Sleep Soundly: The Healthy Crib
Considering the huge amount of time babies spend sleeping, investing in a quality crib set-up is a smart choice. It will cost a pretty penny, but consider the hazards of the less expensive alternatives:
- Cheaper cribs are made of laminated wood, pressed wood, plywood, chipboard, particle board and synthetic veneers, all of which release formaldehyde.
- Federal law requires that fire-resistant and flame-retardant finishes be applied to crib mattresses. PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), the most common of these finishes, have been found to cause brain and thyroid problems in lab animals, and are known to steadily migrate to and build up in the fat tissue of humans. According the the Environmental Protection Agency, “There is growing evidence that PBDEs persist in the environment and accumulate in living organisms, as well as toxicological testing that indicates these chemicals may cause liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, and neuro-developmental toxicity.”
- Synthetic fabrics are made of petrochemicals, not natural fibers. Some contain formaldehyde. Most bedding made of these fabrics are treated with chemical dyes and finishes that often stay embedded, even after washing.
The best option is a hardwood crib with a non-toxic finish. If you buy a crib that contains particleboard, seal it in completely using a specially designed sealant paint from AFM Safecoat.
Organic wool mattresses, free of PBDE, petrochemicals, detergents, oils or pesticides, are a great choice for a crib mattress. Wool is naturally fire resistant and meets federal standards without PDBEs. There are also crib mattresses made of natural rubber that meet federal standards.
Sheets and blankets
Bedding made of certified organic cotton is the best pick. Green cotton is the next best choice. This cotton is conventionally grown, but hasn’t been processed with chemicals and is unbleached. Organic wool, untreated with petrochemical detergents, oils or pesticides is a great choice for blankets and mattress pads. In addition to being warm, wool is flame-retardant and water-resistant, making it a great choice for crib bedding. Just make sure the wool won’t be too heavy on top of your little one.
Here are some great resources for your baby bedding needs: