Posts Tagged ‘Crib Mattress’

Mom is Baby’s First House. Is Your Body Kid-Safe?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010


non-toxic chemicals in MomCouples hoping to start a family or have a new baby often start planning well into the future. Moving into a new place that has room for the baby, is in a safe, family environment, decor, clothing, even what school the kids will go to are sometimes decided years in advance. Prospective parents who are in-the-know would also be searching for the best organic crib mattress and other non-toxic furniture. But sometimes we forget to make sure the baby’s very first house – Mom – is up to par.

Many recent studies have shown that kids whose Moms’ bodies contain chemicals are born with those chemicals in their body. One study found 287 chemicals in newborns’ umbilical cords.

Many experts believe this is a real health hazard because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins. Even the President’s Cancer Panel suggests that both parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout a child’s early life.

How can you safeguard your baby?

The first order of business would be, of course, to eliminate chemicals from your environment as much as possible. You can do a lot with just a few changes in:

Personal care products and cosmetics,
Household cleaning products and laundry items, and
Food that contains chemical additives or was grown (like chicken and beef) with added hormones, antibiotics, and so forth.

But it is also a good idea to see a health practitioner and get tested for the chemicals in your body and, if needed, do a detox. There are many different types of detox programs – your health care specialist can recommend one that’s best for you.

A chemical-free environment for your baby to come home to is important – everything from clothing to crib mattresses. But a good detox for Mom and Dad gives your baby an excellent start right from conception.

How the Chemicals in Your Life Are Affecting Your Unborn Children

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


eliminate toxic chemicals if you're pregnantIf you’ve been reading our blog, or keeping up with news items (including a piece on 60 Minutes that aired just a week ago), you will know that many of the items in our everyday lives contain potentially harmful chemicals. This is even more of a problem for kids than adults, because kids’ bodies are still developing. But the problem starts long before the kids are born. In fact, it’s immediately after conception. Check out this resource that shows you exactly when and in what part of the body chemicals affect your unborn child.

The resource is a chart on the website of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). TEDX is a non-profit organization that studies the effects of low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that effect fetal development and human health. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, bisphenol A (BPA), dioxin, and phthalates.

The chart is called Critical Windows of Development. It lists the various systems, organs and so on within the body and shows the stages of development during each weeks and trimesters in the womb. On the upper right of the chart, it shows checkboxes for ‘All Chemicals’, ‘Bisphenol A’, ‘Dioxin’, and ‘Phthalates’. Check ‘Phthalates’, for example, and red lines appear on the chart that show you which systems they affect, and at what period of pregnancy.

There are also little triangles on the chart that provide the names of studies that support the information.

One thing is clear: If we want to give our kids the best chance at being healthy as children and throughout their lives, expectant Mothers need to be free of these chemicals.

Pass this on to anyone you know who is pregnant, or may be in the future, so they can start doing something about it now.

What do they do about it? Eliminate the chemicals from their lives as much as possible. Many of our blog posts show you how to do that, and Debra Lynn Dadd’s book Home Safe Home has a wealth of information on what chemicals are in what products and suggestions on healthy alternatives. But, basically, just go organic, go toxin-free.

And once your baby is born, make sure you continue your toxic-free life. Get the baby a safe crib and baby crib mattress, made with non-toxic materials, swaddle them in organic cotton, feed them organic food, get them glass baby bottles and diapers and toys that are not made of harmful plastics or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Study Links Pesticides to ADHD – Are They in Your Child’s Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattresses no pesticidesYet another study has linked ADHD to chemicals – this time it’s the group of pesticides known as organophosphates. Organophosphates are commonly used on cotton crops, which is why we use only organic cotton in our baby crib mattresses.

The list of symptoms now labeled ‘ADHD’ – forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or concentrating, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and, often, learning disorders – can be a real trial for kids and parents.

A significant number of kids with these symptoms have trouble with school and relationships, are more prone to accidents and injury and, as they get older, are more likely to get involved in drinking and driving and other social problems.

