You have thought about an Organic crib mattress for your baby and are looking out for one?
How do you decide which is the best one to buy?
You have come to the right place.
Did you know that a traditional mattress releases around 30 volatile compounds as chemical emissions that can be harmful to your baby, causing allergies, deformations, and a host of other issues.
These gases also affect indoor air quality in the baby’s room.
Traditional baby mattresses are made from polyurethane foam which is a petroleum-based product, and most waterproof ones for cribs are coated with vinyl which has chemical plasticizers.
The polyurethane foam used inside is sprayed with toxins like fire retardants like formaldehyde or Benzene.
Your baby will spend almost 15 to 20 hours exposed to all these dangerous toxins which can harm them in a number of ways.
So if you don’t want to expose your baby to such toxins it is important to look at an organic crib mattress, even though they are more expensive than normal mattresses.
Baby mattresses for cribs should be chemically safe and that is why it is important to buy an organic one.
There are so many options available in the market with different materials making it difficult for you to understand what you are purchasing, without proper help and guidance.
Many manufacturers claim to offer organic ones, but actually they are not 100% organic and do not have proper certifications.
They may only offer an organic cotton cover.
They are not made of all organic components.
However, as of today there is no 100% certification available for organic mattresses.
I will also explain what is a proper organic crib mattress for your baby, so you can sleep with peace of mind that your baby is safe and sound and well protected.
I will also give you a list of top organic crib mattresses available in the market.
Read on to learn more…
First, you must satisfy yourself and check if you really need one.
We normally believe that a crib mattress with standard certifications is safe for our baby.
But that is far from the truth.
It has been found that
- crib mattresses release a lot of VOCs ( Volatile Organic Compounds) which are harmful
- The body heat of the baby increases the amount of emissions
- These toxic chemicals are strongest in the baby’s breathing zone.
Manufacturers are able to sell their products with minimal Govt. regulations
Read on to find out what components used in a traditional mattress are unhealthy and harmful for your baby.
These PBDEs get stored in our bodies over time and are known to cause thyroid, developmental issues with learning skills and also cancer.
These are found in various other items like carpets, couches, computers, etc.
Glues and Adhesives
These contain harmful chemicals ( VOCs) and this is used to keep it firm and rigid.
They are the same compounds which are used in paints
PVC ( Vinyl)
The waterproof covers are made of PVC.
It is very toxic and has a strong smell and emits a lot of gas, which is again harming your child.
It is known to cause liver cancer.
Further PVC is known to crack and the urine, stools, perspiration, etc seeps through the cracks and accumulates in the mattress. Your baby ends up inhaling all this unhealthy air.
Fabrics made from polyester
These can cause skin rashes and respiratory irritation.
In fact, some disposable diapers are also using polyester and can cause problems.
Polyurethane, Soya or Latex foams
These give off chemical emissions and doors which can cause allergies and even asthma.
Considering all the above problems, you can see that it is very important for you to get an organic one.
What makes a perfect organic crib mattress?
We all understand that the term “Organic” means that anything that is grown and raised in a natural manner, without the use of toxic and chemical ingredients.
However, when we talk about the best organic crib mattress, it is not only the material used, like cotton and wool but also the way in which they are processed to make the actual final product.
Even cotton which is normally sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers does not remain organic any longer, so we need to use materials that have been created with strict standards set by the USDA NOP ( National Organic Program) and processed as per the Global Organic Textile Standard ( GOTS).
The other material used like waterproof covers, foam, fire-retardants must also be non-toxic to ensure that the mattress is organic.
We are mentioning the main points to consider before you buy the best mattress.
Don’t let the Manufacturer fool you
Many mattresses are sold as “organic” whereas actually only the “outer waterproof cover” is organic and the rest is made from non-organic toxic stuff.
So please go through this article to understand in detail.
No PVC and phthalates
Crib mattresses need to be waterproof because infants and toddlers wet the bed a lot.
