Virtually all crib mattresses marketed as "breathable", are in reality, just not waterproof and sometimes also completely porous (where fluids can reach inside the mattress). These designs allow for the growth of mold and bacteria which may actually harm the baby. They are difficult or impossible to clean despite claims to the contrary. They also contain additives like flame retardants. Would you even want your baby breathing into a mattress containing flame retardants and bacterial buildup? For these and other reasons, these mattresses may actually be dangerous. Which brings us to a very obvious conclusion. There's a right way and a wrong way to do breathability!
Here Are TWO WRONG WAYS To Do Crib Mattress Breathability
Completely Porous Mattress
Contains flame retardant chemicals mixed into the plastic
Presents major hygienic problems without additional breathability benefits
Every time your baby's diaper leaks, guess where it goes? That's right, inside the mattress, along with spit up, leaky bottles and other unmentionables!
Once inside the mattress, mold, mildew and other bacteria can grow as it's nearly impossible to reach and scrub clean (especially if it has dried). Manufacturers of this style mattress recommend a rinse in the shower or a soak in the bath to clean the mattress. However, even this is not likely to remove all the microbial contamination.
After an accident, there's nowhere to put your baby back to sleep. (Must disassemble, rinse in shower, wait to dry, then reassemble hours later.)
Contains flame retardant chemicals mixed into the plastic core.
"There are potential issues with "breathe into the interior" designs... can create serious hygienic issues which can lead to medical concerns. More specifically, if the mattress is porous... to the point that a baby can breathe into the interior, then bacteria/microbial/microorganism/or related contamination from urine, fecal material, spilled milk, etc. can also make their way into the interior of the mattress... the baby can be breathing into these contaminated materials."
Edwin Simpser, MD, FAAP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell University"
Breathable Crib Mattress Facts
Often presented as "breathable," but really just "not waterproof." Presents major hygienic problems
These mattresses are generally spot-clean only - very problematic in the event of an accident, as urine and other fluids soak into the fabric.
Must use a waterproof pad, which actually eliminates all of the breathable benefits.
In addition to microbial contamination, contains flame barriers and other questionable chemicals.
The Right Way To Do Crib Mattress Breathability
The "right way" should achieve the highest breathability score on independent suffocation tests while keeping the mattress clean and free of contamination. The way to achieve this is by separating the breathability component into a new layer that can be easily removed and laundered. This approach provides the best of all worlds and is the clear winner for safety and convenience.