For a long time now it has been widely accepted that it is important for an infant to sleep on a firm mattress. But, how firm is firm enough?
In 2013 a voluntary standard (AS/NZS 8811.1:2013) was introduced for the testing of mattress firmness. Any mattress that fails the test is considered ‘too soft’ and can present as a risk factor for SIDS1. As the standard is voluntary, manufacturers are not required to meet this standard which means a mattress can be purchased which is too soft.
It is important that the mattress is firm when a baby can roll onto their front as they can be at risk of suffocating with a mattress that is too soft.
How can you ensure your mattress is safe?
Firstly, make sure your mattress fits inside the cot snugly with no gaps of more than 20mm around the edge between the mattress and the cot. It is also important to not place any extra bedding (e.g. lamb’s wool, cushioning) on top of the mattress as this is likely to make the surface uneven as well as too soft.
To test the firmness there is an at home test that can be done using household items. Please watch the video below for instructions and be sure to test the mattress in many different spots.