Archive for the ‘Babies and children’ Category

Making Decisions Monday: Action Items for a Safer Toy Holiday or Birthday

Monday, November 17th, 2014

When beginning your research for safer toys, start here to learn more about wood toys, and don’t forget my key questions to ask yourself before purchasing a plastic toy.

While we can’t replace everything in our house immediately (it’s too expensive for me, even if I could get my kids to give up many of the toys they love at once!), we can strive to make better choices going forward, and holidays and birthdays make a great opportunity to do so.

christmas-gifts

1) Tell your friends and family that you are looking to make more conscious decisions about the toys you’re bringing into your home. Recommend some brands you’re interested in (here and here are some suggestions), and offer key terms they should look for on packaging and websites.

Key terms: Organic, BPA-free, Phthalate-free or nonphthalate, type of plastic (food grade preferred)

Terms to avoid if they are unsubstantiated: Eco-friendly, Green, Natural, Non-Toxic. Ask yourself why they are Eco-friendly, Green, Natural or Non-Toxic. If the company explains that their toys are made with food-grade plastic, or use a certified non-toxic paint, etc, then Yes! Feel comfortable in making your judgment call based on that factual information rather than an unsubstantiated and unregulated claim.

2) If you have a particular brand or toy you’re interested in lacking details about how the toys are made, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer and ask their Quality Assurance team or Customer Service, but make them aware that you understand that though they may comply with federal standards, you are looking for toys which go above and beyond in chemical safety for children.

3) This is a great opportunity to ask for replacement toys that regularly go in the mouth with safer alternatives. This year, on my kids’ Christmas wish list (which I luckily still get to make for them), I am asking for replacement play food items and bath toys. You may also be interested in replacing things like tea sets, whistles, horns and recorders, and teethers.

Happy shopping!

Making Decisions Monday: Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Plastic Toys

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Thanks for joining me on our hunt for safer toys! Last week, we talked about wood toys for toddlers and preschoolers, like my own 19 month old daughter and nearly 4 year old son.

I was on a mission to find safer action figures and dinosaur toys my son might still be interested in playing with. The wood toys I found didn’t meet that criteria, though there are some available. We all need to find our own level of comfort with what we provide to our children, so I began to look for some safer plastic toy options.

plastic-baby-dolls

PLASTIC TOYS

Here are the questions I ask myself when looking at plastic toys, in order of what I personally consider to be the most important factors regarding safety.

1) Is it BPA free or non-detectable?

Generally, I only thought of Bisphenol A as it relates to baby cups and bottles, food storage containers, etc. However, BPA is a phthalate, and a report done by HealthyStuff.org revealed that BPA was reported in certain toys just a few years ago. This year, the EU has further regulated BPA in toys effective by the end of 2015.

Bottom line: If the manufacturer doesn’t state that they are BPA-free on their website or on the product packaging, then consider reaching out to their Customer Service or Quality Assurance team directly for confirmation, or visit HealthyStuff.org to see if they have a report on the product you’re interested in.
However, remember that BPA testing isn’t required currently for toys, and a manufacturer may state that they are compliant.

2) Is it phthalate-free or non-detectable?

bath-toys

There are plenty of concerns you may have about PVC and other types of plastic, but my bigger concern is the effects of the plasticizers which soften plastic, specifically phthalates. Only six types of phthalates are regulated in the US for toys. It’s not enough, for my personal peace of mind, to have the manufacturer state that they are complying with the CPSC/CPSIA phthalates requirement.

Bottom line: Look for a manufacturer or packaging to say phthalate-free or nonphthalate, though remember phthalates may also be in inks, so look carefully at the language used.

A manufacturer is also dependent on working in cooperation with their suppliers, and while no phthalates may intentionally be added, the term phthalate-free may be misleading. You can ask for test results of a toy to see what phthalates it has been tested for specifically. Or, you can also look for toys made of a hard plastic. It’s less likely (though not guaranteed) that a hard plastic toy would contain phthalates anyway.