This wetness causes the growth of mold, mildew, fungi or bacteria, and dust mites in the mattress which can be harmful to young babies.
You should know that most of the mattresses on the market use vinyl covering ( also known as PVC ) to make them waterproof.
However, your baby will breathe in these harmful chemicals and plasticizers as well as absorb them through their skin.
Such exposure may cause a range of health problems, including kidney and liver damage, cancer, asthma, and others.
PVC is a commonly used plastic which is made of carbon and chlorine, which are obtained from oil or gas by ethylene.
Phthalates are used for making vinyl and other plastics soft so they feel almost like fabric.
They can cause problems like cancer, reproductive disorders, development issues, asthma, allergies, endocrine disruption, and other diseases that can develop over time.
Additionally, PVC is known to be amongst the most toxic plastics used to date and is a well-known carcinogen.
All foams including polyurethane foam, soy foam, and vegetable-based foams let off Volatile Organic compounds that are harmful to your baby. ( unless it is CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold certified, where the mattress is classified as Organic )
A true organic mattress will be filled with natural, non-toxic, firm, and breathable Organic cotton. Wool can also be used as a filling material, but it can be allergenic.
So, you have to make a choice of the filling material before choosing a final organic mattress.
No fire-retardant chemicals ( PBDE’s)
Most mattresses use PBDE as a fire retardant, which can be harmful to your baby, either by breathing or through skin absorption.
They can cause immune suppression symptoms, cancer issues,development delays,behavior changes, and a host of other issues (Read more here : National Institutes of Health)
Free from FORMALDEHYDE
Formaldehyde might be present due to adhesives, glues, and chemical reactions. It’s a known human carcinogen and scores the highest-concerning rate of 10 by the Environmental Working .
You need a mattress that’s certified to be free of formaldehyde.
Check for the right certifications
Your mattress must be certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards ( GOTS) or Global Organic Latex Standards ( GOLS).
GOTS certified crib mattresses are manufactured using material that is certified as well as in certified factories
They follow the highest standards and the certification process is very rigorous.
There are other certifications that are offered such as – Oeko-Tex, USDA Organic, CertiPUR-US certified, which although are better than having no certifications, are still not high enough and the materials used may not actually be organic.
Natural Latex/foam is not the same as GOLS certified latex as it can contain up to 30% synthetic material like polyurethane foam.
However, CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam mattresses are considered organic.
All CertiPUR-US certified foams are made without PBDE’s, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants, mercury, lead and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates, ozone depleters, and have been tested for low VOC emissions
You may find organic cotton covers on some mattresses but this does not make it ok.
GOLS/GOTS certification is very essential.
Greenguard certified crib mattresses are tested for low levels of harmful emission of Volatile organic compounds, but this does make them non-toxic.
You also get GreenGuard Gold certified crib mattresses which have substantially lower levels of emission and also tested for other chemicals used and their effect on the health of the baby
The certification is not able to test for every possible toxic material or contaminant.
Also, it is expensive to get the GreenGuard Gold certification so many manufacturers will avoid investing for this.
Check if manufactured in the USA
Most mattresses made in China lack in quality control and can have contamination.
Make sure to buy ones made in the USA only.
Some Top Rated Organic Mattresses for your baby
We have listed out some good options based on feedback received from readers and verified purchasers.
- Double-sided – just flip if any spillage
- Safe flame retardant
- Firm coils
- good edge support
- Can sag without proper support
- It is expensive
- slight unpleasant odour
- Free from all toxins
- lowest emissions
- reduces risk of suffocation and CO2 rebreathing
- prevents sweaty backs and baby sleeps well
- Not fully made in USA
- Has a strong smell when opened
- Mattress is too hard
- Does not fit a standard crib properly
- Causes skin irritation and redness
- CertiPUR-US certified.
- Blended organic cotton cover.
