How to Find the Safest Options
Mattresses and Cot Death (SIDS)
Alternatives for Healthy Organic Baby Crib Mattresses
How to Know if a Mattress is Really Organic
Are Eco-Friendly or Plant-Based Mattresses Healthy?
How do Organic Mattresses Pass Fire Standards?
Best Organic Crib Mattress Options
Toxic Chemicals in Baby Crib Mattresses
Babies and children are constantly exposed to chemicals. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for toxicity, so caution is recommended to keep your baby safe from exposure. You might be aware of the chemicals in crib, bassinet, cradle and porta-crib mattresses and are searching for a healthy organic baby crib mattress. Organic is important, but the main thing to determine is whether the mattress is non-toxic. Even organic mattresses can contain unsafe materials.
Your baby’s mattress exposure is up-close, extensive, and long-term. Babies sleep on a mattress for 10-14 hours or more a day during their most fragile developmental years, lying directly on the mattress, breathing in and absorbing whatever is in the mattress.
A 2014 study done at The University of Texas at Austin found that babies are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses while they sleep. The researchers found that body heat increases emissions and chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone. These chemical exposures can negatively affect the health and brain development of babies.
When it comes to your baby, there is no safe level of exposure.
I have thoroughly investigated the safety and toxicity of baby crib mattresses to find the best and safest organic crib mattress. I wrote the following report to help you distinguish facts from the mountains of misinformation and choose the best organic crib mattress for your baby.
The following report will tell you:
- Why you should never put your baby to sleep on a crib mattress with common materials and components
- Why it’s essential to keep your baby’s crib mattress free from wetness and moisture
- What are the safest and best crib mattresses you can buy
Crib Mattress Toxicity: How to Find the Safest Options
What’s in a Typical Crib or Baby Mattress?
Polyurethane foam is the filling material used in most baby mattresses. It is made from petroleum and is highly flammable. It contains chemical additives, and either contains flame retardants or there are flame retardant barriers used around the foam. Foam breaks down over time into small particles, which can become airborne.
Toluene diisocyanate and methylene diphenyl diisocynate are isocyanates that may be used as the primary building blocks of foam and mixed with water and polyols. Toluene is a known carcinogen and exposure to isocyanates can irritate mucous membranes and cause asthma, respiratory disease, skin inflammation, and chemical sensitivity.
Waterproof Covering – Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) with Phthalates
Many crib mattresses have a vinyl covering for waterproofing purposes. Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) is considered to be one of the most toxic and environmentally unfriendly plastics in use today. Vinyl chloride, an intermediate component in the manufacturing of PVC, is a combination of petroleum and chlorine, and is a known human carcinogen. Vinyl may also contain flame retardants.
Since PVC is a hard plastic, chemical plasticizers must be added to make it into a soft and flexible covering. These plasticizers (the most commonly used are phthalates) make up 30%-40% of the weight of the vinyl surface of a crib mattress. They are not bound to the vinyl and leach out or off-gas into the surrounding air.
Since plasticizers emit from vinyl at a slow rate, it’s likely that babies are constantly exposed to these chemicals while they sleep. Babies breathe in plasticizers and absorb them through their skin. Health effects associated with chemical plasticizers include:
- reproductive harm
- early onset of puberty
- kidney and liver damage
It’s important to know that although certain phthalates have been banned in the US, alternatives now being used (including legal phthalate variants) are not tested and might be just as toxic. It may take years of additional research before safety can be determined.
No one really knows what level of additives in vinyl is safe for babies. So when you see a product description with “non-toxic vinyl” or “phthalate-free vinyl”, you need to understand that it’s probably far from non-toxic.
Some manufacturers are starting to replace vinyl coverings with fabric attached to a polyurethane backing. This means the crib mattress surface is not waterproof and that’s a problem. Crib mattresses need to be waterproof to avoid baby sleeping on mildew, mold, and fungus.
And some crib mattress manufacturers are spraying the top of the mattress with PFCs – perfluorinated chemicals – to make the fabric waterproof. This is the same toxic stuff that’s in Teflon and Scotchguard. Not a good thing for your baby to be sleeping on!
Strict Flammability Standards
Mattresses made with polyurethane foam and PVC are highly flammable and will burn quickly if ignited. When these mattresses burn, extremely hazardous gases are formed and released into the air. Because of this, the U.S. government requires all mattress manufacturers to meet strict flammability standards. Ironically, most do this by adding more toxic chemicals, either mixed into the foam or in barriers around the foam.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are the primary fire retardant chemicals used in mattresses for decades. These chemicals break down and leach out into the surrounding air. Research has shown that microscopic particles from fire retardant chemicals contaminate household dust.
Babies are exposed to fire retardants in 3 ways:
1) Breathing the air while sleeping on the mattress
2) Absorbing the chemicals through their skin
3) Household dust (babies pick up dust while crawling. Dust sticks to their hands and go into their mouths. Babies also chew on toys and other items that contain dust.)
PBDE exposure is linked to numerous adverse health effects, including:
- immune suppression
- hormone disruption
- developmental delays
- learning and memory problems
- behavior changes
Some states have banned certain brominated fire retardants, but these have been replaced by other PBDEs or other chemicals that may be just as toxic. Manufacturers are not required to test these chemicals for the effects on health and there is very little data available to show safety.
All Mattresses Must be Flame Resistant
You can’t purchase a mattress in the US that does not pass fire-proofing laws, unless you have a prescription from a licensed physician. This goes for all mattresses – baby, child and adult – and includes organic mattresses. So if you bought a mattress without a doctor’s prescription (even 20 years ago), it contains some type of fire retardant materials. If you bought a mattress, including a crib mattress, more than a few years ago, it most likely contains pentaBDE, a banned form of PBDEs.
Because of the huge public outcry against PBDEs (particularly pentaBDE), and because California has already banned it, mattress manufacturers are moving away from PBDEs.
However, they still need to meet the government flammability standards, and their mattresses are still filled with petroleum-based polyurethane foam or so-called “soybean foam”, which remains highly flammable. So they are merely replacing these PBDE chemicals with other fire retardants, whether as additives or as barriers. In general, the mattress manufacturers do not reveal the actual specific chemicals that are used to meet the government flammability regulations, and this is perfectly legal being that the law doesn’t care how a mattress meets the standard or what chemicals are used, but only that the flammability standard is met.
A common flame retardant now being used is chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), which has been found to change the DNA of people exposed and is listed as a carcinogen. This is the same fire retardant chemical that was removed from children’s flame retardant pajamas back in the late 70s because it was suspected of causing cancer. But it wasn’t formally banned, just voluntarily removed so now it’s in couches and mattresses! It is absorbed through the skin – that’s why it was removed from children’s sleepwear. It’s also now in the household dust of most homes.
Mattresses and Crib Death (SIDS)
Several scientists claim that toxic gases released from crib mattresses, when breathed or absorbed by a sleeping baby, can cause crib death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These claims have not been scientifically proven, nor have they been disproven, and there is urgent need for more research.
A 100% successful crib death prevention campaign has been happening in New Zealand for the past two decades. Midwives and other healthcare professionals throughout New Zealand advise parents to wrap the mattress to block toxic gases from exposing the baby. During this time, there has not been a single SIDS death reported among the many (estimated over 200,000) New Zealand babies who have slept on mattresses wrapped in a specially formulated cover. The SIDS rate in NZ has dropped dramatically since this mattress-wrapping campaign began. This is usually attributed to putting babies on their backs to sleep. This makes sense since babies sleeping face up are not exposed to as much toxic gas as those sleeping with their faces in the mattress.
It’s my opinion that there is enough evidence to warrant taking a precautionary approach. The following article contains more information on the crib death issue:
Learn why more research is not being done:
Are Toxic Gases in Crib Mattresses Causing SIDS?
Alternatives for Healthy Organic Baby Crib Mattresses
Most people assume that if a mattress is organic, then it must also be non-toxic and safe. This is not necessarily true. There are organic crib mattresses on the market that contain organic cotton as the filling, but the outer covering is vinyl or some other type of harmful material. In addition, fire retardants and other various chemicals may be added to the cotton or to the outer covering. It is important to check with the manufacturer and inquire about all the materials used. Organic is definitely important when choosing a mattress, but the main thing to look for is whether the mattress is non-toxic and safe for your baby.
Your baby’s mattress must be organic AND non-toxic.
How to Know if a Mattress is Really Organic
Let’s clarify what it means to be organic. When referring to agricultural products (regardless of whether edible, like apples and tomatoes, or non-edible, like cotton), organic refers to the way that the products are grown, raised, and processed. Only the fiber used in a mattress, such as cotton or wool, can be considered organic per the agricultural standards since these are agricultural products. Other materials in a mattress, such as a plastic covering or innersprings are not agricultural, therefore cannot be organic.
If cotton is organic, it is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. This is important because cotton is a highly sprayed crop and the residues from pesticides can remain in the cotton fiber. Plus organic cotton goes a long way to protect the health of our environment.
When wool is organic, the sheep are fed only organic food and raised without synthetic hormones and pesticides. Organic wool producers are also required to comply with ethical management practices that support the health of the animal and the environment. Additionally, the wool is cleaned and processed without the use of toxic chemicals.
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has created strict standards for producing and processing agricultural products to be sold as organic in the US. In order to ensure that these standards are being met, the NOP has accredited about 50 organizations throughout the world as organic certifiers. When agricultural producers want their products to be labeled as organic, they must adopt certain practices for three years and then go through a certification process with one of these NOP certifiers.