3) Is it PVC-free?

There are a lot of types of plastics, but this one gets some of the worst press. If you’re interested in learning more about plastic from its chemical footprint during manufacturing to health hazards, I’d invite you to read the Plastics Score Card v. 1.0.

Bottom line: Brands using food-grade plastic like polyethylene are a better bet. However, I am more comfortable giving my son a phthalate-free plastic made of PVC than my daughter, who is still putting toys in her mouth.

Bonus Question: Is it recycled?

We can all feel better for the environment and our health buying a toy made of recycled plastic! Plastic doesn’t break down easily in the environment. Here are some brands I found using recycled plastic.

Bruder Trucks
Green Toys
Sprig Toys

The following brands as of this publication date have plastic toys which are BPA- and/or phthalate-free. Be sure to research and double check yourself for your own peace of mind. Remember that formulas and manufacturing processes may change over the years.

Disclaimer: By listing these brands, neither I nor Naturepedic are endorsing them over another brand with similar qualifications. Nor have we tested all of these products or contacted each brand individually. I used publicly available information, reached out as a consumer to a few customer service agents, and made decisions about what to include here based upon: the types of toys I am seeking for my kids, their ages, and the level of comfort I have personally with the safety and quality information provided by each company.

B. Toys/Terra (Owned by Battat)
Boon
Crocodile Creek
Infantino
Lego
Spielstabil
WOW Toys

Next week I’ll be discussing action items you can do to help your loved ones select safer toys for gift-giving, including key terms to look for on packaging.

Making Decisions Monday: Safer Toys for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

About 6 months ago, I came to work for Naturepedic just a few months after purchasing my own new mattress (sadly, non-Naturepedic). Imagine my surprise and disappointment as I began to learn the complexities of this industry and the chemicals that surround us on a daily basis. I quickly learned that organic is not just about food.

Working here, I’ve had the benefit of being exposed to a lot of knowledge about toxic chemicals, regulations, and above all, the impact chemicals can and do have on my children. I won’t pretend to be an expert: I’m a mom learning to reevaluate the world I live in day-to-day.

One of the most important lessons I learned early on was to pick one thing important to me to begin to change. Re-stocking and replacing an entire household is too overwhelming (and expensive). Since that time, I’ve changed a few things from cleaning products to my kids’ pajamas.

I’ve recently begun tackling my biggest challenge yet: my children’s toys.

weekend-playtime

I have a 19 month old daughter and my son is almost 4. I have his birthday and Christmas approaching. This year, I wanted to make more conscious decisions about what toys we bring into our home at holiday time.

Listen, I’m realistic. Kids love plastic toys. I’m not buying only toys made out of wood, or completely organic (though there are some great ones I’m considering!). I certainly can’t control everything that other family members purchase for our kids. They are, after all, the only grandchildren, niece or nephew, on either side of the family!

And so began my venture in finding safer toys to recommend for gift-giving to toddlers and preschoolers.

WOOD TOYS

blocksI assumed that wooden toys were inherently safe, but that’s not strictly true. Does a painted piece chip off? In my opinion, that’s unacceptable, even if we are confident that that paint is lead-free. While there are a lot of non-toxic paints (some are actually even certified), I also looked for wooden toys which have a natural stain or sealant.

Here are some brands I discovered in my search whose toys I would feel comfortable giving to my kids.

Disclaimer: This is not an all-inclusive list. There are a lot of great brands making safe wooden toys, brands using better plastics, as well as manufacturers of organic cotton plush toys and blankets. By listing these brands, neither I nor Naturepedic are endorsing them over another brand with similar qualifications. Nor have we tested all of these products or contacted each brand individually. I used publicly available information, reached out as a consumer to a few customer service agents, and made decisions about what to include here based upon: the types of toys I am seeking for my kids, their ages, and the level of comfort I have personally with the safety and quality information provided by each company. If you have a recommended addition, we’d be happy to hear about it!

anaMalz
Haba
Hape
Kid Kraft
NovaNatural
Plan Toys
Smart Gear/Wonderworld

Next week, I’ll be talking about safer plastic toys. There’s definitely some debate about whether any plastic can considered safer, but I feel like I can do my part to make more responsible choices as I’m able. Stay tuned for key questions you should ask yourself before buying a plastic toy.

