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There are fewer things more important to a baby’s development than proper sleep. When looking for a safe and quality crib mattress for your newborn, you’re probably thinking about support, breathability, and coziness.
But there are more factors than firmness and comfort to consider. Many mattresses are filled, constructed, and coated with toxic synthetic materials that can seriously impact your baby’s health.
You may already be aware of the endocrine-disrupting fire retardants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many common mattresses. But these can be especially impactful to infants, whose immune symptoms are still developing. According to Alden Wicker’s forthcoming book, many researchers believe there is no safe amount of exposure to endocrine disruptors—especially when it comes to children. These hormone dysregulators can not only harm your baby’s sensitive skin, but also disrupt their breathing and have been linked to long-term health issues like asthma and cancer.
Fortunately, there are ethical companies dedicated to keeping your baby safe, healthy, and well-rested. Here is everything you need to look out for when buying your baby’s mattress:
Natural Materials: Look for mattresses made with natural latex, organic wool, and organic cotton. For firmness and a solid base, you can upgrade to ones structured with organic coconut fibers. Avoid synthetic foam, which is typically made of polyurethane, and can emit high amounts of VOCs. If you’re concerned about fire safety, choose a mattress with organic wool, as it is naturally fire retardant. Try to avoid polyester fillings and finishes, as these often contain BPA, which is a known endocrine disruptor.
Glue-Free Binding: Avoid solvent glues, as these also contain VOCs. Instead, look for mattresses that are bound via sewing. Some brands use machines, while others carefully construct and sew them by hand to ensure they are built to last.
Third-Party Certifications: Look for certifications from reputable organizations, such as Made Safe, GreenGuard, GOLS, and GOTS. Avoid CertiPUR-US certifications, an industry-created, fairly meaningless label, as products with this label are known to contain VOCs.
Longevity and Versatility: A well-made crib mattress can last long beyond infancy. Look for mattresses that can grow with your baby, or that are built well enough to pass down or keep for your next child. Several of the brands below offer hybrid or “two-stage” mattresses that have an infant and toddler side.
What we like: Avocado is a certified B Corp that makes quality non-toxic mattresses. Its Made Safe, GreenGuard, and GOTS-certified Luxury Organic Crib Mats are hand-sewn in its Los Angeles factory. The made-to-order mattresses are supported with organic coconut fibers, stuffed with organic cotton-wrapped coils, and topped with hemp, organic wool, and ethically-sourced natural latex. The two-stage crib mats are finished with a coco-fiber perimeter infused with organic latex for support comfort, and longevity. They feature the same 25-year warranty as their adult counterparts.
Watch out for: This mattress is significantly more expensive than the other ones on this list, but it will last up to age four.
What we like: The Emily Organic Crib Mattress is made with organic coconut coir and organic latex for a firm and supportive base. It’s filled with GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool and Oeko-Tex-certified latex. Its factory in Illinois is certified by GOLS and GOTS to ensure it monitors its supply chain from the gathering of materials to final manufacturing. My Green Mattress also carries Made Safe and GreenGuard certifications.
Watch out for: It’s not a two-stage mattress, and you’ll have to flip it regularly to break it in evenly.
Price: $299 with coupon code
What we like: This Seattle brand has been making organic mattresses since 1982. It fosters close relationships with its suppliers to ensure its extra firm latex is free of chemical fire retardants and synthetics. Its crib mattresses, which also include cotton and wool, are hand sewn by a team of expert seamstresses.
Watch out for: This mattress is designed for a slatted crib. It is not a two-stage mattress and has to be flipped on a monthly basis.
What we like: Savvy Rest is a certified B Corp and employee-owned company that makes an organic crib mattress with GOLS-certified Dunlop natural latex. It’s filled with GOTS-certified organic wool, cased with GOTS-certified organic cotton, and contains no polyurethane foam or flame retardants. Its warehouse, wood shop, and sewing facilities are GOTS-certified as well.
Watch out for: This mattress performs best on cribs with rigid support on the bottom.
What we like: This GOTS-certified brand offers extra-firm organic latex crib mattresses in two sizes. Its products are made and sewn in California with GOLS-certified organic wool and are free of chemical fire retardants. Green Cradle also offers GOTS-certified wool and organic cotton protective pads at an additional cost.
Watch out for: It’s unclear where the brand sources its materials from. Its mattresses and covers are spot wash only.
What we like: The Stork bed is handmade in Nest’s California Factory. Nest sources its organic wool from New Zealand and uses GOLS-certified latex and organic cotton. The Fair Trade-certified brand’s mattresses are made to order and constructed without flame retardants or synthetic fillers.
Watch out for: It’s unclear where the brand sources its cotton and latex from. The mattress is not convertible, but it is designed to last up to toddler age.
What we like: Naturepedic offers three options of baby mattresses: Classic, Breathable, and Breathable Ultra. Each is two-stage and features organic cotton and a non-GMO sugarcane waterproof coating or removable cover to (safely) make it easier to clean. The Made Safe, GreenGuard, and GOTS-certified mattresses have no flame retardants, polyurethane foam, or phthalates.
Watch out for: The brand doesn’t offer a lot of information about its supply chain. Its “breathable” options have a 3-dimensional polyester lattice structure.
What we like: Lullaby Earth offers three two-stage mattresses that are designed to be firm and breathable. They’re made in the US with no flame retardants or glues, and have a waterproof finish to help keep them clean and dry. This PFC-free brand is MadeSafe and GreenGuard-certified.
Watch out for: These mattresses contain food-grade recycled polyester and polyethylene. It’s unclear what its waterproof finish is made of.