Crib Mattresses From Scratch
What is an "organic crib mattress" and why do I want one?
You’ve heard of organic vegetables and organic milk, but what on earth is an organic mattress?
Is it really healthier?
Well, quite simply, yes. Organic vegetables are healthier because they do not have chemical pesticide residues. Organic milk is healthier because it comes from cows that are not given artificial chemical hormones. Likewise, organic crib mattresses do not have all the chemicals that regular crib mattresses have. Organic mattresses are made with organic and non-toxic materials instead of conventional and chemically questionable materials.
But that’s just the beginning. A typical crib mattress is made with many chemicals that have been linked to childhood health problems. Fire retardants, plasticizers, and other chemicals are in the foam and vinyl cover of a crib mattress. Parents and physicians are recommending organic crib mattresses as a way to avoid unnecessary exposure to these chemicals.
What are the certification standards for an organic crib mattress?
Organic crib mattresses, like all other certified products made with organic fiber and textiles, are certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The largest U.S. GOTS approved certifier is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO).
In particular, the GOTS standard requires that all fiber and fabrics, with limited exceptions, must be made from certified materials that meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standard and are processed in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All other components (such as innersprings, fire protection, etc.) must meet stringent non-toxic standards. Naturepedic is an OTCO certified organic processor of fiber and textiles and is certified to manufacture organic mattresses.
Are mattresses labeled "eco" or "green" just as good?
No. "Eco" and "green" are not regulated terms and can be misleading. For example, "plant derived" or "soybean" foam used in many "eco" mattress models are over 80% petroleum/chemical based and are not really "made of soybeans." "Bamboo" fabric, also common in "eco" models is really rayon. It is typically made using environmentally toxic chemicals with no trace of the bamboo plant in the finished product. Many of these "eco" materials may sound good, but they are not really "natural" and are certainly not focused on eliminating harmful chemicals.
The Problem with Conventional Mattresses
Over the last 30+ years, crib mattress materials have been replaced with cheap petroleum-based synthetics. Nearly all crib mattresses today contain polyurethane foam, vinyl (PVC), phthalates, chemical fire retardants, and an extensive list of added industrial chemicals. Recent studies have questioned the use of these materials.
There is growing concern among physicians, health professionals, public safety officials, environmental advocacy groups, and consumers regarding the possible effects of these chemicals on our children. Many researchers suspect that toxic chemicals are playing a significant role in the dramatic increase in childhood disorders.
Just as lead paint was once widespread before it was recognized as toxic and banned, many components of today, baby mattresses are also toxic. Even though these chemicals are currently legal, they are likely to eventually be banned as well.
Babies and toddlers spend 10-14 hours a day sleeping and playing on a crib mattress. Furthermore, a childs every breath inhales air no more than six inches away from these chemicals. As such, for the first few years of a childs life, the mattress is the single most prominent object in the childs environment.
Naturepedic natural and organic baby crib mattress options are designed to provide a natural and healthier alternative to today's crib mattress offerings
. It helps you eliminate many toxic chemicals which your child would otherwise be exposed to.
Research and design has been coordinated by G.E.M. Testing & Engineering Labs with the help of pediatricians, chemists, engineers, and mattress manufacturing specialists.
The Naturepedic No-Compromise Organic Baby Crib Mattress
, as well as all other Naturepedic mattresses, are constructed per the following guidelines:
NATURAL and ORGANIC MATERIALS: All Naturepedic products utilize natural and organic cotton extensively. Cotton inherently breathes and provides for good air circulation while maintaining more even humidity and balanced temperatures. It has the ideal density for firm yet comfortable bedding.
NON-TOXIC DESIGN: Naturepedic strives to eliminate materials or chemicals which may be toxic, hazardous,
or otherwise potentially harmful. The following are specifically prohibited:
- NO Phthalates
- NO Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC)
- NO Polyurethane Foam
- NO Toxic Fire Retardant Chemicals
(PBDEs, antimony, modacrylic, PAN, etc.)
FIRE PROTECTION: All Naturepedic mattresses meet and exceed Federal and State Flammability Standards, and exceed such standards by the highest possible margin reasonably achievable. Cotton naturally has a low rate of combustion and does not burst into flames when ignited as compared with polyurethane foam and PVC, eliminating the need for harsh industrial fire retardant chemicals. To maximize fire protection, Naturepedic features FlameBreaker, a non-toxic and naturally derived fire barrier system.
FIRM SUPPORT: All Naturepedic mattresses use extra firm high coil count orthopedic innersprings providing the optimum pediatrician recommended firmness and comfort levels. All mattresses also feature heavy-duty border rods for extra side
and edge support. Designed for a snug fit.
HEIRLOOM QUALITY: All Naturepedic mattresses are constructed to exacting standards using premium components.
The following are specifically prohibited:
- Shoddy Polyester or similar pads made of scraps
- Hair or similar pads made with pig hair or any other animal derivatives (with the notable exception of wool)
- Any other pads, fibers, or filling materials from unsanitary or uncertain sources
ACCESSORIES: Naturepedic also offers a collection of non-toxic natural and organic mattress pads including the
No Compromise Waterproof Pad, guaranteed to be PVC and phthalate free, as well as a full line of chemical-free
organic cotton bedding accessories
What's In Naturepedic Crib Mattresses
(Waterproof models only)
Polyethylene is an environmentally friendly plastic that is used throughout the food packaging industry for its purity and non-toxic properties. It has a very simple molecular structure that does not require chemical additives (as opposed to vinyl/PVC) and is favored by environmental groups all over the world. Naturepedic uses only polyethylene specially formulated to meet food contact standards, creating the finest non-toxic waterproof mattress cover available. Polyethylene is easy-to-clean and highly stain resistant while providing an excellent barrier to dust mites and other allergens.