Study Connects Phthalate Exposure in Moms, Asthma in Children

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

 

A study released by Columbia University has found a connection between mothers exposed during pregnancy to high levels of two commonly used phthalates, BBP and DBP (also referenced as BBzP and DnBP), and asthma in their children. While these two phthalates were banned in children’s products in 2009 by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), they are still used in many, many household products, automobile interiors, and fragrances.

asthma3

Asthma in the U.S. – children at risk

The number of cases of asthma has increased globally, but there is no consensus as to why. Earlier theories suspected increases in improved sanitation (the “hygiene hypothesis”) as a possibility, but although this might explain increases in allergies, it appears to not work in explaining asthma, according to a 2011 article in Scientific American.

Whatever the case, rates of asthma have increased, particularly in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009, with African-American children seeing an almost 50% increase in asthma in that time frame.

A fact sheet provided by The American Lung Association (ALA) reveals that asthma affects 7.1 million children under 18 years in the U.S.. The ALA claims that asthma ranks as the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15, with around 29% of all asthma hospital discharges in 2010 falling in that age bracket (even though only 20% of the U.S. population fell in that demographic). Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism.

 The Columbia University Study

The peer-reviewed study, published Sept. 17, 2014 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, was led by Robin Whyatt from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York, part of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.  The study measured metabolites (biomarkers left after the body metabolizes the chemicals) of four phthalates in urine samples collected from 300 pregnant women in New York City, and then measured these metabolites in their children after they were born. The study builds on previous research of the same set of parent/child as part of a long term study.

mailmanStudy results suggest a “significant” association between concentrations of prenatal metabolites of the phthalates BBP and DBP and later childhood asthma, but did not find a correlation between exposure to the phthalates DEHP and DEP and asthma.

The percentages found in the study were high. Almost one third of the children, 94 of them to be exact, ages 5-11, developed physician-diagnosed asthma. An additional 60 children had a history of wheeze and other asthma-like symptoms without the asthma diagnosis.

The findings are significant and warrant additional study. At this point, researchers are unclear on the mechanisms for how the phthalates might increase the risk for asthma, although other studies suggest that inflammation and oxidative stress* may play a role.

In the U.S. in 2007, asthma cost about $56 billion in medical costs, lost work and school days, and early deaths.

 

*For a summary description of oxidative stress, check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s explanation on his website.

New Government Report on Phthalates Sends Mixed Messages

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used to make plastics like vinyl pliable or soft, and they are in almost everyone’s blood.  These chemicals are used in all types of products including children’s items like plastic teething rings, vinyl mattress covers and even baby lotions. This is a serious problem considering phthalates and phthalate substitutes are suspected of being connected to hormonal disruptions, asthma and even obesity. 

In mid-July, a panel overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a final report on phthalates and phthalate substitutes. The CPSC is a relatively small federal agency tasked with overseeing that products are safe. (For example, they issued the regulations for crib design, including the banning of drop sides.)

The “Report on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives” does not call for a ban on all phthalates in children’s products.  Instead, it recommends which phthalates should be allowable and which are not.

Phthalates Are Born Drifters

One aspect of concern regarding phthalates is that they don’t stay put. Because phthalates don’t chemically bind to plastics, they leach out over time. Have you ever felt a once soft vinyl cover that has become cracked and crunchy? That’s because the phthalates have left the plastic and entered the environment.

Phthalates are scary drifters. (Photo from iStock from a painting by artist Yaroslav Gerzhedovich)

Phthalates are scary drifters.
(Photo from iStock from a painting by artist Yaroslav Gerzhedovich)

Phthalates and phthalate substitutes can get into children in multiple ways. They can be transferred from the mother to unborn babies. Babies can also take in phthalates through skin absorption, primarily from products like lotions.  Children can also inhale phthalates.  Since so many of the plastics used for baby products contain phthalates, most children are being exposed to phthalates on a daily basis.

