Should A Crib Mattress Be?

Pediatricians agree that 6 inches is the maximum thickness to optimize both comfort and safety in a crib mattress.

How Often Should You Replace A Crib Mattress?

To be extra safe, experts recommend changing out your crib mattress every 5 years, so one well cared for crib mattress could well serve multiple children.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve purchased a new mattress for your little one, you won’t have to worry about it expiring anytime soon, so take a deep breath and relax, you’re doing great.

While a mattress will not expire, they will break down from wear-and-tear over the course of a couple of years, so you will need to double-check to check they do not need replacing.

And while a mattress won’t expire, you should never use an old or used crib mattress for your little one as they are not suitable or safe, also ensure your crib has baby safe paint.

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