We spend a lot of our life sleeping. Yes, believe it or not, your little one spends a big portion of her wee little life sleeping and that means that she’s spending a good portion of her life face to face with various places she puts her pretty little head. We’ve asked mamas and scoured companies to find the best crib mattresses you’ll want to consider.
It’s A Crib Mattress: What’s The Big Deal?
That’s what I heard when shopping for my son’s crib mattress 11 years ago. I knew I wanted organic and I wanted as natural as possible. I heard so many ‘well-intentioned’ friends and family members tell me, “He’ll sleep like a baby; he won’t care.”
But I care, because what our children sleep on is important as they sleep quite a bit. A study from the University of Texas showed that crib mattresses can release VOCs (volatile organic compound) like formaldehyde or ethylene glycol) and that our baby’s body heat can increase those emissions. More, the study found that the toxic chemical emissions are the strongest near the baby’s immediate breathing zone, and that means that our babies are breathing in dangerous chemicals if we’re not more concerned with what’s in their mattress.
What’s the big deal? Mattresses matter! In many European countries, harmful flame retardants have already been banned, but to be sure your baby isn’t exposed in the United States, you need to make sure you’re getting a non-toxic mattress that is chemical-free, doesn’t use PVC (vinyl), doesn’t use cheap glue that can give VOCs off, stays away from petrochemical-derived foams and stays away from polyester fabrics as they can irritate respiratory systems and skin.
Non-Toxic Means Sweeter (And Healthier) Dreams
When your baby is sleeping on an organic and non-toxic mattress, you’re protecting her from allergens like dust mites, as well as helping increase her blood flow in pressure points while she’s sleeping. You won’t have to worry about irritants keeping baby (or you) up, and you won’t have to worry about future health problems because of what’s in your baby’s mattress. A quality, non-toxic mattress is an investment, yes, but it’s one of the best you’ll make to give your baby the best health benefits from the beginning. And, the companies we’re sharing stand behind their products with warranties and excellent customer service and products; these are mattresses that will make it through more than one little one, so it’s really an investment for your whole family.
What Should You Watch Out For When Looking For The Best Crib Mattresses?
There are a few things you should simply not negotiate with when it comes to crib mattresses if you can at all. Heck, you should really consider not negotiating with any of these when it comes to any pieces of furniture if possible.
The biggest thing to think about is brominated fire retardants. They’re in sofas and other softer furniture (think of those fun bean bags, etc. that your kids love to climb all over). Many countries in Europe have banned chemical flame retardants altogether. Yes, the PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, will most likely stop fire, but…they get stored in your body with every exposure and that makes them bioaccumulative. Studies in mice have found that PBDEs have led to problems with learning, development, motor skills, thyroid issues and cancer.
And you’re asking your baby to sleep on that? Yikes. Stay away from brominated fire retardants.
Also think about the glue used in your potential crib mattress. You want to stay away from cheap glues because they too have a lot of harmful chemicals that are toxic. Sadly, many crib mattresses have lots of them because that’s what helps keep a mattress rigid and firm. A lot of those glues have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and that’s the same stuff that we campaign for paint companies to keep out of their paints due to the toxic fumes.
One of the biggest components of most crib mattresses is that the surface be able to handle the accidents that may ensue as your little one is in diapers or pull-ups. The problem is, that ‘waterproofing’ that so many parents seem to love often involves the use of PVCs or polyvinyl chloride. It’s toxic and it smells, and the last thing you want your baby to be sleeping on is PVC. As it breaks down, it actually off-gasses vinyl chloride as well. Why is that a problem? Well, the Environmental Protection Agency recognizes vinyl chloride as a human carcinogen that leads to a rare liver cancer, so if THEY believe it’s a problem, you might want to consider it a problem in a baby’s crib mattress. You’re much better off getting waterproof mattress protectors that you can wash and put on a natural or organic crib mattress.
You want to pay attention to the fabric your crib mattress is made of too. Most of the fabrics and batting in traditional crib mattresses are made with polyester, and that can cause respiratory tract irritation and rashes. Again, pay attention to this because baby will be face to mattress at times, and you don’t want that exposure if you can avoid it. Side note: polyester is often found in conventional diapers too.
Last, do your best to stay away from anything made with polyurethane foam. Yes, memory foams are the latest and greatest, but…unless it’s an organic material or you’re sure it’s free of polyurethane, you’re going to be exposing your baby to chemicals that give off a horrible odor and have been linked to the development of asthma and allergies.
10 Best Natural Crib Mattresses
We love the Emily Crib Mattress from My Green Mattress because it was created by parents who were looking to give their little girl Emily (hence, the name) the safest, most non-toxic sleeping experience they could to combat her eczema and other health issues. The Emily Crib Mattress is handcrafted using GOTS certified organic cotton and uses a 100% natural Eco-wool quilted cover and organic coconut padding to be good to babies and the earth. There are no chemicals or toxins and it has a heavy-duty 150 coil innerspring that offers a firm, safe sleeping surface. It’s made with a two-sided design so you can flip (as you should for wear) and best? It’s made with love to give every little one the safety and comfort Emily got when it was designed for her.