- Not 100% organic
- for both infants & toddlers
- dual firmness
- water and stain proof cotton cover
- Good packagiing
- sinks in after use
- mattress is not thick enough
- Good packaging
- Has a pleasant smell
- known to slope in after a few months- some customers have reported that a hole develops in the middle due to baby weight
- unsatisfactory customer support
Buyers Guide for crib mattreses - things to consider
There is no absolutely right size for a mattress.
As per Government regulations, the width should be between 27 5/8” to 28 5/8” and the length between 51 3/4” and 53”. It should not be thicker than 6 inches.
However, the mattress must fit snugly in the crib and the gap between the mattress and the crib should not be more than 2 fingers at the maximum.
A good mattress should not only be more comfortable for your baby ( so they can sleep more ) but it should also have proper support for the healthy development of the spine.
There is no specific opinion on whether spring or foam mattresses are better.
You must do your own research and decide.
Which is better - Soft vs Firm
Many experts feel that firm crib mattresses are better than soft ones for infants.
The main cause of deaths in the US is the Sudden infant death syndrome. ( SIDS ). You can read more about that here.
This is caused due to suffocation hazards because of soft sleeping surfaces.
The bedding should not conform to the shape of the baby’s head and it should snap back. It should be resilient enough to regain its shape quickly.
Mattresses are available with two levels of foam firmness. The harder ones for infants and the softer one for toddlers.
It is advised to use firmer ones for Infants.
Crib mattresses must comply with certain requirements in order to be sold in the US.
You can read more here.
What price range should I look for?
While buying a mattress, you should not try to look for bargain offers. Neither should you pay for an overpriced one as it won’t really give you any extra benefit. You can judge the quality by the price.
Generally, a high-quality mattress will cost between $90 to $350.
However Organic mattresses will have a price between $80 to $400
Types of Crib Mattresses
These are the lightest mattresses with thickness in the range of 3 to 6 inches. Firm ones are recommended for infants. To check these mattresses, put your child on the mattress and see if it conforms to the shape of the child’s head. Then apply pressure to the center of the mattress or on the edges and see if the mattress remains its shape quickly and snaps back.
You should also check for foam density by seeing the weights of different models.
If the density is good, you will not be able to squeeze it too much.
These types are the most popular because of the firmness and reliability.
Most parents are themselves using innerspring mattresses on their beds and hence they feel it is best for their infant.
They have coils that are placed in a specific pattern and then a layer or two of foam and vinyl insulator pads.
They are heavy due to their content.
These mattresses are made of cotton, wool, natural latex, etc.
They do not contain polyurethane or vinyl foam, fire retardants, which are known to release toxic gases that could harm your baby.
Some users feel that non-organic latex may cause allergies .
Organic cot mattresses are becoming globally popular because people are mainly focused on keeping your child safe from various hazardous materials.
Although there is not enough research, people who are pro-organic consider that non-organic products put your child at risk, as they contain materials such as polyester fabric, vinyl or petrochemical foams.
These materials can cause respiratory allergies, or have a bad influence on your child.
Different fire retardants and cheap glues used in non-organic ones are also a potential danger to your child.
But many people don’t believe that organic types are much safer than non-organic. After all, the majority should be eco-friendly nonetheless. You should be careful not to overpay and check the product characteristics to see whether it’s “really organic.”
Are mattresses made from bamboo organic?
You will also find some bamboo-based crib mattresses in the market being sold off as organic ones. However, don’t be ignorant and choose one.
You must know that strong chemical solvents are used in the manufacturing process of these mattresses.
The coverings of a bamboo mattress are mostly composed of synthetic fabric, meaning there isn’t even much of the bamboo plant in the finished product.
Do you need a breathable crib baby mattress?
Breathability is important, but you can also increase airflow around your baby by using a ceiling fan or simply adding a breathable mattress pad to your baby’s waterproof mattress.
Materials are important, so you should also consider using a traditional organic crib mattress.