Keep Your Baby Off That Foam Crib Mattress – VOCs may be Present

Volatile Organic Compounds are released into the environment from a number of places in the home. Foam is a prime example – the VOCs come from the adhesives, solvents, catalysts and resins used in the manufacturing process. Long after production, they continue to volatilise. And where is foam found? In crib mattresses, cushion car seats and change tables – where your baby could be breathing in these toxic off-gases.

Infant allergies, asthma and lung infections have always been linked to low levels of VOCs but now researchers have measured the actual quantity being emitted in an average baby’s bedroom… and what they have found is quite frightening.

University of Texas researchers analysed new and used crib mattresses made from polyester and polyurethane foam and compared measurements of VOCs a few metres away from the crib and within the baby’s breathing zone (about 2.5 cm above the mattress).

Four times as many VOCs were released in new mattresses compared to old ones, and over 30 different VOCs were found. Most importantly within the infant’s breathing zone the VOCs were significantly higher than the middle of the room. When you consider the fact that babies sleep about 12-14 hours a day on their cribs, this becomes very scary.

The moral of the story is, keep your baby away from foam mattresses. There are many alternative natural mattress solutions including natural rubber, organic cotton, latex and so on. If these are out of your price range, it is recommended that you set aside a new mattress for six months to let it off-gas sufficiently before letting your baby sleep on it.


  • Carol Parr

    We’re glad you’re here. We’re Carol and Tony, founders of one of the longest running Healthy Home Blogs in the world, Mitey Fresh Australia. We’ve been on this journey for the last 25 years and are passionate about helping families sift through health hazards and triggers like allergens, mould, water damage, chemicals and EMFs, to get clarity about what’s toxic and what’s not so they can create a healthy and happy home for their family they love. Each month, people visit this blog seeking focus on the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, sustainable and effective practice tips and guides, to help create and manage healthier indoor spaces, improve the built environment that is pleasing to the senses and support healthy living and nature, every day. Starting this blog was to help change people’s lives, one family at a time, and we can’t wait to share how its allowed us to stand next to you and show you how interpreting these synergies between buildings and the environment they are built in will impact upon the health and well-being of those who occupy them. Find out more about Healthy Homes and what this blog can do for you!

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