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HomeFoamIs Polyurethane Foam Mattress Safe For Babies

Is Polyurethane Foam Mattress Safe For Babies

When To Move Cot Mattress Down

Buying a Crib Mattress: Tips for Choosing the Best Baby Mattress

This question doesnt have an exact answer. The general opinion is that it should be done when the baby is from six to nine months old. Some parents drop the bedding when the kid learns to stand up by himself. Others rely on their feeling and move the cot mattress when they feel their kid has grown enough for it.

The Best Natural Materials For A Crib Mattress

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Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time Vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada’s National Observer.

In this Leaf Score series on crib mattresses Ive already looked at the troublesome chemicals and materials used in the majority of mattresses for infants and toddlers. These include polyurethane foam, polyester, and polyvinyl chloride . So, if youre trying to avoid these materials in a crib mattress, what are your options for more eco-friendly, non-toxic crib mattress materials?

See also: The Best Eco-Friendly & Nontoxic Crib Mattresses

Importantly, some of the best materials for a crib mattress differ from those Id recommend for an adult mattress. While crib mattresses may seem overly firm by adult standards, a firm sleep surface is essential for sleep safety for infants. Too soft a surface and an infant may struggle to maintain a clear airway. This means that one of my favorite mattress materials, kapok, is a no-go for crib mattresses. Kapok is far too soft for a crib mattress surface and should be avoided you may find kapok in the toddler side of a dual-sided crib mattress, however, so be careful which side faces up if an infant will be sleeping on the mattress.

  • Organic wool
  • Innersprings

Why Is Polyurethane Used At All If Its So Dangerous

When there are numerous studies all highlighting the dangers of the material, you might wonder, why is polyurethane used at all? Manufacturers will tell you its safe in situ. They will agree that there may be dangers during production and this is proven by the safety steps they must take at various stages of manufacture but once its in your home its all good. They state that it is innate. But can you trust that?

Polyurethane is very cheap to produce and thats always a compelling argument. It can be formed into any shape and size, and it doesnt easily degrade which is an advantage if you want the product to last. Its a global, multi-billion industry. Sadly, these factors combined will make it difficult to get to the truth of safety and health issues. Untruths, cover-ups and conspiracy theories will cloud the issues at every turn. What you need to ask yourself is are you prepared to take the risk with your health? Do you want to wait and see if it affects your newborn baby?

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Is Polyurethane Foam Toxic

Polyurethane foam is a petroleum byproduct .

Petroleum products, like plastics, contain Volatile Organic Compounds like phthalates you can inhale as you sleep.

These hazardous air pollutants cause a LOT of horrible health effects like changes in hormone levels, obesity, and asthma.

Also, if your child has allergies? These volatile chemicals can make it even worse.

On top of that, sleeping babies inhale A LOT more air than adults do per body weight. They can inhale as much as 10 times more VOCs!

The Pros And Cons Of Coconut Coir Crib Mattresses

Anatomic polyurethane foam mattress ERGO By Tojo Möbel

Most coconut coir crib mattresses are actually a mix of coconut coir and latex . Together, this mixture provides excellent firm support for a sleeping infant and its great that coconut coir is a renewable resource which is largely considered a by-product of the coconut water industry.

Consumer Reports have recommended coconut coir as an excellent material to make the insulating layer on top of innerspring coils. A thick insulator pad helps keep coils from poking through and a coir fiber pad appears to be much more durable than pads made with woven polyester. Polyester pads tend to form pockets and become concave in areas of the mattress frequently used. For a crib mattress, this could create a safety hazard for infants.

Unfortunately, while coconut coir mattresses sound like a great idea, a mattress filled with coconut coir will be a lot heavier than an innerspring mattress and may trap carbon dioxide as it is quite porous . In theory, then, a coconut coir mattress might increase the risk of rebreathing carbon dioxide.

Also, while a coconut coir mattress may be marketed as being better for dissipating heat, theres no evidence to support this either. As such, claims that this type of mattress reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome associated with overheating are also unsubstantiated.

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Where To Buy Baby Mattresses

Most large retailers like Ikea, Macys and Walmart would carry a selection of baby mattresses, as would most parenthood stores. Some retailers have already stopped selling mattresses with toxic flame retardants and a quick check on their current selection would give more information.

A large selection is available online from retailers like Amazon, as well as smaller, more niche mattress companies. Look for one that is honest and upfront about the chemicals used in the manufacturing process and have proper certification like GOTS and Certipur to ensure minimal use of chemicals in their products.

What Is Memory Foam

Memory foam is made from polyurethane and a combination of chemicals to increase its density and viscosity.

This polyurethane foam is an extremely popular mattress material because of its soft, contouring shape and resiliency. People appreciate the way that it perfectly molds to their body and keeps their spines aligned without pressing back on their hips, shoulders, or neck.

This allows for an optimal sleep experience for side, combination and stomach sleepers. But for babies, the story is a little different. While an adult memory foam mattress is completely safe, an infant one is not.