A mattress itself is not an agricultural product and therefore cannot be certified as organic by the USDA National Organic Program. However, standards have been developed to give consumers assurance of finished products (like shirts, jackets, and mattresses) made with organic fibers and textiles. These standards, called the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), have become the recognized organic textile processing standards for mattresses. The standards require that all fiber and fabrics used within a mattress, with limited exceptions, must be made from National Organic Program (NOP) certified materials and 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. With a mattress, we’re concerned with the finished product AND all the individual materials within the mattress. Although there are many GOTS approved certifiers throughout the world, the largest certifier in the US is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO).
A common practice is to borrow a GOTS logo from a supplier. The mattress manufacturer might use an organic fabric from a supplier that is GOTS certified. But if the mattress manufacturer is not certified, and they simply use GOTS certified cotton, then this is not a certified organic product and it may contain toxic components.
Are Eco-Friendly or Plant-Based Mattresses Healthy?
In recent years so-called green, eco-friendly, or plant-based mattresses have come on to the market. You may see them labeled with descriptions such as Eco Foam, Bio Foam, or Soybean Foam. What most of these manufacturers do is replace a small percentage of the polyurethane foam with plant-based ingredients. It looks great to call it “eco-friendly” or “green” but many of these mattresses are far from healthy or non-toxic. Soybean foam is usually polyurethane foam with 12-17% soybean oil mixed in. It’s at least 80% petroleum/chemical based and highly flammable so it needs fire retardant chemicals to comply with the laws. Any company can refer to their mattresses as “green”, “healthy”, or “eco-friendly” since there are no laws or guidelines that say they can’t. Don’t be fooled by this green-washing. You may be getting a load of toxic chemicals and off-gassing with these mattresses.
Some crib mattresses have surface fabrics made from “bamboo”. This sounds good, too, until you check into the manufacturing process. Strong chemical solvents might be used in the processing of bamboo resulting in a cellulose fiber similar to rayon. “Bamboo” mattress coverings are usually a synthetic fabric with not much of the bamboo plant in the finished product.
Organic cotton is the perfect filling material for a baby mattress since it is natural, non-toxic, firm and breathable. Cotton will not burst into flames (like polyurethane foam) or release toxic fumes when ignited.
Wool is also commonly used in mattresses and bedding since it is naturally fire resistant, does not provide a favorable environment for dust mites, and handles moisture well. Wool is an excellent bedding material for many reasons, but wool can be allergenic. Some allergies to wool might actually be chemical sensitivities to the chemicals used in processing wool so make sure the wool in your crib mattress is certified organic.
Latex (natural rubber) is also used as a crib mattress filling. Shopping for a latex crib mattress can be complicated since latex can be blended with chemicals and may contain questionable ingredients added during processing. For this reason make certain that the latex is GOLS certified organic.
Surface Material (Covering)
It’s important that your baby mattress is waterproof. Babies can generate a lot of wetness while they sleep, and this wetness can cause mold, mildew, fungi or bacteria to grow in the mattress. Since mold and fungi can be a health hazard for a baby, it’s crucial to not allow moisture to get into the surface of a crib mattress. A non-toxic waterproof covering is essential to eliminate wetness from a mattress. Plastic is currently the only viable way to make a mattress completely waterproof. But not all plastics are the same. Some are quite toxic and environmental unfriendly (as in vinyl) while others are non-toxic and more environmentally safe. It’s imperative that the plastic be non-toxic.
100% natural organic crib mattresses (latex/wool) usually have an organic cotton surface, and these mattresses are not waterproof. It’s imperative to cover your latex/wool mattress with either an organic cotton waterproof pad with a plastic lining, an organic cotton crib mattress protector (preferably two for the best protection).
Environmental scientists agree that low density, food-grade polyethylene is the safest plastic available. It has a simple molecular structure and does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives. Unlike the production of vinyl, dioxins and other toxic chemicals are not released into the environment during production of low density polyethylene. This is the material used for the mattress covers designed to prevent SIDS in the crib death prevention campaign in NZ.
Naturepedic uses a plant-based, low density polyethylene made from non-GMO sugar cane. This is the safest waterproofing you can get.
Wool is Not Waterproof
Since wool is moisture-resistant and dries quickly, wool mattress or “puddle” pads are sometimes used with mattresses that are not waterproof. Many wool puddle or piddle pads actually have synthetics in them, such as polyester, so look for 100% certified organic wool from a company you can trust.
If there is a lot of wetness from a baby or child, it can go through to damage the mattress and create mold and mildew problems. If you’re going to use a non-waterproof mattress, I recommend layering two organic cotton mattress protectors to serve as an extra layer of protection. Cotton absorbs moisture and wool repels and wicks moisture away. When used in concert, the wool and cotton pads together may block wetness.
However, the best option is to get a safe waterproof crib mattress in the first place, so you don’t have to worry about mold and mildew.
As mentioned before, the U.S. government requires mattress manufacturers and retailers to obtain a doctor’s prescription from a customer before selling a mattress that does not meet federal fire safety standards. The prescription must be from a physician licensed in your state that says “this patient requires a chemical-free mattress”. This can be written by any licensed physician, including medical doctors (MD), osteopaths (DO) and chiropractors (DC). However, there are now mattresses that pass fire standards without toxic materials that can be sold without a prescription.
How Do Organic Mattresses Pass Fire Standards?
Many organic mattresses contain chemical fire retardants. Yet they are called “organic” simply because the cotton filling is organic cotton. In stores or on websites, it may say “free of fire retardants” or “PBDE-free”, but the truth is that there has to be something that is allowing it to pass the fire testing. The manufacturers may have replaced the PBDE chemicals with other non-tested fire retardants. It’s difficult to get this information out of retailers or manufacturers since most do not reveal the specific chemicals used.
Wool is fire-resistant, and is the most common fire protection used in natural, organic crib mattresses. If a wool-wrapped mattress has been tested and approved to meet flammability standards, the manufacturer is able to sell it without obtaining a prescription. There are companies that use only pure wool for this purpose. But be aware that some companies may use wool with chemical treatments added to boost the wool’s fire resistance.
Borate powder (boric acid) is also used to make mattresses fire resistant. Most mattresses treated with borate powder meet Federal flammability standards and do not require a doctor’s prescription. There is conflicting information regarding the safety of using borate powder in mattresses. Since it is an insecticide and is potentially toxic, I would avoid borate powder.
Best Organic Crib Mattress Options
I began Healthy Child in 1997 after learning about the toxic threats to babies and children from common products in most homes. I’ve made it my mission to find healthy alternatives and make them available. I’ve examined the research and thoroughly questioned the manufacturers about their production and materials. It’s my passion to provide you with reliable, truthful and substantial information so you can make a truly informed decision.
Waterproof Baby Crib Mattresses
Naturepedic crib mattresses are the only safe waterproof organic mattresses I can recommend. Naturepedic is the only company that uses food-grade, plant-based polyethylene made from non-GMO sugar cane for the purpose of waterproofing and dust mite proofing. Strict independent testing confirms there are no phthalates or any toxic chemicals in this polyethylene. You can get it in a 2-stage dual-firmness – a firmer side for newborns and softer side for toddlers. Also comes in lightweight.
All Naturepedic baby and crib mattresses are entirely GOTS certified – not just the cotton, the entire mattress. They are certified to the GOTS standard by Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO). They have also passed independent testing by the strictest GREENGUARD standard.
Tested and Confirmed Pure and Non Toxic
Don’t cut corners during your baby’s most critical period of brain development. Make sure your organic crib mattress is also non toxic. Buy from a trusted expert to avoid toxic exposure.
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Copyright 2023 Healthy Child
163 thoughts on “The Best Organic Crib Mattress is Safe and Non-Toxic for Your Baby”
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Thank you for all your research. I noticed you sell the Naturepedic waterproof crib mattress protector, which contains polyurethane. I’d like to better understand why you recommend this product given your concerns about polyurethane.
Ruth, that is really a great question. It’s important to understand there is a big difference between polyurethane plastic and polyurethane foam. Different chemicals and additives are used to make the foam.
The only way to fully waterproof a mattress is to use plastic. Determining the safety of a plastic waterproof pad depends on how the plastic is manufactured and what chemicals are used. Polyethylene works great in the mattresses, but since mattress pads are put in the washer and dryer, the polyethylene would break down from the heat so can’t be used in this case. So both Naturepedic and Sleep and Beyond use a specially formulated polyurethane plastic (not foam) that is proven to not leach harmful chemicals. It is made from the same grade material as is required for food contact applications. This is a very thin film that is encased in organic cotton.
See this post for more information about mattress protectors:
How about pillows? Do they have flame retardants?
Pillows are not required to be fire retardant, like mattresses are. But foam pillows do contain flame retardants, yes. Polyurethane foam is highly flammable so manufacturers do use flame retardants in pillows. It’s very difficult for manufacturers to even get fire retardant-free foam in the U.S. Here is a study that found flame retardants in pillows:
Pillows made with natural fibers are not likely to contain fire retardants. But it’s always good to check with the retailer or manufacturer. None of the pillows on the Healthy Child site contain fire retardants. Everything is free of flame retardants.
