When you lay your baby down on his crib mattress for the night, what do you feel? For most parents, this is a moment infused with a sense of warmth, love and safety—as we want it to be for our infants.
But how safe your baby is through the night depends on the type of mattress she sleeps on. And if that mattress isn’t organic, it could have an adverse impact on your baby’s health.
Why You Don’t Want a Crib Mattress Which Isn’t Organic
You might wonder whether it is really important to shop for an organic crib mattress. After all, you probably didn’t sleep on one when you were an infant.
This study explains why non-organic mattresses are unhealthy for babies, stating, “Infants spend most of their time sleeping and are likely to be exposed to elevated concentrations of chemicals released from their crib mattresses.”
An EWG article describing the research adds, “The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and 2015 found that crib mattresses released nearly 30 different types of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and other potentially harmful airborne chemicals such as endocrine-disrupting phthalates and fragrance allergens.”
EWG quotes researcher Dr. Brandon E. Boor as saying, “A baby’s exposure to chemical contaminants in their crib mattresses can be amplified since they sleep for 12 to 14 hours every day and inhale air just inches above the mattress surface, where the concentrations of the VOCs can be about twice as high as standing just a few feet away.”
Can you just air out a regular mattress for a few days to get rid of these unwanted substances?
The answer, unfortunately, is “no.”
The reason is that you would need to air the product out for years to do that. And then, most of those chemicals would just wind up scattered around your house.
What To Look For When Shopping For The Organic Crib Mattresses?
You know now why it is important to shop for a non-toxic crib mattress which is all-natural and chemical-free. Here is what to look for in a quality organic crib mattress:
• No PVC in any component. Even mattresses which are PVC-free sometimes still contain PVC in the form of a vinyl cover. Such a cover will emit harmful phthalates. These compounds may be toxic to developmental and reproductive health. If you want an alternative to vinyl for waterproofing, consider food-grade polyethylene.
• Speaking of the mattress cover, make sure both the cover and the mattress are organic, not just one or the other.
• The mattress you buy for your baby’s crib should not contain PBDE fire-retardant chemicals. As described here, “The CPSC estimate of children’s exposure to TDCPP from treated furniture was five times higher than the agency’s acceptable daily intake (i.e., the Hazard Index was 5).” The dangers include cancer and other conditions.
• Check for certifications. These could include the annual CertiPUR-US certification and the Greenguard certification. While these are not necessarily musts, they do indicate a product has been tested and demonstrated low levels of VOC emissions. You also can look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), which are more rigorous certifications than CertiPUR-US and others.
• “Foams” often contain polyurethane, even if they claim to be “vegetable-based” or “soy-based.” Investigate any foams used in a mattress thoroughly before you select one for your baby.
• A mattress for an infant should have a firm surface that provides ample support, not a soft surface that could be a suffocation hazard.
Our Top 3 Best Organic Crib Mattresses
Now that you know what to look for when you are shopping for an organic crib mattress, here are our top recommended products.
1. Newton Wovenaire Crib Mattress
If your priority is to find a crib mattress which is on a firmer side and which is extra-breathable, the Newton Wovenaire is a healthy, organic choice.
• This mattress reduces the chances of suffocation both through enhanced firmness and Breathe-Thru Technology. Even babies with a troubling tendency to sleep on their faces should be able to breathe through the mattress.
• The mattress promotes free airflow in order to reduce sweating and overheating.
• The product is Greenguard Gold Certified. The seller writes that it “contains no foam, latex, springs, glue or allergens,” and that it contains the “lowest VOCs.”
• Because it is 100% recyclable, it is an eco-friendly choice.
• The mattress is fully washable.
• Some buyers report that upon delivery, this product emits an odor. It may need airing out for a few days before you put it to use.
2. Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress
If you can afford a premium organic mattress, the 2-stage Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress is a Greenguard- and GOTS-certified option with a lot of great features and benefits. It is our overall top recommendation.
• As discussed before, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is one of the most rigorous certifications that crib mattress can earn. A lot of other crib mattresses do not have a GOTS certification, but this one does. That gives you some extra assurance that the mattress is healthy for your baby. Additionally, the mattress carries the Greenguard Gold certification.
• The mattress is made with a 3D mesh surface that permits free airflow and breathing, even if your baby sleeps facing down.
• While there is a quilted surface cover for the mattress which can be washed in your machine, the surface of the mattress itself is also waterproof and easy to clean. That gives you the option of using the mattress without the cover if you prefer.
• The lightweight design of the mattress makes it a breeze to change the sheets.
• According to the manufacturer, this mattress contains “no flame retardants, latex, PU Foam, soy, vinyl/PVC, phthalates, formaldehyde.” It is also hypoallergenic.
• While the fabrics used for this mattress are imported, the product itself is manufactured in the USA by a family-owned company.
• Your purchase of this mattress is backed by a lifetime limited warranty.
• One side of this mattress is firmer than the other. That way, you can use it for your infant now, and then flip it to use for your toddler later.
• Buyers specifically mention that this product does not emit an unpleasant odor when you purchase it.
• This crib mattress is significantly more expensive than many competing products.
3. Colgate Eco Classica III
The Colgate Eco Classica III is a high-quality organic mattress which carries both the Greenguard Gold certification and the certification from CertiPUR-US. Further, it is CPSIA-compliant.
• The mattress is extra-firm on one side for your infant and a little less firm on the other side for when your infant grows into a toddler.
• The cover is made of certified organic cotton. It is waterproof and hypoallergenic.
• Changing the sheets on this infant mattress is easy since it is ultra-lightweight.
• The eco-foam in this mattress is CertiPUR-US-certified.
• Sometimes these mattresses may ship out with problems with the stitching. This is relatively rare, however.
Conclusion: Your Baby Deserves a Comfortable, Safe and Healthy Night’s Sleep on an Organic Crib Mattress.
Emissions of volatile organic compounds are a serious health concern when it comes to choosing a mattress for your baby.
But thankfully, parents are becoming more aware of the dangers posed by chemical-infused mattresses and covers and are demanding safe, high-quality alternatives.
To shop for any of our recommended organic crib mattresses, click on any of the links shared in the product overviews above.
When your infant is sleeping on a safe, organic mattress, both you and your baby can get a good night’s sleep.