Archives for June 1, 2017

Crib Mattress Pad Guide and Buying Tips

Crib Mattress Pad Guide and Buying Tips

When shopping for cribs and nursery supplies, parents are often bombarded with so much information they can barely contain it all. Unfortunately, some of that information actually qualifies as misinformation, as specific groups and companies pushing an agenda try to influence what new parents purchase. Nowhere is that more apparent in the baby furniture industry than the topic of crib mattresses and mattress pads. In the following paragraphs we will focus mainly on crib mattress pad.

Crib Mattress Pad

Crib Mattress Pad

For starters, crib mattress pads come in two basic choices: a standard pad placed between the mattress and the fitted sheet, and the “sheet saver” model which goes on top of the fitted sheet. Both serve essentially the same purpose and are really a matter of personal preference.

The Purpose Behind Crib Mattress Pads

While it may be true that some parents choose to use a crib mattress pad for added comfort, that’s usually not the case. Most parents use them in order to add warmth and/or protect the mattress from being soiled with urine and feces. Such soiling provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria which could cause your baby any number of illnesses. That means mattress pads designed to protect a mattress will have at least a single layer of plastic or rubber.

When you’re searching for a crib mattress pad for this purpose you should be aware that the protective plastic or rubber layer does not allow the mattress and linens to breathe as well. This can significantly increase the sleeping temperature and cause sweating or discomfort for your baby. This may not be an issue during the winter months in cold weather climates, but it could substantially disrupt the sleep of your baby during the warm summer months.

Advantages of using a protective mattress pad include:

  • preventing the growth of bacteria
  • providing a barrier against soiling
  • extremely easy cleanup
  • protection of fitted sheets (sheet saver models only)

Potential Hazards of Crib Mattress Pads

If you research crib mattress pads online you’ll find all sorts of perceived dangers that critics say should be enough to stop you from buying them. Some of these dangers are legitimate, but most are not. You need to use some common sense when determining whether or not what you’re reading is actually true. Especially be concerned if writers make claims that are not backed up with evidence.

One of the most common legitimate dangers of a crib mattress pad is the fact that it can lead to suffocation if it is not properly secured in place. The fact is, as your baby moves he will put pressure on the mattress pad beneath him. If the pad is not securely fastened it can move and bunch up, thus providing the perfect storm that can lead to death by suffocation. If you plan to use a mattress pad, regardless of the style, it should fit tightly over the mattress with elastic corners, in the same way a fitted sheet works.

Another legitimate concern is the fact that crib mattress pads can be a fire hazard. You should always check to see what types of fire retardant materials are used in the construction of a mattress pad before you purchase it. Organic mattress pads that claim to use no fire retardants are not always fire safe, so beware of that as well. If you need to research materials and fire retardants before making a purchase.

Other Perceived Dangers

Among the most prolific illegitimate danger claims are increased risk of SIDS (which we will talk about in the next section) and an untold number of physical issues as the result of leaching toxic chemicals. Concerning the latter, proponents of organic mattresses claim that many of the chemicals used in bedding construction are toxic and can leech into linens or produce toxic fumes. While it’s true that many of the chemicals are toxic in their raw state, they do not pose any significant level of toxicity in a finished mattress or mattress pad product.

Keep in mind that all crib mattress pads must be constructed to comply with federal standards. Those standards were set only after extensive research was done on both the materials used and the process of manufacturing. Only when the government was satisfied that these items were safe, were they then allowed into the marketplace. It is simply unreasonable to believe we have been purposely allowed to poison our children with dangerous mattresses and mattress pads because inspectors don’t care about the lives of children.

Mattress Pads and SIDS

One of the most irresponsible claims made by critics of crib mattresses suggests that pads which are not completely organic can increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Such claims are based on a 1989 study from a British scientist who reported that poisonous gases routinely escape from mattresses when certain fire retardants are used in their construction. He asserted that with each successive child using the same mattress the likelihood of SIDS increased dramatically.

While the argument makes for a great marketing tool, there has never been conclusive scientific evidence to suggest the 1989 report is accurate. In fact, there have been countless studies since that time that both support and refute the scientist’s claims. Yet more than 20 years after the first report was issued, the best we can say is that any link between crib mattress covers and SIDS is, at best, inconclusive. What we can say definitively is that the evidence proving toxic gases emanate from bedding in dangerous amounts simply doesn’t exist.

At the end of the day the choice of whether or not to use a crib mattress pad is entirely up to individual parents. They certainly do make cleaning up after baby’s messes much easier. They also protect the mattress underneath and prevent bacteria growth. On the other hand, plenty of babies have grown up healthy and happy even when their parents didn’t use a crib mattress pad.

Have we made your choice any easier? We hope so!

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