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The Non-Toxic Crib Mattress We Switched To

In this post, I’m sharing how I bought a non-toxic crib mattress for my son based on its safety and relatively affordable price.  You will also learn what constitutes an organic crib mattress, so you do not buy the wrong mattress as I did at first.

My son’s little body is drenched in sweat.  His big tears are streaming down his red face.  His body is tense.  He is crying and stretching his tiny arms toward me.  I can’t leave him here.  I need to buy a new crib mattress today!

The best non-toxic crib mattress we found. A picture of a baby sleeping in a crib.

This is a flashback to a few years ago when my son was sleeping on the wrong mattress we’d bought for him at first.  At that time, I was researching baby shampoos and hadn’t yet grasped the full range of toxins in other baby products.  It hadn’t occurred to me that a crib mattress could be toxic, too. 

It wasn’t until several months later that I realized the importance of avoiding toxic chemicals in crib mattresses.  That was how my journey of researching mattresses started.  I discovered that even organic mattresses may be unsafe.  But there is one simple thing you can do to make sure that you buy a truly organic crib mattress.  And that means that your baby will be sleeping on a non-toxic crib mattress. 

A quick overview of the crib mattress industry

Foam in crib mattresses

Unfortunately, the most popular material for crib mattresses is polyurethane foam.  This petroleum product emits toxic gasses that we know of as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Toluene diisocyanates (TDI) are used to make polyurethane foam.  The US National Toxicology Program classifies them as “reasonably to be anticipated as a human carcinogen” (source).  You can learn about the potential harms of polyurethane foam in my Polyurethane Foam post.

Some crib manufacturers tout their crib mattresses as non-toxic.  However, after a closer look, you will see that they use soybean foam.  In fact, this is what the wrong crib mattress we bought at first contained.  Unfortunately, soybean foam is not much better than polyurethane.  Despite its name, soybean foam is mostly polyurethane foam with a small percentage of soybean foam.  In addition, it is normally made from genetically modified soybeans.  Thus, I would not call a soybean foam crib mattress a non-toxic crib mattress.

Waterproof crib mattress cover

Most waterproof mattresses have a PVC (vinyl) cover, which is the most toxic type of plastic.  PVC may also contain phthalates and heavy metals.

Flame retardants in crib mattresses

Every crib mattress must pass smolder and open fire flammability testing to meet federal government standards.  Because polyurethane foam is so flammable, manufacturers can only pass the test by adding flame retardant chemicals or barriers.  Sometimes companies tell you that they use a barrier.  But it is unclear what is in the barrier and whether the chemicals in the barrier can leach out.

What makes it complicated is that there is no requirement to disclose the use of flame-retardant chemicals, or what kind of chemicals are used.  That was what I spent a lot of time on when I was researching the wrong crib mattress that I bought.  In the end, since I could not get a convincing answer, I decided to go for an organic crib mattress.

Why I like a Naturepedic non-toxic crib mattress

You can probably imagine by now my relief when I found Naturepedic – a producer of organic crib mattresses.  This company answered all my questions to satisfaction.  In fact, we have become so confident in the brand that all three of us sleep on Naturepedic organic mattresses now – my husband and I have one, and our son does, too.

No polyurethane foam in a Naturepedic organic crib mattress 

There is no polyurethane foam (or soybean foam for that matter) in a Naturepedic non-toxic crib mattress.  In fact, there isn’t any foam in their organic cotton mattress.  Instead of foam, Naturepedic uses organic cotton batting.  Their crib mattress does not contain any materials that may cause allergies in some babies, such as wool or natural latex. 

No flame retardants in a Naturepedic organic cotton mattress

Naturepedic does not use any flame-retardant chemicals or flame-retardant barriers.  Yet, they can pass very stringent flammability tests.  How do they do that? 