Read Also: Wirecutter Best Pillow For Side Sleepers

Are Tempurpedic Mattresses Safe For Babies

Our exclusive TEMPUR-Response® Memory Foam offers the pure comfort of pressure-relieving material that is designed and tested for safe use with children. TEMPUR® material is tested in an airflow chamber and is air quality tested so you can rest assured infants and toddlers will have a healthy night’s rest.

A Mattress Designed For Toddlers

Waterproof Mattress ProtectorBrushed fabric Tpu)waterproof mattress protector test

Designed to provide a healthy, soft and comforting sleep for babies, Polysleep offers a high-quality mattress in a box. Made of ventilated hybrid memory foam, it offers a soft, firm, and ventilated sleeping surface. Protected against microbes and allergens, this mattress also has the advantage of adapting to your child’s evolution!

Take advantage of Canadas know-how to improve your baby’s sleep.

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Blue Shift: Why You Dont Need To Worry About Your Foam Mattress Off

Mmmmm, foam. Its so tasty on the top of a latte. And so comfy in a mattress. All these new ordered-online, shipped-to-your-house mattresses are made of some kind of foam. They have to be, so they fit into that smallish box theyre shipped in.

Just like almost every other substance on the planet, polyurethane foam off-gasses, or releases compounds into the air. Yes, you breathe in these compounds when you sleep on these mattresses. But no, theyre not going to hurt you. Many of these compounds can be nasty and cause health problems in high volume, but the amounts your mattress exhales are pretty small, and they get even smaller over time. The companies that make the mattresses weve tested and selected as the best at Wirecutter have their polyurethane foam independently tested and verified by a company called CertiPUR-US to ensure that the amount their foam off-gasses is below CertiPUR-USs standards. Well get to what comes off a new foam mattress and why in a minute, but first, lets talk polymerization reactions.

CertiPUR-US tested the flexible polyurethane foam in all three of our mattress picks by letting the foam sit in a chamber for three days with air blowing over it, and then taking samples of the chambers air. CertiPUR-US has established standards for emissions and content for foam products, including an upper limit on total VOCs of 0.5 parts per million . CertiPUR-USs technical document outlines this in great technical detail.

Choosing A Safe Mattress For Your Baby’s Crib

This article is the first in a two-part series.

During the first few years of their lives, infants can spend most of their time sleeping or crawling in the crib. Choosing childrens products that are good for air quality in the babys room can be a difficult task. To help with that choice, EWG talked with Dr. Brandon E. Boor, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Purdue University.

Since 2011, Boor has been researching indoor air quality and sleep microenvironments. Studies published by Boor and colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and 2015 found that crib mattresses released nearly 30 different types of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and other potentially harmful airborne chemicals such as endocrine-disrupting phthalates and fragrance allergens.

Our research shows mattresses can be a significant source of chemical contaminants in the nursery and bedroom, Boor said.

Crib mattresses are typically composed of polyurethane foam, a petroleum-derived synthetic material. They also contain adhesives and other chemical additives. The foam core is usually enveloped with a waterproof cover. These mattress components can release harmful VOCs, some of which can cause respiratory and nervous system damage.

Boor said VOC exposures are especially troubling for babies.

Airing out a new mattress can reduce VOCs, but other harmful chemicals could still be present.

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Recognizing The Side Effects Of Your Memory Foam Mattress

You can recognize the symptoms of exposure to the harmfulness of foam mattresses. These include morning headaches muscle pain, frequent nausea and the lack of concentration. The reduced cognitive ability is most often reported in young children. Especially in those that have been using memory foam beddings. They suffer from the lack of concentration, frequent headaches, and respiratory issues. Some can exhibit allergic problems too. Many adults reported reduced intellectual performance and recurring respiratory problems.

Learn More:Memory Foam Allergy Symptoms

It is not surprising at all that these health issues are starting to increase in scope. Especially since more and more homeowners opt to replace their regular spring mattresses with brand new memory foam ones as a result of that law enacted in 2004.

Even these standard spring-based mattresses needed to follow fire safety regulations. And so they too got treated with harmful fire retardant compounds.

Polyurethane Foam Filled With Flame Retardants

Is Polyurethane foam safe for my baby?

Polyurethane foam is very flammable, which is why it is usually treated with flame retardant chemicals in addition to diisocyanates.

Americans are often exposed to flame retardant chemicals in their daily lives. The chemicals are widely used in products such as household furniture, textiles, and electronic equipment. Many flame retardant chemicals can persist in the environment, and studies have shown that some may be hazardous to people and animals.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

If you decide that a polyurethane foam product is suitable for your family, choose CertiPUR-US® certified foam that has been independently certified to be TDCPP-free. The Colgate Eco Classica III, Nook Pebble Air, and Nook Pebble Lite are some of the baby mattresses that use this certified foam.

Its difficult to say how prevalent the flame retardant issue is. Its even more difficult to define how you, as a parent, should use this information to make purchasing decisions.

