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!
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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