To begin with, cotton is much less flammable than polyurethane foam, so it passes the open flame test.  To pass the smolder test, Naturepedic adds polylactide (PLA) to the quilt underneath the organic cotton cover.  The PLA comes from the starch of non-GMO sugarcane.  The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which certifies all Naturepedic mattresses, approves of this PLA, too.  In addition, the PLA meets the Greenguard Gold standard.  Greenguard Gold is a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  

I also asked Naturepedic, as an organic crib mattress producer, to provide me with the actual test reports, and they did.  I have reviewed them and am satisfied they meet my standards.  I admire Naturepedic’s transparency.  Most manufacturers withhold information from me, but Naturepedic goes out of its way to provide me with all the information I seek.  Even more so, I got abundant answers to all my questions during our face-to-face conversation with Naturepedic’s Technical Director, Founder & CEO Barry Cik.  After that talk, my trust level in their non-toxic crib mattresses skyrocketed.

Naturepedic mattresses are certified organic by GOTS

The Global Organic Textile Standard is the best standard available to consumers.  Make sure that the mattress you are purchasing is certified organic as a whole mattress, not just its components.  If the mattress has GOTS certification, you do not have to worry about the compromising conditions of the mattress manufacturing facility.  All mattresses with GOTS certificates must be made in GOTS-certified facilities, so cross-contamination is out of the question.  Besides, GOTS certification gives you the assurance that their textile handling and manufacturing processes of the organic materials adhere to GOTS standards. 

You can verify the mattress’ GOTS certification through its public database.  Simply go to the GOTS website and type the name of the company and the country in the public database.  When you open the certificate, make sure it mentions the model of the mattress you are looking into buying.  You can learn more about GOTS and other mattress certificates in my e-book The Savvy Consumer Fast Track: Mattresses.

Naturepedic waterproof crib mattress cover

Unlike conventional crib mattresses, a Naturepedic organic crib mattress is free of PVC.  Instead, it has a polyethylene cover from non-GMO sugarcane without glues or adhesives.  Polyethylene is one of the safer types of food-grade plastics without BPA or other bisphenols, heavy metals, or phthalates.  Not that I advocate eating from plastic, but at least it is safer for our health and the environment among multiple types of plastic.

The quality of Naturepedic organic crib mattresses

The Naturepedic organic crib mattress we used for five years held firm and did not sag (and I have a big, strong boy!).  In other words, I had no complaints about the quality of this non-toxic crib mattress.

The mattress model we bought was the Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe Crib Mattress.  It is no longer available, but there are other models.  The closest one is 2 in 1 Ultra/Quilted 252 Crib Mattress.  One of the two sides is non-waterproof.  If you get the non-waterproof model, be sure to get a Naturepedic waterproof crib mattress pad.  Actually, we are using one now, and it is truly breathable, just as the ad says.

The first Naturepedic mattress we bought had no waterproof cover.  At that time, I welcomed it because I wanted to minimize the use of plastic.  All those pictures of my son perspiring immensely while sleeping on the Sealy crib mattress were still running in my head.  So, I wanted nothing to do with plastic.  However, if I had to buy a crib mattress now, I would go for a waterproof organic crib mattress.  First of all, frequent dampness may lead to the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew in non-waterproof mattresses.  Secondly, our 7-year-old son sleeps on a kids 2-in-1 mattress with one waterproof side and with a waterproof fitted pad.  He does not get sweaty at all.  Our experience shows that Naturepedic waterproof mattresses are truly breathable. 

Conclusion about the non-toxic crib mattress we switched to

In conclusion, I happily endorse the Naturepedic organic crib mattress.  It served us well for about five years.  Now my son sleeps on a twin size Naturepedic mattress.  As I mentioned, my husband and I also bought a Naturepedic organic mattress for ourselves, and it feels like heaven sleeping on it.

Naturepedic has a lot of different organic cotton mattress models.  Give them a call, and they will help you choose the mattress that meets your needs and budget. 

You can also book a consultation with me to talk about any other mattresses.   Or you can check out the Savvy Consumer Fast Track: Mattresses e-book to learn about other mattresses and how not to buy a synthetic mattress by accident.

Where to buy

Naturepedic has its own retail website with quite a few models of organic crib mattresses.  Please use the discount code IREAD5 at the checkout to get 5% off.

You can find other Naturepedic crib mattresses on Amazon as well. 

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49 thoughts on “The Non-Toxic Crib Mattress We Switched To”

    1. It is safe for infants. It is softer because it does not have a rigid plastic cover, which is a great thing. I am not a big fan of babies sleeping on plastic. 🙂 I really like this mattress.

