Crib: What Matters

From the princess canopy bed to the buccaneer bunk – children’s beds come in all varieties and for every need. Some can be stacked on top of each other. Others can be used as guest beds, while others can be transformed into couches. The child needs to have enough space. Here you can read what else you should look out for.

Of course, a crib should look good - but not only. We give you tips on what to look for when buying a slatted frame, mattress, and bedding
Of course, a crib should look good – but not only. We give you tips on what to look for when buying a slatted frame, mattress, and bedding.
Photo: living4media/Luc Waumann

Tips for Safe Children Bunk Beds

Who hasn’t dreamed of a bunk or loft bed as a child? The wish is all too easy to understand. It is also gladly realized by parents – especially since this type of children’s bed saves space and simultaneously brings two additional square meters of space for playing. With DIN EN 747, the legislator ensures child safety and prevents children from injuring themselves when going to bed or getting up.

In concrete terms, this means that the child sleeping on top must be protected by a guardrail at least 16 centimeters high, measured from its top edge to the top of the mattress. Another requirement is a ladder 30 to 40 centimeters wide, firmly attached to the crib, with a tread spacing between 20 and 30 centimeters and a step depth of at least 9 centimeters. In addition, the clear distance between two-bed bottoms must be at least 75 centimeters.

A bunk bed has to withstand a lot - that's where quality comes in
A bunk bed has to withstand a lot – that’s where quality comes in.
Photo: living4media / Christophe Madamour

Stability is an important criterion for any type of crib, especially for a loft or bunk bed. Shake the bed frame before you buy it, and let your child climb up. Sturdy furniture can also be recognized because it can stand freely in the room without being attached to the wall, i.e., it is designed to be tip-proof. The golden “M” of the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel e.V. (German Furniture Quality Association) also helps with the choice: Where the label is on it and there is quality inside. It is also a good guideline if you want to furnish the baby’s room or redesign it and attach importance to healthy living materials, child safety, and TÜV-tested quality.

By the way: Children under the age of six should not yet sleep on the top floor.

The Right Mattress for a Child’s Bed

Children and adolescents do not yet have pronounced body centers of gravity and only need evenly supporting mattresses without special head, shoulder, and pelvis zones – most sleep through without problems on a firm mattress. However, a detailed individual consultation is recommended for children with back or weight problems. A good mattress provides optimum support, keeps you warm, is permeable to air, absorbs and passes on evaporation, is free of harmful substances and keeps its shape, makes no noise, and is easy to care for. Whether you choose an innerspring, foam, latex, or other mattress construction for your child’s bed is a matter of well-being, health, and budget. Some companies deliver mattresses to the home, where the child can try them out for free.

Latex Crib Mattresses

Latex mattresses provide good point-elastic support thanks to their core of millions of micro-fine air cells. If you buy a latex mattress for your child’s bed, you can choose between natural and synthetic latex. Natural latex is obtained from rubber tree sap and can cause allergies in some children. However, in return, natural rubber transports moisture better and ventilates better. In addition, the skin does not come into contact with the mattress core.

No matter which mattress you ultimately choose - protect it from any soiling with a washable cover and absorbent gauze cloths. It's easy for a little mishap to happen during a romp
No matter which mattress you ultimately choose – protect it from any soiling with a washable cover and absorbent gauze cloths. It’s easy for a little mishap to happen during a romp.
Photo: iStock/monkeybusinessimages

Cold Foam Mattress for Children’s Bed

Cold foam has an irregular, coarse, and open-cell pore structure, making it moisture permeable. Among synthetic foams, cold foam is the most valuable material and is considered harmless to health. In addition, cold foam supports the body area elastically. When buying a crib mattress made of cold foam, the mattress must have a density of more than 40 kilograms per cubic meter (RG 40). Products with up to RG 60 are available – the higher the number, the better the quality.

Crib With Innerspring Mattress

Innerspring mattresses come in two types – cheap and expensive. The cheaper models consist of a framework of metallic springs encased in padding. These mattresses provide support over a large area rather than at specific points and are more suitable for children, as they promise more freedom of movement during sleep. The disadvantage of the inexpensive variant is the tendency to oscillate. More expensive models with pocket springs provide support at certain points rather than over a large area – you sink in more, and your body has less reason to move during sleep. Here, each spring is sewn into a fleece bag. However, both types are good moisture transporters.

