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Child Mattress from small Manufacturer 11 Dec 2014 20:52 #1

Ok, my turn please. ;)

Background
We are looking for a mattress for a 6-yr old child, weighs ~40 lb.
The existing mattress is a very basic version from ...a chain store. It has plastic/vinyl on one side (for waterproofness) and quilting on the other. The current occupant (6-yr old) says it is comfortable. It is not very supportive to me if I lay on it for a long time (older, ~135 lb) - there is not a lot of give. But it has a nice feel on the surface.

That mattress will be passed down, and we need a new one for the 6-yr old.

The existing bed will stay. The mattress rests on a homemade solid plywood surface with a thin pad stretched over it. The cover on the plywood is very thin, and is there for appearances and cleanliness, not additional comfort. The maximum suitable mattress height is 10".

The Search
A number of the child's classmates have IKEA beds, and the parents think they're just fine. We don't want to take that route just yet (as mentioned in other posts).

I also visited one of the small retailer/manufacturers on the list for the Toronto area, and now I have more questions.

This store suggests one of two mattresses - both twin size.
1) "Low quality" - "very basic, not a lot of padding, no quilted cover" (Their words) $140
2) "Better" - $199

Mattress #1 (ok, #2 from above, but #1 to consider)
The "Better" mattress is twin, 2-sided (symmetrical) and has, from inside out:
a) "regular" coils - Bonnell, 380 count, 13 1/2 gauge, 5" high, made by Legatt & Platt (possibly in China in a U.S. run plant(?))
b) a "baked cotton pad", ~ 3/8" thk
c) Polyfoam, 1.3 lb/cu.ft, 1" thk
d) quilting, polyfoam, 1.3 lb/cu.ft, ~3/8" thk

Pad, foam and quilting are the same on either side of the spring, so that adds up as: 5" coils + 2 x (3/8" + 1" + 3/8") = 8.5"
Mattress is said to be 9" high - pretty close.

They use 4 bow-tie shaped steel pieces along each long side to provide flex and support. Presumably one or two on the ends as well.

The Bar
Sitting on the edge of the mattress (as for story-time), I really noticed the bar running around the top of the coils that holds the system together. That alone is enough to make me look elsewhere. I compared it to the existing mattress at home, and on that one, the bar is still there, but is covered just enough by the quilted cover and/or comfort layer that extends over top and wraps around slightly. I can feel the bar but I have to try.

I'm thinking of asking if this manufacturer can copy that feature. That would make a big difference in usability, and if they cut their own layers, an extra 1" all around, both faces, shouldn't make that much difference to the cost, no?

When I brought up the feel of the bar, the solution suggested by the owner was to make a smaller coil base and surround it with dense foam sides as in larger mattresses. This would be custom and much more expensive. I hadn't yet examined the one at home to see their simple solution.

The Foam
I'm also hesitant about the polyfoam layer. From reading this site, it seems that 1.3 lb/cu.ft is very low. But the owner (who "passed" a phone interview by Phoenix) says that 1.3 lb is acceptable, is what "everyone" does for a basic mattress, and the mattress should last at least 8 years (with flipping and rotating).

Could you comment on the construction of this mattress?
I realize there can be variations with circumstance (weight of sleeper, flip the mattress or not, etc), but is 1" of 1.3 lb foam any "good"?
Does the separate extra 3/8" in the quilting make a difference?
Aside from the bar around the coils, the foam density is holding me back from what could be a simple purchase.

Other Notes
From the rest of our conversation:

a) They've been in business for 28 years. Lots of referrals, word of mouth, repeat customers (let's hope after a decent time interval...), etc.

b) Owner doesn't like memory foam - it's a "waste of money" and lasts only a couple of years before it doesn't come back

c) Foam density determines quality / durability. Higher density = more oil = more durability. [ in general terms ]

d) They use "compressions" to distinguish between firmness levels. e.g 18/35 is 1.8 lb/cu.ft foam that has been compressed 35 times, and is on the soft side. 18/50 is 1.8 lb foam that has been compressed 50 times, and is therefore firmer. [ I don't expect to derive meaning from the numbers, it's just a way to tell the levels apart ]

e) "Regular" foams (polyfoam) "don't have a lot of fire retardants". This is Canada which doesn't have the same laws as in the 'States.

f) They "haven't heard of" (or don't use) the term "offset coil". I think we ended up describing the same thing, but they called it something else ("Plasti-coil" or similar?).

Thank you for any advice.

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Last edit: by MatRest.

Child Mattress from small Manufacturer 11 Dec 2014 23:02 #2

Hi MatRest,

We are looking for a mattress for a 6-yr old child, weighs ~40 lb.


Post #2 here includes links to most of the better forum posts and topics about children and mattresses.

