At one point or another, many children are frightened of a monster under their bed. But did you ever stop to think that something scary might actually be lurking inside their bed? Flame retardants, toxic VOCs, poison plastics, forever chemicals …. we're talking about the toxic chemicals in mattresses, and they can definitely be quite scary.
No need to fear – Lullaby Earth is here! Think of us as the toxic chemical Ghostbusters for your little one’s sleep space. We’re here to walk you through some of the toxic chemicals and materials found in conventional crib mattresses and ways you can keep them far away from your kiddo’s bedroom. No more monsters hiding inside of the bed!
Why Littles Are Extra Vulnerable to Toxins
It’s no secret that littles are one of the most vulnerable groups to environmental toxins. As your child is rapidly growing and changing, their immune systems (AKA their toxic-chemical-monster shields) are still developing. Babies and small children breathe more in more air in proportion to their body weight than adults and have higher metabolic rates, too, which make chemical exposures more of a risk.
We want to ensure that your children’s bodies are far away from toxic chemicals to make sure they can have safer, healthier sleep each night. Because at the end of the day, healthier sleep makes for a happier family!
4 Scary Substances to Avoid
Chemical flame retardants, questionable waterproofing methods and harmful VOCs – oh my! These toxic chemicals are scary, especially if they’re creeping inside your kiddo’s mattress. We’ve outlined four of the most common toxins that can be found in your little one’s bed and reasons to avoid them.
1. Chemical Flame Retardants
Chemical flame retardants might sound safe – you wouldn’t want your little one’s mattress to burst into flames, after all. However, chemical flame retardants can be quite dangerous themselves.
These chemicals – which include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), boric acid and others – are linked to several negative health effects, including:
- Neurological disorders
- Fertility issues
- Thyroid disruption
- Decreased immunity
Chemical barriers like fiberglass (tiny shards of glass) aren’t much better either. What’s even scarier about chemical flame retardants and barriers is the fact that they’re found in a lot of common places: furniture, mattresses, strollers, car seats and even clothes! These monsters can quite literally lurk wherever we turn.
2. Polyurethane Foams
Much like chemical flame retardants, potentially harmful foams appear in a lot of places. These materials can be found all over the nursery if you’re not careful, in car seats, changing pads, mattresses and more.
Memory foam, a form of polyurethane foam, is marketed to be comfortable, but it’s not the safest material for your little one. A highly flammable material, memory foam is usually treated with chemical flame retardants, fiberglass or other questionable flame barriers to meet government flammability requirements. These chemical treatments can off-gas chemical monsters called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are linked to negative health effects, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Central nervous system issues
And the list goes one – scary stuff! You may also see “soy” foam or “eco” foam mattresses, but these are really just forms of polyurethane foam (with a dose of greenwashing).
A quick note about latex foam: Some mattress manufacturers use organic latex as an alternative to polyurethane foam. However, this is not a good idea for babies and kids because latex is allergenic!
3. Toxic Waterproofing Chemicals
If preventing flammability with chemicals is toxic, then is waterproofing something toxic, too? Well, if it’s done with chemicals like vinyl/PVC, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and phthalates, and it often is, then absolutely it is.
Although waterproofing is an essential part of a hygienic sleep space for your little one, it’s also essential to do it without toxic materials. After all, vinyl/PVC and PFAS are nicknamed “poison plastic” and “forever chemicals” for a reason! And phthalates are a dangerous group of endocrine disruptors.
Waterproofing made with vinyl/PVC is known to be toxic during every stage of production – including disposal. These monsters are not only harmful to your family, but to Mother Earth, as well.
4. Harmful VOCs
Let’s talk more about those VOC monsters from earlier. Formaldehyde and ethylene glycol are two examples which you might recognize, but there are many more. Products containing these chemicals release the chemicals into the air we breathe in a process known as “off-gassing.”
Like we mentioned above, these toxic vapors have a wide array of negative health effects. So, keeping your family in mind, we want to make sure we are as far away from these VOCs as possible! Beyond mattresses, VOCs can be found in a wide range of common items, including:
- Carpeting and vinyl flooring
- Upholstery and foam
- Cleaning products
- Nonstick cookware
How to Find a Mattress You Can Trust
Beware of greenwashing, parents! Although there are tons of “safe” and “healthy” claims on products essentially everywhere, it’s important to look for certifications that can actually verify these claims.
Organizations like MADE SAFE® and GREENGUARD Gold® test products rigorously to ensure they are actually non-toxic, safer and healthier. Choosing a product with certifications you can trust is an essential way of making sure the product is actually what it claims to be.
Choosing a non-toxic mattress is one of the best ways to ensure that any scary, toxic chemicals stay far away from your little ones as they’re sleeping. Lullaby Earth uses only non-toxic materials in our mattresses – and we have the certifications to prove it!