The Organic Crib Mattress Smackdown
Each state maintains its own flammability requirements for clothing and furnishings. These requirements are a throwback to a time when lots of people smoked inside their older, highly-flammable wooden houses (and when residential smoke detectors were not the norm). The mortality rate due to fire was quite high, which was a PR problem for the tobacco industry.
Needless to say, babies aren’t exactly smoking in their cribs, and one could argue that if such a vicious house fire did occur, one would certainly die of smoke inhalation before actually burning to death. And yet flammability requirements still exist thanks to the deep pockets of the tobacco and chemical lobbies (thanks, a-holes!).
Anywho, that’s a long way of saying that crib mattresses still have to meet flammability requirements and many of them are treated with chemical flame retardants to do so.
The safety of some of these chemicals has been called into question in recent years. Short of shipping it out to a toxicology lab, how do you ever really know what’s in your mattress?
Important side note:
“On January 1, 2015, California implemented the first U.S. rule mandating that certain products containing polyurethane foam be labeled to identify whether they contain chemical flame retardants [left]. Furniture industry experts predict flame-retardant-free couches, chairs, and other padded furnishings and products will be popular with consumers and large purchasers, and the new labeling law, known as SB 1019, is expected to have influence beyond the state’s borders, just as California’s flammability standard once drove the use of flame retardants in the rest of the country, and even other parts of the world…” — Environmental Health Perspectives
Since your baby/toddler spends over half her life SLEEPING — and is in such close contact with her mattress (and chemicals off-gassing from it), many parents are opting for an organic crib mattress for the peace of mind.
While more and more “mainstream” companies are starting to key into these concerns^^ (which is awesome!), there are still a limited selection of organic crib mattresses available. Right now, we recommend checking out offerings from these three brands, each of which has a few options at different price points:
- $ — Lullaby Earth
- $$ — Naturepedic
- $$$ — Avocado
The first two on our list, Lullaby Earth and Naturepedic, are actually both made by Naturepedic.
Both are manufactured without the use of known allergens found in many other mattresses, such as latex, wool, soy — and without polyurethane foam of any kind. *These mattresses still pass all Federal flammability standards without the need for flame retardant chemicals.
Both brands are also waterproof (not just water-resistant or water-repellant), thanks to food-grade plastic. They achieve this without using plasticizers, phthalates, PFCs, or vinyl.
Both Lullaby Earth and Naturepedic offer two-sided crib mattresses, which have a firm “infant” side and a cushier side for toddlers after the scary infant SIDS days are over.
Reinforced edge support means lightweight models won’t squish under standing toddler’s feet. Both are made in Chagrin Falls (Cleveland, OH) by Amish craftsman and stewards.
Lullaby Earth is Naturepedic’s entry-level brand — the safety features (namely, what’s missing) are basically the same, but the Lullaby Earth mattresses are made with less organic cotton, which drives up the price, and are thus more affordable. They are all very lightweight (7 lbs!), which makes for VERY easy sheet changing.
$ — Lullaby Earth:
- Healthy Support Single Firmness ($178) – entry level.
- Healthy Support 2-Stage Dual Firmness ($199) – TOP ECONOMY PICK — offers a firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
- Breathe Safe ($279) – has a breathable waterproof surface and waterproof core, as well as an integrated mattress cover, which is also breathable and waterproof, and is dual-sided
- Limited Lifetime Warranty (and a 30-day money back guarantee, free returns)
- Made in the USA
$$ — Naturepedic:
Naturepedic is the tried and true higher-end brand and is certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
This mattress is made with organic cotton fabric and fill, as well as steel innerspring or lightweight WaveSupport core options. The lightweight Naturepedic models are only 11 lbs, which is great for (not) heaving it out of the crib in order to change linens.
They have options in three categories (there’s a comparison chart here):
- Classic: Lightweight ($269), Lightweight 2-Stage ($299) and Innerspring 2-Stage ($299)
- Breathable: Lightweight 2-Stage ($399) and Innerspring 2-Stage ($379)
- Breathable Ultra: Lightweight 2-Stage ($499) and Innerspring 2-Stage ($549)
Our favorite pick is the Naturepedic Lightweight Classic 2-Stage ($299).
$$$ — Avocado:
Compared to Naturepedic and Lullaby Earth, which were founded with the principal intention of developing organic, chemical-free crib mattresses, Avocado is a “bigger” brand that got its start in the green mattress space more generally (aka, not crib-specific) and also has gained many accolades for its commitment to being a sustainable, climate-neutral company.
The crib mattress offerings from Avocado are all GOTS certified (using organic cotton and wool), free from chemicals, polyurethane foam, flame retardants, fiberglass etc. etc. etc.:
- Eco Organic Crib Mattress ($349) — *single-sided
- Organic Crib Mattress ($439) — dual-sided
- Luxury Organic Crib Mattress ($1379, 😱😱😱) — WHY? Just, why.
(*Please note that the 1-year sleep trial advertised on Avocado’s website does NOT apply to crib mattresses, though there is a 30-day trial period and a *25-year warranty (!).)
That’s all folks. Sweet dreams! On to sheets and blankets and all that jazz…
Thanks for this post! Do you know why the Newton mattress didn’t make this list? Just curious! Currently trying to decide between the Newton and Naturepedic crib mattress.
Hi Mary! We love the Newton mattress and recommend it in our “regular” mattress guide, check it out here: https://www.lucieslist.com/guides/sleeping/crib-mattress/