Can I use a second hand nursery mattress?

Can I use a second hand nursery mattress?

Hand-me-down clothing is commonplace, but should you reuse a nursery mattress? The short answer is no, for good reason.

Disclaimer: this article discusses Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which may be a sensitive topic for some parents. If this issue has affected you, you can call The Lullaby Trust's bereavement support helpline on 0808 802 6868 or email
What is SIDS?

Child sleep charity The Lullaby Trust is the UK's leading authority on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, previously known as Cot Death). SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby, which cannot be explained by a post-mortem examination.

It is unknown what causes SIDS. According to the Lullaby Trust, 'For many babies it is likely that a combination of factors affect them at a vulnerable stage of their development, which leads them to die suddenly and unexpectedly.

'However, we do know you can significantly reduce the chance of SIDS occurring by following [our] safer sleep advice.' The Lullaby Trust's safer sleep advice covers a range of steps parents can take to ensure their little one is at the least risk of SIDS.

When it comes to a mattress, The Lullaby Trust's advice is that your baby should sleep on a firm, flat and waterproof mattress in good condition, in a moses basket or cot in the same room as you (for at least the first six months).

This two-minute video explains The Trust's advice:

What Are The Risks of Using a Second Hand Nursery Mattress?

According to The Lullaby Trust, ‘There is some research that found an increased chance of SIDS when using a second-hand mattress brought in from outside of the family home, although the link is not yet proven.'

This applies to any mattress you are reusing - cot, crib or Moses basket. Therefore, it is best to buy a brand new, unused mattress for your newborn.

Can I Still Choose to Use a Second Hand Nursery Mattress?

'If you choose to reuse a mattress, check it's still firm, flat, and in good condition.

'Make sure there are no rips, tears or sagging and that the waterproof cover has provided full protection; no fluid has leaked into the mattress. A waterproof cover for a mattress is important for keeping it clean and dry and prevents the harbouring of any bacteria in the mattress.

'We also recommend ensuring the mattress has been stored safely - in a place where there is no chance of mould or wear and tear. If the mattress is no longer in good condition then we would recommend replacing it.

'We also recommend that the mattress is waterproof and that a freshly washed sheet is used over it. If it hasn't been previously protected with a waterproof cover then we would advise replacing the mattress.'

What if I Can't Afford a New Mattress?

If you are struggling to source a suitable nursery mattress for your child, a local Baby Bank may be able to assist you. If you are in the UK we recommend using Little Village’s Baby Bank Map to locate your nearest Baby Bank.

Naturalmat Baby's Recommended Mattress

To provide the safest sleep surface for newborns, we recommend our firm & flat Coco Mat with an Organic Cotton Waterproof Mattress Protector. Both the cover of the mattress and the waterproof protector are removable and machine washable at 60ºC - bed bugs and other nasties are killed at 57ºc.

Find out more about our supporting partnership with the Lullaby Trust.