If you’re like most moms, you’re constantly looking for ways to make your home healthier and safer for your kids. You may be wondering if a memory foam mattress is a good option. The problem is, many memory foam mattresses are full of toxic chemicals and dangerous for kids.
With that said, not all memory foam mattresses are dangerous, but you need to do your research to choose carefully.
Believe it or not, mattresses are one of the most important parts of protecting your child’s health. That’s because preschoolers are supposed to sleep 10-13 hours a day (whether or not they still nap), and 10 year olds still sleep 9-11 hours per day. That means your child spends almost half their life in their bed!
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With that said, choosing a non-toxic mattress is essential for your child’s health. I’ve partnered with Brentwood Home, who gave me one of their Juniper Kids Mattresses to review.
In this post, I’ll use my Exposure Science PhD to explain everything you need to know before choosing a memory foam mattress for your child, plus how to tell if your mattress is truly non-toxic.
Is a memory foam mattress good for kids?
While memory foam can work for older kids, it’s generally not the best for young toddlers (particularly softer mattresses).
Remember how crib mattresses are very firm? That’s so babies don’t sink into them, allowing them to keep a safe airway.
And while toddlers can have a slightly softer mattress than babies, they still need enough support and “bounce” to make it easier for them to turn over in the night. Softer memory foam tends to sink and make it harder to shift positions.
RELATED: Best non-toxic toddler mattresses
For this reason, you should save a memory foam mattress for when your child is at least 4 years old. Once your child is old enough, they may really enjoy their memory foam mattress!
Dangers of typical memory foam mattresses
I’ll be honest, I don’t usually recommend memory foam mattresses for kids. That’s because they are almost always made with polyurethane foam, which often contains flame retardants, phthalates, vinyl, and other toxic compounds.
These chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which means that they effect the entire body, from brain development to the reproductive system. In addition, flame retardants are a known carcinogen, meaning they can lead to cancer.
Most of these toxicants are volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), meaning they “off-gas” from the mattress. They are most concentrated right above the surface of the mattress (exactly in your child’s breathing space at night).
And worst of all, exposure to these chemicals causes the most damage when it happens early in life. That’s because exposure causes a “butterfly effect,” where a small change early on in development can cause massive disruption in the future. As adults who have mature nervous systems and reproductive systems, these chemicals have less effect on us.
Non-toxic features of the Juniper Kids Mattress
Fortunately, Brentwood Home sells the non-toxic Juniper Kids Mattress. It has several non-toxic certifications that I trust.
As I mentioned previously, many memory foam products contain polyurethane foam that’s loaded with flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. However, all the foam in the Juniper’s two layers is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning that it’s free of certain toxic flame retardants, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and phthalates.
With that said, CertiPUR-US is not an independent certification, but is instead run by the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam. That’s why I never recommend a mattress based on a CertPUR-US certification alone.
Fortunately, the Juniper Kids Mattress is also certified Greenguard Gold, meaning it has extremely low VOC emissions. That means that there’s very few of those “butterfly effect” chemicals that I mentioned earlier.
The upper 1-inch layer is made of cooling gel infused memory foam, keeping your child from getting sweaty overnight. The support layer is 5 inches for support. Both layers are made with up to 20% BioFoam, a plant-based material that’s better for the environment. In fact, the Juniper is Climate Neutral Certified.
The cover is made of GOTS certified organic cotton, meaning it’s also free of flame retardants, pesticides, heavy metals, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals. The border panel is made of 60% polyester and 40% polypropylene, the two safest plastics out there.
One of my favorite things about the Brentwood Home mattresses is their transparency. They show you exactly what every layer is in all their mattresses and exactly what each layer is made of. Because let’s be real, if a mattress company isn’t telling you what each component is, they’re probably hiding something.
Overall, the Juniper Kids Mattress has enough certifications (and the right combination of certifications) to tell me that it’s a quality non-toxic product.
Is the Juniper Kids Mattress comfortable?
Of course, all the great non-toxic benefits of the Juniper Kids Mattress won’t matter if your child doesn’t sleep well on it. Fortunately, that shouldn’t be the case.
The Juniper is a comfortable, medium-firm mattress. It supports well and feels cool. In fact, I nearly fell asleep testing it! And my daughter enjoys it too (it is her mattress, after all).
The Juniper Kids mattress is low profile (only 6 inches), meaning it’s great if you need it for a bunk bed (or even a trundle) as well.
How does the Juniper Kids mattress compare to other memory foam mattresses?
From my point of view (as a chemist), Brentwood Home’s memory foam and hybrid mattresses are much better than pretty much any other memory foam mattress out there.
It’s extremely difficult to find Greenguard GOLD certified mattresses, but Brentwood Home has done it. (Yes, you can find some CertiPUR-US certified mattresses, it only covers the foam itself, meaning that by itself it’s not the best indicator of a truly non-toxic mattress.)
Plus, the other components of Brentwood Home’s mattresses are safe too: From the organic cotton cover, to the GOLS certified latex and GOTS certified wool (in other mattresses), everything is designed to protect their customers while also having a minimal effect on the environment.
How will the Juniper Kids mattress ship?
You’ll be surprised at how small a box your mattress comes in! That’s because it’s tightly rolled before being shipped to your home.
(Sorry for the video skills shown here; I was trying to hold the phone and unroll the mattress with one hand. Probably should have used a tripod…)
As soon as it gets to your house, unroll the plastic around the mattress (trust me, it’s a lot easier than trying to cut the plastic). It should fluff right up and be ready to go.
Where can you buy the Juniper Kids mattress?
Brentwood Home has a few locations throughout the US, but if you aren’t near one of them, don’t worry!
Brentwood Home’s website carries the Juniper Kids mattress, as well as great adult mattresses, a non-toxic play couch, and more.
RELATED: Brentwood Home non-toxic play couch review
Fortunately, Brentwood home has a generous trial and return policy. You have an entire year to test your mattress and make sure your child loves it.
Juniper Kids mattress review: Final thoughts
If your child loves the feel of memory foam, the Juniper Kids mattress is absolutely the best option out there. It’s firm enough for kids 4 and over, it’s affordable, and unlike most memory foam mattresses, it contains no harmful chemicals or flame retardants. Plus, if your child has a bunk bed, its low profile will fit perfectly.
This mattress comes with a year long trial so you can be sure it’s the right fit for your little one. Protect your child’s health by investing in an eco-friendly mattress like the Juniper Kids’ today.
Hi Samantha, I saw your write up on Juniper mattresses for kids. I know you mentioned you’d recommend for 4+ years. My son is 2 years and 3 months old. We’re about to move him out of mini crib with Newton mattress to a full size bed. Do you think this Juniper mattress would be ok for him at his age? Or maybe do you have any other recommendation for a first real mattress?
Any suggestions you may have are greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.
Yes, I think the Juniper could be great. The Avocado Eco Organic or the My Green Mattress Kiwi are also good choices. Good luck!