I was wondering about the polyurethane foam. My daughter’s crib mattress is made from 92% urethane foam 8%rayon. It was a gift and I only recently became aware of these chemical issues with food, clothes, and mattresses it’s enough to drive you batty! Is polyurethane and urethane the same? I’ve been researching like crazy and I see you recommend mattresses with greenguard safety certification. I’m perplexed because her mattress has the greenguard certfication and certi-pur-us certification. It says clean air inside and outside. Its the Ever True Elite mattress made by Cologate. I read another article the other day that states greenguard is a third party and that they recieve no benefit in giving there stamp of approval to a company. So long story short, is my mattress safe or not? It has the stamp of approval but has urethane foam and rayon. I’m so confused any help would be so great because I really don’t understand this stuff. It’s so troubling that I can’t even rely on organic as the best option. I’m a new mon, she’s only 4 months and I’m trying my hardesr to find her the best, but its so hard with all the information to know what is what. Thoughts? Thanks
Unfortunately, GreenGuard has changed over the years. The very basic standard used to be GREENGUARD “Air Quality” Standard, and then they added the “Children & Schools” standard which was a bit more stringent. Then they realized they needed something even more stringent, so they created the “Select” standard, which was strictest possible. Only a few manufacturers (across the board) were certified to this standard. Naturepedic was the only crib mattress manufacturer that was certified to the Select standard.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned that GREENGUARD was recently bought by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and everything has changed. UL has a different philosophy (business model) than the original GREENGUARD. UL is not interested in only a few companies meeting a standard. They want standards that virtually everyone can easily achieve – and pay the fees! So they discontinued the Select standard and created the Gold standard, which is very basic. So pretty much any mattress manufacturer (including those who use vinyl, polyurethane foam, and flame retardants) can now achieve GREENGUARD Gold certification by paying the fees. Makes it pretty meaningless at this point. I looked at the mattress you’re asking about and it has memory foam, and I would definitely be concerned about that. That would have never passed the GREENGUARD Select certification.
Stefanie, here are some more thoughts, which hopefully answer your questions:
Urethane and polyurethane are the same when it comes to mattress filling. GREENGUARD does not prohibit polyurethane foam in its Gold certification program. GREENGUARD Gold also does not prohibit flame retardants, vinyl, phthalates (except for the few that were banned, there are many more), and many other chemicals. GREENGUARD charges a fee for its certification. CertiPUR-US is a certification program provided by the Polyurethane Foam Association for polyurethane foam, which means that the mattress definitely contains polyurethane foam.
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Very informative indeed. What worries me when using food grade plastic on an existing mattress to stop the toxic smells is whether there’s any chance of suffocation because of the plastic. I was thinking of sewing a cotton cover after covering the mattress with plastic. I still feel that it will limit the baby’s breathing. Is my concern justified?
There is no worry about suffocation with the polyethylene covering on the Naturepedic baby and crib mattresses since it’s a thick plastic that is completely attached to the mattress. There is no way that covering can be dislodged or bunched up. However, it sounds like you are talking about covering your mattress with plastic yourself. I don’t recommend that unless you are using a BabeSafe mattress cover that is designed specifically for this purpose and you explicitly follow the directions to make certain you wrap it correctly. Covering your baby’s mattress yourself with any other type of plastic IS a suffocation risk and is not safe. And yes, a 100% cotton mattress pad is a good idea to make the surface more breathable and to absorb the normal wetness that a baby can generate. We have organic cotton mattress pads available here that are sized correctly and that won’t bunch up.
Its so important to me to get a good organic and safe crib cover from my little one on the way, i love how organic is becoming more accessible than ever before. my question is I have 3 other kids and myself, and we would like organic bedding too. do you recommend any? i like the covers from http://www.protectabed.com/content/mattress_protectors.asp but i am interested in your opinion. thanks so much
Hi Jenny, those covers are not organic and they are not designed to protect against toxic off gassing. They are not made of the correct material. And it’s difficult to know if they will increase any off gassing without checking more deeply into the manufacturing and materials.
Love this article and all of its information, thank you!! It’s gone a long way in trying to convince my husband to spend the extra money on organic 🙂
my one question is that the actual tag on the naturepedic organic classic 150 mattress reads:
all new material consisting of
blended cotton batting 80%
polyethylene foam 20%
I thought it was supposed to be 100% cotton except for the polyethylene plastic for the waterproof covering? I know you said polyethylene plastic is okay but not foam … Now I’m worried the mattress contains the stuff you said was bad!! Can you shed any light on this?
Thanks for your help!! Katie
Sorry the law tags are so confusing! The government law label rules require specific wording that unfortunately does not represent what’s really in the product. It’s really crazy, but the manufacturers’ hands are tied – they have to comply.
The Law Label rules do not allow for the term “cotton” by itself, and the word “organic” is not permitted on a Law Label. “Organic Cotton” or “Organic Wool” or “Organic Latex”, etc. is illegal terminology on a Law Label. Crazy, but true.
It’s the polyurethane foam that you need to be concerned about, not polyethylene. They are completely different. Polyethylene “foam” does not involve a chemical process. It involves heating and flash cooling the polyethylene so it forms closed cells with air in the cells. The law label rules require it to be called foam.
Thank you SO much for the response!! Don’t you just “love” the odd rules they have sometimes?! They just seem to cause more confusion lol
Now that I read your response I feel so silly…the words are completely different!! Can we blame it on mommy brain and first time mom jitters?!
I feel so much better having read your response…thank you for explaining everything and helping to calm this first time mom’s worries 🙂 Knowing that the mattress is indeed safe, we will ALL sleep better tonight…no pun intended 😉
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Hi there! I have a question about baby bjorn travel light crib. It is their version of a pack and play. I purchased it used in an effort to keep my house free of toxins and stay within my budget. The tag copyright states 2010.
I was shocked when I opened it to see that the foam says 100% polyurethane!!! What?!?
I am currently seeking a baby Babybjorn bassinet but now I’m second-guessing. Can you advise?
Jenn, unfortunately we haven’t been able to find anything we can recommend.
Hi Jane! Thank you for the wonderfully informative article! We’re expecting our second baby soon and unfortunately don’t have it in our budget to purchase a naturopedic mattress. Are there any other mattresses you can recommend, or anything we can do to help make our current mattress safer? I’m at wit’s end trying to work out an alternative!
Hi Bethany, You can get a BabeSafe mattress cover for your current mattress and that should protect your baby. You can Google search for Babesafe mattress cover, there are several sites selling these. Just make sure it’s made by BabeSafe in New Zealand. They will ship to most countries. Follow the wrapping instructions very carefully. – Jane
I’ve used Baby Crib Mattresses for my baby a long time but i don’t they may be harmful. Thanks for your useful information.
I’m hoping you can clear up my confusion about the waterproof aspect of the Naturepedic crib mattresses? At the end of the article above, you state: “For parents who do not want the waterproof plastic covering, Naturepedic also offers a non-waterproof quilted organic cotton crib mattress with a certified organic cotton covering.”
So, are Naturepedic mattresses waterproof in and of themselves? Or do you need to purchase the waterproof mattress pad in addition?
If you are saying that Naturepedic offers a model that isn’t waterproof, with a washable, non-plastic outer covering, wouldn’t that mean that those mattresses would be susceptible to mold and fungus growth by fluids getting through the cover and into the mattress itself (similar to the situation with wool pads)?
If so, why would anyone elect for a non-waterproof model, especially if the plastics in the Naturepedic waterproofing are safe?
Thanks so much!
Yes, most of the Naturepedic models are waterproof in and of themselves. You do not need a waterproof mattress pad for these models. But for people who do not want a crib mattress with plastic covering, Naturepedic also makes a model that is not waterproof. Yes, these are susceptible to mold and fungus, so they will need either a waterproof mattress cover or perhaps 2 wool puddle pads to stop wetness from getting into the mattress and causing problems. It’s really personal choice. Some people prefer all natural materials, even though the plastic is completely safe.
Thanks for helping me understand that. From reading this site, it appears that Naturepedic is the only crib mattress truly free of harmful plastics and chemicals. I’m assuming the same would be true of their mattress pads. However, if I make the investment in the Naturepedic mattress, I’m wondering if there might be mattress pads on the market that are less expensive than Naturepedics, but as safe. One example I’ve been eyeing is the Baby & Brooke organic bamboo mattress pad. In your estimation, is that pad (or any other brand) equal to Naturepedic’s?
To be more specific, Naturepedic is the only WATERPROOF crib mattress that I know of that is truly free of harmful chemicals. Regarding the waterproof mattress pads, I haven’t found any others yet that I could recommend. It takes a lot of digging deeply into all materials and manufacturing, certifications, testing, etc. I took a quick look at the one you mention. They say the surface fabric is bamboo, but it’s actually rayon. To get a fiber out of bamboo it needs to be made into a rayon or viscose fiber using a chemical process. The bamboo plant they started with may be organic but once it’s made into a rayon fiber, it’s no longer organic.
As long as the mattress is waterproof, you really don’t need a waterproof mattress pad. If you want to save money, you could get a 100% cotton mattress pad (not waterproof) and that would be much safer than buying a questionable waterproof pad.
Interesting — so maybe I could do things in reverse: get a safe, non-waterproof mattress and a couple of Naturepedic waterproof mattress pads… Again, I’m just looking for safety AND affordability. Can you point me toward the non-waterproof mattresses you have in mind?
