Friday, September 19, 2008

Cotton Crib Mattresses: Green Is the Only Way

Update: What you see is not what you get: read about the Pixel Organics bait-and-switch scam we experienced.

We started searching for a cotton crib mattress (one that has no vinyl or plastic cover) because the youngest of the family is finicky and can't sleep on plastic (same as the father, by the way). These are not unheard from in Europe: this summer we've got a cotton cover mattress in 3 out of 3 places we've been: the Hilton we stayed in Edinburgh, the apartment we rented in Barcelona and the one borrowed from a friend back home. We thought this search was going to be easy, but... Apparently all kids smoke in bed and besides flame-retardant pajamas they also need a flame-retardant bed. When they do not smoke, they soil the bed so hard that waterproof cotton can't handle it and the mattress has to be hosed down (hopefully the baby is hand washed separately...).

So if you try to search for "cotton cover crib mattress" you see that the offering is small and, between the fully plastic and fully organic there is no product in between. There are 2 choices:

- Naturepedic offers a cotton cover mattress as their top of the line product; they also offer many versions of waterproof ones, probably for those that have never heard of waterproof cotton or with babies that smoke in bed...
- Pure Rest offers many mattresses, including the baby one (and you'll see that they have a large number of resellers that do not acknowledge where the mattress comes from, but you'll see the picture I've included, a picture that comes from the Pure Rest website. Most notably, the Pixel Organic mattress is made by Pure Rest; we know because we visited a store that thought was selling a Pure Rest and we though we were seeing a Pixel Organic. The Pixel Organic website does not say it directly, they slip and they mention Pure Rest on the guts of the web page:

"Natural rubber core:
Known for its hypoallergenic qualities being resistance to molds, mildews and dust mites our natural rubber is the only commercially available rubber that is 100% chemical free. No other latex meets our high expectations of freedom from chemicals. Only natural vegetable based soaps are used for washing. To support this claim Pure-Rest used an independent testing lab available to confirm all used rubber was 100% chemical free."

Aha: Pure Rest...

There is a Canadian company (SleepTech) but we have not figured out whether they distribute their mattresses in the US and we did not bother calling. There are probably others. Please leave comments with your source and I'll update the post.

The cotton covered mattresse come in 2 main models: with coils (like your mattress, only smaller) and with latex core (like the ones we've seen in Europe); we've got the one with coils because it's cheaper and firmer. This is the store with the good deal and availability: CSN Baby and with the decency to tell exactly what they're selling. (I got annoyed by the fact that most resellers try to hide the producer name and that the descriptions are so contradictory; no serious seller on, all descriptions sound made up; the prices sound better in places, but who knows what you get?). These are expensive ($300) compared to the hose-down smoke-in-bed filled plastic bag you get everywhere. And, sadly, Ikea is not any better either.

We did not intend this to be necessarily green, plastic-free would have been enough. Apparently we've all been so brain-washed that there's no middle ground and none sells a decent cotton cover mattress; so, a green one it is.

What's your experience? Leave a comment, if there are good finds I'll do an update to this.


Chris said...

Hello Lucia,

I am the founder of Pixel Organics and want to start by saying I very much applaud your passion and commitment to your mission of becoming greener and sharing that with the rest of us. It's great to see the whole family involved too! I also agree that there is no middle ground offered for A healthy non-toxic mattress. The primary problem is simple. The cost of the materials used such as organic cotton, organic wool, and latex are is very high when compared to plastics. There is also a common belief in the mattress industry that crib mattresses must be waterproof. I guess they never heard of a protective pad or sheet. Also the reason for waterproofing a mattress is for easy clean up to protect from fungus or bacteria growth.

As for your quest of finding a low cost non-toxic crib mattress you can look to Pixel Organics.
We have developed a low-cost non-toxic sustainable mattress for exactly consumers like you. You can preview this mattress at REFILL CRIB MATTRESS. The features of the REFILL mattress are:
- a removable and washable certified organic cotton/wool cover (You do not have to worry about messy accidents)
- a non-toxic recycled PET core, which is also washable (Take it outside and hose it down. The PET does not retain moisture and will dry quickly)
- it exceeds the California flame safety requirements without any synthetic or toxic flame retardants (All our products are non-toxic)
- excellent air flow and moisture regulation (Helps babies and toddlers sleeping longer and more comfortably)
- Light weight for cleaning and moving (Innerspring and latex mattress weight about 35 lbs)
- Made in the USA (All our products are made in the USA with a commitment to our local vendors first)

Stay tune because this mattress is due to be released early next year.

Lastly, I should set the records straight about the manufacturing of our mattresses. Our mattress are not made by Pure Rest, since contrary to your investigation, Pure Rest does not actually make or manufacture their innerspring mattress. . . nor do we. We are a distributor of organic mattresses for mattress manufacturing company which has been manufacturing organic mattress for the last 13 years and had been in the mattress business 77 years prior to that. This is total of 90 years in the mattress business, not to mention that they are still family owned and run. This is the only source we use.

This is the same manufacture that Pure-Rest gets some of their mattress from. We occasionally will have Pure-Rest send a mattress for us if our stock is low or our manufacturer is back logged. It's worth mentioning that Pure-Rest uses a few manufacturers for their range crib mattress, but is by no means a manufacturer of those mattresses.

Pixel Organics is at the fore front of the infant organic and non-toxic product revolution. We were the first company to introduce 100% certified organic modern crib bedding printing with a low-impact non-toxic process. We also were the first company to combine 100% organic cotton with recycled betting made from water bottles to create machine washable non-toxic bumpers and comforters. All our products are non-toxic and use only organic, non-toxic and recycled materials. We also manufacture all our products in the USA. Pixel Organics will continue to be on the cutting edge as and continue to develop non-toxic and sustainable products for infants and children.

Feel free to contact me at:


jaymartinez said...

I am very glad you shared this information with us. Hope to see more posts from your site. More power.