What the New Report Recommends ( … or Get Ready for LOTS of Abbreviations!)

The new report recommends continuing a previous ban in toys and child care articles on three select phthalates you may have heard about: DEHP, DBP and BBP.  The report, however, recommends allowing two phthalates that were previously banned on an interim basis: DNOP and DIDP.

PHTA The report recommends against a third phthalate called DINP which was also previously banned on an interim basis. DINP, by the way, was added in 2013 to California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer (even though the chemical industry claimed there was inadequate proof.)

The report also suggests banning four new phthalates in children’s products. The report itself is almost a whopping 600 pages and examines many, many different chemicals.

What Does It All Mean?

It’s important to remember that this is only a set of recommendations and not law. The CPSC will decide whether to accept or reject all or some of the recommendations. A decision could be reached by January 2015.

Naturepedic simply does not use phthalates or phthalate substitutes in mattresses.  While GREENGUARD tests only for a select list of phthalates, our philosophy is to avoid those chemicals altogether, meaning we hold ourselves to an even higher standard than GREENGUARD does. No vinyl, no phthalates.  This simplifies things, and we don’t need a 600 page document to explain it.

Got some time on your hands? You can read the full report here.

 

First Candle Works to Help Babies Reach Their First Birthday

Monday, July 21st, 2014

First Candle Safe Sleep Media Star logoIn a perfect world, every baby arrives at his or her first birthday, giggling and happy. First Candle is working toward that world.

The organization is dedicated to researching and preventing sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs), striving to put an end to the devastation of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and stillbirths. Both a research and advocacy group, First Candle also provides resources to help families touched by these tragedies. The name First Candle refers to that very first candle on a cake celebrating a one-year birthday. According to the organization, every year in the U.S. there are 26,000 stillbirths and 4,000 infants under one year who die unexpectedly.

In addition to spearheading research, First Candle also educates through their website and outreach programs. Their website alone is full of tips to help keep baby safe, including swaddling suggestions, basics for creating safer sleep environments, healthy practices for expecting moms, and more. Expecting parents can even download and print their own Kick Count Chart.

One of First Candle’s latest initiatives is the Safe Sleep Media Stars Campaign. According to First Candle, a study of magazines targeted to women of child-bearing age revealed that more than one-third of marketing images showed babies sleeping face down or in other unsafe sleep positions and more than two-thirds depicted babies in unsafe sleep environments. Through the Media Stars Campaign, First Candle promotes responsible media imagery of sleeping babies in print and online.

First Candle offers plenty of tips for moms and moms-to-be, but their website is also valuable to dads, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone and everyone who interacts with babies (or shows images of sleeping babies). By increasing awareness, First Candle works with everyone to collectively help each baby reach that first adorable birthday.

As a First Candle Media Star, Naturepedic has pledged to only show sleeping babies resting in safe positions or environments.

 

 

Naturepedic Handmade Mattresses: Real People, Real Quality

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

Our mattresses are handmade. Really.

A toy zipping down a conveyor belt, made from wooden pieces cut by a pre-programmed robotic machine then painted by an automated sprayer but in the end assembled with four bolts by hand is not “handmade” in my mind. To me, handmade is something lovingly made by a real person or persons.

Naturepedic mattresses are handmade in the classic sense.Naturepedic organic mattress

Our manufacturing plant in Ohio (fully certified to the stringent Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), by the way) doesn’t use an assembly line, for starters.  Instead, you’ll see stations where skilled craftspeople are sewing, cutting, and otherwise building mattresses, each person paying close attention to the job at hand. The process reminds me of watching an heirloom guitar being hand built.