Thank you for checking on the Baby & Brooke pad. I found it interesting that they don’t appear to have a website and there is no available company info for them on Amazon. Nor a BBB listing. That seems suspicious. After all, how could a small company produce something like mattress pads — which involve plastics and chemical processes and machine-stitching. It makes me wonder if there’s nothing more than marketing mumbo-jumbo and repackaging going on here.
What a brilliant and informative Article!
As a mum of a 2 year old and another one on the way, I heard about non-toxic products just a couple years ago. The more I researched into it, the more crucial I found it to be that parents are aware of the dangers of everyday mattresses and cribs we buy, thinking them harmless for our babies.
I’m considering buying a new crib for my upcoming baby #2, and such info is invaluable.
Thanks a tonne, Jane.
Thank you for the detailed article, along with your willingness to reply to everyone’s questions. I’m struggling with the cost of the Naturepedic mattresses. My questions are, which is more toxic, a mattress with polyurethane foam or the flame retardant chemicals? I see a lot of mattresses that claim to not use flame retardant chemicals but then use foam. For example, Eco Classica III Eco-Friendlier Crib Mattress. It seems to tick all the boxes. Or am I’m missing something? Secondly, I just came across an article that Lullaby Earth mattresses are just as good as Naturepedic. In fact, I’ve seen claims that Naturepedic owns Lullaby Earth. What do you know about this?
Thank you for your insights!
I’ll first answer the question about which is more toxic – mattresses with polyurethane foam or flame retardant chemicals. Actually they are the same. Since polyurethane foam is highly flammable, it’s currently difficult, if not impossible, for manufacturers in the USA to source foam that is not flame retardant. So even though a manufacturer may not add flame retardants to the mattress, the chemicals are most likely already pre-mixed into the foam that they purchase in bulk. Flame retardant free foam, if available, is very expensive so it’s probably not used in the inexpensive crib mattresses. So if it has polyurethane foam, it likely has flame retardants, even if they didn’t add it themselves.
Yes, Naturepedic owns Lullaby Earth and that’s a reasonably safe brand. Naturepedic is offering Lullaby Earth as an option for people who cannot afford the Naturepedic brand. Lullaby Earth mattresses are a better alternative to mattresses with PU foam. There is no polyurethane foam or flame retardants in Lullaby Earth mattresses. Are Lullaby Earth mattresses as good as Naturepedic mattresses? No they are not. Naturepedic uses organic cotton and Lullaby Earth uses PET, made from recycled pop bottles. In addition, the polyethylene waterproof surface of the Naturepedic mattresses is now plant-based, made from non-GMO sugar cane. But if you can’t afford a Naturepedic mattress, the best option for safety is Lullaby Earth.
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How do,you think the naturepedic compares to the Babyletto mattresses. They also claim :
“Every single mattress manufactured by this brand is completely, 100% organic and non-toxic and made from 100% natural materials.
It can’t get any more natural than Babyletto crib mattresses, they are naturally flame retardant (without having to use any flame retardant chemicals!) and they contain:
No glues, No ‘Soy’ Foam, No dyes, No PVC, No Vinyl, No Polyurethane Foam, No allergen, No phthalates, No PFC, No BPA, No Synthetic latex of anything that producing off gassing materials and the list continues.”
Hi Gloria, I haven’t had any time to thoroughly check into the Babyletto so I can’t speak to it being non-toxic or safe. If you want to compare with Naturepedic – The Babyletto mattresses contain polyester, coconut coir, and latex. Naturepedic baby mattresses contain none of these materials. The coconut coir and latex they use might be great, but without digging deeper into the manufacturing of the coir and latex and finding out how it’s processed, it’s difficult to say. They don’t say how they exceed flammability standards without the use of chemical flame retardants. That’s important to know. They don’t say they are GOTS certified, they are OEKO-Tex 100 certified and that’s not the same as GOTS. Some of the materials might be OEKO-Tex certified but the entire mattress? Naturepedic is GOTS certified, the individual materials, plus the entire mattress is GOTS certified. That means that ALL components pass GOTS standards.
I’ve just done research and chose a Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer mattress bc they have he GreenGuard, and have won other “healthiest” mattress awards.
From their website:
“Little Dreamer mattresses are affordable, antimicrobial, and comfortable for little dreamers and their parents. The Little Dreamer is a two-stage sleep system offering an extra firm layer foam infused with plant oils on the infant side and a softer, plush side foam (also infused with plant oils) for toddlers. The entire 5″ deep mattress is wrapped in a woven fire barrier with no spray-on FR chemicals and enclosed in a medical quality, water-, stain- and odor-resistant deluxe fabric. ”
Our mattress is due to arrive tomorrow and I’m feeling that maybe I need to find a local Naturepedic dealer due to some of the information you’ve shared.
Please advise – have I fallen prey to more green gimmicks? The mattress is not cheap.
Hi Brooke, it’s polyurethane foam with a small percentage of soy oil. It doesn’t say what the fire barrier is made of. Or the fabric. Definitely not the “healthiest” crib mattress. GreenGuard certification does not mean that it’s safe.
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Thanks for the information from your research. In my country, PVC are being used widely, include in mattresses, blankets and pillows. Currently I have a 4-years-old child and is pregnant with second baby for 6 months. I also read a lot of articles about organic pillow and mattress. Then after reading your research i decide to buy an organic mattress and a couple of pillow for my baby and my family too.
Such a great article!!!
Thanks for this info. We are beginning the process of looking for a natural mattress and would like to find a twin for our4 year old son. Need a chemical free, non allergenic one… I found your article while searching for a natural mattress, and I’m so glad to find it.
I am purchasing a Naturepedic waterproof crib mattress. Which would be the most safe/ least toxic mattress cover to buy for it: a waterproof Naturepedic mattress cover, the non waterproof 100% cotton Naturepedic mattress cover , or the Babesafe mattress cover used in NZ?
Hi Meredith, you don’t need a Babesafe mattress cover for the Naturepedic mattress. Both the Naturepedic waterproof mattress pad and the Naturepedic non-waterproof pad are 100% safe. You don’t need the waterproof pad on the waterproof mattress, but some people want that so they don’t have to clean the mattress if wetness goes through a cotton pad. If you have further questions, feel free to contact customer service at email@example.com.
Thank you so much for all this information! I was reading more about the NZ study and how it’s caused by phosphorus, arsenic and antimony (and a fungus). Do the naturepedic mattresses not have any of these substances? How can we be sure of that? It also said these substances can be found in sheepskins so I’m wondering whether wool would exacerbate the problem or is it only the skin that is problematic? I’m trying to decide whether to buy the naturepedic crib mattress or the soaring heart mattress, but I can’t figure out which is safer in terms of SIDS. If I bought a Soaring Heart crib mattress would I need a Babysafe mattress cover?
And then I’m curious whether these mattresses would hold up from child to child or would reusing them increase the SIDS rate as well?
So many questions!
Thank you again so much for all the information!
Such great questions! There is no risk from phosphorus, arsenic, or antimony in any Naturepedic crib mattresses. The source of these substances identified by the NZ study is vinyl, due to the plasticizing of vinyl. In addition, phosphorus and antimony are also commonly used in flame retardants. The NZ cot death study group examined sheepskin bedding and not pure organic wool used inside a mattress. There is no evidence that I know of that organic wool contains phosphorus, but even if it did, the phosphorus would need the fungus to generate a gas.
It is critical to waterproof a cotton and wool mattress, and if you are concerned about wool, then I would recommend the Naturepedic crib mattress since it is completely waterproof. These mattresses will hold up from baby to baby and there is no risk of re-using them.
I cannot say that any mattress will prevent SIDS since there are other factors to consider in SIDS and the official cause is unknown.
I just want to point out that an organic mattress doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain phosphorus or arsenic. I contacted the manufacturers in New Zealand that make the mattress covers that have so successfully diminished SIDS cases in NZ and are closely connected to the original researchers and they said:
“The description “organic” does not guarantee that a bedding item is free from phosphorus or antimony. The description “organic” refers to the non-use of certain chemicals on/in plants, soil and animal feed. However, if the soil on which the plants or animals grow or graze contains naturally-occurring phosphorus or antimony, those chemicals will be inherently present in the bedding item regardless of the growing, grazing or manufacturing processes which have been used.
In this connection, please note that wool contains naturally occurring phosphorus.”
There is a lot of misinformation online that leads people to believe that an organic mattress (a truly organic one where everything is organic) is automatically safe; from my understanding, it is not. I went with a fully organic mattress and then still plan to cover it with a polyethylene mattress cover for baby’s first year. I love organic mattress because they won’t off-gas harmful chemicals that have nothing to do with SIDS and that is reason enough to get them, but when it comes to SIDS, there are other gases and they can come out of a natural mattress as well.
I am also very informed about the New Zealand research, I was one of the original people to publicize this to parents in the U.S. There is a possibility of a trace amount of phosphorus or antimony being in an organic mattress, IF these substances are in the soil where the organic cotton is grown or the wool (sheep) are grazed. But the main source of these substances identified by the NZ study is vinyl, due to the plasticizing of vinyl. In addition, phosphorus and antimony are also commonly used in flame retardants. Regarding wool, the NZ cot death study group examined sheepskin bedding and not pure organic wool used inside a mattress.
