More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Crib Part 2: Choosing an Eco-Friendly Mattress

I am not hysterical about conventional products, but I do try to be an educated consumer when I buy something new. I'll be honest. Often what I find is depressing. Mattresses fit this trend. Most conventional mattresses (for babies and adults) are made with things that are concerning when one really looks into them:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) This plastic is restricted in the European Union in children's products. It can leech when put in the mouth (think soft, plastic children's toys), its production is bad for the environment, it is made from politically-charged crude oil, and it can off-gas.

  • Polyurethane is not regulated for carcinogenicity, it facilitates the life of dust mites, and it is highly flammable which means it must be treated with chemicals to be allowed in products.

  • Chemical Fire Retardants These end up in measureable amounts our bodies, breastmilk, meat we eat, etc. and are associated with thyroid and hormone changes including decreased fertility.
Knowing all of this, I continue to sleep on my 10-year old conventional mattress (for now), but I wanted to start baby V off on something healthier. In preparing for baby, we used the organic mattress suggestions in Baby Bargains as the basis for our research. Here is what I thought about the suggested brands (which I've divided into two categories):

Seem Like Greenwashing

  • Colgate Eco Classica 1- This one is a greener option, but not as excellent as I was looking for. I am leery of anything soft made from bamboo. The amount of processing it takes to turn bamboo into fabric is anything but green. $190

  • Sealy Posturpedic Springfree- This contains soy which is another one of those things, like bamboo, that sound great but actually are very taxing on the environment. $199

  • LA Baby Organic- Baby Bargains talks specifically about the one sold at Costco. When I looked into it when I was pregnant, it came across as having an organic cotton cover, but being otherwise conventionally made. It smacked of greenwashing to me. Some of LA Baby's mattresses seem to have more potential, but I do have to wonder what corners they cut to have such a huge price gap between them and the solidly green brands (for example saying no toxic chemicals versus saying no chemical fire retardants as on the solidly green brands. Does that mean they use a non-toxic chemical fire retardant and who is defning non-toxic since the government allows mattress companies to use something that I find toxic but they don't.) The Costco version is $107.

Solidly Green

  • Natura's Latex Mattress- I wasn't interested in latex at the time and I was intimidated by needing a wool cover for this mattress. I am now more educated on the benefits of latex mattresses and wool for water-proofing and would be open to this brand now. Non-organic models run $360, organic are $530.

  • NaturalMat- This is a phenomenal, artisan-made brand. The mattresses are made of coconut husk, latex, or mohair which are awesome options. They run about $400, which seemed too steep. In retrospect, we should've considered this option more seriously.

  • Naturepedic- The ultimate hybrid between coil mattress with waterproof cover and natural: organic materials, no PVC, no polyurethane, no chemical fire retardants, made in the USA, comes with a lifetime warranty. This mattress does contain some non-natural components (like the waterproof cover), but they've selected materials that do not concern me. The price is not cheap, but not exorbitant at $250-400. Even the most basic model seemed ample for our needs.

    We decided to go with Naturepedic because we could register for it at Buy Buy Baby and then use a 20% off coupon (they take both Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath and Beyond coupons). We wanted a no-compromise mattress, but we also wanted a palatable price tag. Even factoring in the discount, this would be our highest ticket baby item. But we couldn't think of a better item to splurge on: babies spend about two-thirds of their time sleeping. Also, since most of V's gear was given to us used, purchased used, or is on loan, we could make this fit in the budget.

    We watched Craigslist for awhile to see if a used Naturepedic would come up for cheap (one of the sealed, wipe-clean kinds that would be totally healthy used), but no dice. In the end, we were very fortunate that my family chipped in and bought the mattress as a shower gift.

    What a great gift! Baby's mattress, complete with a blue bow.

    Newborn Baby V Sleeping on a Naturpedic Mattress

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At July 11, 2011 at 11:43 PM , Blogger Jen said...

we went w/ a mattress from Organic Grace - it is $260 now. It's a coil mattress:

Just another option for your readers!

At July 12, 2011 at 7:45 AM , Anonymous -P said...

Thanks, Jen!

At February 25, 2012 at 1:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Naturpedic mattress fits the IKEA SNIGLAR? I see that the Naturpedic mattress is (28" x 52") 1/2" wider than what IKEA suggested for the SNIGLAR crib (27-1/2" x 52. How has it been working out for you? Thanks!

At February 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM , Blogger P said...

K- It really does fit! When planning, I had the exact same concern because of the numbers, but we decided to go ahead and get them both, figuring that a snug fitting mattress is the safety standard. It requires some heft to get the mattress in and out to change sheets, but it works. In Part 1 of the bedding series, you can see the mattress in the crib. -P

At February 26, 2012 at 12:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's great! My husband is picking up the same crib tomorrow. I have 3 months to air the fiberboard. That should do right? I was also planning to getting the mattress @BuyBuyBaby because of the 20% coupon. I've not decided whether to get Natural I Mattress with Organic Cotton Cover by Colgate or Naturepedic. I like that Natural I uses coconut husks as its core, but it's the most expensive one. I haven't physically been to the store to look yet, so hopefully that will help me make my decision. Thanks for the info. I just found your blog as I was researching online yesterday. I like reading your blog. It's full with useful information. Thank you!

At February 26, 2012 at 8:48 AM , Blogger P said...

K- Happy shopping! Off-gassing can take up to six months, but that is a luxury we don't always have, and I don't stress about it since we buy so little new and thus get little exposure in our house. Anecdotally, I can share I have a very sensitive nose and I can stop smelling new products in our house at about two to three months. -P

At February 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has a very sensitive nose, too. We use everything fragrance free in the house. I just check Craigslist again. There's a used one!!! It's an extra at grandma's house, so it should be pretty new and safe, and definitely past the 6 months mark. hopefully it will work out because I haven't successfully purchase anything from Craigslist yet. I'm always too slow :P Well, Thanks again :)


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