When a crib mattress is labeled as organic, it means that it was made from natural materials that have been certified organic. For example, organic crib mattresses are typically made from cotton, wool, coir (coconut husk) or natural latex.
The organic label means these natural fibers have been produced without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. And in the case of wool, it also means the sheep have been raised without synthetic hormones and have not been dipped in harmful pesticides to control lice and ticks.
Parents should be aware that the organic labeling only applies to the components of the crib mattress that come from nature. It does not apply to the synthetic components, such as the metal springs, foam padding and plastic covers.
Common Chemicals to Avoid
If you’ve already begun shopping for crib mattresses, you’ve probably noticed that most are covered in vinyl, which is also known as PVC plastic.
Vinyl is widely used because it helps to water-proof the mattress and make diaper leaks easier to clean up. But vinyl releases a continuous stream of chemicals into the air that are harmful for babies to inhale over time.
It is also common practice for manufacturers to treat crib mattresses with synthetic flame retardants and other harmful chemicals.
Crib mattresses that are made with organic materials may still be covered in vinyl or have non-agricultural parts that have been treated with chemicals. Always check the label or the brand’s website to ensure the organic mattress is not covered or treated with harmful materials.
Different Degrees of Organic
If possible, choose mattresses labeled as certified organic over those labeled as made with certified organic materials.
- A crib mattress that is certified organic will contain at least 95% natural and certified organic materials.
- A crib mattress made with certified organic materials means that at least 70% of the agricultural materials are certified organic. The other 30% may still be synthetic.
Check the manufacturer’s website or in-store sales materials to see how the rest of the mattress is made. This article on Choosing The Safest Crib Mattress can help.