There is no risk from phosphorus, arsenic or antimony in any Naturepedic waterproof crib mattresses and they do not need to be wrapped in a cover. These waterproof mattresses use a food grade polyethylene for waterproofing purposes. First, there is no wool in the waterproof crib mattresses. Second, in order to produce the gases mentioned in the studies, there would need to be fungus in the mattress. The waterproofing makes it so that there’s no fungus within the mattress. And third, even if there was a possibility of a gas generated from antimony or arsenic, it would be blocked by the polyethylene cover. Therefore, there is no risk from the Naturepedic waterproof crib mattresses and they do not need to be wrapped.
I cannot say that any mattresses will prevent SIDS since there are other factors to consider in SIDS and the official cause is unknown. But I am confident that these mattresses are safe from chemical exposure and off gassing.
Very informative post about a wonderfully innovative mattress for babies and toddlers. I love it when new things are developed to benefit infants.
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I was wondering what your thoughts were on Sleep On It Laytex foam mattresses. They claim there mattresses are 100% laytex with no fillers or chemicals. I am looking to replace my matress and wondering what the best option is for myself since both my of children sleep in my bed every so often. What do you sleep on your self ? Are there even any chemical free options for adults mattresses. Is there anything affordable? please help I am going crazy!!!
It looks ok from the marketing copy on the site, but difficult to know without thoroughly checking into it. They say the latex is natural but it’s not organic. That can be ok, it depends on how it’s sourced and processed. Healthy Child has healthy, non-toxic, safe options for adults here: https://healthychild.com/product-category/organic-mattress-kids-and-adults/
I sleep on the EOS Classic:
It has GOLS certified organic latex (which is the purest latex) and the entire mattress is certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
I just purchased a Naturpedic crib mattress and the Naturpedic organic cotton crib mattress pad. I’m confused about how to use the Babe Safe plastic covers. If I cover the mattress with it and then put the crib mattress pad over the plastic, do I have to worry about issues with the polyurethane off gassing? The BabeSafe instructions also are a bit confusing, suggesting you encapsulate the crib mattress, then lay down a towel or pad, and then cover that with 2 sheets.
Sherry, with a Naturepedic crib mattress, there is no need for a BabeSafe mattress cover. And there is no off-gassing from the Naturepedic organic cotton waterproof pad – it’s completely safe. A BabeSafe mattress cover is not recommended at all with these items.
Thank you so much for this information. It is so helpful! We were just given a Leander crib by some friends for our 5 month old, and, due to its shape, only one specific mattress can be used with it: the Essentia mattress for Leander crib. Can you tell me if this one is safe? I’m hoping we won’t need to get an entirely new crib.
Thank you again!
Unfortunately it’s made with memory foam, which is polyurethane foam with added toxic chemicals. I would not recommend it, especially for a 5 month old.
Thank you for your reply, Jane. I just got info about the kind of foam that the mattress uses.
“This mattress and its extension is exclusively made for the Leander (non-full size) convertible crib. This Essentia mattress is made of natural memory foam using heava milk (rubber tree sap), organic essential oils, plant extracts and water. What you get is foam that feels and reacts like memory foam but without the gunk. ”
Do you know if that kind of foam would be safe? Also, does naturpedic make custom made mattresses?
We will be replacing my toddler’s mattress soon with a naturpedic mattress which, we will order from you.
Hi Sarah, I didn’t realize it was made from rubber tree sap, which is latex. Yes, 100% natural latex can be a safe option. I would ask what they use to pass fire standards. Do they use a barrier? Wool? Chemicals? I can’t find that info. Naturepedic makes custom sizes for baby mattresses such as bassinets, cradles, porta-crib. What size are you looking for? Jane
Jane, once again, thank you for your help here! I found some further info on the mattress: “The mattress is an all natural product, made from organic memory foam, with a certified organic cotton cover, no VOC’s, it is anti-dustmites and has no toxicity.” Would that answer any of these questions (would there be fire retardants if it is VOC-free)? If we find that this mattress isn’t non-toxic we would be interested in having a custom made mattress for the crib if we can afford it. But then we wouldn’t be able to replace my toddler’s mattress, so we’re hoping this mattress will prove to be toxin free (which will enable us to afford a naturpedic toddler mattress).
If we have to replace this mattress we would hope to find a custom made mattress to fit this crib: http://www.baby-koo.com/leander-4-in-1-crib.html
Otherwise we would just have to get a new crib, too.
Sarah, I did a little digging and found that they use a Kevlar fabric that encases the mattress to make it fire proof. Kevlar is what bullet proof vests are made of, but for mattresses, it’s made into a polymer fiber. I looked into Kevlar many years ago and the outcome of that was that I was unsure about the safety of this material in mattresses. Is it safe to sleep on for babies? It could very well be fine. I can’t say that it’s safe or unsafe. The MSDS shows some toxicity, but that’s for the dust that workers are exposed to when creating the material. Not the same as in a mattress. I think it just depends on your own comfort level. Sorry, I don’t know enough about kevlar to give you a straight answer!
Sarah, honestly, if I were in your shoes and finances were tight, I would keep that essentia mattress and use it with a Naturepedic organic cotton waterproof pad. IF there is any VOC coming from that mattress (and I’m not saying there is), this would help. It’s not made for blocking VOCs, the purpose is waterproofing, but it will block some. And you’ll need waterproofing anyway. In answer to your other question, Naturepedic cannot make a custom mattress to fit that crib, but Soaring Heart can. You can get a quote from customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-402-8841. Gaye or Valerie will answer and will be happy to help you.
My daughter has been using a Naturepedic mattress for the past 2 years, and I’m now pregnant with a baby who is due in June. Is it safe to re-use the mattress for him?
Amy, yes it’s safe to re-use the Naturepedic crib mattress. You can pass it down from one baby to another.
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What is less toxic, the Naturepedic waterproof mattress alone or the Naturepedic non waterproof mattress with the Naturepedic waterproof cover on top?
Liz, neither of these options are toxic. However, the Naturepedic waterproof mattress alone uses only plant-based polyethylene made from non-GMO sugar cane. The Naturepedic waterproof cover cannot use this polyethylene since it would break down in the wash. Plus the Naturepedic waterproof mattress alone is a less expensive option.
Thank you so much for the sharing such a informative also helpful article.I am purchasing a Naturepedic waterproof crib mattress. Which would be the most safe/ least toxic mattress cover to buy for it? Thanks in advance for giving me the clarification.
Hi James, the safest cover to buy would be either the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Flannel Pad at https://healthychild.com/product/organic-cotton-flannel-mattress-pad/ or the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Waterproof Pad at https://healthychild.com/product/organic-cotton-waterproof-mattress-pad/. Even though the mattress is already waterproof, many people prefer the waterproof one since it prevents having to wipe the mattress when wetness occurs. Currently you can get a free waterproof pad when you buy your crib mattress.
Will my baby be fine with just the waterproof Naturepedic mattress alone? Do you recommend getting a waterproof or cotton pad for any reason other than convenience? Just wondering if there are safety, temperature, or breathability reasons to get a pad for topping the mattress. Also, I saw in a comment from a few weeks ago that you mentioned to someone: “you can get a free waterproof pad when you buy your crib mattress.” Is this promotion still available? If so, I would love to know about it! Thank you.
Hi Kelsey, there are no safety issues with the waterproof Naturepedic mattress alone. A Naturepedic organic cotton waterproof pad is recommended since it’s convenient, plus the cotton absorbs the wetness away from the baby. The organic cotton waterproof pad absorbs and stops the wetness from getting through to the mattress. That won’t hurt the mattress since it’s already waterproof, but you would need to wipe off the mattress without it. Yes, we currently still have the free waterproof pad when you buy your crib mattress. Simply order the mattress and your free pad will be shipped with the mattress. I don’t know how long we will be able to continue that offer, but it is valid now. Thanks, Jane
Hi, great article. The naturepedic is a bit pricey for us, i have also been doing alot of research and its very stressful finding negative comments on most popular brands and trying to find the right mattress for a newborn. Can you offer me any advice on this
Delta Children Twinkle Stars Supreme Crib and Toddler Mattress? Also would it be worth adding the naturepedic organic mattress pad to it? Thank you.
Hi Robert, I understand how stressful this can be and it’s a big decision that will affect your baby’s health. That mattress contains polyurethane foam and they are calling it “healthy foam” since it’s CertiPUR-US. I don’t trust this certification since it was created by the Polyurethane Foam Association and its members and financial sponsors are chemical companies and foam manufacturers. GreenGuard also allows certain amounts of chemical emissions. The highest and most trusted standard for a baby’s mattress is GOTS organic certification.
Hello, I have just read reviews but i am confuse to choose the perfect mattress for my 2 months baby girl. Can any one tell me the name of a 100% organic crib mattress? I am hoping quick reply from you guys. Thanks in advance.
Hi Hannah, there is no such thing as a 100% organic waterproof crib mattress. Waterproof is important as I mentioned in this post, and the waterproofing is not organic but it’s non-toxic and safe if it’s GOTS certified. What to look for is a GOTS certified organic crib mattresses. Naturepedic organic crib mattresses are GOTS certified.
Many many thanks for your recommendation.
I’m pregnant (7month) with a baby, I’m confused to choose a perfect mattress for me. Can you please suggest me a perfect mattress? I’m waiting for your helpful reply. and thanks for the great informative article.
