Mattress Pads for Babies and Toddlers
Mattress Pads for Babies and Toodlers - Definitions and Differences Guide
For the next several years, your life is going to get a whole lot messier. All kinds of fluids from your baby will end up in places you never imagined, and at some point it will all make contact with their mattress.
After spending so much time choosing a crib mattress (not to mention the money!), you definitely don’t want it to get ruined. Mattress pads—especially waterproof ones—protect the crib mattress so you can use it through toddlerhood and for subsequent children, too. Even if you bought a waterproof mattress for the crib, a pad is a safe way to make your baby’s bed cushy and comfortable without using pillows, bumpers and blankets (keeping these out of baby’s crib can help decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths).
There are Mattress Pads for Cradles, Cribs, Mini Cribs, Playards, Pack N' Plays, and also for Toddlers, and we are going to explain to you the main differences, definitions, and some other important questions in order to you will be ready to choose what kind of mattress pad you need and then you will be able to read about our mattress pads picks and its reviews in our other posts. So let's start.
What Is The Main Difference Between A Crib vs. A Playard?
The main difference between a crib and a playard is portability and durability. Playards are made of lightweight materials, such as plastic and mesh, built on a foldable metal frame. On the other hand, a crib is usually made of wood, and once it's set up in a room, you can take it out the door frame without disassembling the whole bed.
The modern playard you can find at the store is really similar to a standard crib. Therefore, many parents are wondering if the playard is an acceptable sleeping option for their baby.
The short answer is yes, a playard can be used for sleeping, but it's not as comfortable as a crib.
Cribs usually required a mattress, which is 5 times thicker than a playard mattress. As your child grows, the thin mattress of the playard may become insufficient, and you'll need an upgrade.
Besides sleeping, both cribs and playards can be used as a safe place for your baby to play. While Pack 'n Play is a famous brand of modern playards.
In my experience, having both is ideal, but if you must choose between a crib and a playard consider the following:
What is a Cradle?
Cradles are the oldest of all baby bed options. While the exact time period when they first came into use is unknown, there is evidence of cradles being used in ancient times.
One of the cradle’s biggest advantages is the gentle rocking motion it provides. Classic designs sit low to the ground on rounded bottom rockers, while many newer cradle designs feature a suspended bed that is similar to a hammock.
Today’s cradles offer the options of a traditional or modern look. Traditional styles are typically made from wood and can have either clean lines or ornate carving. Modern cradles often have mesh or padded sides and feature soft, contemporary colors.
While some cradles may come with a hood or canopy, most have a simple open top. Bedding is usually not included with a cradle.
Like a bassinet, cradles are designed to be used for very young infants. Once your baby can roll over, you will need to move them to a crib.
What Is A Mini Crib?
A mini crib is precisely what you think it is; a smaller version of a regular crib! It's not foldable or portable (like a portable crib or playard), even if it might come with wheels (like a standard crib).
The mattress of a regular crib is mainly 28 by 52 in. and a mini crib mattress is 24 by 38 in. This is the ideal solution when you don't have enough floor space available for a standard crib.
The only downside of a mini crib is the limited time your kid will be able to use it. You'll need to switch to a toddler bed sooner if you opt for a mini crib.
Moving Your Baby Out of the Crib and Into a Toddler Bed
Saying good-bye to your child’s crib is a big milestone, but a bittersweet one. There is no specific recommended age for transitioning to a toddler bed. Some parents do it as early as 15 months and others not until after 3 years.
Timing often depends on your child's physical skills—you'll want to make the transition to a bed beforeyour intrepid tot masters the art of crib escape.
When to Transition to a Toddler Bed
Over 90% of 18-month-olds sleep in a crib, but that gradually drops to about 80% at 2 years and 40% by 3 years of age.
After the first birthday, it’s wise to put the mattress all the way down and make sureyourtot doesn’t have toys or bumpers to climb on. The top of the crib rail should be above his collarbones. And always have a soft rug or carpeting on the floor of the room (with a nonslip undermat), because falls from that height can result in serious injuries.
Generally speaking, if your toddler seems like she's plotting her first crib escape, or you've caught her vaulting commando-style over the railing, it's probably time for her to moveher to a bed.
If you’re pregnant, it’s usually best to move your toddler out of the crib a few months before the new baby arrives (assuming your first child is old enough to be out of the crib). If it is already after the birth, you might keep your tot in the crib a while longer. But beware: if you move your toddler to a bed and the next week move the baby into her old crib, your tot may feel jealous—like you gave her beloved possession to the new intruder!
How to Transition to Toddler Bed
When you’re ready to make the switch, remember that tired, cranky toddlers are especially rigid and hate change. So, get your child used to the new bed by making it a routine place for quiet play or massage and napping during the day, times when she’ll be more flexible.
Your tot will have an easier time with the transition when you continue other familiar sleep cues.
To boost her enthusiasm about the switch:
The Big Challenge: Getting Your Toddler to Stay in Bed
Once in a bed, your toddler can pop out anytime she wants. So, you need to (1) childproof the room really well (including electric outlets, curtain cords and sharp corners), and (2) keep her from roaming outside the room at night.
Use a gate to keep her in her room. If she climbs over it, you may need to spend a little time training her to stay in the room or even close the door. Say something like, “Honey, this is Mr. Gate! Mr. Gate will help you stay in the room…so at bedtime, after we sing and read and say night-night…then we’ll close Mr. Gate…and he will help you stay safe and happy in your room all night.”
If your little gymnast climbs over the gate, you may need to close the door and put a doorknob cover on the inside of the door to her room.
Creating a bedtime routine can help your toddler wind down and learn they are expected to stay in bed.
Safe Places for a Baby to Sleep
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada recommend room sharing for the first six months of your baby's life. Room sharing is when you place your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet that is within arm's reach of where you sleep. Research has shown that it is good for babies to share a room with one or more caregivers, and that it may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Remember that room sharing is not sufficient to ensure a safe sleep for your baby. You should follow all applicable safety tips, including the general sleep safety tips provided in the previous section. In particular:
A cradle that meets today's Canadian safety regulations is an appropriate place for your baby to sleep until he or she reaches the maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer OR until your baby can push up on his or her hands and knees, whichever comes first. When your baby reaches this milestone, you should put him or her to sleep in a crib.
The safest place for a baby to sleep is alone in a crib that meets current Canadian safety regulations. A crib should not be used if the child is taller than 90 cm or if he or she is able to climb out of it, whichever comes first. When your baby reaches this milestone, you should put him or her to sleep in a toddler or standard bed.
Never harness or tie your baby in a crib. Your baby should not be left in a crib with a necklace, elastic band, scarf or pacifier on a long cord. These items could cause strangulation.