Parents are fast taking the approach that baby proofing their home also includes creating a nursery free of toxic chemicals. The hazards of chemical exposure to newborns whose immune systems are developing, is especially dangerous. According to: Healthy Child, Whole Child, written by authors Stuart H. Ditchek, M.D., and Russell H. Greenfield, M.D., “pound for pound, children take in more air, more food, and more water – and whatever contaminants they contain – than do adults.”
So it makes sense to protect your baby from unnecessary exposures. With regards to a sleep surface, a traditional crib mattress sounds like a harmless product. But unfortunately, most conventional crib mattresses are made of petrochemicals that off gas. What lies inside the mattress to give it its firmness, padding and covering is largely a chemical creation. There are also chemical fire retardants within.
Best thing to do is to avoid a conventional baby mattress altogether and buy one that is organic. I know that some people find this concept strange… maybe even pretentious. However, in your search for a baby mattress, looking for “organic” will weed out the conventional crib mattresses on the market. To learn more about this topic, we suggest reading our guide to organic crib mattresses.
Also, note that there is a big difference between the materials used in a conventional baby mattress compared to one that is organic. Not to throw the word “organic” around too loosely… what I am referring to specifically is a crib mattress that is made with only a few raw materials: organic wool, organic cotton, 100% natural latex, and or innerspring. To meet federal and state flammability laws, all mattresses sold in the United States must use a fire retardant. In an “organic” mattress wool acts as a natural fire retardant.
In an upcoming blog post I will include a list of organic crib mattress manufacturers with details and descriptions for your use.