When Do You Flip Mattress To Toddler Side? Everything You Need To Know About 2-Stage Crib Mattresses

when do you flip a toddler mattress

As your little one grows and transitions from a crib to a toddler bed, there are several adjustments to ensure their safety and comfort. One essential consideration is when do you flip the mattress to the toddler side? This simple yet crucial step for dual-sided mattresses can make a significant difference in providing optimal support for your child's growing body and typically happens around 18 months (give or take 6 months).

In this blog post, we'll guide moms through the what a dual sided mattress is, our top picks, the process of determining the right time to flip the mattress, along with some useful tips to ensure a smooth transition.

What is a dual-sided mattress?

A dual-sided mattress features a firm “infant” side and a slightly softer “toddler” side with the primary goal of reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and providing new parents with a greater peace of mind.

If you found yourself on this blog post because you overheard some moms talking about mattress flipping and you're scratching your head, know that you only need to flip a crib mattress to the toddler side if you have a two-stage crib mattress.

Most dual-sided mattresses are labeled, but some aren't. You can easily press your hand on each side of the mattress to feel the different firmness levels.

If they feel the same, you don't need to worry about flipping the mattress. If they feel different note the firmer side is intended for babies, and the softer side is for toddlers.

Benefits of a dual sided mattress:

While dual sided mattresses are not necessary, they do offer an ultra firm infant side for safety reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends baby's mattress is firm.

The firmness ensures if baby ends up on their stomach or side, the mattress doesn't have any “give” that could obstruct their breathing. The slightly softer toddler side offers a little more give that's age appropriate given kids more advanced motor skills.

How to choose the right crib mattress:

We personally love a dual sided baby's crib mattress for infant to toddler use thanks to the different sides breathability and reduced risk of SIDS.

Additionally, you'll want a mattress that's Greenguard Gold Certified, JPMA certified, and has no issues with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). We also love a fire retardant free mattress to avoid unnecessary toxic chemicals.

Despite thinking the chemical created flame retardant “fire barrier” would be a good thing, the research is leaning towards it being generally ineffective and even potentially harmful as a neurotoxin according to the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIH).

Best Two-Stage Crib Mattresses:


One of the best mattress companies in general features three 2-stage dual firmness mattresses. The classic, Breathable, and Breathable Ultra. All three includes features like a lightweight steel coils, Greenguard Gold Certification, GOTS certified organic cotton, no flame retardants, and a 100 night trial plus a lifetime warranty.

It's one of the best quality mattresses out there for your baby's health in the long run while providing a comfortable sleep experience. The crib mattresses vary by level of water resistance (classic is a wipe clean, breathable and breathable ultra feature a removable washable cover with waterproof barrier on the back), lightweight vs. innerspring coil system, and some materials (breathable covers and void of more safety hazards the higher the price point).

Babyletto Pure Core Hybrid Mattress

A budget friendly option that's GREENGUARD Gold Certified hypoallergenic, and free from chemical flame retardants while still offering a fire barrier made of modacrylic and polyester.

Additionally it comes with a PVC-free waterproof zip-off cover and hypoallergenic.

Avocado Organic Crib Mattress

Made from 100% certified organic cotton, wool and latex this GREENGUARD Gold certified mattress features no petroleum based polyurethane foams, chemical adhesives, flame retardants, polyethylene, or vinyl waterproofing.

You'll get a 30 night trial and 25 year warranty too!

Newton Crib Mattress

While not technically double sided it is considered a 2-stage infant to toddler crib mattress thanks to several unique qualities that grow with your child. It's breathable cover and Wovenaire core make it the first of it's kind most breathable crib mattress in existence.

We love that the mattress itself can be washed and you can choose between machine washable covers, including a quick-dry waterproof one which is great for potty training! It's also GREENGUARD Gold certified, offers a 100 night trial, and limited lifetime warranty.

When is the best time to flip a dual sided mattress?

We had the Babyletto crib mattress and flipped it intentionally around 24 months as we felt it most aligned with the AAP Safe Sleep Standards. Around 2 years old they say it's okay for kids to start sleeping with a pillow, so we figured a softer mattress was okay too.Granted, most manufacturers will say you can flip the mattress as early as 12 to 18 months, we simply felt more comfortable waiting even though our daughter developed the motor skills to lift her head, stand, and roll much earlier.

At the end of the day, every child is different, we just aired on the side of extra safe.

Signs your toddler is ready for the mattress flip:

If your child can pull themselves up to stand and is attempting to climb out of their crib they are probably ready to flip from the infant to toddler side.

These physical developmental milestones indicate enough strength and coordination to maneuver a mattress. You can still want to check with your pediatrician though.

Listen to your instincts

At the end of the day you know your child best, so trust your instincts.

Some people suggest doing the flip if your child is having a hard time sleeping through the night.

Personally, I didn't find this to be true. We often forgot our mattress was double sided and my daughter would accidentally get the infant side of the mattress during sheet changes and it never impacted her sleep. Kids really don't mind a firm mattress so there's no rush on the flip in my experience.

Additionally, I had to lay on the firm side of the mattress with my second quite a few times for hours and it didn't bother me, so I doubt it'll bother a toddler.

With that said, you can always ask your toddler and let them test out both sides and decide!

Check the Manufacturer's Guidelines:

If you still feel stumped, be sure to check the manufacturer's guidelines for any instructions or specific recommendations on when to flip the mattress to the toddler side.

Different mattresses are made of different materials so their suggestions may vary slightly.

Tips for a Smooth Transition:

First, keep in mind you're probably more stressed about the flip than your kid! So take a deep breath as this is typically one seamless transition!

How to transition to the toddler side of a dual sided mattress:

  • Clean and inspect the mattress thoroughly before flipping.
  • Choose a calm period for the transition, avoiding other major changes.
  • Flip it!

It's really that simple! Most toddler's don't notice this transition. If you have a sensory kid who does notice stuff like this, then consider starting with just naps, before going to overnight sleep and talking about the transition with your child.

Final thoughts:

The best way to flip a 2-sided crib mattress to the toddler side is to following manufacturer's guidelines and the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep standards first and foremost.

Most children won't notice the flip or care about sleeping on an extra firm surface for a little longer. If yours does, start with the toddler side for just naps until they are ready to make the switch, or continue using the infant side until they are ready. There is no harm in waiting and using a firmer mattress beyond 2 years old!