Congratulations! I know there’s lots to get ready when a baby is coming. So if one of your burning questions has been, Should I get an organic crib mattress? this post is for you!
Because let’s be real: An organic mattress is generally more expensive than a regular one. So it leads you to wonder, is an organic crib mattress actually better? Is it worth the money?
As it turns out, then answer is yes, but it depends. Marketers are really sneaky at making you think you’re getting something you aren’t, so it’s important to really do your research on organic crib mattresses.
So yes, an organic crib mattress is worth it, but only if you know what to look for. Read on to learn more about picking the best non-toxic crib mattress.
Why an organic crib mattress is worth it
Most conventional crib mattresses (particularly the cheaper ones) are made with polyurethane foam. It’s comfortable, cheap, and can last a long time. But here’s the thing: Polyurethane foam often releases dangerous chemicals such as phthalates, fire retardants, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
While I don’t like to spend a ton of energy focusing on the negatives, these compounds are hormone disruptors. That means they can cause long-term health effects, including higher risks of childhood asthma and wheezing, infertility and reproductive issues, even some cancers.
When these chemicals are off-gassed from your baby’s mattress, your child breathes them in. And the worst part is this: The highest concentration of VOCs is directly above the surface of a mattress (basically, right above the chemical source). Given that this is right where your baby’s face is… that’s not good.
Something else to keep in mind: Newborns sleep up to 17 hours a day, and even older infants sleep around 15 hours a day. That’s a lot of time to spend breathing in high concentrations of toxic chemicals.
What to look for in a non-toxic crib mattress
Before I tell you about all the best non-toxic mattresses out there, I want to share with you what you need to look for.
By knowing what’s good (and what to avoid), you’ll have a checklist of requirements in case you come across a mattress that looks like a “good deal.”
Here are some things to look for:
No flame retardants in crib mattresses
If you’re curious as to why it polyurethane foam is used in crib mattresses, it’s simply because it has a lot of great properties: It can be made firm enough for a baby crib, it holds off mold and mildew, and it’s durable. And it’s also super cheap.
The main issue? It’s highly flammable.
To address that problem, manufacturers added fire retardant chemicals to mattresses such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The problem is, there are serious hazards associated with this chemical class, including reproductive effects (lowering your chance of grandchildren), neurological effects, and even elevated cancer risk.
Even scarier? Children are at even more risk than adults for these toxic effects because they’re still undergoing development.
In 2015, California began requiring that all furniture be labeled as to whether it contains fire retardants. Since then, fewer manufacturers have been using flame retardants, but check the label to be sure.
Look for vinyl-free mattresses and crib mattress covers
Even if a mattress is made with cleaner products such as latex or polyurethane foam-free filling, you should steer away from it if the casing is vinyl.
Made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl is typically used in waterproof mattress covers. And let’s be real: Waterproofing is a big deal for a crib mattress.
However, PVC is also a known carcinogen that has been linked to MANY problems: Asthma, learning disabilities, reproductive effects, and even cancer.
And as bad as that is, vinyl also contains other toxic compounds such as phthalates. Phthalates make components (like a thin mattress cover) more flexible, but unfortunately, they’re also known endocrine disruptors, which have been shown to cause reproductive effects and been related to some cancers.
Once these chemicals are in your child’s system…they’re locked in for life.
There is no magic detox to rid your baby’s body of these chemicals once exposed because flame retardants, vinyl, and phthalates bioaccumulate. Once your child is exposed, these compounds are stored in fat tissues and generally stay there.
Are there any certifications that will let you know a crib mattress is non-toxic?
Fortunately, there are several certifications that can help you decide which crib mattresses are safe. But here’s the catch… You still have to do a little research.
But some certifications are more reliable than others, and not all “organic” crib mattresses are made equal. Here’s a list of common certifications, and what they mean.
GOLS and GOTS
The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) show that a mattress is made from either 95% pure organic latex or 95% pure organic material. They also certify that the products contain no polyurethane foam and no fire retardants.
Here’s the catch: You’ve got to make sure that the mattress itself is certified GOLS and/or GOTS. If only a specific component of the mattress is certified GOLS or GOTS, but another layer contains toxic material… that’s not really doing much good. So if you’re looking for a non-toxic crib mattress, keep this in mind.
Greenguard-Gold and Okeo-Tex Standard 100
Both Greenguard-Gold and Okeo-Tex Standard 100 certifications set strict limits on VOC emissions from products. The Okeo-Tex Standard 100 Certification is a bit stricter because it prohibits specific toxic chemicals from being in products. These are good certifications to find.
Best organic crib mattresses
Hopefully everything we’ve discussed has convinced you that yes, an organic crib mattress is worth it. So before you pick just any mattress, take a look at some of the best non-toxic crib mattresses of 2021 so you can feel confident as you lay your little one to rest.
The Avocado mattress company was 2020’s #1 mattress, and is a championed favorite if you’re looking for GOLS, GOTS and Greenguard Gold certifications. In addition, they have the coveted Okeo-Tex Standard 100 certification.
Their double-sided organic crib mattress grows with your baby. You can flip it to a softer side once your child reaches toddlerhood.
(PS: Don’t forget – you’ll need an organic mattress protector too. Avocado has a great all cotton one).
Avocado also gives a generous one year trial period so that you’ll have no doubts about loving your organic crib mattress.
Check out Avocado here.
Manufactured in Ohio, Naturepedic crib mattresses are also GOTS and GOLS certified. However, they have some unique features that I really like.
All of Naturepedic mattresses are free from harmful chemicals including flame retardants, vinyl/PVC, polyurethane foam, phthalates, biocides, and perfluorinated compounds (PFAS). Plus, since all the designs are made with cotton and no wool or latex, they’re safe for those with allergies to either of these materials.
The Classic crib mattress option can be bought with both a firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlerhood.
The Breathable option also comes in a dual-sided design. Plus, it’s the only certified organic breathable crib mattress, allowing your baby to sleep better without overheating (and possibly helping with baby’s airflow too).
The Breathable Ultra crib mattress has a quilted cotton cover that allows breathability and protects the mattress from messes.
Plus, if you order directly from Naturepedic, they have a 90 day money back guarantee.
My Green Mattress
My Green Mattress is a more affordable organic crib mattress option.
The Emily Crib Mattress from My Green Mattress is made with a layer of breathable, GOLS certified organic coconut fiber and organic latex. Latex provides a naturally cool sleep and is dust-mite, mold, and mildew resistant.
The mattress is covered with GOTS certified organic cotton and GOTS certified organic wool, which acts a a natural flame retardant.
One con: You can’t get a dual-sided crib mattress from My Green Mattress, so once your child hits toddlerhood, you’ll need a different plan.
RELATED: Best non-toxic toddler crib mattresses
My Green Mattress offers a 120 day money back guarantee.
Check out My Green Mattress here.
Conclusions on whether you should get an organic crib mattress
Hopefully you’ve seen that yes, an organic crib mattress is better for your little one.
And if you’re looking for other essentials for your baby, make sure you check out my minimalist baby registry checklist. You can even sign up for my printable list of everything you need (and nothing you don’t) by clicking here.
Congratulations, and let me know what questions you have!