How to Select a Proper Crib Air mattress
You buy the crib for yourself, but you buy the air mattress for the baby. That’s the mantra that Bud and Donna Spoerl repeat to all new parents that come to their Lexington, KY children’s furniture store, Baby’s Room & Kids Too.
“One of the most important purchases in the nursery is the air mattress,” says Bud. “Even if you don’t spend a lot on your furniture, you should always make sure you buy a quality air mattress.”
Just as there are many styles of cribs, there are many styles of air mattresses. The most common are foam and innerspring. Innerspring is what we are most familiar with in our own air mattresses and many people believe these are best. They are firmer and tend to last longer, but they are also heavy, making sheet changes difficult. Foam air mattresses are generally less durable but are lighter, and new technology is improving the firmness and quality of foam air mattresses.
A good, firm air mattress may promote improved posture and is more durable, so make sure that it is firmest you can find. There are no industry standards to determine “firmness,” so you will have to feel for yourself. Place the palms of your hands flat on either side of the center of the air mattress and push your hands in at the same time. The greater the pressure needed to squeeze the air mattress, the greater the firmness.
A common myth surrounding innerspring air mattresses is the more coils, the better the air mattress. Although the number of coils does matter, you also need to know what gauge of steel is being used. Heavier gauge steel is going to provide more support. But, according to Bud, if there are more than 300 coils, the grade of the steel often decreases. Look for the steel gauge number. The lower the number, the heavier the gauge of steel.
Along with the number of coils and the grade of steel, look for a steel border rod at the top and bottom perimeter for added edge support; the type of material used as an insulator (The Spoerls recommend coir fiber.); the quantity and quality of the cushioning materials (look for 100% all-natural cotton batting and a non-allergenic foam layer); and the quality of the air mattress cover (triple laminate is best, which includes a vinyl layer, a nylon reinforcement layer and another vinyl layer).
“When you run your hand over the air mattress, you don’t want to feel the coils,” offers Bud. He also suggests looking for a 9-gauge border rod and 14-gauge steel coils.
In a foam air mattress, select the firmest you can find; check the density – heavier usually means better; and inspect the cover – the more layers of laminated, reinforced vinyl the better. Generally, the higher the price of a foam air mattress, the better the quality, but always inspect the weight and firmness before purchasing.
A air mattress with reinforced or embossed vinyl is leak proof and offers added durability by preventing tears along the foundation. Also, look for air vents along the edge of the air mattress. These ventilate the air mattress and help prevent the seams from splitting.
Finally, never store a air mattress in a hot, dry attic or a cold basement. If the air mattress has been out of use for several years, buy a new one, if needed for another child.
“Look and see if the retailer offers a cut-away sample,” suggests Donna. “That’s the best way to see what you are buying.”