Do the Chemicals in Crib Mattresses Harm My Baby?

Chemicals in Crib Mattress 3

After writing many articles about the dangers of chemicals in crib and infant mattresses, I sometimes feel everyone must be aware, right? Then I consider no one is really interested in a crib mattress until they (or someone they know) is expecting.  According to the 2012 census, there were 3.95 million births in the US.  That’s a huge number of parents who need to be educated each year about harmful chemicals.
The University of Texas recently completed a study on Infant Exposure to Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Crib Mattresses. They tested 20 mattresses both new and used. The new mattresses were tested approximately 6 months after the manufacture date to avoid the “peak emission period” and get a better indication of long term exposure. How many new parents think about letting their baby’s crib mattress off gas for 6 months before using it! Here’s the link:
It’s a great article explaining the dangers of VOCs in a crib mattress. Most of these chemicals have never been tested for negative health effects on humans. Some of the emissions identified were found to cause sensory irritation, pulmonary irritation, and decreases in midexpiratory airflow velocity in mice. The study recreates the breathing zone an infant experiences while sleeping in a crib and measures the amount of VOCs likely inhaled.  Their findings support crib mattresses are a significant source of VOCs. It goes on to explain the source of many of these VOCs comes from petroleum based polyurethane and plastic materials, combined with adhesives and additives used in the manufacturing process. The study also suggests because of the increased temperature of the mattress (caused by heat transfer from the infant) the amount of VOCs released is increased.  The conclusion of the study advises parents to reduce the amount of VOCs their baby is exposed to from a crib mattress. The authors also encourage more testing as exposure to these and other harmful chemicals found in crib mattresses “may disproportionately affect infants and children and lead to lifelong illnesses and disabilities”.
Please help spread the word about the dangerous chemicals found in some crib mattresses. GOTS and GREENGUARD certified mattresses are healthy choices for your baby.

Written by Debbie, Owner of Absolutely Organic Baby

When to Move Baby to Crib

Hannah Baby Moses Basket

The recommendation these days is to keep your newborn close at night. This has proven to reduce the chance of SIDS. SIDS is scary and all babies are at risk, especially from birth to 5 months. Most parents are opting for Bassinets, Cradles, Moses Baskets or CoSleepers because these make great options even in the smallest of bedrooms.

Parenting is a tough job,  add sleep deprivation to the mix and it becomes downright exhausting. Keeping your baby close at night means no matter how beat you feel at the end of the day, you’re not going to sleep through those tiny little cries that need tending.

Before long you’ll be adjusted to having your baby close. The thought of moving him into his own room so far away will test your comfort zone. But once he’s outgrown the bassinet, he must be moved to the safety of the crib. So, what is the sign that triggers this move? Well, the good news is your baby will let you know and your parental instinct will kick in to support the decision.

The medical community sets developmental milestones. One of these is the ability to roll over. This is your sign. When this happens, the once perfect sized bassinet will be too small to accommodate the needs of your growing infant. With his newly developed muscles, he’ll begin to work on pulling himself up. If he decides to do this one day after waking from a nap, the sides of the bassinet will no longer provide the necessary safety against falls. This is why moving him before he starts pulling up is so important.

The nice thing about parenting is your knowledge level grows with your child. Let’s hope we can all stay one step ahead!

Written by Debbie, Owner of Absolutely Organic Baby

Bassinets Have Come a Long Way, Baby!

Classic Bassinet with Activty Gym Mahogany

We love the Cariboo line of baby bassinets! The sleek, gently curving design is hand crafted from solid wood to create a beautiful piece of furniture. But it’s not just the looks we admire. It’s the versatility of the bassinet that deserves kudos.

The optional bassinet changer easily transforms the bassinet into a changing table. It quickly provides a comfortable and safe place to change diapers without taking up any additional space. 

