Non-Toxic Crib Mattresses: Everything You Need To Know
Preparing a nursery for a new little one is fun but not always straightforward! In addition to decisions about decorations and paint color, you’re also trying to figure out how to make the nursery a safe place for your baby.
That includes making sure their crib mattress is safe for sleeping.
Up until now, you might not have ever thought twice about crib mattresses. And now you’re wondering if you should buy a non-toxic crib mattress for your precious baby. What’s all the fuss about anyway?
Newton Baby is here to give you the scoop on what makes a crib mattress toxic and how you can choose a non-toxic option for your baby’s crib. Let’s start with why this matters.
Why A Non-Toxic Crib Mattress Is Important
It might seem like a mattress is a mattress, but not all crib mattresses are created equal! If you’ve heard a lot of talk about non-toxic crib mattresses, it’s for good reason. Having one is important in a few ways.
1) Traditional Mattresses Release Chemicals
You might not think that crib mattresses harbor all sorts of harmful chemicals, but they can. How exactly can crib mattress chemicals harm your baby? Good question.
The chemicals in a mattress don’t just sit there. The real problem is that traditional crib mattresses release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals into the air through a process called off-gassing.
Off-gassing happens when the chemicals used in certain materials (or in the process of making those materials) leak into the surrounding air. Most people believe that off-gassing is linked to harmful smells or odors in the air, but this is not always the case.
Not all chemicals have a scent when they off-gas, and not all items with a scent are off-gassing. This means many items in your home — including your baby’s mattress — might be off-gassing without you even realizing it.
These airborne chemicals are no joke. They aren’t just bad-smelling or annoying allergens. They can cause respiratory irritation, nervous-system damage, endocrine disruption, and possibly even cancer.
2) Heat Increases Chemical Emissions
It’s concerning enough that your baby’s crib mattress could be releasing toxic chemicals into the air. But what’s even more worrisome is this: while off-gassing happens at room temperature, heat increases emission even more.
Yes, that includes body heat. Your little one might not be very big, but their body on the mattress produces enough heat to increase off-gassing.
That means there are even more chemicals swirling around in the air that your baby breathes while they sleep.
3) Your Baby Spends A Lot Of Time Sleeping
Your baby is especially vulnerable to the toxic chemicals released from a mattress not only because they’re tiny and developing, but also because they spend so much time sleeping!
Between naps and nighttime, your little one spends a lot of time in their crib. That’s exactly as it should be, but it means that they have more exposure to the off-gassing from their mattress.
4) Organic Isn’t Enough
A crib mattress made with “organic” material sounds great. Easy decision to make, right? Not so fast.
The problem is that an organic label doesn’t guarantee that all of the materials used to make the mattress are organic. Sadly, a crib mattress marketed as “organic” is not necessarily non-toxic and can still expose your baby to a slew of chemicals.
This is another reason looking for a non-toxic mattress is important.
What Makes A Crib Mattress Toxic
Mattresses seem like soft, non-threatening places to lie down for a little shut-eye, but as we’ve seen, that’s not necessarily the case. So, what is under the surface that makes them dangerous?
This is a common filler for crib mattresses. But polyurethane foam comes from petroleum and is loaded with chemicals you don’t want your baby to breathe.
There are healthier-sounding options — like soy foam or plant-based foam — but they’re not much better than polyurethane foam and can still be full of chemicals.
Polyurethane foam is also flammable, but the good news is that the powers-that-be require all crib mattresses meet a certain flame-resistant standard. Well, that’s kind of good news...
A mattress that won’t burst into flames is a good thing!
But the flame-retardant chemicals (PBDEs are a common one) typically used to make a mattress flame-resistant are linked to some pretty negative effects, like hormone disruption, cancer, and developmental and neurological problems.
Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) is often used to make a mattress waterproof. And any parent knows that waterproof material comes in handy when dealing with spit-up, blowouts, and the like!
But (you can probably guess what’s coming here) vinyl is one of the most toxic plastics out there. To make matters worse, phthalates are added to soften hard vinyl.
This toxic plastic and the phthalates involved can lead to endocrine disruption, cancer, and respiratory problems.
How To Choose A Non-Toxic Crib Mattress
So, what’s a parent to do? Choosing a non-toxic mattress might not be as hard as you think. You just need to know what to look for. And that’s what we’re here to tell you!
We’ll give you four tips for choosing a non-toxic crib mattress for your baby so you can have peace of mind while they snooze!
Plus, when it comes to non-toxic crib mattresses, we’re pretty proud of how our Newton Baby Crib Mattress stacks up and we’ll tell you why.
1) Choose A Crib Mattress That’s Greenguard Gold Certified
The Greenguard Certification Program tests the chemical emission of a mattress. This makes it easier for you as a buyer to know which crib mattresses are safe for your baby and which ones aren’t.
There are two levels of the Greenguard certification: the Greenguard Certification and Greenguard Gold Certification.
The standards for the Greenguard Gold Certification are among the most rigorous in the world to test for the lowest measurements of chemical emissions such as VOCs. That’s the certification you want to look for.
Are Newton Baby Crib Mattresses Greenguard Gold certified? You bet they are!
In fact, our mattresses aren’t our only products that are certified. Newton Baby’s mattresses, covers, and mattress pads have all been independently tested and certified to meet Greenguard Gold standards for the lowest chemical emissions.
2) Stay Away From Polyurethane Foam
As far as the mattress filler goes, stay away from polyurethane foam. Instead, we think the best option is a special material called Wovenaire®.
Wovenaire® is a patented cushioning material that replaces foam, latex, and springs and is the core of all Newton Baby mattresses. It’s made of 100% recyclable food-grade polymer, an LDPE grade 4 plastic. It’s the same material as a yogurt container!
Wovenaire is 90% air by volume, making it incredibly light and airy yet firm enough to provide your little one with safe sleep.
3) Find A Mattress Without Flame Retardant Chemicals
For a non-toxic crib mattress, say no to mattresses soaked with harmful, flame-retardant chemicals. How can you find a mattress that is still fire-resistant?
When creating the Newton Baby Crib Mattress, we opted out of toxic fire-retardant chemicals. Instead, Newton uses a layer of chemical free viscose material made from reconstituted wood pulp that is quilted in the cover or provided as a separate encasement to prevent flames from penetrating the mattress.
This is a completely safe, non-toxic approach for achieving the fire safety standards that are required by the US government.
4) Avoid Vinyl
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a waterproof mattress or mattress pad. That protection can come in handy for spit-up, diaper leaks, or accidents during the potty training years! Just be sure to avoid vinyl as a waterproofing material.
For safe waterproof protection, consider the Newton Baby Waterproof Crib Mattress. It offers a 2-stage design with our classic breathe-thru cover on the infant side and an added layer of TPU waterproofing on the other side, making it perfect for the toddler years.
We also offer a breathable and waterproof crib mattress pad to keep the breathability and comfort that you love from the Newton Baby mattress while adding waterproof protection for quicker cleanups.
The good news is that even if a mess leaks down into the mattress, our mattresses themselves are washable from cover to core, so you never have to worry about mold or bacteria!
Safety For Your Baby And Peace Of Mind For You
There’s a lot to think about when raising a baby, and their health and safety is on the top of that list. Now that you have the low-down on non-toxic crib mattresses, you’re ready to choose a mattress that will provide your little one with night after night of safe sleep.
Not all decisions about baby products are easy, but this one is! Go with the breathable, washable, non-toxic Newton Baby Crib Mattress and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your baby isn’t breathing toxic chemicals from their mattress.
Sleep tight, little one!