Of course, some of this is ‘normal’ kid stuff. But organophosphate pesticides, which disrupt the brains and nervous systems of insects very effectively, have been proven to have a similar effect on humans. They have even been used in nerve gas and other chemical weapons for precisely that reason.

Do we really want to expose our kids to these chemicals?

ADHD symptoms can also be very costly for a family. Estimates show that the average cost to a household with a child with ADHD is between $12,000 and $17,000 a year. That includes treatment and other health support, lost work days, trips to the ER, and so on.

Many kids take drugs to control the symptoms. But drugs have their own long list of problems. If a healthy solution can be found – in this case, that would be the elimination of pesticides and other harmful chemicals from our kids’ lives – everyone would be much better off.

The new study examined about 1,100 children, 119 of whom have had an ADHD diagnosis. Urine tests looked for organophosphate metabolites – the products of the breakdown of the pesticides in the body – and found that the higher the level of metabolites, the more severe the ADHD.

Researchers concluded that the risk of ADHD is almost double in children with high levels of organophosphate pesticide breakdown products. Considering that organophosphates account for nearly 40% of the pesticides used around the world, we can pretty much count on them being in our bodies to some extent.

Check out the study, entitled Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, in the journal Pediatrics for more info..

Sometimes it may feel that there’s no end to the dangers of chemicals but, really, this is good news. It opens the door to a possible solution for millions of kids!

At Naturepedic, we make our baby crib mattresses with organic cotton – no pesticides in the materials = no pesticide exposure for kids. We made them for the kids in our own family. Now they’re available for yours.

Keeping Your Baby Safe at Bath Time

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010


safe bath and personal care products for kidsHaving your baby sleep on a Naturepedic baby crib mattress prevents exposure to many harmful chemicals, but exposure doesn’t end there. Check out this information on bath and personal care products.

While not every personal care product for babies and children contains harmful ingredients, two notable carcinogens that are by-products of the manufacturing and storage process are showing up in a majority of products tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition with several notable founding and sponsor members, including the Environmental Working Group. Parents should be aware of what these products are and how to avoid them.

The chemicals of concern are 1,4-dioxane (aka dioxane) and formaldehyde. They are not listed on labels because they are by-products, not ingredients.

Here’s the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics explanation of how they contaminate the products:

“Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.

“1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so. Common ingredients likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane include PEG-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20.”

What Damage Can Be Caused by These Chemicals?

1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde are both known carcinogens.

1,4-dioxane has also been linked to damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys, and exposure has even been fatal to chemical workers. It readily absorbs into the bloodstream.

Formaldehyde can cause coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, itching, and skin irritations, has been linked to allergies and asthma in children, and to the development of leukemia as well as nose, lung, and brain cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Test Results

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 48 commonly used baby products including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. Here’s a brief summary of what they found:

* 17 out of 28 products tested – 61 percent – contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
* 23 out of 28 products – 82 percent – contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million (ppm).
* 32 out of 48 products – 67 percent – contained 1,4-dioxane at levels ranging from 0.27 to 35 ppm

The Campaign acknowledges that using just one of these products might not be a problem – but several of them are used several times a week for years. Add that to toxic chemical exposure from other sources, and that’s quite a load for a little, not as yet developed body.

More Information on the Tested Products and Safer Alternatives

Check out the report on the study, No More Toxic Tub, for a full list of the products tested, the results for each (including which ones tested as safe), more details on 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde, and additional data. It is an interesting and easy read.

If you’re looking for alternatives, check www.cosmeticsdatabase.com – a wonderful database that provides information on individual products. You can look for the safest products there as well seeing which ones you should avoid.

There are plenty of safe products out there for our kids, and you don’t have to be a chemist to find them. All it takes is a little education.

How Many Coils Does a Baby Crib Mattress Need?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010


how many coils are needed in a baby crib mattressBased on some of the blogs and forums I’ve read, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the number of coils needed in the innerspring of a crib mattress. Some say more coils means more support, others say too many coils make a crib mattress too hard and uncomfortable. How are parents supposed to decide what’s best?

