Home & Life, Parenting

How To Lower A Crib Mattress

The first year of your baby’s life comes with all kinds of changes for both you and your new roommate. 

They go through an enormous amount of development that takes them from a newborn to a walking, talking toddler. This is why you need to adapt their crib mattress height to match their growth. 

In this article, I will explain why you should lower your baby’s crib mattress, when to make adjustments and how to do it, all from my own experience, if you are at the stage where your baby is rolling over we also have a helpful article on how to keep your baby from rolling over in a crib, check it out.

I have tried, tested and reviewed dozens of cribs and crib mattresses both in my personal life and as part of my Newborn Care Specialist training. This is a must-read article for all new parents.

Why Should You Lower Your Baby’s Crib Mattress?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that your baby’s mattress should be at least 26 inches below the side rail.

There are thousands of cases every year of infants coming into the emergency room due to crib-related accidents. 

Lowering the crib mattress is essential for your baby’s safety as well as helping you out as a parent, so is ensuring you have baby safe crib paint, read on for our buyers guide.

Higher mattresses can be convenient for putting your newborn to bed as it’s not a strain to reach into the crib, they also make cribs that can be converted into a toddler bed.

However, when they start to progress through the stages of development, this can become a safety risk. 

Once your baby begins to sit up independently and even start grabbing onto the crib to stand up, they are at risk of falling if their mattress is too high.

It completely depends on the development of your baby, but some parents have to lower their baby’s mattress earlier than others. Therefore, it’s worth knowing when to act to keep your child safe. 

When To Lower Your Baby’s Crib Mattress

The decision to alter the mattress can come at any time in your baby’s first year of development. I found that I needed to adjust the crib mattress several times over the course of a few months. 

Let’s take a look at the different height settings and when you should lower your baby’s crib mattress to them. 

Highest Setting 

When your newborn has just come home, they can safely sit on the highest setting for the first few months of their lives. Having them higher up allows you to handle them with greater ease.

This first stage can last for anywhere up to 5 months. 

Middle Setting 

Between 5 and 8 months, you can expect your baby to hit one of their first major milestones. As they grow and develop, they will be able to sit up independently, and really learn how to sleep in the crib efficiently. 

Dropping the crib mattress down to its middle setting will eliminate the risk of them pulling themselves over the side rail at this stage. 

Lowest Setting 

You should look to lower the crib mattress down to its lowest setting before your baby begins to stand up on their own.

This can happen between 8 and 10 months old, and it will soon creep up on you without you realizing. 

As your baby develops into this final milestone in their crib, they will begin to pull themselves up to a standing position.

You want to be ahead of their development at this stage especially. If they then start to climb the side rails of their crib, you should consider switching to a toddler bed.

How To Lower Your Baby’s Mattress 

How To Lower Your Baby’s Mattress 

The process of lowering your crib mattress is very simple, but make sure you follow the correct steps to leave your baby’s crib in a safe position, check out how long to leave toddler in crib if not napping for more tips. .

Remove Bedding 

Take away any bedding, pillows or toys that might be lying around in the crib. These will get in the way of your remaining steps and should only be returned to the crib once the whole process is complete. If you have a mini crib mattress, your bedding should be easier to put on.

Remove Bolts

Take out any bolts that are holding the mattress in place and make sure you keep them safe for securing the mattress at its new height.

I discovered it was easiest to start by lowering the foot of the bed first before lowering the head. 

Place Mattress At Desired Height

You should already know the height that you want to lower the mattress to depending on which stage of development your baby is at (see above).

Take the loose end of the crib mattress and place it at the height your baby needs. 

Replace Bolts

Screw the bolts back in to secure the mattress foot in place. 

Repeat For Crib Head 

Repeat the previous 3 steps and bring the head of the mattress in line with the foot. Check to see whether the head and foot are level before securing the final screws. 

Test The Mattress 

Something I always do after adjusting a crib mattress is to apply some pressure to the mattress once it is secure to check whether it can hold the weight of your baby.

If anything is loose, make sure you tighten the screws before finally replacing all the bedding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is My Crib Mattress Too High?

If you can’t tell whether your crib mattress is too high, measure the distance between the mattress and the side rail. If it’s less than 26 inches, the mattress is too high.

Can I Move a Crib Mattress Onto the Floor?

If you’ve already moved the crib mattress to the lowest setting, you can try lowering the mattress all the way to the ground as long as there’s no gap between the lower crib rails and the mattress.

When Should I Transition from Crib to Floor Bed?

There’s only so much you can adjust a crib mattress’s height to accommodate infant growth. If your child can get their leg to the top of the rail (usually at between 2 and 3 years old) it’s time to transition to a floor bed.

Final Thoughts

The decision to lower your baby’s mattress is completely down to how they are growing and developing. 

The key is to make the changes to their crib mattress before they hit the sitting and standing milestones to keep them safe in the night. 

I hope you now have all the information you need to choose the appropriate crib mattress height for your baby and make the necessary adjustments.

Have you every wondered why cribs have slats and if they are safe for your child? Read about that here.

Looking to add some flare to your baby’s crib? Make a braided crib bumper, it’s so easy!

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