How To Choose Non-toxic Bedding For Kids
Trying to make sure your child’s room is as low-tox as possible? Choosing bedding and mattresses made from all-natural materials, like organic cotton, wool, hemp and natural latex will not only improve their sleep, but also give you much-needed peace of mind too.
While bed is supposed to be where you go to rest, restore and wake renewed, there are some products out there that may be doing more harm than good.
For example, mainstream bedding – mattresses, pillows, quilts, duvets and linens – can have hidden dangers lurking within them like flame retardants and phthalates, which have been linked to a variety of health problems. Equally scary, a lot of mainstream kids furniture is finished with paints and lacquers containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that off-gas into the room.
Luckily, there are brands out there who are making products WITHOUT these potentially harmful chemicals.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- Chemicals to avoid in kids bedding and why
- Safer bedding materials for kids
- Our non-toxic mattresses, pads & pillows product picks
- Our non-toxic and child-safe twin bed product picks
- Our non-toxic duvet cover set product picks
Scroll down to learn more.
Chemical to avoid in kids bedding and why
When it comes to where you sleep, you need to consider just how close your face and skin is to the materials and how long you’ll be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. Kids are particularly at risk because of their sensitive skin and developing immune and endocrine systems.
These are important chemicals to avoid in kids bedding:
Flame retardants are a family of chemical compounds that reduce flammability or inhibit the spread of fire. These chemicals, which are sprayed onto fabric and foam mattresses, have been linked to respiratory issues and can even contain carcinogens. Being sprayed, not bonded onto the materials, means flame retardants are likely to gradually shed and can often attach to dust particles settling on the floor and shelves and ultimately end up in our airways.
One particular type of flame retardant known as poly brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is so airborne it’s even been found in random places like seal blubber in Greenland and the breast milk of American women. Crazy huh?
Formaldehyde is sometimes added to bed linen to achieve anti-wrinkle fabric. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and very low levels can irritate and burn the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Those with asthma may have exacerbation of symptoms when exposed to formaldehyde.
Pesticides + Herbicides
Pesticides + Herbicides are often used in the farming of cotton to help protect crops. When exposed, they can prevent individual nerve cells from communicating with one another. Pesticides & Herbicides have also been linked to endocrine disruption, neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADD, autism spectrum disorder and lower IQ, impaired memory, severe depression, disruption of the immune system, paralysis and death.
Often found in inks, dyes and synthetic fabrics, harmful phthalates are known endocrine disruptors associated with asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity, type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
Volatile Organic Compounds are suspected human carcinogens that can “off gas” into your environment, essentially polluting the air in your home. Exposure can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. Higher concentrations may cause damage to the liver, kidney, or central nervous system.
Safer bedding materials for kids
Wherever possible, opt for natural mattresses composed of a variety of materials, including organic cotton, wool, hemp, silk, natural latex and natural foam.
- Natural latex comes from Para rubber trees and is naturally anti-microbial, hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.
- Keep a look out for mattresses made from natural fibers too, such as coconut husks, mohair and lamb’s wool. It’s good to know that wool is naturally resistant to mildew and dust mites and is also a natural fire retardant (so no PBDEs are necessary).
- Hemp is another one that’s naturally resistant to mold and mildew.
- And of course, organic cotton is the least allergenic of all the materials.
It’s also important to choose bedding fabrics that are produced from sustainably grown and minimally processed fibers that are free of toxic dyes, bleaches and finishes. Sadly, claims of being “100% natural” do not necessarily mean the material is free from pesticides or chemicals.
Did you know that 25 percent of the world’s insecticides are used on cotton grown in the U.S? So stay vigilant and opt for linens made from chemical-free materials, like organic cotton, bamboo or wool.
When it comes to choosing furniture, it’s wise to look for pieces that are UL Greenguard Gold Certified. This certification means that the product has been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) known to pollute indoor air, and meets the rigorous chemical emissions standards of UL, a global independent safety science company.
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Safety Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition. If you’re unsure about what a product you’re considering contains, it’s always best to ask for more information.
Our non-toxic mattresses, pads & pillows product picks
All Tot Safety Tested and approved, the following bedding picks from Naturepedic are organic and free from PVC, phthalates, antimony, arsenic, phosphorus, polyurethane foam, soybean or biobased foam, synthetic latex rubber, harmful glues and adhesives, GMO cotton and shoddy insulator pads.
Our non-toxic and child-safe twin bed product picks
The below beds from Nico & Yeye, Babyletto, Monte & Oeuf are all made from sustainably sourced child-safe wood. Free of harmful VOCs and added formaldehyde, they are all designed to work with a standard Twin Mattress.
Available in more colors
Available in more colors
Available in more colors
Our non-toxic duvet cover set product picks
These super fun duvet sets from SNURK are both stylish and safe. All OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified, they’re free of pesticides, phthalates, flame retardants, added formaldehyde and toxic dyes.
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