Every now and then I get asked by my friends “How long should we use crib mattress ?” or “Can I use the old crib mattress for my new baby ?”. Well, If I ask you, “Are you happy to put your baby’s health at risk ?” I am sure, in reply, you will say, “Certainly not”. I recently have done some studies on this. I would like to share this with you all


Some people say that they use the old crib mattress over and over again for many years. When their first baby is out grown, many of the parents put the crib mattress away in the attic wrapped in different covers. I personally think that this is not safe. How many of us think about the sweat that the mattress gets off the baby’s body ? Most attics are dark and do not get air around them which is a favourable condition for developing bacteria on the mattresses.


A recent study carried out by the researchers at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow and they found that using old/ used cot mattress can increase the risk of ill health. It even can cause death. They studied 131 cases and they found that there is a link between the babies’ death and used cot/crib mattress.


British Medical Journal published a study that was carried out over 4 years. This study also found similar results. The summary of that result is if we use an old and used cot/crib mattress that was used by another baby in another house it increases the risk of sudden death (SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) of the baby significantly. Dr David Tappin, consultant paediatrician at the Yorkhill NHS Trust, said: “What we would say to parents is that the most important steps to take to reduce cot death are to put babies on their back to sleep and to stop smoking during pregnancy and keep the baby smoke-free after the birth. Our research is not saying there is a definite risk from used mattresses but the way of avoiding a potential risk is to use new mattresses.”


I personally prefer a cot mattress with waterproof cover. It is very easy to clean and helps reduce any bacterial growth. Dr Richard Wilson, FSID trustee and paediatrician, said: “Babies are safest sleeping on their backs on clean, firm, well-fitted mattresses. My baby is the most precious thing in the world. I will always get the safest item for my baby. I do not need to buy expensive items. I will always go for safe and new items. There is no specific rule of thumb about the age of the cot mattress. Expensive items tend to last longer than the cheaper items.


However, not everybody can afford expensive items. There is nothing wrong with this. All we need to make sure that the cot mattress is germ-free, firm and there is no gap between the cot and the mattress. If any of these is missing we should buy a new one for the baby.