One of the greatest features of this approach is every individual employee in our factory is empowered to stop the process if something isn’t right, and by right, I mean perfect. One of our greatest sources of pride is the pride our employees put into their craft. Of course we use machines and tools, particularly for stitching, but behind every machine or tool is a detail-oriented person obsessively checking for quality.

Naturepedic organic cotton sleeves around coils for organic mattress

Coils, made in house, are individually wrapped in organic cotton sleeves and hand attached

My favorite part, and one of the most remarkable processes to watch, is the creation of metal coils, each individually wrapped in organic cotton fabric. Amazing. To do this, we use reconditioned vintage machines from Europe that are in themselves things of beauty. The machinery creates the coiled springs from straight wire, compresses the coil and allows them to be sewn into the cotton pockets. The precision machinery, while old, is exceptionally complicated, with a remarkable number of moving parts. After each coil is wrapped, a craftsman hand attaches the individual coils.

The bottom line is we simply don’t take short cuts. We craft mattresses with real people, skillfully working together to make awesome products. That’s what I call handmade.

To watch some of the handmade process and to catch a glimpse of the machinery I mentioned above that coils the wires, check out our award-winning video.

Busting Dust Mites

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
House_Dust_Mite

Not pretty things. Luckily, they can’t see each other. (c) Wikipedia, Creative Commons

I’m glad dust mites are too small to see because honestly, they’re nasty looking. Luckily, even with exceptional eye sight, you’re not going see a creature that measures a fraction of a millimeter (and they aren’t going to see you as they have no eyes).

As allergies go, reactions to dust mites are common, with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimating around 20 million Americans suffer from dust mite allergies. Ironically, for a creature that can jump start breathing and asthma problems in people, the little eight-legged creature itself doesn’t have a respiratory system.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says high levels of dust mite exposure is a significant factor in the development of asthma in children, so it makes sense to take precautions, particularly for babies who can’t use words to explain what ails them. Because the crib mattress is the most prominent piece of furniture where babies might spend half of their day sleeping and playing, this is the first best place to begin. While there is disagreement among experts on the overall effectiveness of allergy encasements for mattresses, their usage continues to be recommended by the AAFA and other major asthma foundations.

The waterproof surface of Naturepedic crib mattresses already acts as a dust mite barrier that covers the entire mattress. Seamless models mean no access points for mites or contaminants and also mean an easy wipe-clean surface. Experts recommend washing sheets at least weekly for dust mite control, but you’ll be likely doing that anyway with a baby.

Naturepedic organic crib waterproof mattress with built-in dust mite barrier

Naturepedic organic crib waterproof mattress with built-in dust mite barrier

Our crib mattresses are waterproofed with food grade polyethylene, meaning they do not have phthalates which are found in dust mite covers made with vinyl. We also offer a 2-sided mattress for older children with one side waterproofed, so it has a dust mite barrier on one side.

Dust mites are a part of nature, so you won’t eliminate them, particularly in humid climates, but you can limit their allergenic effects.  Some secondary efforts, according to the AAFA, include avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting in bedrooms and using blinds instead of fabric curtains (or at least washing fabric curtains often).

Additionally, the group recommends avoiding uncovered pillows and down-filled covers, recommendations geared more toward older kids.  For babies, to reduce the risk of SIDS the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends not placing pillows, covers, bumper or stuffed animals in a crib at all.

Learn more about our waterproof crib mattresses with dust mite barriers.

 

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik Discusses Chemicals in Crib Mattresses and University of Texas Study

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A recent study published February of this year by a team of environmental engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has found that infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses.

Below, Naturepedic founder Barry A. Cik explores aspects related to this report to provide a greater understanding of the overall topic of chemicals in crib mattresses.

 

Friends and Colleagues,

I’ve been asked by several people to comment on the University of Texas study regarding chemicals in crib mattresses.  In particular, people want to understand the practical implications of chemicals in crib mattresses.  I’ll use a Q & A format.

 Are Chemicals Really a Problem?

