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Do I need to buy a new mattress for my baby?


This Safer Sleep Week, the Lullaby Trust is trying to help new and expectant parents reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome {SIDS). Many of their tips for safer sleep relate to where and how babies sleep.

We hear from Dr Anna Pease, Centre for Child and Adolescent Health at University of Bristol, who offers some advice:


Do I need to buy a new mattress for my baby? This is a common question for parents to ask, especially those who have saved a mattress from a previous baby or first time parents being offered a used mattress from friends or family. Growing families can find the cost of buying baby gear difficult to manage and ways to save money might be a big relief for some families. Others might worry about the waste involved, especially with such a large item.

Sleeping babies have specific needs to stay safe, especially in the first year of life. They need to be flat on the back, with a clear face, in a smokefree home with smokefree people and never on a sofa with a sleeping adult. To support these needs, mattresses should be firm, flat and in good condition. If a used mattress is being considered it helps to know its history which is why many baby charities won’t accept used mattresses (or car seats for the same reason).

Research into Sudden Infant death Syndrome (SIDS or cot death) has shown that previous claims of ‘toxic gas’ coming from the mattress have not been substantiated, although a study in Scotland found used mattresses coming from another home may put infants at risk. The evidence is not very robust but the main advice is that whatever mattress is used is firm and clean.

The Lullaby Trust is the main SIDS charity in England and Wales and makes these same recommendations, with specific advice about what to look for in used mattresses, as does the consumer’s association Which.


Dr Pease’s advice helps explain why we always purchase new mattresses for families in need. Not knowing the history or how a mattress has been stored means accepting donated mattresses could put babies at risk.

Mattresses are a regular cost for us; we bought 180 mattresses for cots, cot beds, cribs and Moses baskets, in our first 18 months of operation.

Perhaps you would like to donate £8 so we could buy a mattress for a crib or Moses basket, or even £25 for a cot/cot bed mattress? You can donate here.