Mattress Buying FAQ’s and Tips for Buying a Child’s Mattress

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Here are some frequently asked questions about mattresses.  Don’t forget, the Sealy mattress giveaway ends 7/31!

Q:  How long do mattress last?  How do I know if I need a new one?

A:  Mattresses have a life of approximately 8 – 10 years.  Here are four signs that you need a new mattress:

#1  Waking up in the morning feeling achy and sore, especially on the side you were sleeping on.

#2 You stay at a hotel or friend’s house and the mattress is more comfortable than home.

#3 You aren’t getting a solid night’s sleep – you wake up frequently during the night.

#4  No matter how much you clean your bedding, you are still bothered by allergens.

Q:  I need a new mattress but do I have to buy a new foundation also? Why not just replace the mattress?

A: The purpose of a box spring is:

  • to raise the mattress’ height, making it easier to get in and out of bed
  • to absorb shock and reduce wear to the mattress
  • to create a flat and firm structure for the mattress to lie upon.

Mattresses are designed to work with their companion foundation/box spring.  It may affect the comfort of your new mattress if you don’t have the correct box spring.  It may even affect the warranty.  What convinced me when buying my daughter’s set, was hearing that federal standards for fire safety have changed since we last bought a mattress.

Q:  I always heard you should flip a mattress, why?

A:  In the past, mattress were “two-sided” and to encourage even wear, we would flip over the mattress periodically.  Most mattresses today, however, are “one-sided” (ie pillowtop or comfort foam is only on one side).  To prolong the life of a one-sided mattress, you want to rotate it periodically, but don’t flip.

Q:  How much should a new mattress cost?

A:  Prices vary hugely, depending on the size and quality of the mattress.  We try to buy the best quality we can afford – it truly has an effect on how you feel every day.  We spend 1/3 of our lives in bed and the other 2/3 is improved by a good night’s sleep.  If a mattress set costs $1,200 and you keep it for 10 years, that comes down to 33 cents a day.  To feel good?  Worth it!

Q:  I just bought a new mattress for myself and want to pass down my old mattress to my children.  Is there any reason not to do that?

A:  If your mattress isn’t good for you anymore, it’s not good for anyone else.  Even though children weigh less, they still need quality support for their growing bodies.  And always have a cover to prevent transfer of allergens.  Federal regulations for fire safety have improved over the years, a new mattress will ensure that the mattress has those important features for your child.

Q:  What is a low-profile foundation/box spring?

A:  A standard box spring is approximately 9 inches high.  Combined with the height of the mattress, this can make the bed quite “tall”.  Especially for children, you may want a lower bed.  A “low-profile” box spring is only approximately 5 inches high.  There is no difference in function or support, it is purely the look that differs.

Q:  Where is the best place to buy a mattress?

A:  The best place to buy a mattress is at a retailer that you trust to provide you with:

  • a quality product – some retailers may sell “reconditioned” “factory-direct” bargain mattresses that may be substandard quality
  • good customer service – the retailer can provide help in narrowing down your choices as you shop and pointing out unique features of different mattresses
  • reliable delivery – usually we need delivery on a mattress and some retailers have better delivery channels than others, make sure you ask

Tips for Buying a Child’s Mattress

1.  Because mattresses can carry allergens and other toxic substances, it’s important to buy your child a new mattress.  There are bargains on sanitized or reconditioned mattresses, but you may be taking a chance with those on exacerbating allergies or worse.  Even passing down your old mattress to your child is not a good idea, if it’s no longer good for you, it’s not good for a child either.

2.  A new mattress meets federal fire safety regulations.  Fire safety regulations change and improve over the years.  By purchasing a new mattress you will be sure that it meets important standards.

3.  Experts recommend medium-firm comfort levels for children.  If a mattress is too firm or too soft, it can affect the growth and development of your child.

4.  Purchase a low-profile foundation/box spring.  Especially for young children, the height of the bed should be kept low.  New mattresses are often quite tall but the low profile box spring can make the overall height more reasonable.

Other posts in the Good Night’s Sleep Event:

  • Win a Sealy Next Generation Posturepedic Mattress Set – Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
  • Win CleanRest Mattress Covers – Fight Allergens and Bed Bugs
  • Win a Keepsake Clothes Bear from The Patchwork Bear
  • Win a Scare Me Not – Specially Trained Good Little Monster
  • Win a Keurig Coffee Brewer from


  • 4 Signs That It’s Time to Buy a New Mattress
  • Mattress Shopping?  Don’t Leave Home Without Reading These Tips
  • Mattress Shopping?  Five things to Look for When Choosing a Brand
  • Mattress Shopping?  In Store Tips


  1. 1

    My hubs and I bought a new mattress finally after 10 years of sleeping on the cheap mattress we bought before we were married…the best decision ever…I love my bed…I would marry my bed…

  2. 2

    Thanks for the useful tips! We definitely need a new mattress, but so do each of the kids: two are still in toddler beds.

  3. 3

    We need a new mattress. Ours is 9 years old with a memory foam topper. I’m never sure what to pick as far as options. We both have bad backs, mine being the worst.

    Thanks for the list, it really helps!

  4. 4

    I want a new mattress! Jealous!
    Sadie recently posted..Thirty-One Review & Business Opportunity

  5. 5

    We ditched our original bed when moving cross country. Now we have a memory foam mattress from Costco that took some getting used to sleeping upon. What we don’t have is a foundation or bed frame. While I love having a new mattress, I miss being off the ground.
    Laura O in AK recently posted..Favorite Books to Help on the Breastfeeding Journey

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