What's scarier than the Boogieman, yet 100% real?

Many of you are insistent that only organic cloth being up against your baby’s skin. That’s awesome. Though if the concern is about the baby’s skin and not the environment, several washes will get pretty much everything out of the non-organic cotton clothing. How many of you that are worried about organic cloth against your baby have considered where your baby sleeps in regards to its toxicity?

I don’t mean your crib liner or your crib bedding. Think even more basic than that though.

Have you ever smelled a brand new crib mattress?

I’ve done it before and then promptly sought out an organic alternative. If you smell a normal crib mattress, it will smell like chemicals. I’m not even kidding you guys, smell it. Then ask yourself, if it were labelled anything else besides for “crib mattress,” would you lay your baby down on something that smells like that?

They smell toxic in part because, most mattresses include polyurethane foam which often contains, depending on how it’s made, various chemical additives, including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and other well established toxic chemicals.

The waterproofing layer of a normal mattress is usually made from PVC. PVC is made soft for babies’ beds by using phthalates which are incidentally endocrine disruptive chemicals. These chemicals (which make up on average 30% of the PVC surface of a crib and are not bound to the plastic and can leech out to be breathed in by your baby) are associated with early onset of puberty, cancers, kidney and liver damage, and asthma. puberty, cancer, and kidney and liver damage. The government is beginning to work on this having banned some phthalates, which is a good thing. Many still remain though. None should be snuggling up to our children.

And my personal favorite part of all of this….

Because these materials are so flammable given that they are basically petroleum  with added chemicals, the manufacturers have to add flame retardants to the crib mattresses.  These chemicals then leach out into the surrounding air. Flame retardants are still used even though they are linked to numerous adverse health effects, including  hormone disruption, immune system problems, behavioral problems, learning delays, memory problems,  and cancer. Lately, states have been regulating what kind of flame retardants can be sued in children’s mattresses, but a new similar chemical is always quick to replace it.

So, the modern crib mattress is toxic foam, wrapped in toxic plastic and all treated with toxic chemicals. And that is scarier than the boogieman for sure.

Oh hey on a completely separate note… Check out this crib mattress I found and added to the index so you can find it easily: Pure Rest Organic Crib Mattress


    • Tara West

      Unfortunately the same thing is going on in your bed unless you have an organic mattress :-/ I used to sell mattresses and believe me there are all kinds of things in mattresses that you don’t even know about. The cheaper mattresses are basically shredded up bits of the cut off parts of all other types of mattresses. There was no way to even tell exactly what kind of foam was in them because it was just a shredded mess in there.

      • Absolutely there is. Except for the PVC. Luckily, by the time people are getting around to co-sleeping, most of the bed have gassed out over several years. Though, these companies do make organic bed too for grown ups thankfully. I do think it is worth the money.

    • Ummm… well… no. Not in my belief. Our mattresses are not safer. Thankfully, with time, our mattresses become more safe. Have you ever gotten a new mattress, right out of the plastic wrap. It seriously smells like it would kill you. Like sleeping in a freshly painted room or something. Over the weeks though, it gets less and less and about a year later, they hardly smell at all. I feel OK having my kids on my bed because it’s about seven years old. But I felt WAAAY safer buying my son an organic twin. Right now, my daughter is sleeping on a mattress that is decades old, and I feel good about that. But no, in truth, I feel I can tell you that our mattresses are not safe or healthy.

  1. Heather P

    Wish we had opted for an organic crib mattress, I debated and debated….should have known this. We co-sleep now and our mattress is older, next time any mattresses I buy will be organic, thanks for the tip!

  2. Angie

    My son sleeps with us in a 2-year old mattress. I aired out his bassinet mattress for months before he was born, but he’s never slept in it (in his whoppin’ 10 days) and likely never will. 🙂

    His crib c

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  4. We put a moses basket and rocking frame on our baby registry, thinking what a great eco-friendly option. When it came to us, the mattress in it was the same toxic number you write about above.

    I took it out, made a template from the mattress, and then cut out 6 thick layers of old cotton towels, sewed them together, and made a new mattress (and it is definitely more comfy!!!). I put a leftover sleeve from a wool sweater on top of it, for waterproofing it.
    Now, to make our own mattress from a cotton canvas futon cover and buckwheat hulls on a slat frame!
    Great article. 🙂

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