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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crib Mattresses - Our position on crib mattress safety

Crib mattresses and infant safety have become a major point of confusion for many new parents. There is a fair bit of contradictory information available online, through news media, and available from good-intentioned parents. The facts about crib mattress safety have been obscured by a number of factors, the least of which is that there is no single definitive cause of SIDS or Crib Death that has been conclusively proven in humans. Experts seem to agree on one point: there are toxic components in traditional polyurethane crib mattresses that may contribute to increased cases of SIDS and many other potentially life threatening or altering conditions such as neurological damage, learning disabilities, and a variety of respiratory ailments such as chronic asthma and sleep apnea.

The solution to this problem has been addressed by two different schools of thought. The first school of thought would have you wrap your synthetic crib mattress in a polyethylene sheet, the logic being that the mattress will be protected from moisture, which breaks down polyurethane, and the baby will be protected from any off-gassing of the mattress. The downside to this approach is that baby is sleeping on a completely non-breathable surface, which must be incredibly rigid in order to prevent suffocation.

The second school of thought is to create a natural sleeping environment that will not off-gas toxins to begin with. This can only be done using moisture permeable materials that are also completely breathable, so if baby is sleeping face down on their mattress, they can still breath through it. These types of mattresses require more care in the case of spills and accidents.

No matter which route you decide to take, the recommendations are the same in regards to how you put your baby to bed:

  1. - Always put baby to sleep on their back. Babies who are put to bed on their sides or stomaches have increased incidence of SIDS deaths in the UK. (This has not been studies directly in Canada to my knowledge.)
  2. - Use a pacifier after the age of 1 month. The sucking instinct in babies seems to encourage the formation of correct breathing patterns.
  3. - Don’t put stuffed animals or pillows in the crib with your baby; they can have their own chemical and safety interactions. Either tuck baby in with their feet placed at the foot of crib, using a light weight blanket, or use a sleeping sack or dress.
  4. - Never smoke in the baby’s environment. That means in the same room, house, car, or general vicinity, even when baby is not there. The toxins in cigarette smoke can be very damaging to infants, and they do linger.
  5. - Encourage better air quality by having plants such as spider plants in the bedroom, and make sure that there is adequate air circulation. Fresh air is a good thing, so long as it is not too cold.
  6. - If you are decorating baby’s room, use Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) Paints only. Do not use vinyl appliques on the walls, and avoid synthetics such as carpets. Natural
  7. - Never use a hand-me-down crib mattress. The components of synthetic crib mattresses degrade over time when combined with the heat and moisture that a baby produces, so the mattresses can actually become more rather than less toxic.
We make our organic crib mattress out of the materials that we believe are the safest, as well as the healthiest for sleeping, which include organic cotton, raw organic wool, and Natural Latex Gold (from the rubber tree). These mattresses are super comfortable, anti-microbial, breathable, moisture wicking, and will last your baby well into toddler time with proper care.

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