Sleeping Soundly

New babies are expensive! Selecting safe products while sticking to a budget is a serious challenge. Smaller items can be more manageable (glass bottles are actually cheaper than plastic), but if you are able to splurge on just one big ticket item, make it a healthy crib mattress.

Mattresses off-gas, putting chemicals directly into the air your child breathes. He absorbs those chemicals while he sleeps — for 10-18 hours a day.

Most mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam, a petroleum product containing various chemical additives.  It is linked to breathing difficulty, reduced pulmonary function, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and vision problems.

Baby mattress waterproofing is generally achieved with a coating of PVC (vinyl), considered one of the most toxic and environmentally unfriendly plastics on the market.

Finally, polyurethane foam and PVC are highly flammable, so manufacturers are required to add chemical flame retardants. In addition to off-gassing into the air, these end up in house dust as the mattress degrades from use and age. Exposure is linked to immune suppression, hormone disruption, learning problems, and cancer.

We’re fortunate that some manufacturers have addressed these concerns and produced safer mattresses. Sweet William sleeps on Naturepedic’s No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic mattress. So will his new sibling. Here’s why:

• Organic cotton fabric and filling
• Flame resistance achieved with baking soda and hydrated silica bonded to cellulose, creating a barrier that does not break down
• Hypoallergenic design, free of latex or wool, with a dust mite barrier
• 100% polyethylene (food grade) surface for waterproofing
• Firm construction
• Made in the USA (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)



Sweet William is almost 15 months old and weighs upwards of 27 pounds. His mattress supports a lot of climbing and jumping and has survived several serious wet-tests, including the time his dada remembered the pajamas but forgot the diaper. It looks as good as the day it arrived.

(We purchased it from Amazon, where it qualified for free shipping with Amazon Prime. When I opened the package, the mattress had no smell. That’s always a good sign.)

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