Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cribs and Crib mattresses

Cribs and crib mattresses are the current focus in the baby game. I've been discussing them a lot with my family so I thought I would share my opinions on these items with the rest of the world. I have been hesitating to do so because I don't want to offend or alarm people who did not buy/use organic cribs or crib mattresses. I will be the first to tell you most of the research on these topics are VASTLY incomplete, and a lot of the information I've been finding are just people thoughts and feeling on the issues. These items, in my opinion, are not nearly has dangerous as BPA. That said, I'll tell you what we've decided to do.

The main problem, anything organic is typically 2X the price of the ordinary version. This is a real concern, since it would be financially irresponsible of us to purchase a $600-$800 crib. The problem with plain old cribs is that you simply don't know what is in them. In my searching I've come across too many recalls involving lead paint ( a serious problem), but the more subtle issue is formaldehyde. Any crib made out of particle board or other pressed wood, almost definately has formaldehyde in it, and even some solid wood cribs use it in the glue. This chemical is entirely harmless to healthy adults in the concentrations that you typically find it. However, the effect on children who are having rapid lung development is unclear. If it were not possible to find a crib without this I wouldn't worry too much about it. However, DAXstores.com is a website devoted entirely to organic products and lists the Da Vinci line among them. These cribs are also manufactured under the Million Dollar baby line. Da Vinci cribs can be purchased on Babysrus.com for about $100 less than on the Daxstores website making them a reasonably priced organic option. The problem is I haven't been able to locate a store that carries this line so I can actually go look at it. A crib is a big purchase to make sight unseen. So since I have found a reasonably priced organic crib I think I will go with this option.
I would say that the crib mattress is probably of greater importance than the crib but that is just my opinion. There are theories going around that the reason SIDS went down when baby's started sleeping on their backs was because we stopped putting their faces so close to all the dangerous chemicals that can be found in crib mattresses (not a proven idea). Many chemical flame retardants are used (for good reason) in crib mattresses and these chemicals aren't always good for developing lungs. Another idea relates the age of your crib mattress to dangerous chemical fumes that could be created by mold and mites. Obviously the older the mattress the more dangerous it could be. Again, for adults these chemicals are generally no problem, but for developing and weak lungs it could create a problem.
The problem: $$$$! Regular crib mattresses retail for under $200 (mostly under $150), organic mattresses can cost upwards of $600. Again. NO WAY I'm spending $600 when the research doesn't support it. But once again I did a little hunting and I found a website where the Amish make organic crib mattresses that still meet the federal requirements for flame resistance without all the harmful chemicals (no I don't know how)! They sell them for $220 plus shipping. This is a price I find more reasonable and this is probably the option we will go with if the mattress is the correct size (an ill fitting mattress would be way way more dangerous than chemical flame retardants).

So now you know what I think. Hopeful I haven't put anyone in a panic, that isn't my intention.

My references include Dr. Alan Greene and his book Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care. Other websites also contributed to my understanding but I don't remember them all.


Kristy said...

Thanks for adding NERD in the header! I love it! Now I have to look up my crib to see if it has dangerous chemicals in it.

Holly said...

Those are great resources! Thanks for telling us about them. That mattress is an amazing price! Good find!

What do you think about Ikea's cribs? I've heard mostly good things about them, but I'm not sure.