Organic Crib Mattresses: Should You Buy One For Your Baby?
As you prepare your baby’s nursery, their crib mattress is one of the most important investments you’ll make. It will grow with them for the next few years! And while you may think an organic mattress is always best, you might want to reconsider.
In this article, the experts at Newton Baby show you what mattresses are made of, and you’ll see how our mattresses stack up against organic ones. We’ll also uncover the hidden drawbacks of organic so you can discover the Newton difference.
What Is An Organic Crib Mattress?
Organic crib mattresses are defined as being free of synthetic materials, having not been treated with chemicals, and complying with organic standards. So of course any parent would want an organic crib mattress — at least based on the definition!
But once you look below the surface and find out they’re not breathable, you’ll discover that organic may not be the best choice.
Is Organic Always Best?
The simple answer: no. Even though a product is marketed as “organic,” that doesn’t necessarily mean ALL of its materials are organic. Labeling can often be misleading or confusing.
And while organic mattresses may meet several of the qualities that you’re looking for in a mattress (which we’ll discuss below), they will not meet the breathability quality that is found in Newton Baby’s mattresses.
Even the best organic mattresses are possibly not breathable, meaning they’re not as safe as they could be.
Because your baby will spend most of their time in their crib (newborns sleep around 18 hours per day, after all!), breathability is extremely important, as are a few other factors. But if being organic isn’t one of those factors, then how do you know which mattress is best for your little one?
Let’s look below the surface and discover what your baby really needs in a mattress so you can rest easy knowing exactly what they’re sleeping on!
Foam, Innerspring, And Wovenaire: What’s The Difference?
Crib mattresses are generally made up of either foam, innerspring, or our newly designed interior, Wovenaire. But what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.
Foam mattresses are made of polyurethane foam, which we’ll talk about more in the next section. Over time, foam can break down into small particles that eventually end up floating around in the air.
You and your family are now susceptible to inhaling these particles. Not good!
Innerspring mattresses are composed of layers and springs, which make for a heavy mattress. The more layers — and the higher quality of those layers — the better the mattress.
Additionally, a spring mattress needs to have border rods to provide extra stability around the edges of the mattress.
Wovenaire is a type of patented material that replaces foam, latex, and springs. It’s at the core of all Newton Baby mattresses. It’s made up of 90 percent air, which makes it super lightweight, as well as safer for your baby!
How To Choose The Safest Crib Mattress
With safety at the top of your list, we’ve provided some things to check when shopping for a crib mattress.
What exactly is inside the mattress your baby sleeps on? Well, for one, polyurethane foam. This is the filling material used in most mattresses you’ll find on the market today.
But Newton Baby’s crib mattresses are different. What you’ll find in our crib mattress is Wovenaire. The patented Wovenaire core is 90 percent air (hence the name) and 10 percent food-grade polymer, the same material used to make yogurt cups.
It provides the comfort of foam and latex without any of the harmful side effects!
What you won’t find in our mattresses is foam, latex, springs, or glue, which are all common in other crib mattresses — sometimes even those claiming to be made with organic or natural materials.
This means no off-gassing, toxic chemicals, or allergens.
Surface Material (Waterproof Covering)
Now, what about what’s on the surface? Most conventional mattresses are covered in vinyl, which is not something you want your little one sleeping on for several hours each day. Even if an organic mattress isn’t covered in vinyl, most likely your mattress pad is.
(Expert tip: Take a look at Newton Baby’s Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad, which is also 100 percent breathable and provides a layer of airflow over any sleep surface for increased safety in the crib!)
Think about your baby sleeping on a surface that is absorbing all of that liquid. Mold, mildew, and fungus now gather on your baby’s bed. Yuck!
But have you heard of a mattress that can be washed? Well, you’re in the right place. Newton Baby has the ONLY washable crib mattress!
No more worrying about any mold or mildew forming from accidents. Just give the mattress a bath to completely wash away mold and bacteria for a fresher, more hygienic crib!
For safety purposes, all mattresses must comply with strict federal standards for fire regulations. If your baby’s mattress isn’t flame-resistant, it will burn quickly if ignited. Also, when these types of mattresses burn, they release very harmful gases into the air (this is off-gassing).
This is why your baby’s mattress needs fire retardants. Fire retardants are used to slow down or stop the spread of a fire. This is super important when it comes to your baby’s sleeping surface!
To make your baby’s mattress a safe sleeping surface and ensure it won’t go up in flames, the government has strict flammability standards for mattress manufacturers.
To meet these standards, most manufacturers actually add more toxic chemicals (toxic fire retardants) that are mixed into the foam of the mattress. And the way mattress manufacturers usually do this makes the mattress unsafe for your baby!
Your little one can be exposed to these toxic fire retardants by breathing in the air while they sleep on their mattress. They can absorb these chemicals through their skin. And, lastly, your baby can be exposed to the toxins through household dust.
You read that right — the tiny particles from fire retardants can eventually seep into the air and contaminate your household dust! And where does the dust go? Everywhere, more specifically, on the ground and on your baby’s toys.
When your baby crawls around and picks up their toys, their hands touch these contaminated surfaces. And we know all babies eventually put their hands in their mouth at some point.
Keep in mind that it’s good for your baby’s immune system to be exposed to some things, but NOT chemicals! This is why it’s important to teach your baby proper hand-washing techniques at a young age.
But there’s good news! You can rest easy knowing that Newton Baby never uses any toxic chemical fire retardants. Instead, a layer of chemical free viscose material made from reconstituted wood pulp is quilted into the cover or provided as a separate encasement to prevent flames from penetrating the mattress.
This is a completely safe, non-toxic approach for meeting the fire safety standards that are required by the U.S. government.
As we mentioned earlier, breathability is very important (possibly the MOST important thing!) to think about when shopping for a mattress! Mattresses that are made of breathable materials allow babies to breathe straight through them, which helps to prevent suffocation.
Breathability also promotes comfortable sleep for your little one because it provides the right level of air circulation, preventing sweaty backs and unhappy babies.
Babies need a firm surface for sleeping, according to sleep safety standards. Some mattresses are too firm for some babies, making it uncomfortable for them to sleep, while others are not firm enough and can create an unsafe sleep environment.
A mattress that’s too soft can allow your baby’s face or head to sink into it. This is dangerous and unsafe because your baby could suffocate! Firmness is especially important for newborns and young babies who aren’t able to move around like an older baby.
Newton Baby’s mattresses are made to the recommended firmness necessary to support your baby, but don’t worry; they’re still comfortable!
GreenGuard Gold Standards
For the safety of your baby, it’s important that any mattress your little one sleeps on has been independently tested and certified by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) to meet Greenguard Gold standards for the lowest chemical emissions.
Newton Baby’s products, for example, go through rigorous testing to check for the lowest measurements of chemicals and off-gassing — such as VOCs — and certify that they help to promote healthier indoor air quality.
The best crib mattress is designed for a snug fit that complies with the current safety standards. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the mattress and the crib that a little arm or leg could get stuck in.
Remember to cover the mattress in a tight-fitting, breathable sheet and keep all loose blankets and toys out of the crib until your baby is a year old.
Poor-quality mattresses are known to have edges that easily tear and come apart at the seams much faster than high-quality mattresses. Also, mattresses made with vinyl have been known to crack at the surface quickly.
Buying a quality crib mattress will serve you and your baby well in the long run. It may be a bit more money upfront, but it will save you lots of money and hassle down the road!
As tempting as it may be to accept a hand-me-down mattress, we strongly recommend against it. Your baby’s crib mattress needs to be new for sanitary and safety reasons.
For instance, you don’t know where or how long a used mattress was stored away. Mold and bacteria can easily build up on the surface and on the inside material of the mattress, which can be dangerous for your little one.
The only exception is if you purchased a new mattress for your own baby, took care of it, kept it clean, and stored it in a dry environment. In this case, it would be acceptable to use the same mattress for your second (or third, etc.) child.
That said, always check the firmness of a mattress that’s previously been used. If it has lost any firmness at all, buy a new one. We also recommend buying a new mattress if several years have passed since you had your last child.
What To Avoid In A Crib Mattress
Now that you know the factors to take into consideration when shopping for a crib mattress, let’s talk about what to avoid.
We’ve put together a list of some specific things to steer clear of when the time comes to purchase your baby’s mattress.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are released as gasses from certain solids or liquids. They include a variety of chemicals that could result in short-term or long-term health effects and have a high vapor pressure at ordinary temperatures.
Basically, this means most vapors are from VOCs.
Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) is a harmful plastic to not only you and your baby but to the environment as well. It’s the combination of petroleum and chlorine and is a known human carcinogen — a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.
This doesn’t sound like something you’d want to expose your little one to!
Most crib mattresses are filled with Polyurethane foam, which is made from petroleum and other chemical additives that you would never want your baby to inhale. And to top it off, Polyurethane foam is highly flammable.
Newton Crib Mattresses Vs. Organic Crib Mattresses
Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress
Made of Wovenaire (which you know all about by now), the Newton Baby Crib Mattress gives you peace of mind with our Breathe-Thru Technology.
Here’s what makes our mattresses different:
- 90 percent air by volume
- Made of safe, food-grade polymer
- No off-gassing
- Free of biocides and toxic fire retardants
- 100 percent recyclable
- Made in a clean, emissions-free facility
- Greenguard Gold certified
- Fully washable
Mattresses labeled organic are sometimes not completely organic and often have hidden disadvantages, such as not being breathable or washable.
Some drawbacks of organic mattresses include:
- Sealed in airtight, plastic, waterproof covers that don’t breathe
- May contain latex, which can trigger latex allergies
- Not washable, so they often collect mold, bacteria, and dust mites
Sleep On It
As you can see, there are big differences between most mattresses and Newton Baby crib mattresses. Remember, even organic mattresses have drawbacks and “organic” does not necessarily mean “best” or “safest.”
To choose the safest mattress for your baby, look for one that is firm and breathable, fits perfectly inside the crib, and hasn’t been used by anyone outside of your family. Finally, stay away from synthetic materials, VOCs, vinyl, and polyurethane foam.
With Newton Baby’s crib mattress, you can rest easy knowing that your baby is sleeping safely and soundly!