Hi Mary, congrats on becoming a mom! As noted in this article, Naturepedic is the safest mattress you can buy. Here is our guide to choosing your Naturepedic organic crib mattress: https://healthychild.com/guide-to-choosing-a-naturepedic-organic-baby-crib-and-toddler-mattress/
Hi Natalie, Yes, the BabeSafe plastic will make it waterproof too. You could also use a Babesafe cover for a changing mat, although it’s just plastic and you’ll want a cotton covering for absorbency and comfort for baby. Here is a safe changing pad for a changing table: https://healthychild.com/product/organic-changing-table-pad/. And here is a safe waterproof pad that has organic cotton covering: https://healthychild.com/product/organic-cotton-waterproof-mattress-pad/
The organic crib would be a good option as well to parents to keep their baby away from toxic chemicals from the usual cribs that we are used to.
I am currently pregnant with my 1st child. I wanted to get the Naturepedic Organic Cotton 2 in 1 Ultra/Quilted 252 Crib Mattress. but it’s outside of our price range. There are too many other Naturepedic mattresses to choose from. What is the next Naturepedic mattress you would recommend that is not as expensive as the $400 one? Also, my friend bought the Sealy Soybean Plush Foam Crib Mattress. It says it is GREENGUARD Gold Certified. What are your opinions about this mattress as well?
The Naturepedic Organic Cotton Classic is a great mattress that is less expensive. You don’t necessarily need the Ultra covering or the 2 different sides if money is an issue. But the Classic is a completely safe and healthy mattress for a good price.
The Sealy soybean foam mattress is mostly polyurethane foam and I would not recommend it. See the paragraph above about “eco-friendly” mattresses. GreenGuard standards have been lowered and just about any mattress can qualify now. GOTS certified is a much higher standard.
Congrats on your first baby! You may want to subscribe to Healthy Child since we provide a lot of great info for new moms.
Hi there, I’ve been using a naturepedic crib mattress for my daughter but she’s now ready for a “big girl bed”. I’m looking at twin mattresses. One thing I don’t like about naturepedic is that they have coils, which some argue attracts EMFs. What are your thoughts on this? My main question, however, is about twin beds. I’ve done a ton of research and have identified the Obasan Fundy twin mattress as the most ecological (non-toxic) and affordable (at a whopping $1099 for a twin). I know Naturepedic’s is somewhat cheaper, but I don’t like the fact that they have wire coils. What are your thoughts on the Obasan Fundy? Are there any other options you’d recommend for a twin bed? I really appreciate your time, and am grateful to have come accross your site!
Great questions! I’ve done some research into the coil/EMF theory. The claim that coils in mattresses can amplify EMFs is not supported by science. The study that has been used as evidence was reported incorrectly. It actually found that metal-containing mattresses attenuate – or reduce – electromagnetic waves immediately above the surface of the mattress. This means, according to the study, metal-containing beds may reduce EMF exposure on the side of the body closest to the mattress, but not the other side, which could be unprotected from EMF. No other research exists on coils and EMF risks.
The unsubstantiated hypothesis is that coils bound and connected with a long spiral wire might transfer electromagnetic waves. If you’re concerned about that, then you might stay away from an innerspring mattress and go with individually wrapped or pocketed coils.
I have not done due diligence in checking out the mattress you mentioned, but I have thoroughly checked into Naturepedic and other mattresses on the Healthy Child site, which are more affordable and confirmed safe and non-toxic.
The Naturepedic Verse is an excellent organic kids mattress with individually wrapped coils:
If you want a latex mattress with no coils, the Little Lamb is a great option and still more affordable than the Obasan.
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I’m looking for a safe mini crib mattress for our baby due in February. Naturepedic only has 2 inch matress pads, so that doesn’t sound like a solution. I came across a new brand, Bundle of Dreams. They claim to be eco-friendly, there should be no off-gassing, … Do you know it and would you recommend it? Thanks!
Hi Margot, Naturepedic’s 2″ baby mattresses are firm and the right thickness. I’m not familiar with Bundle of Dreams, took a look at their site and not enough info. Checking into their materials and will let you know when I hear back.
Hello! Thank you for this article, I’ve been obsessing over baby mattresses for a month trying to find the safest one. I am really leaning towards the Naturepedic crib mattress, but a few reviews from customers on Amazon have said that their mattress has started to sag in the middle where the baby lays. Is this safe or something we should be concerned about? Thank you 🙂
We have been selling Naturepedic crib mattresses since 2006, we’ve sold thousands, and not once has anyone ever reported that their mattress sagged. I believe those reviews on Amazon to be fake, quite honestly. In fact, we received several of those exact type of reviews on our site, and I knew right away they were fake since the “customer” said they got no response from our company. I knew this had to be false because we ALWAYS respond right away and if anyone reported sagging we would alert Naturepedic and they would send a replacement immediately. I looked into it and these “customers” were not in our database. They were obviously fake. Amazon has a lot of those fake reviews. Please know that if ever there was an issue with a Naturepedic crib mattress they would replace it right away. That’s been my experience in all the years I’ve been working with them.
Hi Jane- I have been doing extensive research on crib mattresses and have read every comment on this blog post. First and foremost, thank you so much for all the work you have put into sourcing the safest options! I truly appreciate it. I recently came across a crib mattress that I am curious to get your opinion on… the Nook Pebble Air Crib Mattress (Lite) sold on Pottery Barn’s website site for $195. I was drawn to the breathability safety factor of it for when baby starts to roll over. Also it has the GOTS certification. I would love your feedback on it. I’ve attached the link below. Thanks!!
Hi Lindsey, I’ve checked into this before and it’s made with polyurethane foam, which is why I don’t recommend it. It’s not GOTS certified. GOTS does not certify PU foam.
Hi Jane- Thanks for replying to my previous message. So I reread what pottery barn has listed regarding their Nook Pebble Air Crib Mattress (Lite), and it says:
Oeko-Tex® Certified: Tested in a third-party lab and verified to be free from over 300 harmful substances.
Certified to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards): This product meets the gold standard of textile production – it exceeds organic fiber requirements, contains no restricted chemicals and meets strict social responsibility standards.
So then is certified to GOTS different than GOTS certified? I’m just trying to make sense of their wording. It’s very tricky of them! I trust your opinion more than I do pottery barn’s website, but I’m hoping this will help clarify for others as well! Thanks.
Looks like just the cotton covering is GOTS certified organic, not the mattress. The problem is that the mattress core material is PU foam so it doesn’t matter that the cotton is organic.
Hi Jane, I found your research and answers very helpful. To follow up on your most recent answer would your thoughts on the Nook Pure be any different?
Also, the Newton crib seems to be an innovative mattress – have you seen it? https://www.newtonbaby.com/products/newton-crib-mattress
Curious about your take on the Newton.
Hi Frank, the Nook Pure mattress is not GOTS certified and not waterproof. The Newton breathable mattress is not waterproof and the baby breathes through the surface and into the interior of the mattress. A mattress that’s not waterproof allows urine, spit-up, diarrhea, spilled milk and other impurities to get inside the mattress. This can lead to microbial growth. A water-resistant mattress can still allow microbes to enter the mattress. There is no way to thoroughly scrub or sterilize the microbials inside of a mattress, even with a “washable” design. Mattresses should be waterproof. The Naturepedic Breathable crib mattresses ARE waterproof, with a breathable pad on top.
All of the Naturepedic mattress seem great- it’s actually pretty confusing which to pick. I’ve gone thru the guide but still unsure and indecisive. Which is your personal favorite one and why?
Hi Lindsey, thanks for your comment. I don’t have a personal favorite, it depends on your needs. Feel free to give a call to our customer service at 800-402-8841 and Gaye will help you decide according to your needs. Gaye is happy to help. Or email at email@example.com. We also have chat available.
Do you know if Bundle of Dreams crib mattresses are safe for baby? It’s a brand new company (about a year), so there’s not much information. The mattress fill is “Bundle Fiber”. It’s a polyester fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. Doesn’t exactly sound natural, but they claim it’s very safe for baby. Owner’s family was in mattress industry, and he created it for his new baby. Any thoughts? (I just posted this on another article but thought this article was more on topic with my question.)
I have not checked into any of the materials they use in this mattress. However I have concerns about it. It’s not GOTS certified. What do they use to pass fire standards? What do they use to make it water repellent, antibacterial, antimicrobial (as they claim?) It’s not waterproof, and if air passes through the entire mattress, then so does baby’s wetness so that would not be hygienic. It’s very important for a crib mattress to be waterproof. Those are my initial thoughts.
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How toxic is polyurethane laminate (not foam) on a waterproof mattress protector?
Another question, I have a tempurpedic Cal King mattress that’s only 3 1/2 years old, it was so damn expensive that I can’t imagine giving it up to buy a new mattress. And I’m frustrated that as you said there are no options to really wrap a larger mattress in a safe plastic to block the gasses. How bad are tempurpedic mattresses and what would you suggest I do to block the toxins?
Thank you so much for your research!
Hi Lauren, polyurethane laminate (plastic) in a waterproof protector might be fine, it depends on the manufacturer and how it’s made. I would only trust a polyurethane pad that is GOTS certified. Here’s a post with a lot of information about waterproof protectors:
Regarding the tempurpedic, they are made with memory foam, which is not a safe material. It really depends on your comfort zone with the exposure and whether you individually react to the materials. I would not use it if sleeping with a baby or child.
