#SwitchingToSafer - Why Finding A Healthy Crib Mattress Was Important To Me (and baby!)
I’m 1000% in the excited stage of my pregnancy - literally counting down the weeks, days + minutes until we get to meet our sweet baby boy or girl and expand our family by one more. I’ve been dreaming about all of the details - including what to pack for the hospital this time around (and what NOT to pack), that moment we hear “It’s a boy (or girl)!” followed by the emotions and pure joy of holding my baby for the very first time.
While we kept all sorts of baby essentials from Brooks - mainly nursery furniture, clothes, a few toys/books, we definitely have a list of things we still needed/wanted for baby #2. And because I’ve spent YEARS now navigating the marketplace for safer, healthier products for my family - everything from food, clothing, cleaning and personal care products, furniture, baby products, and more, it has become routine for me to do some research and educate myself on the health/safety/wellness of products before making a purchasing decision in our home.
Unfortunately we can’t rely on all companies to have our health and safety at the forefront when creating and manufacturing products. I wish that we lived in a country of full transparency in ingredient labeling and that companies would CHOOSE to put people and our planet before profits. But because of a lack of regulation and oversight in many industries, companies can put crappy/toxic products on the shelves that we (the end consumer) purchase not knowing the impact on our overall health.
What I do know is that today’s consumer cares. We care A LOT about how we spend our hard-earned dollars and which brands we want to support who DO have our best interest at heart. We have so many tools/information available to us now to become our own health advocates - making the vetting of toxic (and safe!) products a whole lot easier. We have a better understanding of how to read ingredient labels and use resources like the Environmental Working Group to find safer alternatives. We’re out there reading news articles, blogs and studies to find brands we can trust!
My latest safer swap was one that was pretty important to me. Finding a quality baby crib mattress that wasn’t full of hormone disrupting chemicals, fragrance allergens and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that could pollute our baby’s room and harm his/her tiny baby body. Because babies spend the first few years of their life sleeping (like 14-16 hours every day!) the exposure to chemical contaminants in their crib mattresses are amplified as they inhale the air just inches about the mattress surface where the concentrations of VOCs can can be TWICE as high as standing just a few feet away from the crib.
Many crib mattresses on the market are made from polyurethane foam which is a petroleum-derived synthetic material. They also contain adhesives and other chemical additives. The foam core is usually enveloped with a waterproof cover. These are the components of a crib mattress that can release harmful VOCs and cause respiratory and nervous system damage. Flame retardant chemicals in many mattresses have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption and PVC vinyl covers can adversely affect the immune system and can damage baby’s developing reproductive systems (more hormone disruption).
While VOC emission tends to decay over time, airing out a mattress will not get rid of less volatile chemicals like phthalates and flame retardants that leach slowly for years and accumulate in house dust.
Here is a FANTASTIC guide on what to look for (and what NOT to purchase) when choosing a healthier mattress for yourself and/or your kiddos.
And if you want to dig a little deeper, watch this short video from CNN that highlights the latest research and gives practical tips for creating a healthier bedroom ---->
So what crib mattress did I land on you ask?
Well after doing some research on safety and performance I went with The Newton Baby Wovenaire. This mattress is 100% breathable, 100% washable, 100% recyclable and contains NO foam, latex, springs, glue or allergens. Meaning no off-gassing and this particular mattress is “GREENGUARD Gold” certified. Unfortunately I also learned through my research that mattresses labeled as organic are usually not and have hidden dangers like being sealed in an airtight, plastic, waterproof cover that doesn’t breathe, they may contain latex which can trigger allergies and many are not washable so they play host to mold, bacteria and dust mites.
While there are soooooo many choices for mattresses in the marketplace + a growing number of safer alternatives (YAY for progress!!) do a little research and read up on those reviews! We paid $299 for this particular brand/mattress, but remember you definitely get what you pay for in this consumer category. Brooks is still using his crib mattress for his toddler bed and he’s going on 4 years old! So for the amount of time your child spends on his/her crib mattress (hours and years!) it was worth the extra $100+ for peace of mind, safety and quality.