  1. Did you encounter any information on Naturepedic’s other mattresses? In searching for mattresses I noticed that Babies r’ Us sells several other organic cotton Naturepedic mattresses, but not the one you reviewed. They are much less expensive. Honestly I’m having trouble differentiating the different models and deciding whether they are comparable. Do you believe they are made to the same standard?

  2. Did you encounter any information on Naturepedic’s other mattresses? In searching for mattresses I noticed that Babies r’ Us sells several other organic cotton Naturepedic mattresses, but not the one you reviewed. They are much less expensive. Honestly I’m having trouble differentiating the different models and deciding whether they are comparable. Do you believe they are made to the same standard?

    Updated: there are also several reviews on amazon citing problems with the mattress indenting in a short time period with normal use? Have you had similar issues?

    1. Hi Huette! Yes, Naturepedic makes all mattress to the same standards. Yes, I read those reviews too before I bought the mattress. And I have not had this problem. We have been using the mattress for almost 2 years now.

  3. Hi, I bought a Naturepedic Lightweight Organic cotton baby/toddler mattress (2 sided) and used it since baby was a newborn. When baby was around 5 months I noticed the mattress was indenting right in the center, to the point where it was making it hard for my baby to roll over in his crib, when he was able to do it perfectly fine everywhere else. I contacted Naturepedic and they were extremely helpful, they sent a new mattress right away. After only 5 days of using it, it started indenting again. Because I trust this brand, I decided to give a different model a try, one that had actual springs in it, the one I had did not have springs, so I thought maybe this would solve the problem. I did and unfortunately the mattress was too large for my standard crib. We tried forcing it in and it just didn’t fit. I had to sent hat mattress back as well and Naturepedic was nice enough to give me a full refund for my purchase.

    1. Thank you, Paola! Before I bought the Naturepedic crib mattress, I had my concerns over the quality as I had seen mixed reviews. We have been using the mattress for almost 3 years now and have no problems. In fact, we are considering to buy Naturepedic for us, too.

  4. Rachel Muller

    After a ton of research I bought for my daughter the Greenbuds mattress ,they are truly organic with out any polyethylene or plastics which others do have and for a reasonable price considering other brands who have this mattress model, and I am very happy knowing that my daughter is sleeping on a healthy mattress.

  5. Thank you, Irina! We have a new grand baby coming and I want him to have a safe crib mattress! I appreciate all your research and will go with the Naturepedic brand.

  6. Hello Irina,
    What are your thoughts on using the Naturepedic organic mattress pad on top of a “plastic” mattress? We were given a crib and mattress as a handy me down but I was concerned about the toxins too. I figured at least the outer layer would be organic. Your thoughts?

    1. Hello Shana: The pad may help some. However, if there are phthalates and flame retardants in the old mattress, they will settle into the household dust that can be inhaled and ingested. To prevent something you would need something that completely seals the mattress.

  7. Hi Irina, thanks for your wonderful blog. I too discovered all the ins and outs of toxic baby items after having my baby, because everything I used for her was hand-me-downs, so I didn’t have to look into anything until more recently (She just turned 6 months). I’ve spent the last 2 months reading everything and anything on mattresses, cribs, car seats, toys, clothing, you name it (scary stuff, not bedtime reading!). Anyway, my question is regarding the coils in the Naturepedic mattress. I recently decided to purchase the Lightweight version (haven’t yet), specifically because it doesn’t have coils. I’ve read that the springs can act like a magnet for emfs. Dr. Mercola has an interesting article about it on his site. So what are your thoughts/findings on metal springs for the baby mattress? I’m a bit concerned that the lightweight version would indent more easily and I have a chunka munka, as the woman commented hers did here. That’s the only reason I was going to get the Lightweight, since it’s actually slightly more expensive than the one with metal coils that you bought. Thanks for your advice!!

    1. Hi Jennifer, on the one hand, bau-biologists who Dr. Mercola sides with believe that coils in mattress amplify EMF. One way to check if your mattress became magnetized would be to use a compass. On the other hand, there are a number of You Tube videos showing no connection. You can see the videos here and here. And this is a write up that speaks of the opposite of Dr. Mercola’s views.

