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.
For those in the market for an organic crib mattress, look no further. With help from lifestyle expert Heather Reed, we’ve assembled a list of our favorite eco-mattresses for each price category.
Jump ahead to:
$ – Lullaby Earth ($169-$279)
$$ – Naturepedic ($259-$399)
$$ – Nook ($195-$419)
$$$ – Naturalmat ($384-$550)
The first two on our list, Lullaby Earth and Naturepedic, are actually both made by Naturepedic.
Both are manufactured without the use of known allergens found in many other mattresses, such as latex, wool, soy — and without polyurethane foam of any kind. *These mattresses still pass all Federal flammability standards without the need for flame retardant chemicals.
Both brands are also waterproof (not just water-resistant or water-repellant), thanks to food-grade plastic. They achieve this without using plasticizers, phthalates, PFCs, or vinyl.
Both Lullaby Earth and Naturepedic offer two-sided crib mattresses, which have a firm “infant” side and a cushier side for toddlers after the scary infant SIDS days are over.
Reinforced edge support means lightweight models won’t squish under standing toddler’s feet. Both are made in Chagrin Falls (Cleveland, OH) by Amish craftsman and stewards.
Lullaby Earth is Naturepedic’s entry-level brand. They are all very lightweight (7 lbs!), which makes for VERY easy sheet changing.
$ – Lullaby Earth:
- Healthy Support Single Firmness ($169) – entry level.
- Healthy Support 2-Stage Dual Firmness ($199) – TOP ECONOMY PICK — offers a firm side for infants and a softer side for toddlers.
- Breathe Safe ($259) – has a breathable waterproof surface and waterproof core, as well as an integrated mattress cover, which is also breathable and waterproof, and is dual-sided
- Limited Lifetime Warranty (and a 30-day money back guarantee, free returns)
- Made in the USA
$$ – 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 two categories: classic, breathable and breathable ultra (there’s a comparison chart here).
Our favorite is the Naturepedic Lightweight Classic 2-Stage ($289).
$$ – Nook
Another mom favorite is Los Angeles based Nook Sleep Systems, which offers three organic crib mattresses to choose from: the Pebble Air Ultra Lite ($199), the Pebble Lite ($295) and the Pebble Pure ($419).
The Pure boasts a certified organic coconut coir base layered with 1” of natural latex foam, while its sisters feature an up-cycled cotton denim and certified non-toxic CertiPUR foam (respectively) fused with non-toxic PETE (aka recycled plastic) for lightweight comfort and breathability. The weights vary greatly, by the way. The Ultra Lite is only 7 pounds; The Lite is 17; The Pure is 26. Oooph!
All three designs are two-sided to ensure a firm and breathable sleep space for infants… but you can flip these bad boys over for a plush yet equally breathable toddler mattress.
The Nook line also features more sizing options, including a mini-crib size ($219) and a Stokke crib mattress ($449), as well as twin ($695) and full size ($899) mattresses (for those of us who feel like the kids get all the cool stuff).
With their patented eucalyptus mattress cover, Nook has essentially made your nights pee-drama-free. Any moisture will bead up onto the cover of the mattress for about 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to grab a blanket (or… newspaper?).
Depending on which core mattress you select, you’ll have a myriad of colors to choose from for mattress covers.
A rant from Heather: The good news is that by the time you’re ready to invest in a proper twin/full, you’ll likely have your monster out of your bed. If you’ve made it this far with your relationship intact, congrats. You’re in the minority. BONUS? You can start having uninterrupted sex again. And if you’re exclusively breastfeeding AND you’ve managed to successfully nurture both a relationship and a child, congratulations. You’ve won. Most people, myself included, have not mastered this feat.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Made in the USA
$$$ – Naturalmat
Hand-made in the verdant pastures of Devon, England, Naturalmat mattresses are at the top of the mattress pyramid.
Unlike others listed here, they use 100% renewable and sustainable sources such as organic lambs wool, coir (coconut), mohair and latex and are focused on the breathability of these natural materials. The big difference is that these guys do not use any plastics in their mattresses, not even food grade polyethylene.
Coco Mat — ideal for newborns due to breathability & temperature-regulating fibers
Mohair Mat — medium support, ideal for babies and children of any age.
Latex Mat — medium support, ideal for toddlers and older children
Watch their sweet little video here:
That’s all folks. Sweet dreams! On to sheets and blankets and all that jazz…