Organic vs. Conventional Baby Mattresses: What’s the Difference?

organic crib mattress vs conventional

organic baby mattress vs conventional

With so many baby crib mattresses on the market, it can be hard to keep them straight and understand the benefits and differences of each one. We’re here to explain the main differences between an organic crib mattress and its conventional counterparts.

Crib Mattress Support

Firstly, you should understand the different types of support designs in crib mattresses. Any crib mattress you use should have a firm, flat surface as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) for baby’s safety.

1. Innerspring: A traditional innerspring crib mattress is made with metal springs or coils to provide support. These mattresses are very durable but have more weight to them, often weighing over 20 pounds.

2. Lightweight: Lightweight crib mattress supports are usually made from materials like latex, coir (coconut husk with latex), polyurethane foam, or polyethylene. Since latex is an allergenic material, we don’t recommend using latex-containing baby products. Polyurethane foam contains flame retardant chemicals that may introduce health and toxicity risks. This leaves polyethylene as the last option, which is what Naturepedic uses for our lightweight crib mattresses. It’s a material widely used in food packaging due to its purity - and we use food-grade polyethylene for an additional level of purity and safety.

3. Organic: A certified organic mattress uses either innersprings or an approved lightweight material such as food-grade polyethylene. A crib mattress certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) meets important organic and non-toxic standards, including the avoidance of flame retardants. Keep an eye out for the GOTS certification when shopping for an organic baby mattress.

To test the firmness of a crib mattress, press your hand firmly into the center of the mattress and along the edges. There should be plenty of resistance and no deep impressions. Your baby’s mattress should not sag or flop anywhere. Naturepedic organic crib mattresses feature reinforced edge support that stands up to your growing toddler as they begin exploring and bouncing on their mattress or standing at the edge of their bed.

Crib Mattress Filling

A crib mattress has more than just a supportive core; it also has cushion material and filling. The biggest difference between a conventional and an organic crib mattress is the fiber used to provide comfort and cushion.

1. Conventional Fibers: A conventional crib mattress may contain synthetic fibers, conventional cotton, or fibers treated with flame retardants or other harsh chemicals.

2. “Natural” Fibers: Just because a product can be called natural doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. Conventional cotton is especially concerning, due to its heavy pesticide load and chemical treatments in the processing. Conventional wool can also be treated with harsh cleansers and treatments as the wool is washed and bleached.

3. Organic Fibers: Organic fibers like organic cotton (or even organic wool) are a safer alternative to their chemical-laden counterparts in conventional crib mattresses. We recommend any wool-containing baby products keep the wool inside the mattress instead of coming into contact with the baby, as you can’t be sure your baby won’t have a contact reaction to the wool’s natural oils.

Crib Mattress Waterproofing

A waterproof crib mattress is a huge benefit for you and for your baby. The waterproof surface means that baby’s messes and spills won’t soak through and penetrate your mattress, which means less risk of contamination from mold or mildew. A waterproof mattress is also easier to clean - just wipe with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

1. Conventional Chemical Waterproofing: Typical waterproof crib mattresses contain vinyl/PVC, phthalate plasticizers, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and/or other harmful chemicals. These materials will off-gas over time and leave the waterproof surface brittle, leading to flaking and chipping.

2. Organic Waterproofing: Technically no waterproof surface is “organic,” but at Naturepedic we believe you deserve the hygienic benefits of a waterproof surface, so we do it as best and as naturally as we can. We use GOTS-approved materials to waterproof our organic cotton fabric in a patented process, and we even source our waterproofing from plant-based sources. Our food-grade polyethylene waterproofing is derived from non-GMO plants, a renewable resource.

Any Questions?

We hope you’ve learned something new about the difference between organic crib mattresses and conventional crib mattresses today. Let us know if you have any other questions we can answer for you. We would love to help you choose your perfect organic crib mattress!