Thank you for your quick reply, and for all the valuable information you provide on this site. I just purchased a Naturepedic mattress for my toddler’s crib to replace the falsely advertised Simmons “non-toxic” one we have. We just had another baby and I want to do better this time with removing more toxins from our lives. Hopefully I can sell my current mattress for something decent and I’ll be saving up quick to get one of the organic ones here.
I have a few other questions in case you have any leads on this, my family is going to remodel our home soon and I’m making a list of non-toxic must haves. Like a no VOC hardwood floor laminate, no VOC organic carpets, and organic or low toxin couches. I know non-toxic paint isn’t too hard to come by, but for the rest of it are there safe alternatives? Any chance you know a good source for any of these things?
Yay for you in choosing non-toxics in your remodel! I can give you these links regarding the couches, since I fully researched this a few years ago.
I have not yet done enough research into flooring, but I will share my recent experience:
My husband and I needed to replace our carpeting in our home recently and ended up getting 100% wool carpeting which we are very happy with. We wanted hardwood flooring but figured our dog would ruin it. I looked at no VOC laminates and carpets that were GreenGuard certified, but had some trust issues with GreenGuard and the sales person didn’t have enough knowledge to answer toxicity questions. Sorry to say I didn’t go deeper into it, I honestly didn’t have the time. I went with wool instead.
Hope this helps!
1. I am a bit confused, is there a difference between mattress pad and mattress cover?
2. Also if i but the waterproof mattress, do i need to get the pad or cover?
3. the bassinet I have is made of polyurethane, and it was expensive and i cant return it, is there a product you recommend i can cover the mattress with to protect the baby from the polyurethane until I tranfer him to the crib with the safe mattress.
4. Do u have safe bassinet mattress?
A mattress pad and mattress cover are the same thing. An organic cotton pad is recommend over the waterproof mattress, you don’t need a waterproof mattress cover. We have a safe bassinet mattress here:
So to make sure I get it right, the non waterproof naturepedic mattress with organic cotton pad is better than the waterproof naturepedic mattress? Is that correct?
Also for the bassinet, if i get the organic cotton pad to cover the polyurethane mattress i have, will that be safe for the baby, or I have to buy the organic cotton non toxic bassinet mattress?
Thanks a lot for your help.
Hi Martina, sorry for the confusion. No, the crib or bassinet mattress needs to be waterproof. If the mattress is not waterproof, then you will need a waterproof mattress cover. Naturepedic no longer makes a non-waterproof crib mattress since waterproofing is so important. An organic cotton pad is not going to protect the baby from any off-gassing from the bassinet mattress. Fabric such as cotton does not block off-gassing. Gaye will be happy to help you find what you need if you would like to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call this morning at 800-402-8841.
Hello! Have you heard of my green mattress company Emily crib mattress? I was curious how this compares to the Naturepedic mattresses as I’ve been trying to decide between the two. Thank you!
I haven’t had a chance to fully research all the materials used in My Green Mattress but the main difference is that it’s not waterproof, which is important in a crib mattress. The other difference is that there is latex and wool which can be problematic for babies.
What do you recommend for a bassinet? I can’t find a company other than the naturepedic brand. I was hoping to find something cheaper since I was borrowing the bassinet and it was going to be mine long term.
I also registered for the naturepedic crib mattress and the naturepedic mattress pad protector. I thought I read in one of your other responses to someone that you technically don’t need that with the naturepedic brand. Can you confirm this for me?
I believe I signed up for your emails but it kept spinning on me, so I hope it went through. It’s so scary that the gold green standard isn’t actually that safe. Good to know.
Denise, I recommend Naturepedic brand as it is the only safe waterproof mattress for a bassinet – https://healthychild.com/product-category/organic-baby-mattress/organic-bassinet-mattress/
You technically don’t need the waterproof mattress protector with the Naturepedic crib mattress, but you do need a cotton mattress pad and most people get the organic cotton waterproof pad since it’s easier – you can simply take it off and wash it rather than also having to wipe off the mattress if wetness goes through on a regular cotton pad.
I don’t see your email on the list but I will add it for you. Thanks for subscribing!
Naturepedic Breathable Organic Crib Mattress – 2-Stage – Lightweight – Baby & Toddler Bed – with Premium Quilted Protector Pad
Is this the one you would pick? Naturepedic makes several different types but they all seem very similar. Not sure really what the difference is on them.
More importantly, do you know if naturepedic makes a mattress for a pack and play? And if at possible a mattress cover for it? I don’t see one on their website. The only thing I’ve really been able to find is below. I want this for when I am done with the bassinet, since our bedroom is upstairs on the other side of the house. I’m scared now that the greenguard isn’t as safe as it once was. I would be happy to buy naturepedic if I could find one they make for a pack and play.
Dream On Me 3″ Playard Mattress, White
Little One’s Pad Pack N Play Crib Mattress Cover – 27″ X 39″ – Fits Most Baby Portable Cribs, Play Yards and Foldable Mattresses – Waterproof, Dryer Safe – Comfy and Soft Fitted Crib Protector
Thanks so much!
Sorry this is so confusing as there are several crib mattress models to choose from. The are all safe and completely healthy for your baby and it really depends on your personal preferences. Here’s a guide to help you choose:https://healthychild.com/guide-to-choosing-a-naturepedic-organic-baby-crib-and-toddler-mattress/
I am very sorry to say that Naturepedic cannot make a mattress for a pack n play or any model that does not have a solid base and sides. It’s a CPSC safety rule – they simply can’t make it. Our hands are completely tied on this. They can make a custom size bassinet or cradle mattress but you must show that you have a model that has solid base and sides – like an heirloom cradle.
Honestly, I wouldn’t use a pack n play, I would find something else but I know they are very popular now. They didn’t exist when I had a baby. 🙂 Regarding those mattresses you mentioned, I looked briefly at the description, and there are too many concerns that stand out for me – the first one is vinyl and foam and the second one has poly cluster fiber filling, proprietary coating, microfiber.
Do you know about BabeSafe covers? If you have to use a plack n play, you might want to google that, but make certain it is made by BabeSafe in New Zealand and 100% polyethylene. You can cover the existing mattress with one of these to block off-gassing. I can’t say they are completely safe, since you have to cover it correctly, and I can’t make that call, but it’s got to be better than the mattress by itself.
Thank you so much for all of your help. I am so happy I stumbled across this website. I don’t need to use a pack and play but it was given to me. What would you suggest for a family with a new baby who has the nursery downstairs and the master is upstairs? The baby will be with us initially in the bassinet. However, when the baby is to big for the bassinet and I’m not ready to put him in his own room what are your suggestions for keeping him in our room? Just another crib? I’m new to all of this. I don’t mind spending whatever I need to if he is going to be in it long term but would like to save money if it is something he is only going to use for a month or two.
I’m going to look at all your links and try to make a good decision but now I’m seriously reconsidering the pack and play. Thanks for your advice.
You’re very welcome 🙂
It’s alway best to keep baby there with you in your room. After the bassinet, a crib is great if you have a space for it near your bed. A crib mattress also fits a toddler bed so he could be on a crib mattress for a long time.
Last question, promise…or I hope.
Do you have a link (I don’t see one) that discusses beds/cribs? Or do you specifically focus on mattresses and bedding?
No worries, questions are always welcome 🙂
We do focus on mattresses and bedding but I have looked into crib frames in the past. We had a really great non-toxic crib but unfortunately they went out of business due to the expense of producing it. To be fully non-toxic it needs to be solid wood with no glues and only natural stains. Those are expensive to make. You can find them out there but you will pay close or above $1000 for one. Great to find a used one, but they are difficult to find. My opinion is that the mattress is what’s most important since that’s what the baby sleeps directly on.
What is important is that the crib is the right size. Crib mattresses and crib frames on the market can vary slightly in size. For safety reasons, it’s important for a crib mattress to fit snuggly inside your baby’s crib by passing the recommended two-finger measurement test between crib and mattress. Here is a link to the brands that we know for sure will work with the Naturepedic crib mattresses and the ones that will not.
Jane, heartfelt thanks for all of this research! I knew that bassinet and travel crib mattresses had toxic materials, but I couldn’t find anything to substitute! Naturepedic does make a travel crib mattress but the dimensions don’t fit any of the 3 models I was looking at. Now I find that wrapping the mattress in Babesafe is a solution. And i appreciate your ringing endorsement of Naturepedic. I don’t know how one can get away without a travel crib or a bassinet given pediatricians want the baby in the room with parents and most rooms can’t accommodate a crib. Is there a brand of non-toxic bassinet that you like? I was thinking of Lotus or Nuna Aire (which can also be travel cribs), or Babybay. I wonder what you think about their “eco mattress”? Also, there seem to be several websites for Babesafe. Can you tell me which is the reputable one? Again, much gratitude, Jane
Hi Jane, thanks for your comment. It’s a huge challenge to find a safe bassinet or cradle and a mattress to go in it. I’m sad to say that even Naturepedic has stopped making these sizes. Beginning 1/1/20 they will not be making the custom sizes so if you want a custom size, get it now. It’s a complicated issue, but the main thing is that the mattress industry has set standards that won’t allow anyone to make replacement pads without jumping through a lot of expensive legal hoops. It makes them look bad when people throw out the toxic mattress and replace it. This site has the Babesafe Mattress Covers and they get them directly from New Zealand. http://www.babysnugglebugs.com
We are actively searching for safe bassinets and cradles and will post when we find something.