Although there are no hard and fast rules about coils, there are a few guidelines that might help.

First, let’s clear up the difference between ‘coils’ and ‘coil count’. A crib mattress, for example, may contain 150 coils. But the ‘coil count’ is listed as 420. What’s the difference? The figure ‘150’ is the number of actual coils in that crib mattress; the coil count, 420, is the number of coils that would be found in an equivalent mattress of full size. So, really, the only number you really have to pay attention to is the “150″ coils.

Next, there are questions about the relationship between the number of coils and the firmness of the mattress. While it is true that a mattress with more coils could be more firm, the number of coils isn’t the only factor on which firmness depends – it also depends on the gauge or thickness of the steel used to make the coils.

For example, a mattress with 250 coils that are made with the same gauge steel as a mattress with 150 will likely be a little more firm. However, if the 250 coils are made with higher gauge (thinner) steel than the 150 coils in the other mattress, there may be virtually no difference.

Firmness can also be affected by the other materials used to make the mattress so, really, the best way to judge whether a crib mattress is firm enough, or not, is covered in our blog, How Firm is Firm Enough for a Baby Crib Mattress?

But there is another factor to consider when you’re looking at coil count, and that is weight distribution. Fewer coils means that the baby’s weight won’t be distributed as evenly as mattresses with more coils. There are several crib mattresses on the market that have 80 coils. Obviously, that’s not going to distribute the baby’s weight as evenly as a mattress with more coils.

That said, the crib mattresses with only 80 coils are generally the least expensive and, frankly, as with other materials used to make a mattress, you get what you pay for.

Our baby crib mattresses start with 150 coils – which provides good weight distribution and, along with our other highest quality materials, also provides a firm, flat, comfortable and non-toxic environment just perfect for your baby.

How Firm is Firm Enough for a Baby Crib Mattress?

Monday, April 12th, 2010


firm baby crib mattresses are best for babiesI’ve seen several blogs and forums where people talk and ask questions about how firm a crib mattress should be. One person said “If it feels good to me, it’s okay for my baby.” Is that a good rule of thumb?

In fact, it’s not – unless you like a very firm mattress. Because babies are still growing, their spines and bones need more support than we do.

While there are no precise rules about crib mattress firmness, there are solid enough guidelines to help you choose the right one.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that a baby mattress be firm and flat.

Consumer Reports recommends buying the firmest mattress you can find. In fact, they address the exact comment made by the person on the forum: “Don’t worry that it may feel too firm. If it feels good to you, it’s too soft for your baby,”

To test a crib mattress to determine whether it’s firm enough, Consumer Reports suggests you “Press on the mattress in the center and at the edges. It should snap back readily and should not conform to the shape of your hand.”

In Naturepedic baby crib mattresses, our organic cotton batting makes the mattress surface comfortable without sacrificing firmness. Babies are pretty cozy on our mattresses and they routinely sleep through the night. Soft, comfortable and firm – just right!

Organic Cotton Mattress Pads and Quilted Toppers Extend the Life of Your Mattress

Thursday, March 11th, 2010


I was recently reading a forum and noticed a person asking where they could get a mattress pad like those made by Naturepedic (she even included a link to the product) for her own, adult-sized bed. There are quite a few people interested in organic cotton mattress pads and toppers, so I thought I’d let you know that we do actually have larger sizes – not just those that fit toddler and crib mattresses.

Mattress pads and toppers are a good idea for every bed – they help keep the mattress clean, make it more comfortable, and extend the life of your mattress. If you choose a waterproof model, it will also help keep the mattress free of bodily fluids, make sure it stays dry so no mold or bacteria develop and block dust-mites and other allergens.

The waterproof models are also very comfortable – the outer and inner layers are soft, organic cotton, but between them is a non-toxic membrane that blocks liquids. You sleep on the soft cotton without sacrificing protection.

