The topic of organic mattresses is met with a rash of strong opinions over what’s safe, what’s safer, and whether it’s really something we should consider changing or embracing. Regardless of how you perceive it, it’s an investment one way or another. The bottom line is, your baby spends 10-16 hours a day face down on it.* So there is some serious merit to wanting to eliminate any potential hazard your baby could be breathing. Traditional baby mattresses are covered in vinyl, (pvc) which in many cases contain phthalates to soften the material. That’s just the surface. Inside that mattress is polyurethane foam (hello Volatile Organic Compounds) which are then treated with PBDEs to add flame resistance to an otherwise highly flammable material. PBDEs (Poly brominated diphenyl ether) levels have been increasing in the past decade and who wants an infant breathing a potentially toxic substance? You don’t have to worry about this if you choose a mattress free of all these materials.
Enter Naturepedic. I had the chance to spend some time investigating organic mattresses and settled on one that I felt is an excellent choice, not only in safety but in performance. Naturepedic provided us with a No Compromise Organic Cotton crib mattress to run through a battery of tests and I am happy to say, they passed every single one. When it arrived I opened it up and was just taken back by how pristinely nice it looked. Seams were all perfect, no nicks or weirdness, and it was smooth and soft without that crinkly PVC feel to it. Definitely a winner of the first impression test.
The Liquid Test: Naturepedic crib mattresses have a food grade polyethylene plastic coating, which is an environmentally friendly material due to it’s non-toxic nature. We dumped leaky sippy cups on this bare mattress and I am thrilled to report that it did not absorb or cause any staining and cleaned up like a dream. A few leaky diaper tests were done as well, thanks to my yet to be potty trained 2 year old and it passed those with flying colors. To add a layer of breathability to it, I have an organic mattress pad and an organic cotton sheet on the mattress for sleeping, but my sippy cup test took place on the bare mattress itself.
The Durability Test: Babies are tiny, so the damage they can do on a mattress is minimal at best, but when your child grows, you really want a mattress that will hold up through their developing years. This was the one area I had concerns, prior to seeing the mattress in person, as to whether it would perform as well as any “top of the line” traditional mattresses.
For the sake of science, my 2 year old still sleeps in a crib. (Yes thats it…science) This means, a 30+ lb boy who jumps up and down like a wild banshee put this thing through the ringer. The older traditional mattress we shunned was starting to take a good beating, and really showed it from all this activity so I was curious as to how Naturepedic would hold up in comparison. We’ve been jumping on it for well over a month or so and I can say with much confidence that this mattress would do great in the long haul. It still looks perfectly new and is unwaivering in the wear and tear department.
The Sound Test: Here is where I was really impressed. Regular mattresses, at least in my experience have this weird crinkly plastic covered noise to them. I always kept them padded and sheeted of course but I could always hear him rustling around in there over the baby monitor. Naturepedic is the exact opposite. In fact, the first time I laid my son on it, it was as if the whole room was quieter. When he rolls around, I don’t hear a thing… except the sweet sound of him breathing. He sleeps a bit more soundly on this mattress than any other we’ve had.
The Overall Impression Test: I really like how this mattress feels… it’s solid and firm but comfortable in all the ways you want it to be. The construction is impeccable, and you can tell right off the bat that this is a serious mattress… not some hippie inspired sack full of hemp and recycled bottles. They take great care with safety standards, adhereing to all Federal laws and requirements. The CPSC recommends infants sleep on a firm, flat surface. Some of the other organic mattresses I’ve looked at have a thicker quilted appearance which could be a drawback if that concerns you. Naturepedic’s mattresses are flat and firm (but not hard) on both sides of the mattress.
Someone questioned me about Flamebreaker™, the non-toxic flame retardant they use to help buy time in house fires. There are, of course mattresses out there with absoloutely zero protection. However, I am 100% comfortable with Flamebreaker™ fire protection system which is based on baking soda and silica bonded to cellulose fiber. It buys time without exposing your child to harmful and potentially airborne chemicals/ Naturepedic’s mattress are without:
NO Brominated or Chlorinated Fire Retardants
NO PAN (polyacrylonitrile)
NO Dimethyl Sulfate
NO Boric Acid
NO Respirable Crystaline Silica
NO Potentially Harmful Chemicals or Allergenic Materials (i.e. Wool)
If that’s not enough, Naurepedic is wildly recognized by a bevy of associations including a certification from GreenGuard, and recommended heartily by our personal favorite organization (and a great resource) Healthy Child Healthy World.
I personally think an choosing an organic mattress is one of the first changes that need to be made, or in the case of expecting parents, should be a serious consideration. I realize, this is not a cheap decision. But the product you are getting is not only much safer for your baby, but it will endure your baby’s growth into a toddler and then some, and perhaps the young life of a second or third child. I’d see it as an investment rather than an expense.
If you aren’t in the position to buy an organic mattress, and let’s face it, not everyone is ready for that, you do have options. Tips when buying a traditional mattress:
- Leave it outside or in a well ventilated area for some time in order to let the materials “off-gas” before baby sleeps on it
- When the mattress doesn’t smell like materials or plastic, it’s ready to be brought back into the house.
- Consider an organic cotton or wool mattress pad to add a layer of breathability and “buffer” between baby and the mattress surface.
Naturepedic’s Organic Cotton mattress has FAR exceeded my expectations and I am completely comfortable recommending them to anyone. My son is getting to the age where he is ready for a bigger bed so when the time comes, and he no longer fits in a toddler bed (which the crib mattress fits as well) I most certainly will be investing in a Naturepedic Twin Mattress for him.
Is this the only option out there? Of course not. But this is one I am very comfortable recommending for both safety, standards and overall product performance. For those looking for other organic bedding items, Naturepedic makes portacrib mattresses, bassinet pads, and changing pads as well.
*Note: You should always put your baby down on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. We realize babies flip over eventually.