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The best mattress covers and protectors for children and babies

Protect your cot or single bed mattress from those little accidents with our selection of the best mattress covers

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You may well have spent quite a bit of time and money choosing the right bed, mattress and bedding for your little one. A good mattress protector will make sure their bed stays clean, comfortable and avoids a build-up of bacteria.

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Whether your baby is bringing up some of their milk feeds, dribbling due to teething or you’re cleaning up the results of yet another explosive nappy, you won’t be a stranger to changing their sheets on what can feel like a daily basis. Then as your little one gets older, there are the perils of bedwetting, tummy bugs and spilled drinks, all things which can leave even the most robust mattress looking worse for wear.

We’ve searched the market to find the most comfortable, practical and effective mattress protectors, tried and tested by parents just like you.

What to look for when choosing a mattress protector

Is it comfortable? When you’re shopping for a mattress protector, look at the materials it is made from. Ideally, you want something which is soft and comfortable, just like the rest of their bedding. Natural materials like cotton and bamboo can help keep your baby cool while absorbing any moisture.

How waterproof is it? Some mattress covers are little more than an extra layer of bedding, while others have a waterproof layer which will stop any liquid seeping through to the mattress underneath. Avoid any that feel like a plastic sheet or make a rustling or crinkling sound when your tot moves about as they can stop them getting a good night’s sleep. Mattress protectors can also act as a barrier for dust mites – ideal if your little one suffers from allergies which are aggravated by these little critters.

How does it fit onto the mattress? Some covers come with elasticated edges or straps to keep them firmly in place even if your little one is a wriggly sleeper. There are also covers which can be used on their own without an additional sheet on top.

Is it easy to keep clean? One of the most important things to check before buying is whether the cover is machine washable and can be safely put into the tumble dryer. You won’t want to be putting a damp cover on when it comes to bedtime so if it doesn’t dry quickly, make sure you have a spare.

Here is our pick of the best mattress covers for babies, toddlers and young children:

1. Vesta Baby Premium Cot Bed Mattress Protector, £18.99

– Best for silent sleeping

Size: 70cm x 140cm or 60cm x 120cm | Materials: Rayon made from bamboo | Machine washable: Yes (warm) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes (low)

Made from unbleached bamboo with a non-toxic TPU (more sustainable than PVC) waterproof backing, this soft cot bed mattress cover is eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. But it has more going for it than just its green credentials, the material is extremely absorbent and doesn’t make an annoying crinkly sound when your little one wriggles around – making it ideal for a peaceful night’s sleep.

We love the cute teddy bear jacquard design and the extra-long 22cm skirt which makes it really versatile, even if your cot bed mattress is slightly thicker or bigger than standard. This also helps the cover stay firmly on the bed so it doesn’t spring off at the corners if you have an energetic sleeper.

Another pro is that the Vesta Baby cover is machine washable and can be thrown into the tumble dryer, ready to go back onto your little one’s cot bed that night. One online reviewer was such a fan, she said she was planning to buy one as a gift for all her friends with babies.

Available from: Amazon

2. Snüz Snüzkot Miracle Waterproof Mattress Protector, £28.95

– Best for absorbing leaks and accidents

Size: 118cm x 68cm | Materials: Polyurethane and cotton | Machine washable: Yes (at 60°C) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes

A great mattress protector does more than just add another layer to your little one’s bedding, it absorbs any liquid so it doesn’t seep through to the mattress beneath. This is something the Snüz Snüzkot Miracle Waterproof Mattress Protector does really effectively by combining soft cotton layers, which soak up any nappy leaks or accidents, with a 100% waterproof membrane.

As well as protecting your baby’s cot mattress, the chemical-free cover acts as an impenetrable barrier to dust mites, making it a good choice if your child has allergies. This mattress cover is designed to fit the Snüzkot but the range also includes a standard cot size option.