The chemical problem is quite well established.  For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the following:

“Over the past several decades, tens of thousands of chemicals have entered commerce and the environment, often in extremely large quantities…A growing body of research indicates potential harm to child health from a range of chemical substances…there is widespread human exposure to many of these substances…These chemicals are found throughout the tissues and body fluids of children and adults alike…”   [Policy Statement – Chemical Management Policy: Prioritizing Children’s Health; American Academy of  Pediatrics, April 25, 2011; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/04/25/peds.2011-0523 ]

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik talks chemical safety at grand opening of company's Beverly Hills organic mattress gallery

Naturepedic Founder Barry A. Cik talks chemicals during the grand opening of the company’s California organic mattress gallery

There are approximately 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace.  Most have been created since World War II, and never existed on planet Earth before.  An additional 1,000 new chemicals are created every year.  Most (actually, virtual all) chemicals have never been tested for toxicity or health concerns.  The EPA has the authority to take action for many other concerns, but, for chemicals, the EPA has virtually no authority.  Of the 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace, the EPA has so far banned five (5).

What Are the Primary Types of Chemicals of Concern in Crib Mattresses?

Flame Retardant Chemicals -  These primarily include Phosphate, Brominated, and sometimes Chlorinated or Antimony Flame Retardants.  When a chemical gets undue attention, and certainly if it gets banned, manufacturers tend to turn to other flame retardant chemicals.  But these substitutions are frequently known as “regrettable substitutions” because the new versions generally prove to be no better than the previous versions.  Various flame retardant chemicals have been associated with toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental issues, endocrine disruption, and reproductive issues, etc.

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) – PFCs are used as water-repellants and stain-repellants, and are frequently used to make the surface fabric of a crib mattress water-repellant.  In addition to being carcinogenic, one fairly recent study associated perfluorinated compounds with Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities [Philip J. Landrigan, Children’s Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York & Luca Lambertini, National Institutes of Health; published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 120, Number 7, July 2012.]

Phthalates – Phthalates are used to soften vinyl, and are linked to cancer and developmental issues.  Six phthalate chemicals were banned by Congress several years ago (as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) and a seventh has been added to California Prop 65.  Meanwhile, there are at least an additional seven or eight new phthalate versions now on the market, as well as other phthalate substitutes, which are technically legal (i.e. not banned) and are being used.  No one knows the effects of these substitute chemicals, and whether they will ultimately be shown to have better or worse or substantially the same health concerns.

Where Are Flame Retardants Found?

They can be found in the surface fabric of a crib mattress, and/or in a flame barrier directly beneath the surface fabric, and/or in the foam inside the mattress.  Most synthetic fabrics on the market are flame-resistant because flame-retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers when the synthetic fibers were made.  In the case of natural fabrics, being that the fibers themselves are natural and not synthetically created, the flame-retardant chemicals are generally added at any of several later stages of the fabric processing.

What About Using “Inherently” Flame Resistant Fabrics?

The industry sometimes uses the word “inherently” loosely.  When a mattress manufacturer buys a fabric to be used on the mattress, the mattress manufacturer generally would not even know the exact chemical formulation of the fabric (which may have been made by a third party, and perhaps in China), and would not know what flame retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers.  If the fabric that is used on the mattress passes the flammability test, then the mattress manufacturer will frequently simply call it an “inherently” flame-retardant fabric.  However, the only truly “inherently” flame-resistant fabrics in the marketplace are fabrics that are made with fiberglass.

What About “Soybean Foam”?

Soybean Foam, Soy Foam, Eco Foam, Harvest Foam ™, Plant Derived Foam, etc. are all marketing terms.  They are all Polyurethane Foam, except that some soybean or castor oil has been used to replace some of the polyols in the mix.  The Law Label regulations require that these materials not be identified by their marketing terms.  Rather, they must be identified by their correct technical term – which is Polyurethane Foam.

What About GREENGUARD and Other Certification Programs?