We make mattress pads and toppers in several different sizes: Everything from bassinette to full in both waterproof and non-waterproof models, and a waterproof queen-size.

We have models that simply lie on top of the mattress, others that have straps that keep them from sliding around or falling off the mattress, and still others that wrap around the sides and corners like a fitted sheet.

No matter which model you choose, they’re all made in the U.S.A, are machine wash and dryable, don’t contain Vinyl / PVC, phthalates or latex, and are GREENGUARD certified.

To find out more, check out the Naturepedic organic cotton mattress pads and quilted mattress toppers on our website.

Is Your Baby Bedding Toxic?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


shar peiDecades ago, clothing, linens and other textiles were anything but easy-care. The fabrics were heavy and cumbersome to clean, took forever to dry, and had more wrinkles than a Shar Pei. This kept housewives, which was just about every wife at the time, pretty busy.

When synthetic fibers came into the picture, American women sighed with relief. The clothes and linens were lighter, washed quickly, dried quickly, and wrinkles, if there were any, practically shook out. We’ve come to expect that – even with baby clothes, blankets and the bedding we use on crib mattresses.

However, over the years we’ve discovered more about the chemicals some of these synthetic fabrics actually have in and on them, and the blush is definitely fading from the easy-care chemical rose.

What chemicals can your baby be exposed to with crib bedding?

Labels like ‘crease-resistant,’ ‘crease-proof,’ ‘no iron,’ ‘wrinkle-resistant,’ ‘durable press,’ ‘easy-care’, ‘wrinkle-free’, ‘stain-resistant,’ ‘wash and wear,’ and ‘permanent press’ mean the fabrics are probably treated with formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can cause a number of health conditions – burning and watery eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, and allergic contact dermatitis where formaldehyde-containing fabrics come in contact with the skin.

According to the National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde is also human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), and the Environmental Protection Agency agrees that’s probably the case.

Formaldehyde is just one of the chemicals of concern in baby bedding, but it’s enough.

What’s the solution? Although you can buy untreated 100% cotton products, it might be easier to get organic cotton. Organic cotton is becoming so popular you can even find linens and clothing in major department stores. Not all stores, and not many items, but you may be able to find them.

If not, you can shop at specialty stores or online. There are literally hundreds of online stores that sell organic cotton sheets – including for a toddler or crib mattress – as well as blankets, pillowcases, clothing, and so on. You can also find them at Naturepedic – we make organic cotton crib sheets and other bed linens as well as organic crib mattresses. Check them out.

So … what do you do about the wrinkles?

Some organic cotton items don’t wrinkle anywhere near as much as they did decades ago; it depends on the weave and a number of other factors. Our crib sheets, for example, look pretty good right out of the dryer. So, wrinkles might not be a problem.

Here are a few tips to keep wrinkles to a minimum, regardless of the fabric:

  • Add vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash. Simply fill the fabric softener reservoir with one cup of vinegar to help keep textiles soft.
  • Don’t let your laundry sit in the washing machine. Take it out as soon as it’s done, then shake things out and smooth them before putting them in the dryer.
  • Pack the dryer loosely; the tighter it’s packed, the more wrinkles you’ll get.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete, immediately smooth them out, then fold or hang.
  • If you need to iron something, use a steam iron. A combination of heat and moisture is the best wrinkle-fighter.

True, this all takes a little longer that permanent press. But it’s worth it to protect the health of your baby, and yourself.

Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Check out the startling details in a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

The results of a compilation and analysis of 30 years of environment studies, recently published as a health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, revealed startling details about the increase in disease in the U.S. over the last 35 years, and the link to toxic chemicals.

Here are some of the statistics from the report:

  • Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, have increased by more than 20% since 1975.
  • Breast cancer went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998 and, while breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.
  • The incidence of asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
  • Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. For woman aged 18 – 25, the incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled.
  • The birth defect resulting in undescended testes increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.
  • Diagnosed autism has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.

According to the report, there is a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of these diseases.

