Nursery mattresses buying guide


The more comfortable you are, the better you sleep, and this is just as true for babies as it is for grown-ups. Choosing a mattress for your new arrival is, therefore, an important decision. A well-rested baby can also help you stay more relaxed, so making sure your little one is safe and comfortable is best for all of you.

Mattress features explained

Adjustable waterproof membrane

Foam mattresses have an adjustable waterproof membrane instead of an Inner Care cover. The membrane can be placed to prevent fluids soiling the foam core.

Removable cover

All our cot mattresses have removable washable covers which can be washed at 60 degrees centigrade - the temperature at which dust mites are killed. It also reduces the prevalence of fungi, and other potentially harmful pathogens.


All our cot mattresses can be used either side up which helps to prolong the life of the mattress. In addition the Spring, Pocket Spring, and Dual Purpose have 2 types of sleeping surface. On one side there is a lofted fabric which allows air to flow and is ideal for a baby. The other side has a water repellent yet vapour permeable advanced fabric for a growing child.

Water Repellent

It’s always important to keep the core of the mattress free from bodily fluids as this can encourage harmful organisms to grow. Therefore all our cot mattresses have water repellent covers or a waterproof membrane.

Wipe Clean

The sprung mattresses have one side which is wipe clean allowing for any fluids to be cleaned quickly without having to wash the entire cover.


The advanced materials used in the sprung mattresses pass the stringent requirements of Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1. In addition the designand construction of the sprung mattresses limit the growth of fungi and dust mites which are the main producer of allergens in the cot.

Cool and Dry

The fabrics in the sprung mattresses are vapour permeable which reduces the build up of sweat, keeping baby cool and dry; this makes for a better night’s sleep for baby.

Inner Care

The Inner Care cover is a secondary non removable cover. It makes removal and replacement of the outer cover very quick and easy. While the outer cover is in the wash the Inner Care cover means that the mattress can still be used. With an Inner Care cover it needn’t be a drama if your baby has had a night time accident. The Inner Care cover fundamentally helps in maintaining a good hygiene regime, which is even more important in the first 12 months of baby’s life.

Pocketed spring

The Pocket Spring and the Dual Purpose both use pocket springs. Pocket springs move independently of each other and are considered more comfortable and more adaptive to a child’s body shape than springs alone.

Dual Purpose

The Dual Purpose is a cot mattress that meets the needs associated with larger cots and cot beds. A child will triple in weight in the first 12 months of their life and a mattress that’s suitable for a new born isn’t necessarily as suitable for a young child.

This range of weights means that the core of the mattress is a compromise. This compromise becomes more difficult when we expect the mattress to be used in a bed as well as a cot. Therefore we’ve introduced the Dual Core mattress. It has two sets of springs separated by an isolating layer of natural coir. On one side of the mattress we have soft and gentle springs ideal for baby and on the other side firmer springs for a growing child. At 12 months simply turn the mattress over.

Construction of a cot mattress

The top end mattresses, namely spring, pocket spring and dual purpose, have an outer layer and inner layer known as the outer mattress cover and the Inner Care cover.

The primary purpose of this is to assist parents in maintaining a good hygiene regime. A good hygiene regime is important because washing the outer cover at 60 degrees centigrade:

  • Removes skin cells and bodily fluids which act as a food source for fungi, dust mites, and pathogens
  • Kills dust mites
  • Removes fungal spores
  • Limits the propagation of Staphylococcus Aureus and Escherichia Coli, two pathogens cited as a possible cause of cot death

The Innercare cover can be used while the outer cover is in the wash. The Innercare cover makes removal and replacement of the outer cover simple and easy. Our covers are also reversible which makes the mattress more adaptable to the growing needs of your child and helps provide the correct sleeping environment for them.

Different types of mattress

All these cot mattresses will give a good level of support but the spring and pocketed spring are recommended for longer lasting support, needed for larger mattress.

Foam Mattresses

This is the entry price point mattress. It comes in a wide range of sizes, including moses, crib and pram. The cot mattresses have an adjustable waterproof membrane.

Spring Mattresses

A spring core offers excellent support and durability within a cot mattress.

Springs (or pocket springs) are often the preferred choice for a cot bed mattress as they last longer than foam alone and provide better postural support through the different stages of a child’s development.

Unlike many spring cot mattresses the John Lewis spring mattress uses a thick felt barrier layer. This adds further comfort and longevity.

The outer layer which is the primary mattress cover comprises on one side, Breathex Plus; a three dimensional fabric that aids breathing and air circulation making it ideal for infants.

The other side is Permex, a waterproof yet vapour permeable fabric which is ideal for children, especially when toilet training. This mattress comes with an Inner Care cover.

Pocket Spring Mattresses

Pocket springs are considered to be a superior choice to the mini bonnel springs found in the spring mattress.

Each spring within the pocket spring mattress is sealed in its own individual self contained pocket. The springs move independently of one another giving the mattress a greater ability to contour to baby’s body shape.

This means that over the lifespan of a pocket spring mattress the postural support provided is constantly changing and adapting to a child’s new shape and weight distribution. This mattress comes with an Inner Care cover.

The Baby & Child dual purpose pocket spring mattresses

The Baby & Child dual purpose cot mattress is a truly innovative design and addresses the issues of postural support over the extended life of a cot bed mattress. This mattress combines the benefits of pocket springs but with a soft and gentle side for an infant and firmer springs on the other side for a growing child.

On average a baby’s weight will have tripled within the first year. Ideally, therefore, firmer springs are required to give better support. We recommend that the mattress should be turned over at one year.

The two spring cores are held in place by a high density natural coir substrate which adds strength and durability to the mattress and additional comfort for the child.

This mattress also comes with an Inner Care cover.

How to measure for a mattress

Measure the internal dimensions of the cot length from end to end. Be sure to measure at the base of the cot along the middle of the mattress base where themattress will sit. Now measure the width from longest side to longest side, again, along the middle of the mattress base where the mattress will sit.

Now you have these measurements you must not choose a mattress size that would leave a gap of more than 3cm between the edge of the mattress and thesides of the cot, either on the width or the length. That is a total gap of 3cm, not 3cm on each side. For example, if the inside measurements of your cot are 122cm x 61cm then the smallest mattress you can safely have is 119cm x 58cm.

You could have up to a maximum of 122cm x 61cm, but it may affect the function of the dropside.

With the sizes of 122cm x 61cm, we’d recommend a standard continental cot mattress size of 120cm x 60cm.

How to make sure baby is safe when sleeping

There are many rules and regulations which apply to cot mattresses within Britain, but these are some of the most important.

There should be no more than a maximum 3cm gap between the mattress and the cot to avoid the danger of foot traps. If the mattress is too big buckling can occur, causing a suffocation hazard.

The mattress must be no more than 10cm thick at the edge (12.5cm thick is the maximum elsewhere on the mattress). This avoids the risk of your child climbing out of their cot.

Sleep safety

  • Always place babies on their backs to sleep with their feet to the foot of the cot.
  • Place baby on a firm crib or cot mattress covered with a fitted sheet.
  • Avoid letting baby overheat whilst sleeping, 16 – 20˚C is the recommended room temperature for where baby sleeps, with 18˚C being ideal.
  • We recommend you buy a new mattress for your baby as an old or second hand mattress may be compressed due to the size and weight of the previous baby. It may also contain harmful pathogens.
  • Check bumper ties regularly to make sure they are secure
  • Remove Bumpers when child can sit unaided
  • Quilts, duvets and pillows are not suitable for children under 12 months due to risk of overheating