One major plus point is that you can throw it into the washing machine and put it on a 60C cycle to kill off any bacteria and germs without damaging the cover. It is also suitable for tumble drying-  a big plus if you don’t want to buy a spare or risk a night without it.

Available from: Snüz, John Lewis and Natural Baby Shower

3. Naturalmat Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector, from £14.95

– Best for sustainable materials

Size: 38cm x 89cm (crib), 60cm x 120cm (cot), 70cm x 140cm (cot bed), other sizes to suit different brands are also available | Materials: 85% organic cotton and 15% polyurethane | Machine washable: Yes (delicate cycle) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes

This Naturalmat mattress protector is soft to the touch with 2 layers – one made from organic brushed cotton and the other made from breathable polyurethane, which creates a protective waterproof barrier.

If sustainability and natural materials are important to you, this mattress cover is for you. The materials used are both Soil Association and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified and Naturalmat won the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development 2020 for using natural fibres which either biodegrade or can be reused when you’ve finished with them.

Our favourite feature is the elastic straps which come with the cot and cot bed version of the cover. These hold it firmly in place and allow the sides of the mattress to breathe. There’s also no annoying crinkle sound from the waterproof layer – it is as soft and silent as a normal cotton sheet.

You can throw it in both the washing machine and tumble dryer when it gets dirty but, watch out, as although the instructions say you can wash it at up to 95°C, they also warn that shrinkage can occur if you don’t use the delicate cycle.

Available from: Naturalmat, Amazon and Bebeco

4. Eve cot mattress protector, £35 for 2

– Best for always having a spare

Size: 70cm x 140cm | Materials: cotton with polyurethane membrane | Machine washable: Yes (at 60°C) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes (low)

Coming in a pack of 2, you’ll always have a spare to use if you need to put one in the wash. Although at £35, this is the most expensive product on the list, the fact it includes 2 means it offers great value for money.

Made from soft, breathable cotton, it is light and won’t make your baby or toddler too hot while they sleep. However, the manufacturers describe it as water-resistant, rather than completely waterproof.

Positives include a rustle-free sound and elasticated edges so it will fit easily onto your little one’s mattress and stay there unlike pads or flat protectors which can end up getting bunched up under the sheet. In fact, this protector is so comfortable, you could use it on its own without an actual sheet on top.

One reviewer commented that it feels exactly like an ordinary sheet, adding “it’s so soft and flexible, yet durable and does the job.”

Available from: Eve Sleep

5. Ikea LENAST mattress protector, £10

– Best budget mattress protector

Size: 70cm x 140cm | Materials:  polyester with polyurethane layer and polypropylene backing | Machine washable: Yes (maximum 60°C) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes (maximum 60°C)

At just £10, this white polyester mattress protector is a great budget buy and does what is says on the tin. A waterproof layer stops any liquids making it through and staining the mattress. The top layer is soft, durable and easy to wash at temperatures of up to 60°C.

Unlike many of the covers on our list, the LENAST isn’t made of cotton and doesn’t feel like a sheet. Instead, it has a ventilated mesh to keep your little one cool and stop moisture building up but you will need to use a proper sheet on top.

It does fit onto the mattress like a sheet though, with elasticated edges to keep it in place. Reviewers liked the purse-friendly price and the fact it washes well and dries quickly, even without going into the tumble drier.

Available from: Ikea

6. The Little Green Sheep Organic Crib Mattress Protector, £15.95

– Best flat mattress protector

Size: 38cm x 89cm | Materials: organic cotton with Oeko-Tex Class 1 (Baby) waterproof membrane | Machine washable: Yes | Tumble dryer safe: Yes

This super-soft crib mattress protector from award-winning baby bedding company The Little Green Sheep is a must-have for keeping your tiny tot cosy and comfy at bedtime.

Made from organic cotton, it features a 100% waterproof membrane layer that will protect the crib mattress from a multitude of baby-related spillages! It also protects your little love from dust mites and other nasties.

