When my husband and I were expecting our second baby, we decided that we’d move our first daughter into her “big girl room” when she turned eighteen (18) months old. We wanted her to get settled into her new room before our second daughter’s birth. The only problem was that most of the “adult” mattresses we researched were composed of ingredients that are associated with respiratory, allergic and/or immune effects in infants and young children.
And as I’ve mentioned in prior posts, most doctors and researchers will tell you that young children’s bodies are far more susceptible to environmental toxins than an adult’s.
After several months of research, we ended up buying an organic queen size mattress from Naturepedic. Known for their crib mattresses, Naturepedic’s mattresses (also in Twin and Full sizes) contain US grown and certified organic cotton, provide non-toxic fire protection, are tested for chemical emissions, and are made, tested and certified in the U.S.
And, unlike most other organic mattress companies, Naturepedic mattresses are much more affordable. (Otherwise, there’s no way this purchase would have gotten a ‘thumbs up’ from the hubby!)
Here are some of the common ingredients found in adult mattresses today that caused me heartburn:
Vinyl / PVC Cover
Polyvinyl chloride (a.k.a. vinyl/PVC) is a plastic that can contain additives called “phthalates.” As of February 2009, phthalates were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for use in crib mattresses and other children’s products. Substitute materials to PVC, such as vinyl, contain fire retardants and other chemicals and is known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
What are VOCs and how can they affect my baby?
According to Wikipedia, VOCs are “organic chemical compounds which have significant vapor pressures and which can affect the environment and human health.” The definition states that because the symptoms from VOC exposure are slow to develop, analysis of VOCs is still in infancy. And lastly, “respiratory, allergic, or immune effects in infants or children are associated with indoor VOCs and other indoor air pollutants.”
Polyurethane Foam (Including “Eco”, “Soy”, “Bio” “Plant Derived”)
According to Naturepedic’s website, polyurethane foam is a “petroleum product that is highly flammable and often contains fire retardant chemicals. It releases VOCs and can break down into small particles which become airborne over time.” Some Polyurethane foam mattresses will denote “Eco”, “Soy” “Bio”, and other “Plant Derived” foam ingredients. Although these denotations sound appealing, there is still a presence of dangerous chemicals (fire retardent chemicals, VOCs) in the underlying polyurethane foam.
Natural Latex / Rubber
Natural latex/rubber has been associated with allergies, particularly in children, and most allergists recommend that parents avoid exposing babies and children to latex.
In my research, I found that wool is a very popular material in organic mattresses since it is a natural fire retardant. However, like latex, wool (and other animal hairs) has been associated with allergies in children. The problem with wool is twofold – the lanolin contained within the wool is a known allergen and the wool itself is often treated with strong chemicals to remove dirt, sweat, etc.
Most people think organic = not affordable. Of course I’d be lying if I said that this mattress was cheap. However, since my child will be sleeping on this mattress for many years, and I plan to one day cart this mattress to her college dorm, the price becomes less daunting. In my research, Naturepedic offered the best price for high quality organic mattresses.
My little princess and I have been happily snoozing ever after…
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