**This post is sponsored by My Green Mattress**
By Krista, Contributing Writer
A lot of focus tends to be on the how and where of baby sleep, but the “what on” (or “in”) deserves some forethought and focus as well. Traditional mattresses and pajamas are often treated with harmful flame retardants, that, while the actual chemical has changed over the years, the actual negative health impact of this sort of chemical treatment remains to be changed for the better in any significant sort of way. The most recently banned chemical, polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants (PBDEs) is linked to a host of health problems, including cognitive and developmental delays, lowered IQ as well as impaired fertility. Children in the United States, especially California, are found to have the highest concentrations of PBDEs, in part due to a young child’s tendancy to put everything in their mouth.
Flame retardants are everywhere: in many common household goods, from textiles to computer electronics, and are even found in measurable levels in whales deep in the ocean! It can feel daunting to see how any sort of personal effort to reduce the toxic load of this particular area of life would be fruitful in any sort of way!
However, an average of 25 years of the average person’s life is spent sleeping. Babies, whose bodies are still growing and developing and spend so much of their early months and years sleeping and napping. It certainly seems worthwhile to look for ways to create a more natural sleep environment.
How to Create a Natural Sleep Environment
One of my favorite pairs of pajamas growing up was a big, oversized nightgown style pajama shirt with a picture of The New Kids on the Block. I would say that totally dates me, but I think with their comeback, I’m safe for now. 😉 Looking back, however, I shudder to think that it was probably treated with flame retardants, since it meets the criteria for why an article of sleep clothing would need to be treated in the first place, based on the fact that it is a loose-fitting style.
Reconsider Pajama Choices
Flame retardants in children’s sleepwear, starting in 1972, were the solution to reports that children’s pajamas were catching on fire when they wandered near open gas fires. Now, I’m a parent who knows firsthand how quick and….feisty young children can be, but to create an entire health crisis by adding chemicals to this line of clothing, and to continue this trend, even when studies show that it doesn’t even reduce the flammability of the clothing does not sound like a very good solution to me! Fortunately, there are alternatives to the standard, chemical-laced nightgowns of my youth, and that still grace the store shelves.
Because the concern originally was over the loose clothing catching fire when near an open flame, tight fitting, cotton pajamas are not required to be treated with flame retardants. There are even affordable organic cotton options cropping up more and more at places like Costco and Walmart. My older daughter is starting to discover the love of nightgowns (No NKOTB, though 😉 ), and I’m facing what to do to offer that option for her in a nontoxic, or less toxic sort of a way. This article offers 3 viable options.
Another great option, especially for babies is the use of wool. Wool has natural antimicrobial as well as natural flame resistant properties. Therefore, the tight fitting clothing requirement does not apply to this type of fiber. Wool sleep sacks can be a wonderful option, particularly for babies that sleep in their own crib, as wool naturally regulates temperature well. They are generously sized, so they can often last longer than a single pair of pajamas before they are outgrown. I’ve used wool diaper covers to varying degrees for nighttime diapering for its leakproof properties as well, which wool sleep sacks and pants would offer the same type of leakproof properties.
Nontoxic Mattress Options
The other major item is, of course, the mattress. If one has ever taken a look at the nontoxic mattress options on the market, it can be a dizzying exercise. At one point during this last pregnancy, I had a Pinterest board full of DIY mattress ideas, partly because I got so overwhelmed by the options as well as the steep price tag of so many of those options. (And partly because I’m a DIY kind of a gal!) I have yet to make any major mattress upgrades for anyone, but when I do, the company My Green Mattress is going to be giving my ol’ Pinterest board a run for its money.
My Green Mattress got its start when the company’s founder, Tim Masters set out to create a mattress for his daughter, Emily, who, as a baby suffered from eczema and allergies. In their quest for health, they discovered that all natural products were the best solution to Emily’s ailments, and it was at that point that Tim combined his newfound natural health knowledge with his expertise in the mattress business to create the unique, and non-toxic line of mattresses that My Green Mattress has to offer.
Here’s what is included in their crib mattress:
- GOTS certified organic cotton and natural wool quilted cover
- Heavyweight organic cotton batting
- Heavy duty 150 coil innerspring with supportive edge
- All-natural needle punched cotton insulator pads
- The wool in our quilted cover acts as a natural flame barrier, therefore our mattresses pass flame testing required by law without the use of dangerous flame retardant chemicals
- Wool is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites
- Dimensions: 27.5″ x 52″ x 6″
If you want to skip the crib mattress for whatever reason, we are giving away My Green Mattress’ twin sized mattress. The contest is open the whole month of September, so be sure to hop on over and enter!
What ways have you reduced the toxins in the bedroom in favor of a more natural sleep environment?
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