We love it because it is so soft and smooth and even though it is waterproof, it doesn’t make that crinkly sound other covers can make.

The only thing to watch out for is that the cover is not fitted, but rather lies flat, so the sides of the mattress can breathe. This can mean it might shift about if your baby has had a particularly wriggly night, although as a plus point it makes it more versatile and can also be used under playmats.

Available from: The Little Green SheepAmazon and Natural Baby Shower

7. Comfier Sleep Bamboo Mattress Protector, £15.95

– Best for softness

Size: 60cm x 120cm | Materials: Bamboo and waterproof polyurethane layer | Machine washable: Yes

You and your precious little bundle will just love the softness of this mattress protector by Comfier. Unlike most of the other protectors in our top 10 that are made from cotton, this cover is made from bamboo. This fabric, as well as being super-breathable and antibacterial, is just beautifully soft.

Bamboo is 4 times more absorbent than cotton, which is ideal for those baby dribble attacks when teething strikes. The cover is also 100% waterproof, thanks to a hidden PU layer.

Another reason to try bamboo is for its natural thermo-regulating properties, meaning baby stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Elasticated corners means it fits easily onto the mattress and stays just where you need it too.

Available from: Comfier Sleep and Amazon

8. Mamas & Papas Anti-Allergy Mattress Protector Cotbed, £19

– Best for those with allergies

Size: 70cm x 140cm | Materials:  Cotton, polyester, polyurethane and polypropylene | Machine washable: Yes (at 40°C) | Tumble dryer safe: No

Several of the protectors in our top 10 have anti-allergy properties thanks to their hypoallergenic composition, and this affordable cover from Mamas and Papas is no exception.

Made from a gorgeously soft, terry-cloth fabric, it will make your baby feel snuggly and comfy all night long. The cover is not only waterproof, but also has a non-woven, breathable lining that acts as a barrier to help reduce the risk of allergies.

You can fit it under your baby’s normal sheet or use it alone. Either way, baby will be comfortable and dry, helping them (and you) to sleep soundly. Reviewers loved the quality of the product and the fact it washed well without shrinking.

Available from: Mamas and Papas

9. BreathableBaby 3-in-1 Fitted Mattress Protector Pad, £23.99

– Best for keeping baby cool

Size: 70cm x 140cm | Materials: Polyester | Machine washable: Yes (at 40°C) | Tumble dryer safe: Yes (low)

We love this mattress protector pad by BreathableBaby, because it is basically a 3-in-1 piece of bedding, just like the name suggests, making it the cleverest protector in our top 10. Although it is one of our pricier protectors, its 3-layer protection will ensure that your baby has a comfortable and safe night’s sleep.

The top 2 layers are breathable, and they work together to maximise the airflow between the surface of the mattress and your slumbering babe.

There is also a mesh core made with AirChannel technology, which reduces sweating and draws moisture and heat away from their little bodies, ensuring they do not get overheated. The bottom layer is waterproof too, which will protect your mattress from any accidents.

Available from: Amazon, Hello Baby and Baby Monitors Direct

10. Silentnight Quilted Waterproof Cot Bed Mattress Protector, £11

– Best for washing well

Size: 70cm x 140cm | Materials: 80% polyester and 20% cotton with 100% polypropylene skirt cover | Machine washable: Yes (at 40°C) | Tumble dryer safe: No

This simple yet effective mattress protector for cot beds is the perfect all-rounder for babies and children. We love the soft, quilted topper, which will help your baby fall into a peaceful snooze.

The waterproof finish is ideal for babies or toilet-training toddlers, to help protect their mattress from any little accidents. Best of all, this protector is super-affordable and washes up a treat in the washing machine, so you won’t break the bank if you need to replace it, plus you could buy a spare to use while one is in the wash.

One parent reviewer said: “Could not ask for a better waterproof mattress protector. Does exactly what is says on the packaging.”

Available from: Argos and Amazon

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