Certified Organic Cotton
Organic cotton is the purest form of cotton, grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). In mattresses, organic cotton is a healthier alternative to foams (which are chemically treated) and latex (which is allergy-prone). Naturepedic uses only U.S. grown and certified organic cotton.
Heavy Duty Orthopedic Innerspring
Naturepedic uses only the highest quality innersprings available. Steel springs are readily recyclable and provide heavy duty support without any health or allergy concerns. Our flagship crib innerspring features 252 coils at 15.5 gauge with 9 gauge border wire. Our 150 coil innerspring features 13 gauge coils with 9 gauge border wire.
Note: Beware of advertisements for “coil count.” This figure does not give the actual number of coils in the mattress, but rather the number of coils in an equivalent full size mattress.
Non-Toxic Fire Protection
Nearly all mattresses today are made with polyurethane foam or latex as the primary filling material. Due to their high flammability, these materials are usually treated or wrapped with harsh industrial fire retardant chemicals. Some of these chemicals introduce health and toxicity concerns. At Naturepedic, we take a different approach. Organic cotton is a far superior filling material and is significantly less flammable to begin with. Our exclusive fire protection system is non-toxic and naturally derived. It is based on the unique fire retardant properties of baking soda and hydrated silica bonded to cellulose fiber. Baking soda is a non-toxic substance with excellent fire retardant properties and can be found as a naturally occurring compound. Silica is a natural mineral that comprises about 60% of the earth’s crust. Clay, rocks, sand, etc. are all made primarily of silica. It is a major constituent of human tissue, bones, teeth, etc., and is even available at health food stores as a food supplement. It is also a primary ingredient in natural toothpaste. The cellulose fiber used is derived primarily from eucalyptus and poplar trees and has a low carbon footprint. These materials provide the best way to meet fire regulations without the use of dangerous chemicals or allergenic wool.
Specifically, Naturepedic does not use any of the following fire retardants:
NO Brominated or Chlorinated Fire Retardants
NO PAN (polyacrylonitrile)
NO Dimethyl Sulfate
NO Boric Acid
NO Respirable Crystaline Silica
NO Allergenic Materials (i.e. Wool)
What's NOT In a Naturepedic Mattress
Vinyl / PVC Cover
Polyvinyl chloride (a.k.a. vinyl/PVC) is one of the “not so healthy” environmentally unfriendly plastics in use today. In particular, PVC requires a plasticizer additive to turn it into vinyl. Certain variations of these additives, called phthalates, have been recently banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for use in crib mattresses and other children’s products as of Feb 10, 2009. However, substitute chemicals and/or materials may not be much better. Vinyl also frequently contains antimony fire retardants as well as antibacterial chemical treatments. Vinyl is also known to release substantial VOCs and break down over time. Beware of baby crib mattresses that don’t disclose the surface of the mattress as it will most likely be vinyl.
Nylon, Damask or Polyurethane Cover
These waterproof covers are not really waterproof - only water resistant (or “wet proof” as they are sometimes called). They usually contain a polyurethane backing and a waterproof coating similar to Teflon®. They also frequently contain added fire retardants and antibacterial chemical treatments.
Polyurethane Foam (Including “Eco”, “Soy”, “Bio” “Plant Derived”
and Other Polyurethane Blends)
Polyurethane foam is a petroleum product made from questionable ingredients. It is highly flammable and often contains fire retardant chemicals. It releases VOCs and can break down into small particles which become airborne over time. Polyurethane foam production also poses serious environmental concerns.
Note: “Eco”, “Soy” “Bio”, and other “Plant Derived” foams are nothing more than polyurethane foam with some naturally derived polyols mixed in (typically only 12% of the foam). While this is a step in the right direction from an environmental standpoint, it does not address any of the chemical concerns.
Natural Latex / Rubber or Coir
At first glance, natural latex/rubber may seem to be an excellent material for use in baby and children’s mattresses. However, natural latex/rubber has been associated with unusually high allergies, particularly in children. Most allergists recommend that babies and young children steer clear of latex. According to the FDA, a product containing latex (and particularly natural latex) cannot be labeled as “hypoallergenic.” Coir (or coconut husks) also contains latex as a bonding agent. Additionally, hospitals across the country are in the process of removing latex due to this concern.
Wool, Mohair or Horsetail Hair
Wool is a natural fire retardant material used in many organic mattresses.
Wool has been associated with allergies, particularly in children. For example, wool intrinsically contains lanolin. Other allergens originate not with the wool itself, but with the chemical treatments applied (in order to clean it from dirt, sand, grease and dried sweat). A precautionary approach should be taken since infants are potentially susceptible to high allergy materials such as wool.
Fire Retardant Chemicals
Naturepedic follows the precautionary principle and eliminates questionable chemicals in the first place. In particular, Naturepedic completely eliminates vinyl/PVC, phthalates and phthalate substitutes, PBDEs, brominated or chlorinated fire retardants, antimony, modacrylic, polyacrylonitrile, respirable crystaline silica, boric acid and many other chemicals commonly found in mattresses.
Information used via naturepedic.com