Putting baby to bed safely

A few organic mattress companies:• Organic Grace, 


•Pure Rest, www.purerest.com

•Healthy Green Goods,


Parents baby-proof the house, sterilize the bottles and double-check the car seat installation.But what about the mattress?

Since July 2007, a new Consumer Product Safety Commission regulation requires all mattresses to pass a rigorous fire resistant test. Although the regulation prevents a mattress from burning too quickly, the increased amount of flame retardants now used may pose a health risk, especially to children.

Some mattress companies are unwilling to disclose the type of flame retardants used on their products, citing proprietary concerns.

All parents should be concerned about the increased use of flame retardants on both crib and other mattresses, says Dr. Arlene Blum, a flame retardant expert.

One option in the new regulation is"one of a kind” mattresses. Parents may obtain a doctor’s prescription that exempts the manufacturer from using flame retardants and fire testing.

The best option for concerned parents may be an organic mattress, says Dr. Marny Turvill, a pediatrician who owns Healthy Green Goods in Evanston. Organic mattress manufacturers use organically processed wool as a natural flame retardant. Turvill, however, stresses that parents must still be vigilant when buying an organic mattress. Many organic companies use natural or organic fibers but blend those fibers with nonorganic materials.

When buying an organic mattress, ask:

•Is there any synthetic material in the mattress (the answer should be no).

•Are any flame retardants or chemicals used in the mattress? The flame retardant material in an organic mattress should be wool or cotton.

•How is the rubber processed? Are chemicals used?

•Are fragrances added to the rubber?

•Will the company provide third-party certification of the mattress components to prove they are organic?

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