What To Look For in a Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

Bedrooms & More Blog Non Toxic Crib Mattress


As a parent bringing a little one into your world, you want to make sure you’re giving your baby the best start possible. This includes selecting the right crib mattress.

What really is a non-toxic crib mattress? What should you look for when shopping for a natural or organic crib mattress?

It’s nearly impossible to wade through the web of options without being confused by someone promoting a product that isn’t what you think it is. Visit any retail store selling crib mattresses and you’ll undoubtedly find Organic Cotton emblazoned on a crib mattress . . . which is encased in a plastic cover. Plastic on an “organic” mattress is oddly common, and at the end of the day,  isn’t really organic.

What you want is seemingly simple: a healthy child and a simple, low maintenance, affordable crib mattress. 

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I have two boys of my own, ages 2 years and 4-1/2 years old at the time of writing this. I know you have no end to baby-related tasks to handle. So the faster I can make this crib mattress shopping project for you, the better.

Ready? Let’s get going.

Pro Tip: Know what’s in your mattress

First, check the law label attached to the mattress for product contents. Most states require manufacturers to say what’s in the mattress, by weight.

If you’re shopping for a crib mattress online, check the product materials listing. If the site doesn’t disclose what’s in the mattress, definitely don’t buy it unless you can verify contents with the retailer or manufacturer.

Here’s a list of commonly used, clean, non-toxic mattress materials for your baby:

  • organic cotton batting
  • wool or organic wool batting
  • coils (made of steel)
  • botanical latex foam rubber
  • coconut coir
  • organic cotton fabric

NOTE: If the mattress specifications list anything else besides the materials in the above list, then you’re probably compromising. There’s nothing wrong with compromising, but you should know what those decisions mean.

Is there such a thing as a waterproof non-toxic crib mattress?

I know you want your baby’s mattress to be waterproof, but that means coating the fabric in plastic, and plastic surfaces on crib mattresses can be a suffocation hazard. 

According to KidsHealth.org and a bevy of other reputable sources, you should never put an infant down on a mattress covered in plastic.

Why is this concept confusing? Because some top mattress brands offer “organic” and “natural” crib mattress that include a plastic waterproof cover. Not cool, guys. Some companies use Polylactic Acid, or PLA, a corn-based polyester coating. Others use polyurethane coatings.

Even more frustrating is that these companies will still have GOTS certifications and Oeko-Tex ratings that would suggest you’re getting what you want for your child. In these cases, the organic certification is on one or more mattress components, but obviously not on the plastic cover (plastic can’t, by its nature, be organic) [LINK to our blog post on moving beyond organic].

Alternatives to plastic & chemical-based waterproof crib mattress covers

Why waterproof your baby’s mattress? Well, you need to keep the mattress clean.

So instead of plastic, get a felted wool puddle pad. The lanolin in the wool will prevent soiling of the mattress in (the likely) case of an accident, and then you’re not compromising where you shouldn’t be.

I’m personally a big fan of the Natura Organic Crib Mattress, but there are other great options out there.

I hope that this helps. Happy crib mattress hunting, parents and parents-to-be!

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