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Babies spend a lot of time sleeping. In fact, they’re usually snoozing for 17 hours a day. They fall asleep at the drop of a hat and, if you’re lucky, they spend a lot of time in their crib. They’re probably the most precious thing you have in your life, so you want to make sure that you’re making the best decisions when it comes to their health and well-being.

You’ve no doubt put a lot of thought into the crib you’ll buy for your bundle of joy, but it’s equally important that you think about the mattress you’re going to put it in. Your baby will spend a lot of time in close proximity to the materials and fibres that make it up, so you really need to make sure that it’s safe.

You’ll have so many questions about safety, fire resistance, bacteria, germs, bugs and comfort.

To help you, here’s our guide to finding the perfect mattress for your little one. It all starts with breathability.

What is breathability?

To be breathable, air must pass through a mattress’ permeable sleep surface. Free airflow is extremely important not just for the comfort of your baby, but for his or her health, too. You don’t want your babies face close to anything that is not breathable. Baby lungs are tiny, and babies are incapable of telling you if they are uncomfortable or in pain, so a baby laid face down on an unbreathable mattress cannot tell you that he or she is struggling to breath. This is extremely dangerous.

When they are little you can place them on their back, but when they start rolling around, there’s nothing you can do, except to make sure that their environment is safe.

The danger of non-breathability

It’s still not clear what causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but there’s lots of advice out there to help new parents do everything they can to avoid such a tragedy. It’s important that you put your baby down to sleep on their back, don’t sleep beside them unless there’s a barrier between you, and create a breathable sleeping area.

Breathable mattresses allow perfect airflow and remove the chances of suffocation.

The benefits of breathable mattresses

Breathable mattresses have several benefits for babies, including;

  • Preventing trapped heat and regulating your baby’s body temperature
  • Stopping your baby from sweating and keeping their mattress dry
  • Improving airflow and reducing the risk of re-breathing
  • Drying quickly if there are spills or vomit, therefore reducing the chance that bacteria will grow in the mattress.

Mattresses to avoid

Instead of telling you what to look for, sometimes it’s best if we tell what you absolutely avoid.

So, let’s talk about foam. Foam was popular a few years ago and many people still view it as a luxury product. We know that you want to give your little bundle the absolute best of everything and we’d hate for you to be duped into thinking that foam crib mattresses are a good idea.

Foam mattresses release chemicals that could be dangerous to your baby. Professionals advise that you air them properly, but we’d urge you not to take that chance. It’s better to look for mattresses made from natural and breathable materials from reputable companies.

Other ways to keep your baby safe in bed

This isn’t just about breathable mattresses. There are other important guidelines you should follow to keep your baby safe in bed.

You must make sure that the mattress you buy is the right size for the cot you have. Gaps of over 3cm are dangerous. Your baby’s tiny hands or feet could become stuck and twisted.

The mattress should be firm and flat. You must keep it clean, because baby vomit and excrement can cause damp and bacteria, which are bad for your baby. If you find it easier, cover your mattress with a high quality mattress protector, which is easy to remove and wash.

Avoid second hand mattresses. You don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been through. They could be teeming with germs and bacteria.

In Britain, mattresses should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10:2011+A1:2012. You can find information about what this standard means at Which?.

The best breathable mattresses

Baby Ely cotton mattresses provide support and comfort for your baby. They’re free from chemicals, naturally insulating and breathable and naturally hypo-allergenic. They’re free from fire retardant and chemical sprays and cleverly regulate your child’s body temperature.

Ely baby mattresses are made from coconut fibres and Natural Latex, which behave in the same way as a layer of pocket springs but on a much smaller scale. They’re surrounded by organic wool, which regulates temperature and is hypo-allegenic, whilst also being a natural fire retardant.

They’re a safe and comfortable sleep solution for your little bundle of joy.

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