In the market for a crib mattress? Proceed with caution. It turns out, regular, run-of-the-mill crib mattresses contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to your child’s health. Many crib mattresses off-gas harmful chemicals such as phthalates, VOCs, and SVOCs that concentrate around your child’s breathing zone as they sleep. Many chemicals in your child’s mattress are known human carcinogens and are linked to neurological and developmental disorders.
There are things you can do to mitigate your child’s exposure to such harmful chemicals. It is recommended to keep your child’s crib in a well-ventilated area and wash the crib sheets often. It is also important to avoid chemical flame retardants, PVC plastic mattress covers, and polyurethane foam mattresses. It is best to buy a mattress that avoids all of these. You might think this would prove to be a difficult task, but it’s actually not. Below are crib mattresses at three different price points from three reputable companies dedicated to providing a healthy sleep environment for your child.
Certifications: Not certified but adheres to ASTM standards and Canadian standard SOR/2010–261
Pros: Easy to clean; hypoallergenic; dual sided; no chemical flame retardants; removable waterproof cover; recyclable; cheaper alternative to organic mattresses; can be found at your local Target
Cons: Not certified to meet any toxicity standards; polyester core; not organic
Certifications: GREENGAURD Gold, GOTS-certified fabrics, Oeko-Tex certified wool
Pros: No chemical flame retardants; resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites; double sided; comes with a 10-year warranty; organic; offers a payment plan
Cons: Not washable
Certifications: IAOS certified cotton; Eco Wool; Oeko-Tex standard 100 latex
Pros:Made from 3 naturally derived ingredients; no chemical flame retardants; natural Latex promotes circulation; organic; endorsed by Oprah Magazine for its “fluffiness”
Cons: Not washable; one of the most expensive crib mattresses on the market
What do these certifications mean? Here a quick guide to what each certification listed above really entails.
ASTM crib mattress standards
Regulates mattress thickness, gap between mattress and crib rails, and height of crib from the top of mattress
This certification mainly focuses on the physical safety of the mattress.
Canadian standard SOR/2010–261
Regulates structural integrity of mattress. This certification only focuses on the physical safety of the mattress.
Sets emission standards for educational and healthcare environments; regulates exposure to VOCs- VOCs must not exceed one half of California’s Chronic Reference Exposure Levels (CRELs); takes into account the mixture of VOCs in a product
Organic Certification; all chemical inputs must meet toxicity requirements; packaging material must not contain PVC; material must not discharge phthalates or PVC; sets cradle to grave environmental criteria; raw materials must meet strength limits; sets social criteria based off of the International Labor Organization’s key norms
Independent testing and certification for textile products; requires products to meet CPSIA, Annexes XVII and XIV of the European Chemicals Regulation REACh, ECHA SVHC Candidate list, and OEKO-TEX standards
Certifies organic textiles; sets sustainability, environmental justice, social justice, and fair-trade standards
Blend of 7 different types of wool from America and New Zealand; not certified organic; wool is testes by a third party to ensure there are no pesticides, herbicides, molds, or heavy metals; promotes “Best Mill Practices” and the “Sustainable Wool Program”
Every parent strives to provide their child with the healthiest and safest life possible. One of the many ways to do this is to learn about the chemicals your child is exposed to on an everyday basis and try to mitigate their exposure. Every child deserves to breathe clean air.
For more information on the chemical safety of crib mattresses, please visit the Treeusable crib mattress learning center post.