The activity gym is the perfect option for keeping baby happy and entertained. It’s recommended that babies be put to bed while they are drowsy but not yet asleep.  This helps them learn how to soothe themselves and not rely on parents. The activity gym offers amusement and helps baby to relax whether dozing off to sleep or waking from a nap. Its clever design makes it simple to move about once baby is old enough for floor play.

There’s also an option for placing a veil around the bassinet to help protect baby’s eyes from bright sunlight. And, for longer use, it has a toy box conversion kit. All these benefits and a footprint small enough to fit into most apartment sized bedrooms.

The Cariboo Bassinet is beautiful, practical, multifunctional and built to last from one generation to the next. Its non-toxic finish is PBDE free making it a safe choice for your little one and a real value for you.

Written by Debbie, Owner of Absolutely Organic Baby

Rooming-In Strengthens Attachment Bond

Rooming-In Newborn

In the early 1940’s a new concept of maternity care appeared in American hospitals.  As a solution to create a more fulfilling postpartum experience, newborns were placed in the same room as the Mother. Today evidenced based research supports the many advantages for this model of care and “rooming-in” is encouraged by hospitals and embraced by expectant Mothers.
One of the major reasons for rooming-in is to establish a strong attachment bond with your baby. During the first days of life a baby’s attachment instinct is at its peak. A secure attachment creates trust and has an effect on the physical, intellectual, emotional and social aspects of your child’s development. Studies show being responsive to your infant’s needs does not “spoil” your baby but rather helps him grow into a more independent child.
An important method for bonding is skin-to-skin contact. This keeps your baby warm and helps ease the transition to life outside the womb. By the time a baby is one to two days old he can recognize his mother’s smell from other women. Placing baby on your chest allows him to hear your heart beat, smell your scent and feel safe.
Babies who room-in have a higher success rate with breastfeeding. When your baby is close it’s easier to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding. You are able to pick up on his feeding cues and readily provide comfort. Frequent feedings helps establish an ample supply of milk.
Data reveals babies who room-in cry less. You may get more restful sleep knowing you can quickly offer comfort and soothing when needed. You have a chance to recognize and learn to respond to your baby’s gestures and sounds, this is all part of the bonding process.
Your hospital stay provides an opportunity to observe how your baby is bathed, handled, changed and swaddled. Nurses ensure you get the help you need to develop these skills and encourage the natural bonding process.
The average hospital stay for normal vaginal delivery is 1-2 days. So, where’s the best place for your baby to sleep when he comes home? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends newborns sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed because of suffocation risks. Bassinets and Moses Baskets require a small footprint and are a means of keeping your baby close if your room can’t accommodate a full sized crib.
Rooming-in gives you a glimpse into the future and hopefully instills you with the confidence you’ll need to nurture your baby in an environment where he feels safe and secure.

Written by Debbie, Owner of

Should Your Baby Sleep on a Used Mattress?

Sleeping baby Nancy's

The estimates for the first year costs of raising your baby range from a few thousand to over ten thousand dollars. Of course, this amount depends on personal choices and tastes but no doubt about it babies need a lot of stuff!

If you’re lucky you have family or friends that help keep the cost from becoming too painful. Passing maternity and baby clothes around really helps. Shopping second hand stores and garage sales are a great way to spend the day and score big.

So, what about your baby’s crib mattress? Does it make sense to buy used? Mattresses are like books, you can’t judge them by their cover. It’s what’s inside that may prove harmful to your baby. If a mattress has been stored in a damp basement the outside may look great but mold could be growing on the inside. Or the mattress may have been exposed to urine or spit up. Without proper cleaning these unsanitary conditions promote the growth of surface bacteria. Definitely not a risk you want to take when it comes to the health of your baby.

Mattresses don’t have to break the bank. Saving a little each month, say $30, will give you enough of a nest egg to buy a quality organic mattress by the time your little one arrives. It’s much easier to find an affordable organic crib mattress today than just five years ago. This is an example of the laws of supply and demand at work. As more parents research the health dangers in conventional mattresses, organic becomes the clear choice.