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Can 1 Year Old Sleep On A Soft Mattress

A 1-year-old baby can sleep on a soft mattress. But the main purpose of a mattress is not just sleeping. It is a place to play, study and even just sit there. So it should be comfortable on the eyes. It should be soft, but not too soft that kids can put their heads inside it. It should also have some support inside so that it doesnt sink too much. Think of it as a seat. So it should be soft, but not too soft that you will sink inside it.

Is Polyurethane Toxic To Humans

What effects does polyurethane have on the health of users? Polyurethane is the result of the chemical reaction between a polyol and a diisocyanate. Once the chemical reaction of its components has taken place, the result is a polyurethane foam that is completely inert and harmless to humans.

Also Check: How Do You Shop For A Mattress

Can My Baby Sleep On A Foam Mattress

Yes. But foam is not the most ideal mattress for a baby.

Soft foam mattresses are a danger as babies roll onto their tummies and can sink too much. The same body-contouring properties that have made memory foam products popular worldwide can pose a danger to infants.

It is of utmost importance to get a very firm mattress, and check for the mattress compliance with all national safety standards for children.

As mentioned above, foam mattresses typically contain polyurethane and PVC, both materials that commonly off-gas VOCs . Some of these VOCs can be carcinogenic.

Some common VOCs include benzene, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, all known carcinogens that can link to cancer. VOCs can cause:

Plastic Waterproofing For Crib Mattresses

Costco/Casper Memory Foam Mattress Unboxing And Review!

Given how babies are, shall we say, generous with fluids, I highly recommend waterproofing your crib mattress. However, I dont necessarily recommend mattresses that feature a waterproof cover made with TPU , which is another petroleum based synthetic polymer.

TPU is similar to polyurethane, but is more water resistant, does not contain crosslinks, and has hard and soft segments that make it more durable, elastic, and resistant to stretching and stains than polyurethane. Compared to PVC and polyurethane, TPU is less likely to degrade and crack, meaning that the waterproof covering of a crib mattress will stay waterproof for longer.

TPU is made from polyether, polyester, or polycaprolactones, while polyurethane is made from polyols and isocyanates. In general, TPU could be considered less toxic than polyurethane, given that it doesnt contain problematic isocyanates and polyols. TPU is, in fact, used in biomedical applications and is considered an inert material, depending on exactly how it was created.

Polyethylene is considered safe for wrapping food and is arguably your best bet for a truly waterproof material to protect both a crib mattress and the infant sleeping on that mattress. This type of polymer is both the simplest of all commercial polymers and the most popular type of plastic in the world.

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Why Should You Get A New Mattress For Each Baby

So you have a second child and now you are thinking of reusing the mattress. Reusing mattresses and giving younger children hand me downs is a pretty common practice between friends and family.

Generally, a better practice would be to use a new mattress for each baby, but because of price, sometimes this option is not always available. Older mattresses tend to have a build up of mold, mildew and can hide dust mites.

There is some research that found that using a second-hand mattress brought in from outside the family might slightly increase the chance of SIDS , although the link is not yet proven.

To reduce this risk, yet still use a second hand mattress, make sure that the mattress you choose to use was completely protected by a waterproof cover during storage and is in good condition with no rips and tears.

Baby Sleep Safety + Flame Retardants

If youre like us, once you learned about flame retardants, you probably believed that the tradeoff for inhaling chemicals all night was that if a fire broke out in your home, your mattress wouldnt catch and your family would have more time to get out safely.

It turns out that belief is mostly wrong.

Any brand you choose should pass all federal and state flammability standards without the use of any fire retardant chemicals or flame retardant barriers.

Mattress companies are not required to disclose all of the chemicals they use in their products. Many companies soak mattresses in flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether, better known as PBDE.

These chemicals are highly toxic, and you dont have the right to know if theyre included. These chemicals can accumulate in the body through skin and inhalation exposure and are known endocrine disruptors. Exposure can be associated with brain, hormonal, and reproductive damage.

Cotton or wool have been used successfully to inhibit flames and pass the governments flammability requirements. Silica is another mostly natural, non-toxic fire blocker. Boric acid will be in some crib mattresses as a flame retardant, but is debatable when it comes to baby sleep safety.

Naturepedic is one of the rare companies who use zero flame retardant chemicals and still meet all state and federal standards for fire safety.

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Memory Foam Production Is Unsupervised

It is mind boggling how this law creates both ecological and health concerns. Given its purpose of increasing safety for citizens’ homes. We are facing a serious health threat, and it seems no one from the industry is taking notice. Some manufacturers opt for not using harmful compounds. No regulatory commission tracks the safety standards. Nor does it perform checkups of the manufacturers and their practices. Consumers are now on their own and what is even worse, most of the public are unaware.

Doctors are unable to diagnose people coming in with some of the symptoms. So most patients with these symptoms are ill without any solution in sight. The government even appears to turn a blind eye to the many studies.

These studies show the negative effects. They show harm in using industrial waste- grade chemicals for furniture and accessories. So, even the manufacturers do not pay attention to the long-term effects their products will have on their consumers. In a world where profit matters more than human health, this does not come as too surprising.


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