Designing a child’s room is fun, but there is more to consider than a theme and colours. We now know more about eco-friendly products and the effects they can have on us than ever before and we need to consider all the information that is readily available to us.
Mattress companies are quick to remind us that we spend one-third of our lives on their product but for babies and children it’s often far more than that! What is your baby snuggling up to when you tuck him in at night? While toxic chemicals are nearly inescapable in our environment, they are usually at a distance, unlike mattresses, which your child comes into direct contact with every night.
We mull over which mattresses are comfortable to sleep on, though what lurks within conventional mattresses could be having a major impact on your child’s immediate and long-term health. For example; the adhesives used to hold mattresses together may contain formaldehyde and cotton pesticides can linger on the fibers used in your child’s mattress.
We know about the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) in your paint but what about everything that can be found in your child’s mattress? For example memory foam can off-gas VOCs which can be harmful. While the use of flame retardant chemicals is diminishing, it’s always good to double-check. These chemicals have been linked to everything from lesser ailments such as headaches, dizziness, cough, rashes and sinus issues, to more serious problems such as asthma, allergies and worse.
So what can you do? You can choose natural fibers such as wool, silk, hemp, organic cotton or natural latex. As people become savvier about the use of chemicals in everyday products and the need to avoid them, the market for healthy alternatives is growing and this includes mattresses. Wool naturally protects against dust mites and natural latex foam is fire-resistant (while natural latex is a natural material, some children may have or develop an allergy to it). Organic crib mattresses can be made with a combination of organic cotton, lambs wool, natural latex and/or coconut coir. Lack of chemicals means no off-gassing.
Also consider a mattress cover that is made of a fabric with organic cotton blended with hypoallergenic fibers that meet flame retardant standards.
Here are a few mattress company options:
- Saatva mattresses, while not 100% organic, use recycled tempered steel, bio-based foams and organic cotton coverings.
- The CocoMat is a breathable and organic crib mattress made with natural, renewable, sustainable components.
- The Swiss-designed Sealy Soybean Natural Dream Crib Mattress is free of chemical treatments and does not emit petrochemical vapors contained in polyurethane foam.
Turns out that buying a mattress for your child is a much more complicated decision than you may have thought. Try to buy the most natural, chemical free mattress you can afford, so when you tuck your child into bed, you can both rest easy.