There are other ways to fund your crib purchase too. Try a “crib baby shower” where everyone donates cash. And don’t forget the grandparents who want only what’s best for their grandchild. If you’re planning on more than one child, a latex mattress may be the best choice. Latex (pure with no synthetic materials added) can easily last ten years or more. Split the cost of one mattress over two babies and it gets down right cheap.

No matter what creative path you take to obtain a new organic crib mattress, you can rest easy knowing your baby is getting the healthiest possible start in life.

Written by Debbie, Owner of

Every Family Needs an Heirloom

Classic Crib Hero  Let’s face it, we are a disposable society. Rather than repair something we are often too quick to give it a toss and replace it with new. But what if we changed our attitude about purchasing? What if we looked for products built to last and when properly taken care of stayed out of the landfill for generations.

When talking about furniture these pieces are referred to as heirloom. They are handmade and invoke a feeling of quality. Something you pay for once and it remains useful for your children and even their children. A kind of inheritance if you will.

If you are in search mode for nursery furniture to start your family heirlooms, consider a convertible crib from Cariboo. A crib built by hand from solid New Zealand Radiata timber and designed to grow with your child. Appropriate for newborns as a crib, toddlers as a toddler bed, and young teens as a sofa bed this crib is a workhorse. This convertible crib will become a part of your baby‘s childhood memories.

Imagine setting this crib up for your baby; fast-forward twenty something years and image this same crib being set up for your grandchild. A beautiful piece of furniture instilled with emotions from the past and dreams for the future.

Written by Debbie, Owner of Absolutely Organic Baby


Newborn Baby

Most new parents think they have nine months to prepare for the arrival of their baby. In reality,  preparing for Baby starts the moment you become aware of your pregnancy, the moment you are transformed into a Mother.  Nurturer, protector, guardian from all harm, that’s the new you. Your days ahead will be spent reading and researching the latest information on prenatal vitamins, healthy foods, suitable exercises, anything and everything out there to keep your baby safe and healthy.

An essential first step is finding the best organic mattress for your newborn.  It’s normal for a newborn to spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping. You want to make certain her tiny little breaths aren’t contaminated with toxic off gasses. These off gasses can come from synthetic materials like foam and vinyl, present in virtually all mattresses except organic. Then there’s the off gassing from components you can’t see. Our government has mandated every mattress meet CPSC flammability standards.  While it’s great for all those people who fall asleep with cigarettes, this concoction of chemicals is made from known carcinogens and poses a risk to your baby’s health.

Educating yourself is the most important thing you can do to insure your baby’s wellbeing. It’s a harsh world out there.  Once your baby is born, it’s up to you to create a healthy environment which will shield her from harmful chemicals and hazardous products. That can be a daunting task.

When choosing an organic mattress make sure you understand what materials are used. Look for descriptions that explain the process of creating the mattress. Reputable brands are proud of their products and are more than happy to explain what makes them superior.

Written by Debbie, Owner of

Save Money on Puddle Pads

Surprise Baby

Everybody loves to save money. Buying an organic crib mattress is the best way to ensure your baby isn’t being exposed to harmful chemicals that may have long-term negative health effects. The smartest, safest choice but definitely not the cheapest.

Along with buying the mattress, it’s advisable to purchase a moisture protection pad commonly referred to as a “puddle pad”. Puddle pads are great for keeping liquids from seeping into your baby’s mattress and protecting your investment. Now comes the saving money part….you can buy an organic latex mattress with a puddle pad exterior!

Now that’s a good idea. It saves about $100. Yep, that’s the going rate for a crib sized puddle pad. I know what you’re thinking. Wool, on the outside of a mattress? Won’t that be scratchy on my baby’s skin? Nope. The puddle pad material is soft to the touch. Put an organic cotton sheet on top and your baby will sleep like an angel.  And you won’t sleep so bad either knowing you’ve saved $100 bucks!

