Why Not Use a Hand-Me-Down Baby Crib Mattress?

Used Crib Mattress

Let’s cut straight to the point: Having a child is EXPENSIVE! After buying the perfect stroller, the safest crib, an organic breathable crib mattress, the cutest clothing, and all the new and trendy nursing supplies and bottles, organic diapers and every other must-have essential, your bank account may be looking a bit light!

It’s only natural to look for bargains that can save you money on all the items you need for your little one. Buying used items from after-market stores, craigslist, or even being gifted hand-me-downs from friends and family are great ways to ease budget constraints for new parents. one way is by buying used items. While some used items are good news for your

These methods really work well for some used items and offer some much-needed relief for your wallet, but there are definitely some safety concerns to consider; this is especially true when it comes to used crib mattress for your baby.

Sanitary Concerns

You can never be 100% certain of the care or more importantly the abuse a used crib mattress has seen. Has it seen more than its fair share of late night diaper blowouts, spilled milk, or maybe just a baseball team worth of dirty infants?

Even if cleaned, over time, all of these things can begin to collect on a crib mattress and lead to moisture and mold growth. In addition, if the baby mattress was not kept in a cool, dry place after the previous owners were finished using it, moisture can seep into the mattress, creating the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi growth.

If you have a crib mattress that you personally used for an older child, and you know that it was well cared for and stored properly, it likely poses little or no risk for your next baby.

Improper Fit

A used and abused crib mattress may no longer fit properly in a standard crib. Today’s baby crib mattresses are 27 1/4 inches x 51 5/8 inches and experts agree that an ill-fitting mattress is one of the greatest dangers to a sleeping infant. Use the two finger test to see if your mattress fits properly into your crib. You should not have enough space between the sides of the crib and the mattress to fit two fingers snugly.

Firmness and Condition

A good crib mattress whether new or used should be firm and offer plenty of support to your baby. A firm mattress helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. With a used crib mattress, depending on the age and wear, there is a chance that the mattress has lost much of its firmness and has developed dips or bulges that can pose an additional health risk to your child. Additionally, it should go without saying, the physical condition of the mattress is vital. Do not use a mattress with tears, exposed springs or filling, or one that smells of mildew, mold or dank.


In the November 2002 “British Medical Journal,” a study was published by Scotland researchers that provided a possible link between the use of a hand-me-down crib mattress and infant
death from SIDS.

The study found that an infant was up to three times more likely to die from SIDS when using a hand-me-down crib mattress. While the study did not find a firm cause-and-effect relationship between the use of an old mattress and SIDS, it did find sufficient evidence to warrant concern when accepting a used mattress from someone else’s home.