  8. Do you have any insight on Nook Sleep Systems? We have the Pebble Pure mattress for my daughter and she loves it but I would love your feedback also!

    1. Hi Ali, while I am fine with natural latex in adult mattress, I prefer not to have natural latex in crib mattresses. Natural latex is not free of VOCs because of undisclosed vulcanizing agents.

  9. Hi there. So I did a massive amount of research into crib mattresses, only to have my 6 month old now move into a phase where the refuses to sleep in the crib. And not only is my mattress my parent’s 50 yr old toxic one, but it caves in the middle. No fun. My mom (who’s house I’m living in) wants to get a keetsa mattress because they are cheaper than the organic one’s I’ve found that I like (without having researched much yet into adult mattresses, I like Savvy Rest). What is your take on Keetsa? My parents and brother have it and love it, and it’s supposedly organic. Thank you SO much for taking the time to answer all these questions from people like me!!!

  10. I’m sorry to write again, but it looks like Keetsa is a greenwash. So lame. I know you recommend Naturepedic, but it’s a bit out of my price range as a single mama. If you have any more affordable recommendations for an adult mattress, please do let me know. I was looking at Savvy Rest’s Earthspring mattress (https://savvyrest.com/products/simple-fit-mattresses/earthspring), which is $1799… do you know anything about it? (They are also currently throwing in a free wool waterproofer and 2 pillows ; )) Also I was wondering what your take on innersprings in relation to EMFs? I know you sleep on a mattress with innersprings and was wondering if you think there’s anything to the idea that they attract emfs to the body. Thank you again, you’re a lifesaver.

    1. Hi Jennifer: I truly want to help! However, there are not enough hours in a day. I am planning to launch monthly Q&A calls starting in early November. You will be able to submit your question when I send an announcement. Please sign up here to receive the email. As for EMF, it is a controvercial issue. Here is what I can tell you right now. Bau-biologists who Dr. Mercola sides with believe that coils in mattresses amplify EMF. One way to check if your mattress became magnetized would be to use a compass. On the other hand, there are a number of YouTube videos showing no connection. You can see the videos here and here. And this is a write up that speaks of the opposite of Dr. Mercola’s views. I will looking more into it and we can talk about it during the Q&A session.

      1. Susie Kranowitz

        Dr. Mercola is not against the use of coils in mattresses, because Dr. Mercola sells them!!
        In the past, people (including Dr. Mercola) were concerned that mattresses with coils might be creating or amplifying Electro-Magnetic Frequencies. But this is not the case. EMF is created by live currents in your home, i.e. your electric lines in the walls, ceilings, wiring to your lamps, TV, computer, etc. Coils (or steel in general anywhere in your home) will not create or amplify any EMF. Here is a link to Dr. Mercola’s website where he sells mattresses with coils: http://shop.mercola.com/catalog/all-sizes-accessories,321,0,0.htm

  11. Irina, I totally understand (and relate). Thanks for taking the time to respond, and I’ll sign up to get the email about the Q&A.

  12. Hi Irina, totally love your website it is the gospel for me now 🙂 I purchased your crib guide and am wondering if you have any brand suggestions for crib bumpers, I know using them at all is controversial however we have decided to go with one but having a lot of trouble finding ANY that have any style once so ever let alone 100% organic, any brand suggestions on organic crib bumpers and bedding??

      1. Hi! I would love to know about organic crib bumpers.
        please let me know if you have any recommendations! really appreciate it.

        1. Hi, Jam! Welcome to my blog! The reason bumpers are controversial is because of risk of suffocation. That’s why the safest bumpers would be that allow the air through such as cotton and wool. You might want to check out this bumper. Let me know what you think. You might want to wait until you know you need a bumper. Not all babies need them. ~Irina

  13. Hi Irina,

    I opted for a Naturepedic crib mattress for both of my children. Now, my oldest is ready to transition to a full size bed. I think he would prefer a soft memory foam mattress but I obviously want to avoid a toxic choice. Have you ever researched Essentia?