Written by Debbie, Owner of 

Co Sleepers and Toxic Mattresses

Baby in headband Large

Co Sleepers are great for keeping your baby close at night. As a matter of fact the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it to help reduce the chance of SIDS. But you may be exposing your baby to harmful chemicals if you use the mattress that comes with your Co Sleeper.

Most often they are made of foam. Foam is a very flammable material. In order to meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s regulations for flammability the foam must be treated with fire retardant chemicals. These chemicals are known to cause health problems in laboratory animals. It’s definitely not something you want to expose your baby’s developing lungs to.

It’s a simple solution. Replace the toxic mattress with an organic one. Organic infant mattresses are made without any harmful chemicals. They meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s regulation for flammability by using organic wool. Wool tends to smolder rather than burst into flames. This gives you and your baby more time should you ever be in danger from a fire.

Back to Absolutely Organic Baby Store

Top 10 Reasons to Buy an Organic Natural Latex Crib Mattress

Newborn and sibling

  1. Healthy Sleep Environment
    The number one reason for buying an organic natural latex crib mattress is to provide your child with a healthy sleep environment.
  2. Reduces the Risk of SIDS
    A latex mattress is firm. Both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a firm mattress to guard against SIDS.
  3. Free From Fire Retardant Chemicals
    In 2007 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission passed a mandatory flammability standard for mattresses. Studies have shown the chemicals used to meet these standards are harmful to humans and especially toxic to young children. One chemical known as chlorinated tris, was banned from children’s pajamas because of cancer causing concerns. Now it is showing up in children and adult mattresses to meet the flammability standard.1 A natural latex mattress is free of any fire retardant chemicals.
  4. No Harmful Off-Gassing
    The majority of crib mattresses are wrapped in vinyl as a means of waterproofing. Vinyl contains antimony, a heavy metal. Antimony leaches into the air surrounding your baby’s mattress. According to OSHA, exposure to antimony can lead to eye, heart and lung problems.2 Polyurethane foam contains toluene.3 Another chemical compound classified by OSHA as a potential human carcinogen.
  5. Hypoallergenic, Anti-microbial and Breathable
    The natural properties of a latex mattress make it dust mite resistant, hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. Bacteria, fungus, and dust cannot penetrate the latex core. Natural latex has a breathable quality reducing the amount of body heat and moisture retained in the core. You won’t find these properties in a synthetic foam mattress.
  6. Uniform Support
    A latex mattress will form to the contours of your baby’s body. This gives even support and reduces pressure points. Your baby will sleep comfortable all night long.
  7. Sustainable Resource
    The Rubber Tree (Hevea Brasiliensis) has latex ducts just under the surface of its bark. The tree is tapped and the latex is collected. Think maple syrup. The tree is not harmed and can be tapped approximately 180 days a year. The Rubber tree can live up to 100 years.
  8. Lasts Longer
    While a latex mattress provides comfort by conforming to the contours of your baby’s body, it will not leave a lasting impression. Natural latex is very resilient; it will last longer than a coil mattress due to its ability to hold its shape.
  9. Better for the Planet
    An organic latex mattress is wrapped in either organic cotton or organic wool. Organically grown cotton keeps harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers from entering our water table. It is healthier for the workers and supplies a healthier product for your baby. Organic wool is raised without the gross misuse of antibiotics. Maintaining the correct ratio of animals to pasture size keeps sheep naturally healthy.
  10.  Support American Made
    It’s true; we have no rubber trees in America. The latex is imported. But if you do your research, you can find companies who complete the mattress making process in America using American made products. Buying products made in America should make you feel proud knowing you are helping to secures jobs and stimulate the surrounding economy.

Written by Debbie, Owner of


  2. (cardiovascular & respiratory systems)

Back to Absolutely Organic Baby Store