Mattress Covers for Allergy Sufferers

If your child constantly wakes up with a stuffy nose, they may be allergic to dust mites. If you can provide a doctor’s certificate, you may be reimbursed by your health insurance for the cost of a mite-proof mattress cover. However, you can also use other means to combat house dust mites, such as neem oil. In India, the neem tree has been a “village pharmacy” for over four millennia. Treat the cover with the oil, and the mites will pass their appetite for human dander. By the way, dust mites occur on all mattresses, regardless of their material.

The right-slatted frame for the crib

Babies and toddlers have a stable and less susceptible hunchback, and it is only from the age of five that the typical double curvature of the spine slowly forms. Therefore, experts recommend a firm sleeping surface and a solid slatted frame with rigid slats. When buying a crib, ensure the slat spacing is about five centimeters. If it is too large, the mattress will push through; if it is too small, its ability to transport moisture will be impeded. An ideal slatted frame occupies half of the base with slats, leaving the other free for ventilation. In no case should the slatted frame lie on the floor or in a closed bed base.

Seal of Quality for Mattresses and Slatted Frames

You can sleep more soundly on a mattress made of materials strictly controlled for harmful substances: the Environmental Label Jury awards its Blue Angels to low-emission slatted frames and mattresses manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner and containing no harmful substances. Among other things, carcinogenic, mutagenic, and fruit-damaging substances are banned, as is the use of insecticides, fungicides, and flame retardants in mattress materials.

Comforter and Pillow in Children’s Beds

Every person releases up to half a liter of water as moisture during sleep each night, and the bed absorbs it – mattress, pillow, and comforter. If the bed refuses to absorb it, we sweat, cool, freeze, and wake up. That is why when buying crib utensils, you should not always buy the cheapest. High-quality mattresses and bedding are made to keep the temperature in the bed as constant as possible. Under a blanket made of camel hair, your child will not feel the temperature drops a little during the night.

Comforters From Natural Materials

Animals adapt perfectly to cold and heat. Ducks and geese have thermal protection in the form of small air channels. Their feathers and down are hygroscopic, i.e., they absorb and dissipate moisture. In the same way, they air-condition our beds as a classic filling material. Feathers support and down make the bedding cuddly. New wool, camel, and goat hair is warm in winter, cool in summer, and can absorb water vapor very well. Sheep wool absorbs up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture without feeling damp, releasing it into the outside air. Thanks to its self-cleaning power, wool can neutralize perspiration. Camel hair feels fine, soft, and supple and is only surpassed in this by cashmere: The noble goat hair weighs almost nothing and costs a lot. No wonder: a merino sheep yields up to ten kilograms of wool per year, a fully-grown camel around five kilograms, while the annual yield of a cashmere goat is only about 50 grams.

Pillows and blankets warm and cool, absorbing the moisture that is exhaled during sleep and releasing it to the outside
Pillows and blankets warm and cool, absorbing the moisture that is exhaled during sleep and releasing it to the outside.
Photo: iStock/SolStock

Vegetable Filling Materials for Children’s Comforters

High-quality comforters and pillows are filled with cotton, soy, and other plant fibers. Man-made fibers also insulate heat and make bedding light and cuddly. Their advantage: they can be washed at 60 degrees Celsius, some even at 95 degrees Celsius. Some beds with natural filling can be cleaned in the washing machine, but not at maximum temperatures.

When Should You Change the Comforter and Pillow?

It doesn’t matter if you cover your children with a boil-proof blanket, a light summer blanket, or a warmer one for winter: The main thing is to air it often. After about eight years, you should say goodbye to feather and down blankets and replace those filled with branded fibers after six to eight years. The effectiveness of wool also decreases over the years: How durable natural hair quilts are depends very much on quality and care. But even the best comforter should be replaced after 15 years at the latest. You part with pillows after just two to five years.

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