GREENGUARD is an excellent emissions certification program (and was introduced to the mattress community by Naturepedic).  However, even GREENGUARD has its limits.  For example, GREENGUARD only tests for the legally banned phthalates, but doesn’t test for all the replacements in the marketplace that are being used.  There are other certification programs available as well.  In each case, it is helpful to understand what is and is not being tested or evaluated.

Of all the certification options available in the marketplace, the certified organic program offered by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the most thorough.  It requires the use of certified organic fabrics and fill, and provides a high degree of chemical safety vetting for all other non-organic components that are required in a mattress.

How Do We Stop the Use of Inappropriate Chemicals?

Manufacturers and consumers can take several steps right now.  Chemicals of concern used in the manufacturing of a mattress can be replaced with less hazardous alternatives.  This reduces the risk up-front.  Then, exposure can frequently be limited in the product design and/or by separating the baby from the consumer item.  In the case of a crib mattress, this might include the use of an organic pad over the mattress.  Then, of course, manufacturers should be required to disclose and be transparent regarding what is being offered to the consumer.

Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it best:  “Manufacturers of chemicals are not required to test chemicals before they are marketed…Concerns about chemicals are permitted to be kept from the public…those who propose to market a chemical must be mandated to provide evidence that the product has been tested…relevant to the special needs of pregnant women and children…”   [ibid]

-  Barry A. Cik

 

Organic Mattresses Just for Kids

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Ever wonder how a mattress made specifically for a kid varies from an adult mattress? Isn’t it simply the same twin-sized mattress as an adult twin-sized mattress?

Not at Naturepedic. Our certified organic mattresses for kids are designed specifically for developing bodies. Here’s how.

Be Firm with Your Kids

Essential for babies, a firm sleeping surface also benefits the developing bodies of older children. Naturepedic mattresses for kids feature a steel coil innerspring, and alternating coil directions create a strong stable feel and a medium-firm support perfect for kids. This added level of firmness might seem too firm for most adult preferences, but it’s best for kids’ growing bodies.

Additionally, our kid mattresses are made with a heavy duty edge support. This edge strength is a perfect reinforcement to allow adults to sit on the edge of the bed without sagging to read that bedtime story.

Get On Out, Allergies

In adult mattresses, organic wool and latex are awesome, but as adults, we probably have learned what allergens to avoid. In terms of babies and kids, our focus is on safety first and foremost, so our kids’ mattresses do not include latex or 100_0084wool. You will also find no coconut coir, another possible allergen due to the latex bonding agent. Because young ones with little-sized lungs sleep on these mattresses, we feel the best approach is to simply avoid possibly allergenic materials altogether, just in case.

Like all our mattresses, Naturepedic kids’ mattresses are free of polyurethane foam and vinyl and are made without pesticides, PFCs, chemical flame retardants and other questionable chemicals, and that’s not just our word. Our mattresses are certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and meet stringent clean air standards from UL/GREENGUARD. While all of this is beneficial to children with chemical sensitivities, we believe everybody benefits from reduced chemical exposure.

The Wetting Planner

When young children move from the crib to a big kid mattress, the occasional bed wetting accident can happen. The Naturepedic 2-in-1 bed for kids has one side fully waterproofed. This means easy clean-up without the need for an additional protective cover. Nice. Even better, our waterproofing is accomplished without PFCs or the phthalates found in vinyl, instead using food grade polyethylene.

As the child gets older, flip the mattress over for a quilted organic cotton fabric side. While the quilted side has a softer feel, it nonetheless provides a medium firm support.

100_0071The easy-to-clean wipe down surface of the waterproof side is also a benefit when kids get sick, regardless of age. As a parent I know how much I worry when my kids aren’t feeling good. Flipping the mattress to the waterproof side won’t help us parents worry less about our children, but it does mean we won’t need to add those extra layers of blankets or plastic shields to protect the bed.

Kid Power

Naturepedic organic mattresses for kids - kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids – kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids are designed specifically to support their unique needs while also making life easier for parents.

Learn more about our mattresses for kids, or even better check them out at any store carrying our kids’ mattresses.