The Naturepedic No-Compromise means just that: there are no compromises when it comes to your baby’s comfort and safety while sleeping. It’s 100% organic cotton fabric and filling, and it is waterproof with seamless edges. The innerspring is heavy-duty and built to last so it can go through several babies, and it’s firm for safest sleeping practices. It was designed to be cognizant of potential allergen issues, and is made without any latex, soy, GMOs, vinyl/PVC, formaldehyde, flame retardants, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and without polyurethane foam. There are no toxic chemicals for your baby to breathe in and it’s certified under Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) regulations. It’s super easy to clean because of its waterproof surface.
This mattress uses no foam, adhesives or latex and is hypoallergenic. You won’t need to worry about any off-gassing while baby is sleeping, and we love that it is completely washable so you can keep allergens like dust mites at bay. Yes, it’s completely washable with a cover that goes right into the washing machine and a core that goes into the shower or tub for a hot soak and spiffying up! The Breathe-Thru Technology lets air flow freely and has been tested to show it reduces the risk of CO2 rebreathing and suffocation, even when baby decides she’s going to insist on being a tummy sleeper. It is also temperature regulating so littles sleep better and it’s won tons of awards and recommendations from pediatricians. It’s 100% recyclable and made in the United States.
4. Colgate Eco
Colgate is often a staple in the crib mattress world as they’ve been around since 1955, and the Colgate Eco Classica III is an eco-friendly option for those looking for foam. The foam is made with sustainable plant oils. This gives it extra firmness for support and development on one side for infants and when baby is a bit older, it can be turned for a softer sleep toddlers may prefer. It’s enclosed in a soft but waterproof certified organic cotton cover and it’s GreenGuard Gold and CertiPUR-US certified and made in the United States. It offers tight fits for sheets and inverted seams for a sleek look and fit in cribs.
The Moonlight Slumber Luxury Dreamer is a dual-firmness mattress that has high density instant foam for newborns but gives toddlers temperature-regulating memory foam for a comfier snooze. The cover is waterproof, hypoallergenic and odor and stain-resistant and the Moonlight Slumber cover has three-dimensional airflow for better circulation. It goes on like a fitted sheet to use for infants and then moves off for toddlers who often prefer more plush sleeps. Moonlight Slumber focuses on helping support all touch points of a little one’s body for the best (attempted) sleep baby can have.
Lullaby Earth’s Breeze Mattress has a mesh surface that makes the mattress more breathable and safer for babies who inevitably roll over. Because they do…inevitably…and the Earth Breeze allows less CO2 rebreathing and more air flow. The built-in protector pad can be removed and washed and its waterproof backing will protect the mattress from dirt, molds, liquids, allergens and more. The mattress core itself is also waterproof and can be used alone if you’re washing the cover and there are no flame retardants or PU Foam. It meets or exceeds GreenGuard Gold emission standards and is made in the United States.
The Wildfern 2-Stage Crib mattress is made with an organic coconut-husk layer that’s firm for infants, and then a plush organic latex layer on the flip-side to accommodate toddlers who like a little softer sleep. The natural latex is a natural temperature regulator so sleep is comfy and the cover is waterproof to keep the mattress easy to clean. The Wildfern is made with no chemical fire retardants and it’s GreenGuard Gold Certified for emissions, chemical exposure and pollutants. It’s eco-friendly and a comfy fit for baby, so a win-win for your family and the earth.
Soaring Heart doesn’t play around when it comes to making the safest and most eco-friendly mattresses for baby cribs they can. They’ve been around since 1982 and they make each mattress and component by hand. All materials are certified organic and the highest quality, and Soaring Heart knows this because they travel to their suppliers to see what their communities and practices are like. They source organic wool as the fire barrier from New Zealand, organic latex from pure rubber tree sap and 100% certified organic cotton from Texas. All Soaring Heart mattresses are GOTS and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified.
Handmade in California, Pure Start Non-Toxic Crib mattresses use three materials and exclude all the flame retardants, VOCs and harmful chemicals that are often found in mattresses—even in some ‘natural’ mattresses. Their mattresses have steel innersprings that are a 268-coil count that gives a firm support for infants. They also use layers of tufted organic cotton that is processed naturally, which takes out the pesticide, defoliant, mineral oil and fire-retardant exposure risk for your baby. Then they use PureGrow wool to wick moisture away, regulate temperature and act as a barrier to mold and mildew while it also acts as a flame retardant without the chemical exposure. The cover is organic and non-toxic and the Pure Start is also free from vinyl and artificial water proofers.
The L.A. Baby Triple 2-in-1 Soy mattress is unique because it has a CertiPur-US certified soy foam core for infants and is made from renewable sources. The CertiPur-US certified memory foam is on the other side for toddlers and the bamboo cover is blended viscose and soft as can be. It’s quilted with a waterproof backing and acts as a dust mite barrier and protects against mildew as well. The bamboo is temperature regulating, renewable in sourcing and free from harmful chemicals.
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