This past summer, when Susan and I prepared for our babies’ arrivals, we – of course – headed to the internet to shop. And on the top of our shopping lists were natural, organic crib mattresses.
Why were we looking for natural and organic crib mattresses?
Like all new moms and moms-to-be, we are concerned about SIDS. And while we know there are no proven causes or solutions, we had heard about mattress wrapping to eliminate toxic gases and the news coming out of New Zealand about the decrease in SIDS since publicity promoting mattress-wrapping began in 1995.
Between 1995-2005, studies approximate that at least 165,000 babies have slept on wrapped mattresses – with not one reported cot death. But during the same period there have been 800 cot deaths on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel bedding situations.) see Cot Life 2000
Now I am not saying that these studies or reports are conclusive. But as a mom, I am certainly interested enough in the results to make sure that my baby is on the mattress wrapping side of the equation!
As Susan and I researched mattress wrapping and natural, organic mattresses, we came across mom-owned store, Healthy Child, where we decided to purchase natural, organic mattresses and bedding for our babies.
We were so impressed with Healthy Child, that we asked owner Jane Sheppard if we could feature her store here at 5 Minutes for Mom and ask her a few questions about natural solutions for parents. (And, of course, have a giveaway – we will be giving away $100 gift certificate to Healthy Child.)
Hi Jane, thanks so much for your fabulous service this summer and for joining us here today at 5 Minutes for Mom.
You’re welcome. I’m very happy to be here.
Jane, for our readers who may not know, what exactly is mattress wrapping? Susan and I decided to go with organic mattresses verses mattress wrapping. Do the study results support organic mattresses as being a safe alternative to mattress wrapping?
I learned about mattress wrapping about 9 years ago from Dr. James Sprott in New Zealand. He and other scientists have done research and are convinced that SIDS is caused by toxic gases escaping from crib mattresses.
The gases are created by the interaction between a common bedding fungus and fire retardant chemicals present in all typical mattresses. Dr. Sprott created a safe, tested mattress cover to block the gases and began a Cot Death Prevention Campaign in New Zealand with the recommendation that all parents wrap their babies’ mattresses in this non-toxic cover.
To date, this campaign has been 100% successful – it’s the only SIDS prevention advice that has ever been 100% successful. Not one baby sleeping on a properly wrapped mattress has ever died of SIDS. It’s important to point out that even though it hasn’t been completely proven beyond doubt and more research needs to be done, this explanation has never been disproved. And when you look closely at what is now known about crib death, the toxic gas explanation really makes sense. Parents certainly need to be aware of this.
In further checking into it, I have found out that it’s not just the fire retardants in mattresses that are dangerous to babies and children. The polyurethane foam used in most crib mattresses is highly toxic, causing numerous health problems, especially in infants. Polyurethane foam deteriorates over time, breaking up into small dust-like particles and releasing harmful VOC’s. It is a petroleum product that is extremely flammable and will go up in flames in an instant. So the government requires highly toxic fire retardant chemicals to make the mattresses fire resistant.
In addition, the covering used on most crib mattresses to make them waterproof is PVC (vinyl) which also has phthalate plasticizers added to make the plastic softer. The phthalates actually leach out of the PVC plastic. Many moms now know that PVC and phthalates are highly toxic to babies. There are people working to ban phthalates in babies’ toys, but no one is mentioning the phthalates in crib mattresses.
The problem is not just that crib mattresses may cause SIDS. Crib mattresses create up-close, long-term exposure to chemicals and gases known to cause respiratory, immune, and neurological disorders, in addition to cancer, at a baby’s most vulnerable period of brain and immune development. Babies sleep or play on a mattress for long periods of time up to 12 – 14 hours a day!
Rather than wrapping a toxic mattress, I think it’s best to get an organic mattress made of non-toxic materials to begin with. That way you don’t have to worry about wrapping it correctly or rips or tears in the mattress wrap. A couple of years ago I was contacted by Barry Cik, an environmental scientist who designed a completely non-toxic line of baby and children’s mattresses for Naturepedic. I was excited about this since he created the only safe, non-toxic crib mattress that is completely waterproof, fireproof and dust mite proof – all things that are crucial for a baby mattress.
With all the recent press about dangerous products for children, your store must be receiving a lot of new shoppers who are looking for safer alternatives. How have you and your store been affected? What new products do you have available now?
Yes, Healthy Child has been receiving a lot of new visitors looking for answers and alternatives. We now have a variety of organic mattresses and bedding, including bassinet, cradle, porta-crib, crib and older children’s mattresses, plus adult-size mattress and organic bedding products for families who co-sleep. We are also adding baby and children’s organic clothing, particularly sleepwear since children’s sleepwear usually contains toxic fire retardants.
So mothers can now have their babies sleeping on safe surfaces whether they are in the bassinet, crib or parent’s bed? That is fantastic! What products do you notice that moms are most interested in right now?
New moms want the safest and most healthy sleeping environment for their babies. They are willing to spend a bit extra for high quality, safe materials. They also want reliable, clear information so they can make informed decisions. That’s what I provide at Healthy Child. Sadly, there are so many toxicity issues facing kids right now, and it can be really frustrating for new moms trying to sort it all out. I am a concerned mom in addition to being a children’s health researcher and advocate. I understand the issues that moms are facing and I thoroughly check out all the products and give moms the information they need to make good decisions. Healthy Child is all about reliable information and alternatives.
Jane, what made you decide to become a work at home mom? Why did you decide to build an online store dedicated to healthy products?
I started Healthy Child 10 years ago so I could stay home with my daughter and provide other parents with all the information that I was finding through my research. It became a life mission and passion for me. I started Healthy Child newsletter (a free email newsletter) to get the information out, and I wrote a book called Super Healthy Kids: Strengthening Your Child’s Resistance to Disease. I formed an advisory board of qualified, credible pediatricians and holistic doctors, researched many aspects of children’s health and wrote hundreds of articles on natural health for babies and children. I realized that in addition to the information, moms needed to find the best alternatives, so I began providing the mattress and bedding products for babies and children a couple of years ago.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Jane. Keep up the fabulous work at Healthy Child!
Thanks very much for chatting with me. I appreciate the work that you are doing as well.
If you would like to win a $100 gift certificate to Healthy Child, all you need to do to enter is:
- Publish a post on your own blog linking back to this giveaway post and also linking to Healthy Child.
- Leave a comment on this post.
If you don’t have a blog, we understand you can’t link back, but then please spread the word amongst your friends.
This contest is only open to US shipping addresses. We’ll announce the winner on February 26th. Please remember to check back then to see if you won and check your email (including your junk mail folder).