The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, for example, as well as other hormonal problems with young boys, could be the result of exposure to phthalates – the plasticizer chemicals used to soften PVC/Vinyl so it can be used as a waterproof covering in crib mattresses – which is one of the reasons three phthalates were banned in baby mattresses and other kids products. One study even found that the school-age boys of women who tested positive for phthalates in their urine while pregnant played in ways that were not typical of young boys – no trucks, rough housing, and so on.

What’s being done about the chemical problem?

Although the EPA has admitted they’ve failed to protect the public from the dangers of toxic chemicals, and is currently making changes, the track record is abysmal: Since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals that have since been produced and used in the U.S. have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

Health care reform is currently the subject of intense controversy. But real reform will come when we start getting rid of the chemicals suspected of exacerbating, if not causing, illness.

Chemical policy reform would also free up a lot of health care dollars: If reducing exposure to chemicals resulted in healthier people, it would only take one tenth of one percent in health savings to free up $5 billion every year.

Read more details in the report, The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families also has a campaign to help eliminate toxic chemicals. There are many facets to their campaign, including Parents for Non-Toxic Alternatives and several others directly concerned with toxic chemicals and the relationship to child safety. Check them out, you may want to become involved.

If you’re concerned about your child’s safety and want to do something about it right now, consider getting a Naturepedic toddler or crib mattress, along with our safe child and baby bedding and pillows. Also, check out the book Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd for thousands of safe alternatives for just about every chemical in your household.

Does Your Baby’s Crib Mattress Have Dust-mites?

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

High levels of dust-mite allergens are present in 50% of American homes – they cause several health problems, and they love to hide in your mattresses.

dustmites2A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Does Mattress Cleaning Treat Dust-Mite Allergies?, prompted this blog post about dust-mites. They really are a big problem – at least half the homes in America contain enough dust-mite allergens to cause health problems. How do you get rid of those allergens? The answer to the question in the headline “Does Mattress Cleaning Treat Dust-mite Allergies” appears to be ‘no.’ And I’ll explain why. But, first, a little info about dust-mites.

Dust-mites are microscopic arachnids (same family as spiders) that live in dust. They hide in dark places like upholstered furniture, dust bunnies under couches and beds, in blankets, sheets, stuffed toys, mattresses – even your baby’s crib mattress.

Although they do bite, they generally they feed off dead skin cells and hair. However, their waste is usually the source of allergic reactions. In fact, up to 30% of people in the U.S. are allergic to this waste and even those who are not allergic can develop a sensitivity if there’s enough of the allergen in the environment. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that half the homes in the U.S. have enough of these allergens to trigger a sensitivity – which can have the same symptoms as an actual allergy.

What are the symptoms?

  • Asthma
  • Hay fever
  • Eczema
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Persistent stuffy nose or ears
  • Repeated sneezing upon awakening
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

Generally, the symptoms are worse at night and when you first wake up. And they improve when you’re out of the house.

There are various services available that clean mattresses to remove dust-mites. It costs about $50 for a twin mattress, more for larger sizes. One such service (using ultraviolet light) was tested and found to reduce the mites by 98%.

That statistic sounds good, but it’s only one test and, worse, the mites build up to their previous levels within a month, according to Peyton Eggleston, a pediatric allergist and professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in Baltimore. At that rate, the average household (cleaning all their mattresses) would have to spend about $150 to $200 a month to get their mattresses cleaned – which is hard to fit into the average budget.

So, what are your other alternatives? For your baby, get a Naturepedic crib mattress with a waterproof covering made with food-grade polyethylene. Dust-mites cannot penetrate this covering, so all you have to do is wipe down the surface.

For your own mattresses, and for bigger kids, get an organic waterproof mattress pad or airflow sheet. These will provide dust-mite protection for the top of the mattress which is where the majority of the problem lies.

There’s nothing worse than sick kids – especially babies. Their under-developed immune systems need all the help they can get. Handle the dust-mite problem, and that will be one less thing you have to worry about.