Mattress #1 (ok, #2 from above, but #1 to consider)
The "Better" mattress is 2-sided (symmetrical) and has, from inside out:
a) "regular" coils - Bonnell, 380 count, 13 1/2 gauge, 5" high, made by Legatt & Platt (possibly in China in a U.S. run plant(?))
b) a "baked cotton pad", ~ 3/8" thk
c) Polyfoam, 1.3 lb/cu.ft, 1" thk
d) quilting, polyfoam, 1.3 lb/cu.ft, ~3/8" thk

Pad, foam and quilting are the same on either side of the spring, so that adds up as: 5" coils + 2 x (3/8" + 1" + 3/8") = 8.5"
Mattress is said to be 9" high - pretty close.

They use 4 bow-tie shaped steel pieces along each long side to provide flex and support. Presumably one or two on the ends as well.

The Bar
Sitting on the edge of the mattress (as for story-time), I really noticed the bar running around the top of the coils that holds the system together. That alone is enough to make me look elsewhere. I compared it to the existing mattress at home, and on that one, the bar is still there, but is covered just enough by the quilted cover and/or comfort layer that extends over top and wraps around slightly. I can feel the bar but I have to try.


The foam is lower density than I would be comfortable with at 1.3lb density for an older child that will be growing larger fairly soon (although it's still better than the typical 1.2 lb density or sometimes even lower that is often used in these price ranges). I would personally use 1.5 lb density as a minimum guideline but if a very low budget is the main consideration then 1.3 lb in a two sided mattress would be more durable than a one sided mattress that uses the same quality foam or even slightly higher on only one side of the mattress.

In an innerspring mattress that uses better construction ... the insulator and the foam padding layers are larger than the size of the coils and are hog ringed to the border rod (see this video ) or sometimes stretched over the border rod and hog ringed to the coils themselves through a flange that is attached to the top panel (see this video ) so that the border rod has some padding over it. These additional steps also add to the cost of materials and labor though so the mattress would be more costly. The example in the first video uses 1.8 lb polyfoam and is their entry level classic mattress that sells for $126 in twin as a frame of reference (although this is one sided not two sided and uses higher quality materials than you would usually find in this price range).

When I brought up the feel of the bar, the solution suggested by the owner was to make a smaller coil base and surround it with dense foam sides as in larger mattresses. This would be custom and much more expensive. I hadn't yet examined the one at home to see their simple solution.


A foam surround would also work well to remove the feel of the border rod but it would be important that the foam was good quality/density and a suitable firmness (see post #2 here ). This would also add additional cost and labor to the mattress.

Does the separate extra 3/8" in the quilting make a difference?


Yes ... it would change the feel of the mattress and would act as an additional comfort layer on top of the foam layers. The quilting will compress the foam or fibers used in the quilting and add to the durability of the quilting materials and different quilting patterns will make the quilted cover feel firmer or softer and would change the "feel" of the mattress (see post #12 here about quilted covers).

a) Owner doesn't like memory foam - it's a "waste of money" and lasts only a couple of years before it doesn't come back


There are many smaller manufacturers across North America (perhaps even a majority) that don't like memory foam at all and tend to avoid it because of some of its weaknesses (and I wouldn't use memory foam for a child's mattress) although there are millions of people who sleep very well on memory foam and with higher quality memory foam in a suitable construction their mattresses will last them for much longer than a couple of years.

b) Foam density determines quality / durability. Higher density = more oil = more durability. [ in general terms ]


This is true and foam density is the single biggest factor in foam durability although there are other factors involved in durability as well (see post #4 here )

c) They use "compressions" to distinguish between firmness levels. e.g 18/35 is 1.8 lb/cu.ft foam that has been compressed 35 times, and is on the soft side. 18/50 is 1.8 lb foam that has been compressed 50 times, and is therefore firmer. [ I don't expect to derive meaning from the numbers, it's just a way to tell the levels apart ]


This certainly isn't accurate. 1835 polyfoam means that the density is 1.8 lbs and the ILD is 35. You can see the definition of ILD or IFD (which is basically the same but is more often used for polyfoam) and how it is usually measured in this post and it has nothing to do with how many times a foam is compressed but how much force it takes to compress the foam by 25% of its thickness (or sometimes by 40% but this is more common in Europe). 35 ILD isn't generally considered to be on the soft side (it would be more in a medium or medium firm range depending on the type and properties of the foam). 1850 would be 1.8 lb density and would be 50 ILD which would be very firm.

d) "Regular" foams (polyfoam) "don't have a lot of fire retardants". This is Canada which doesn't have the same laws as in the 'States.


It's true that the fire regulations are different in Canada than in the US but even in the US fire retardant foams are mostly used in furniture and mattresses depend more on barrier systems that are used as a sock around the foam layers or are quilted to the cover to pass the fire regulations.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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