Toxic cribs – Is your baby safe?

It is hard to imagine that cribs could be harmful in any way for newborns and babies.

It is just a bed, right?

Unfortunately, according to research many cribs and their mattresses may not be the best for your baby, especially when we consider how much time a baby spends inside one (on average 14-16 hours per day), and because they envelop the baby on 5 sides.

There is a variety of chemicals, which are released in the air that your baby is breathing, either by the crib or the mattress.

There are chemicals in the air…

It starts with the materials…

Like other cheaply made furniture, cribs and other kids furniture is often made with particle board, pressed wood, or MDF. These materials contain formaldehyde (a confirmed carcinogenic substance) and/or other toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are used in adhesives.

On top of these issues with the crib itself, crib mattresses come with a very different set of potential problems. Since most are made of polyurethane foam (read extremely flammable), they have to meet the latest flammability standards and at the same time be relatively waterproof. Thankfully, most companies now meet current flammability standards using barrier fabrics, not chemical flame retardants (like they used to), which are linked to cognitive delays, reduced IQ and behavioural problems.

In 2013, Clean & Healthy New York investigated the issue and found that more than 90% of companies use barrier fabric in crib mattresses. However several companies didn’t reply or refused participation, which effectively means that there are crib mattresses in the market, which are soaked with chemical flame retardants that your baby will inhale while sleeping.

A 2015 study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology tested 20 new and used crib mattresses and found that every single sample emitted VOCs, with more being released from the newer mattresses than in the used ones.

Even more concerning werer the results of another study, which found that the concentrations of VOCs in the air inside the crib had up to 21 times the levels of VOCs as the rest of the room.