In May 2017, CEN published a new European standard, EN 16890:2017 concerning mattresses used for young children in cots and cribs. The standard is now published in all European countries, except France where publication is expected in the coming weeks.

SAFEGUARDS | Toys and Juvenile Products NO. 036/18

SafeGuardS Mattresses for Cots and Crib

In accordance with European National Standard organizations bound to CEN/CENELEC rules, conflicting national standards had to be withdrawn in November 2017.

The standard is now published in all European countries, except France where publication is expected in the coming weeks.

This European standard covers mattresses, including mattress bases and mattress toppers, used in children's cots, travel cots, cribs and suspended baby beds, for domestic and non-domestic use.

Requirements of the standard aim to improve the safety of mattresses for young children, taking into account the hazards listed in the Decision of the European Commission 2010/372/EU (link to the OJEU [1]):

  • Requirements on the migration of heavy metals are listed, according to applicable requirements and test methods from the toy safety standard EN 71-3

  • To reduce fire hazards and to avoid the use of flame retardants, flammability tests are conducted in accordance with EN597-1 using cigarettes. The covers of mattresses will be tested using the toys standard EN 71-2 and the flame propagation speed should not exceed 50 mm/s

  • As the size of the mattress must be adequate for the cot or crib it is intended for, the nominal dimensions are controlled to ensure a maximum tolerance of 10 mm is met.

  • Entrapment of the body or limbs is prevented by a requirement on the gaps between mattress components

  • To prevent strangulation hazards from cords and loops, requirements have been introduced to limit the length or the perimeter of such elements

  • Suffocation hazards, from plastic sheeting, are limited by requirements on the attachment of any plastic decals or labels, on the thickness of plastic packaging and warning text

  • Very young children need to sleep on flat firm surfaces, to avoid suffocation by sinking into soft or loose materials. Therefore, the standard requires that mattresses meet requirements on firmness, before and after a durability test supposed to represent the lifetime of the product

  • Choking and ingestion hazards happen when small parts can be detached and swallowed by a child, or if the filling material is accessible. Requirements are provided to ensure any small part resist torque and tension tests. To ensure the seams and closings of mattress covers will resist normal use and prevent any access to the filling material, cover textile material, slide fasteners and seams are tested for strength and slippage  

  • Limited shrinkage for removable covers and the absence of sharp edges or points in the product are additional provisions of this standard

  • The required product information has been developed to highlight essential warnings and safety information and ensure legibility to consumers. The information is in line with product information applicable to cots and cribs (EN 716 and EN 1130)

The EU standard for mattresses EN 16890:2017 can be used as a voluntary standard to show compliance to the General Product Safety Directive. Please note that for EU Member State countries where national legislation exists (like in the UK and France) the national legislation should be followed.


SGS has dedicated experts and services to assist you in the development of juvenile products and childcare articles. SGS offers physical/mechanical tests, chemical tests, packaging evaluation, inspections to ensure the compliance of your products in target markets.

For enquiries, please contact:

Catherine Follin-Arbelet
Juvenile Products International Expert
t: + 33 6 28 50 25 88

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