My question is in reference to the first paragraph of this article under “How Do Organic Mattresses Pass Fire Standards?”
“Many organic mattresses contain chemical fire retardants. Yet they are called “organic” simply because the cotton filling is organic cotton. In stores or on websites, it may say “free of fire retardants” or “PBDE-free”, but the truth is that there has to be something that is allowing it to pass the fire testing. The manufacturers may have replaced the PBDE chemicals with other non-tested fire retardants. It’s difficult to get this information out of retailers or manufacturers since most do not reveal the specific chemicals used.“
If this paragraph is true, then how can I be sure that Naturepedic crib mattresses aren’t just saying that “mattresses pass all Federal and State flammability standards without the use of any fire retardant chemicals or barriers” as stated under “Best Organic Crib Mattress Options”? Could Naturepedic also have replaced the PBDE chemicals with other non-tested fire retardants?
Thank you for all of the amazing info in this article. I’m pregnant with my first one and finding the safest options for everything is quite a daunting task!
Cari, you’re asking a great question! The reason that I can say this about Naturepedic is because I have been to their factory, and I have had tons of conversations over at least 14 years with the environmental scientist who developed their products as well as their production team. Their GOTS certification is additional proof. GOTS does not allow any of these chemicals. Naturepedic hasn’t replaced any chemicals since they never used them in the first place. They are one of the first companies to create a non-toxic mattress without using fire retardants. I am absolutely certain of all this and I trust Naturepedic.
Congrats on your first baby!
Thank you so much for the quick response. All of your info has definitely put my mind at ease.
What are your thoughts about newton baby crib mattress? Its greengaurd certified and I think its CertiPUR-US certified as well. so what do you suggest, is it safe to use?
It’s not waterproof so urine, diarrhea, spit-up and vomit can go right into the mattress and create a contaminated space that the baby is breathing into. It’s better to get a waterproof mattress and add a breathable, washable pad for extra breathability. Here’s more info about breathable mattresses:
It appears that Naturepedic has discontinued their mini crib mattress? Any suggestion for the next bast option? Preferably to fit Pottery Barn Kids mini crib… we fell for the Greenguard Gold trap. It came with a polyester core, vinyl-covered mini crib mattress 🙁 Unfortunately we don’t have space for a standard size crib.
I’m sad to say that we’ve not been able to find a safe bassinet, cradle or mini-crib mattress since Naturepedic has stopped making these sizes. Their hands were tied, really. It’s a complicated issue, but the main thing is that the mattress industry has “worked” with government to set standards that won’t allow anyone to make replacement mattresses without jumping through a lot of expensive legal hoops, and there are liability issues involved. The sad reason? It makes the industry look bad when people throw out the toxic mattress and replace it with something healthy.
One thing you could do is wrap your mattress in a BabeSafe mattress cover. This site has the Babesafe Mattress Covers and they get them directly from New Zealand. http://www.babysnugglebugs.com
We are actively searching for safe bassinets, cradles and mini-cribs and will post when we find something. Subscribe to our email list to get updates.
This is such a wonderful and informative article that all parents need to read. I wanted to make you aware of Harlow’s Earth Crib Mattress Covers. They work the same as the Babesafe covers in New Zealand. They are made of 6mil food grade virgin polyethylene to protect baby from mattress off-gassing and are made in the US. Harlow’s Earth has 3 sizes available to fit a standard mattress, pack n play and bassinet.
I think this information would be helpful for your readers who are looking for an affordable way to protect their little cherub from the toxins in their baby’s mattress.
Yes, thanks Cassie! This is especially important since it’s impossible to find a non-toxic replacement mattress for pack n play and bassinets.
Thank you for your very in depth article and research. I feel strongly that this information needs to make it to as many ears as possible.
If families aren’t able to purchase a non- toxic mattress for their baby, they can elect to buy a Harlow’s Earth Crib Mattress Cover. Like Babesafe, they are made from 6mil virgin food grade polyethylene to create a shield from mattress off-gassing, and are made right here in the US. It’s an affordable way to give parents peace of mind and to protect our most vulnerable from toxic mattress off- gassing.
Thank you, Jane, for putting together everything in organic crib mattress. I think you have covered all the major points in this article, I will share this with my network as well.
Thank you for this very informative article. What do you think about Una Organic s mattresses? I live in EU and neither Naturepedic nor Avocado deliver here so I don’t know what to choose.
I’m sorry; I am not familiar with this company so I cannot give any feedback on it.
any recommendations on crib sheets that are non toxic and safe that will fit the naturepedic crib mattress. also is it necessary to purchase an extra naturepedic Breathable Crib Mattress Cover or not really…. and do you have any recommendations for bassinet covers/sheets that will fit the dream on me bedside sleeper bassinet. Also do you have an updated code for a discount on naturepedic?
Yes, you can get Naturepedic crib sheets – you’ll find them a Baby > Accessories on their site. Some people buy an extra mattress cover in order to have one handy if it gets wet. I don’t know where to get sheets to fit that bassinet. Sorry that they don’t make the custom sheets anymore. The code healthychild15 should work for 15% off everything at Naturepedic.
A Halo bassinet was given to me. Could you please tell me if the mattress is safe & free of toxins? Also, I researched & found a replacement mattress for it called BassiNest Breathable. Could you give me your thoughts on these?…And if they don’t meet your criteria, what mattress would you recommend? I sincerely appreciate all your work researching & educating people on these products! Many thanks!
Halo doesn’t provide any details on the materials used in this breathable mattress so I can’t make a comment on this. It might be fine; I don’t know. It’s very upsetting I’m sure that it’s nearly impossible to find a safe and healthy bassinet mattress these days.
I’m pregnant with my second and realized after reading this article that the Colgate Eco Clasica is toxic. I’ve used this mattress with my newly three year old since she was an infant. Do you have any information on the negative impacts of this? I’m definitely losing sleep in this. Looking to buy a new crib mattress for my second and will look into Naturepedic. Can you tell me where I can find information on a good twin mattress for my three year old.
Hi Colleen, we all do the best we can with the information that we have. Kids are resilient and there are many ways to create health and vitality.
here is some info on healthy detoxing for kids:
and here is info on finding the right twin mattress for your child:
Thanks for the feedback.
Do you recommend any of the naturepedic crib mattresses? Sounds like the breathable ones are ok from this brand but maybe not necessary? Also curious if there is a recommendation on the lightweight versus coil?
Is there any reason why people buy kids mattresses instead of going straight to a regular twin mattress? Is it mainly to get the built in waterproofing like the 2 in 1 organic kids mattress provides?
All the Naturepedic are safe and healthy so I recommend all of them and which one is about personal preference. I don’t really feel that the breathable is a necessity, the Organic Cotton Classic is great. I would go with lightweight for easy lifting to change the sheets. Some people like the coils since that’s more traditional. They are both firm and sturdy.
Regarding the kids mattresses, some are designed specifically for kids, like the 2 in 1 for when they are still wetting the bed, and also the Verse since it’s cushion firm and great for kids as they grow through childhood. They should both last the whole childhood and beyond.
Just a quick FYI – the Naturepedic 20% off sale ends 12/1 and they likely won’t be doing that again until next year.
One last question. We’re looking at bassinets or play yards for the early days as well. The Nuna brand makes The Sena Aire and Sena Aire Mini mattress with boards that are Polypropylene, the mattress cover is 100% polyester fiber and polyester material. Does this sound safe? Finding a bassinet/play yard mattress that is safe has been a real challenge.
I really don’t like to say this, but that might be as safe as you are going to get a bassinet these days. These materials are way better than polyurethane foam and at least it has good air flow.
Baby skin is very delicate and soft, a mattress made of chemicals can have an effect on their skin and health, so while purchasing a mattress for a baby We can take care that the mattress is organic as well as Non-toxic.
We were debating over Avocado Organic Crib mattress vs Naturepedic Organic Breathable 2-Stage Baby Crib Mattress (Innerspring). And stumbled across your website and posts. The site is really very informative. However, we’ve few more questions, which we couldn’t find
1. What gauge steel are used in 252 vs 150 coils in naturepedic mattress?
2. We see two issues reported by many consumers with naturepedic mattress: 1. terrible smell, 2. mattress sags after use (many reported sagging in 1st year) . Could this be because of some undisclosed chemicals used and low quality gauge steel coils?
3. Avocado do not use polyethelene (for waterproofing). Does this makes it safer/better than Naturepedic for babies/infants?
Appreciate your knowledge and views!
I’ll have to check on the gauge of the steel, but I want to get back to you right away about the issues you may have read about. I can tell you through experience that they are not issues at all with Naturepedic, and I am aware of the many fake reviews online. I can say with certainty that we did not receive any complaints about a terrible smell during the entire time we were retailing the Naturepedic crib mattresses (2016-2020) and after selling thousands of these mattresses. We were always in touch with our customers since we provided that type of service. There may have been like 3 total complaints during all these years that the mattress sagged a bit, and when that happened Naturepedic immediately shipped out a new mattress to the customer, since they stand by the quality of their mattresses. Not using polyethylene does not make a mattress safe, and in my opinion waterproof crib mattresses are safer for babies than those that are not waterproof. As long as the waterproofing is made with safe materials as in the Naturepedic crib mattresses. The waterproof non-GMO sugarcane polyethylene that Naturepedic uses is absolutely verified safe.
Thanks Jane! Very helpful!
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