Many of the materials used in constructing a baby’s crib are exposed to chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. While the major brands test for toxicity levels to ensure safe use, there remains scope for a reaction to the skin if these chemicals can trigger an allergy in the delicate skin of an infant.
With a baby’s tendency to chew on every surface they can reach many parents are opting for cribs made entirely organic materials. Organic bedding is also becoming widely sought after by concerned parents.
However, what is often overlooked is the quality of the mattress underneath your baby. Using an organic sheet will provide some protection, but when spending 10-14 hours or more a day during their most fragile developmental years, lying directly on the mattress, breathing in and absorbing whatever is in the mattress. This kind of exposure can present risks.
A common fire retardant commonly used in mattress production is Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Research has shown that microscopic particles from fire retardant chemicals contaminate household dust and seep into the surrounding air.
Another 2014 study done at The University of Texas at Austin found that babies are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses while they sleep. The researchers found that body heat increases emissions and chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone. These chemical exposures can negatively affect the health and brain development of babies.
To minimize these risks many parents are seeking out a purely organic crib mattress. But while this can provide peace of mind, it is a more expensive option that is beyond the reach of many new parents. It is also worth noting that organic materials are also required to use fire retardants.
So take note of these tips when selecting your crib mattress. This should help you minimize the risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals:
- Do not purchase from a company that do not disclose the fire retardant used in the manufacturing process.
- Avoid buying a crib mattress with a vinyl cover.
- Choose polyester over polyurethane foam mattresses.
Most travel beds have an inbuilt mattress that is not subject to the same fire-retardant manufacturing standards. So the presence of these chemicals is less likely.