Unfortunately, you can't just order Serta sheep with a click of the mouse on the Serta web site. The mattress manufacturer doesn't offer these toys for sale, but certain Serta retailers do carry the sheep. Call the company at 888-557-3782 or use the contact form on serta.com to find out where Serta mattresses are sold in your area and whether they sell Serta sheep. If they don't, you still may be able to score a sheep as a promotional offer or free gift along with a new mattress.
Like other popular collectible toys, Serta sheep are all over auction sites like eBay and ebid.net. As long as you use a discerning eye when bidding and don't get caught in a scam, this is a great option for those in search of Serta sheep slippers or plush counting sheep.
If you're not located near a Serta retailer that sells the sheep and prefer not to use an auction site, some online retailers carry the toys. Amazon.com, tias.com, and bonanzle.com are a few sites to try.
Identify what your budget is for a new mattress. The price range for brand new mattresses varies tremendously and having a price range in mind can help you narrow down your options more quickly.
Browse several mattress stores to get an idea of what types of twin mattresses you can get within your budget.
Ask your toddler to lay down on twin mattresses that are in your price range. Ask her to show you which mattresses she thinks are the most comfortable.
Lay on a few mattresses yourself to get an idea of which mattress you think would best meet your child's needs.
Choose a firm mattress, recommends Tizzie Hall, author of "Save our Sleep Toddler." A soft mattress can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome if your toddler rolls over onto his tummy and then can't flip back onto his back, Hall reports.
Purchase a box spring with your toddler's new twin mattress and consider bed rails to help prevent your child from falling out of bed.
Look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, or JPMA, certification on any bed you're considering for your toddler. This seal of approval means that the bed meets minimum safety requirements. Buy a new mattress if possible. Not only will the mattress be clean, but you'll also know that no one else has slept on it before your child.
Make sure that the new mattress doesn't leave gaps between the sides of the mattress and the edges of the bed frame. Your child could slip into the gap and become entrapped, Hall notes.
Before using a secondhand crib mattress, even if it's yours, check to be sure the product hasn't been recalled. In 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a recall of all drop side cribs, so if the mattress accompanies that style of crib, discard the crib, but make sure the mattress meets all safety recommendations if you plan to reuse it in a new crib. It the crib mattress itself has been recalled, get rid of it and buy a new one.
Consumer Reports suggests buying a new crib mattress instead of reusing an old one, if possible -- though they also state that if you have kept a new mattress from your first baby clean, in a dry environment, you can likely use it again. However, a used mattress that appears to be in good shape might be unsanitary or could be harboring mold if it was stored in a damp place, making it an unhealthy choice. Avoid reusing a crib mattress from someone else, as you can't be sure how the mattress was stored or cared for and it could contain bacteria.
Condition of the Mattress
Avoid crib mattresses made with thin vinyl, as they tear, crack and fall apart easily. Regardless of material, check it very carefully before putting it in the crib. Make sure there are no tears, broken springs, stuffing falling out or damaged corners. If the mattress isn't in like-new condition, toss it and get a new one.
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that a crib mattress should fit snugly into the crib and be the same size as the crib. If you're reusing a mattress, but have a new crib, it is important to make sure it fits properly. A crib mattress that is too small leaves gaps that could trap a baby, resulting in suffocation. At the same time, make sure the mattress is firm, to help prevent the risk of suffocation or SIDS.
All Coils Aren't Equal
When it comes to coil count, you may be wondering if more is better. Taken alone, the coil count number can be deceptive. A mattress with 80 coils can actually be firmer than one with 100. It depends on how thick the steel is in the coils. The steel in crib mattress coils ranges between 19 and 12.5, with the lower number representing thicker steel. Thicker steel makes the mattress firmer. ConsumerReports.org recommends a steel gauge count of 15.5 or lower.
Coils vs. Coil Count
When you're dealing with crib mattresses, there can be some confusion about coils vs. coil count when looking at information from the manufacturers. For example, a tag may list the mattress as having 150 coils and a coil count of 420. The first number is the actual number of coils in the mattress. The second, higher number is the equivalent number of coils that would be found in a full-sized mattress. It lets you compare the coil level in the crib mattress to your mattress, which may help some parents judge the comfort level and firmness of the mattress.
A key feature to consider, along with the coil count, is how many layers the innerspring mattress has. A general rule of thumb is that the more layers a mattress has and the higher the quality of those layers, the better the mattress is. Better cushioning and better gauge steel make for a comfy rest for your child. It also makes the mattress heavier. When you're shopping, try picking up different mattresses to get a feel for the difference in the materials used inside.
Other Innerspring Features
Always buy an innerspring mattress that has border rods. These are the rods that line the top and edges of the mattress, which provide the support that prevents the mattress from sagging when your child is big enough to stand or walk on the edge of the mattress. A sagging mattress could lead to your little one getting a foot stuck between the mattress and crib or other safety concerns. Mattress also have cushioning layers and an insulator pad above the coils. Quality materials are best, since they hold up over time. ConsumerReports.org advises never to buy a mattress if you don't know what the layers are made of. Polyester cushioning layers and woven insulators are cheaper but tend to sag or form pockets over time.