One of the inevitable charms of infancy is that babies are messy. Whether it’s a diaper blowout or a spit-up debacle, you’re almost always cleaning something up. Diapers help tremendously, whether you choose cloth or disposable, but there’s always a risk of extra leaks at night while baby is sleeping. Since babies aren’t always convenient to keep clean, it’s a good idea to get a crib mattress that is.
For some reason, many companies that make infant crib mattresses are moving away from making their mattresses waterproof. The market seems to be moving towards seeking a softer, quilted look and feel. The problem is that this look and feel, so nice for grown ups, invites problems when it soaks up urine, stool, and other messes.
Once these contaminants get into the inside of a mattress, this invites mold, mildew, and bacteria to proliferate, which leads to potential health concerns (and a pretty yucky smell). Urine and stool should have no place in your baby’s environment - including on their clothing and mattress. You can machine wash their clothes to clean them, but a mattress won’t fit in the washing machine. So an easy-clean surface is a good idea to maintain hygiene.
Some companies do waterproof crib and bassinet mattresses, but they use plastic products that evaporate toxic compounds, such as phthalates and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These mattresses are waterproof, but simply substitute the problems of poop and pee accumulating in the fabric of the mattress for toxic fumes, which introduce their own health concerns.
It makes sense to look for mattresses for your infant with two goals in mind:
1. Waterproofing that is non-toxic.
Naturepedic crib and bassinet mattresses are waterproof, so they will not accumulate contamination from urine, stool, or spit-up.
2. Waterproofing plastic used is food-grade polyethylene.
This plastic is commonly used in food storage bags since it meets good-contact standards and emits no toxic fumes.
When you buy a crib, make sure the mattress is indeed waterproof and that the waterproofing technique is not toxic.
About Dr. Arthur Lavin:
Arthur Lavin, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician in private practice and an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. Lavin has special interests in neuroscience. He sits on the national committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics charged with developing policy for the Academy on matters relating to psychological functioning. Dr. Lavin was the first doctor in the United States to make neuroscience proven working memory training available in the United States
He is the co-author of two books on parenting: Who’s the Boss? Moving Families from Conflict to Collaboration (2nd Ed., Collaboration Press, 2010) and Babies and Toddlers Sleep Solutions for Dummies (Kindle Edition, Wiley, 2007).
Dr. Lavin was trained and taught at Harvard and MIT, including training by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. He has served on a number of national committees of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and published original research in such journals as Science.
Dr. Lavin is married and has three children, one married and two identical twins.
Dr. Arthur Lavin
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
3733 Park East Drive- Suite 102
Beachwood, OH 44122