Family Wellness

Searching for a Non-toxic ‘Big Boy’ Mattress

IMG_1102It’s time for a big boy bed.  Which means we need to buy a mattress – something that I didn’t realize was such a complicated venture!

We have a crib that converts to a full size bed and since we spend approximately – well – all night long sleeping in our son’s room with him, we are skipping the toddler bed and jumping right to the full.  Currently, the crib mattress is on the floor surrounded by stuffed animals, pillows and blankets that we take turns sleeping on. Yes, we should probably “sleep train”. Been there, done that, didn’t work. So our options are:

1. bring him in our bed where he sleeps like a teenager (i.e. like a brick)

2. let him roam the house screaming all night long

3. buy a big boy bed and hope that it helps. Hell, it can’t get worse.

We wanted to find an organic mattress, because I refuse to get a bed full of toxic chemicals. Especially when he spends 10-12 hours a night with his face buried in the mattress. (Go ahead, roll your eyes at the crazy hippie parents – then go research what’s in your mattress and sleep in fear for the rest of your life on your cushy Sealy Posturepedic).

I started my research on the internet – which was a TERRIBLE idea as usual. Very quickly I realized that every mattress company claims their mattress is “all-natural”, “healthy”, “non-toxic”, etc. and very few of them actually are free of toxic chemicals. One site claims latex mattresses are best, and the next convinces you that a latex mattress will cause latex sensitivity and possibly life threatening allergies. Oh and the type of latex matters, as does where it comes from, how it’s collected and how it’s processed.

Research further and you will find the best option is actually an old-fashioned spring mattress hand-crafted by little old Amish people stuffing and covering the coils in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. But alas, the next site asserts that the coils will actually amplify the radiation from your t.v., computer, and smart phone creating a super strength electromagnetic force field that will either turn you into an alien or fill your brain with cancer. Fuck.

Obviously, the best choice is wool, hand pulled from a happy sheep grazing on organic grass high up on a mountain in the Swiss Alps. Gasp! No, not wool! If you get wool, your bed will fill with dust mites causing respiratory distress…not to mention wool mattresses lack adequate support, leading to sleep disturbances that will cause hormonal disruption that will ultimately make you sick and miserable – oh, and your spine will deform.

Instead, you should absolutely choose the one with a layer of memory foam. Yes, the memory foam is full of some chemicals, but not the really bad ones. So, it’s pretty much organic, cause the chemicals have the same low VOC’s as the organic mattresses. And a bunch of celebrities and athletes use it, so it must be good. But, wait, just because you aren’t breathing them in from off-gassing doesn’t mean they aren’t seeping into your pores and being ingested while you sleep.

Is your head spinning yet?! Why is finding a mattress that won’t kill you or make you sick so hard to do?!

Perhaps a sleeping bag would work just fine. I mean come on, have you seen some of the sleeping bags at Pottery Barn Kids?!  And kids LOVE sleepovers.  I’m team sleeping bag, but the hubby seems to think having a real bed is something important.

Oh and did I mention all these allegedly “healthy” mattress options are about 3k for a full size and can run up to 15k for a king?! WHAT?! Oh, but it’s a lifetime investment and they can charge a premium when they are selling a solution to the fear and panic.

So here we are. Confused. Horrified. Still no mattress 3 months later.

Honestly, any of the options we have considered are a hell of a lot better than our extremely toxic and (in my opinion) insanely uncomfortable Tempurpedic. I mean, that thing had so much off-gassing I was high and my eyes watered for like three months after we got it.

The companies we found to be best were Organicpedic and Naturepedic, both of which are sold in stores nearby. We went to the Naturepedic store first and tried a bunch of the beds. They actually have an affordable full size mattress for kids, but I’m glad we went into the store to try it because it was HORRIBLE. Like, the sleeping bag on the floor would have been more comfortable. The next option up was the “base” model of their mattresses. Which wasn’t terrible, but you could feel the coils, and after more research I found that spring mattresses tend to lose their support faster, and I’m still not unconvinced that the coil/radiation amplification thing isn’t true.

After months of spinning our heads unable to pull the trigger on any of the beds we considered (mostly because they were insanely expensive), we wandered into a children’s furniture store in Santa Monica, where we discovered that the crib mattress Avery has been sleeping on for three years (Moonlight Slumber Little Star Organic Crib Mattress) comes in a full size as well. So, we hopped on the mattress to test it out, found it was surprisingly comfortable and ordered it.

Ultimately, if it was good enough for our infant to sleep on…it was good enough for our toddler. Not to mention it has a lifetime warranty and was WAY more affordable than any of the other options we considered. I mean really, does our three-year-old need a more expensive mattress than we have??

Case Closed.

Moonlight Slumber it is…and he seems to be a pretty big fan already. (Although to be honest, he would have gladly taken any bed that was bigger than the crib mattress that he kept rolling out of onto his head 5-6 times a night.

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