    1. Hi, Sara: you should ask them if their mattresses are certified to GOTS and the latex foam is certified to GOLS. If they are, they should be able to show current certificates. On the website, it says that their facilities are certified but there is no information about the mattresses. Ask them also for VOC reports that they say they will disclose upon request. If you want me to proceed with this research, let me know. Once I obtain the certificates and reports, I can read interpret them for you. I would be more than happy to do it for a fee: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/services/consultations/ Thanks! ~Irina

  14. I have the Pure Core Non Toxic two-sided crib mattress. Have you heard of them? Do you have thoughts on them? Also do you recommend any safe crib sheets and pack n play sheets? I have the ABC organic cotton sheets for both, do they look good to you?

  15. Hi! Just wondering what you think of the Nest Love and Sleep mattress which is made of foam:

    1st Layer: 1” Thermic Phase Change Cooling Cover
    2nd Layer: 3” 2.8lb Energex Cooling Comfort Layer
    3rd Layer: 1” Convoluted SmartFlow Layer
    4th Layer: 5” 1.8lb Support Foam

    The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th layer would be considered to by a poly-foam (polyurethane based foam). Each foam layer in the Love & Sleep mattress is going through the stringent certification process through the not-for-profit CertiPUR-US. This means you are getting a mattress that has been made without ozone depleters, without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, without formaldehyde, without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and with lLow VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million.)

    Do you think a polyurethane-based foam would be toxic even though they’ve passed the CertiPUR-US?

    1. Abby, CertiPUR-US certification is not an independent certification; it has been created by the polyurethane foam mattress industry. Their standards are lenient and do not mean much. I don’t recommend this mattress. Choosing the right mattress is such a big decision for your health. I would love to talk to you on the phone with you to help you make an informed decision: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/pick-brain-product/ ~Irina

    1. Hi, Daphna: Last time I checked it was not GOTS certified, which is important for something unusual like coco foam. Otherwise, we do not really know what is involved in making it. What do you think? ~Irina

  16. I hadn’t thought about how it was made; just what’s it made from. Organic Coir, organic wool and an organic cotton cover.

    I see that you recommend Naturepedic Organic Cotton Quilted Deluxe 252 Crib Mattress. Is it firm enough for infants who sleep on their stomachs? They offer an optional wool filling. Would you recommend this option?

    1. Daphna: in the absence of GOTS certification, we have to be more careful. Coconut coir by itself would fly around. There should be some material that keeps shredded coconut together. At the moment, I do not have enough information as to what that material is. By the way, Natural Mat mattress cover is cotton, not organic cotton. If you ask Naturepedic, they will tell you that all their mattresses are safe for infants. But that of course what your comfort level is (the pun is not intended). Let me know if you’d like to discuss this more on the phone. Buying a crib mattress is such an important decision. And I applaud you for doing research! ~Irina

  17. Hi Irina, what about the other Naturepedic crib mattresses? (not the Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe Crib Mattress, but the Lightweight Organic Cotton Classic Crib Mattress and the Organic Cotton Classic Crib Mattress)? They seem to be similar, but also waterproof. Do you recommend those as well?

    1. It is a personal choice whether you want a waterproof mattress. I prefer to use a waterproof pad instead. Overall, I recommend all Naturepedic mattresses. ~Irina

  18. I guess there is no harm in getting the Naturepedic mattresses that are waterproof? Planning to get the lightweight one or the classic one and probably also add the mattress protector sheet from Naturepedic on top of that. Wondering why you didn’t want waterproofing, and if waterproofing/plastic is not desirable for some reason? By the way, mine will be for a just-born infant…

    1. I did not want a waterproof mattress because I felt it was necessary (we used a water-resistant pad at first and now we use a waterproof pad). Plus, I feel it is not comfortable for a baby. Would you want to sleep on plastic? ~Irina

  19. Hi Irina, what about the Newton Crib Mattress, it seems to be a great mattress, but I am a bit worried about the patented Wovenaire. They say it’s 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer. But wanted to get your thoughts. Thank you.

  20. Hi Irina – what do you think about Newton Crib Mattress. What about the 10% polymer, they say it food-grade, but then again the Wovenair technology is patented, so how can we be sure?

    1. I do not want to give you a hasty response. And with the bad air quality in California and the holiday, I do not have the capacity to do this research. Have a nice Thanksgiving! ~Irina

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