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A helpful guide to safer sleeping

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A new report just out from Clean and Healthy New York finds that only 20% of all crib mattresses on the market are free from toxic chemicals. At the same time, misleading labels may not give consumers the full story on what goes into the making of their baby’s mattress.

At an event at The Clean Bedroom in Kittery, Maine, where concerned consumers discussed the new report, Chris Chamberlain, co-founder of the store, said “my husband and I started this company because we believe every mother in the world should know what they are putting their child on at night.” Her store carries some of the few (only 8%) of mattress brands on the market that avoid chemicals of concern and all allergens.

As a mom, this is the kind of consumer guide I wish existed for all my kid’s products. The report gives a complete breakdown of the pros and cons of various mattress materials. When it comes to toxicity, it seemed to me that flame retardants were really the thing to look out for. The two most commonly used in mattresses, antimony and HFRS, can cause pretty serious health problems. But wool, when woven or packed tightly, is naturally fire-resistant. So when choosing a crib mattress, look for wool or hydrated silica used as flame retardants, neither of which are toxic.

When it comes to the mattress cover, even cotton and wool may be treated with waterproofing, antibacterial and flame-retardant chemicals, none of which are necessary and may be harmful. To be safest, look for organic cotton or wool covers. A full 40% of the mattresses studied use vinyl coverings, which I would avoid at all costs. Even when covered in organic cotton sheets, the vinyl coating can off-gas and potentially harm your baby’s health.

Read the full report here to learn how you — and your baby — can rest easier.

EHSC joins moms and representatives of The Clean Bedroom store for Thursday's release of Mattress Matters - a new report from Clean and Healthy New York

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