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When I began shopping for baby items for my first son, I tried to go all organic. This did not sit so well with the generational divide and I was basically made fun of by some people as they didn’t understand why I needed everything to be ‘natural’ and ‘toxin-free.’ It was a running joke even at my baby shower. I didn’t care so much. It was definitely a generational thing and I couldn’t fault people for being uninformed. I tried to do my best to help guide my family members on where to purchase organic products. I registered at for some organic products, body washes, cloth diapers, pacifiers, clothes, etc. I also registered at Babys”R”Us for the basics and some of their organic cotton bedding. Surprisingly, I was able to purchase an organic mattress from them along with the sheets, but when I continued to do my research online I discovered one major reason to go organic that I hadn’t been aware of, along with a problem involving buying organic mattresses in the US.

We all know of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and here in the US its cause has been debated with no absolute, final answer as to why it happens. However, we all are aware of it and monitor our babies for the first 6 months of life, worried that they may stop breathing when they’re in their cribs. I was told at the hospital to make sure the baby laid on it’s back with a wedge under one side to prevent choking should the baby spit up in the middle of the night. The hospital workers only put the fear in me that that baby needed to be on its back and wedged to help prevent SIDS and choking, but never did the hospital warn me about the connection that SIDS could have to the mattress itself.

Upon looking for an organic mattress pad, which Babies”R”Us didn’t sell at the time, I found a great deal of information about SIDS and the connection to the plastic in the mattress.

“The first thing you should know is how a synthetic crib mattress is made. If its an innerspring you’ll find about 80 cheap coils that are rubbed with toxic oils. The batting and filling will look something like the material they use to insulate attics with, and is filled with chemicals to be flame retardant to meet the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If it is latex you will find a chemical filled hard synthetic foam core. The outer surface of these mattresses is a vinyl material to keep the mattress from getting diaper leaks or spit up in the mattress.”

That link provides a ton of information on what the standard mattresses are made of compared to what an organic mattress is made of. It also gives some great tips on purchasing organic mattresses as well as being a source to purchase everything you need for your crib, cot, or cradle. In their information they make the connection that the mattress could be to blame for SIDS. Upon researching this further I found the article that Dr. Jim Sprott of New Zealand wrote, connecting the toxins in the mattresses to SIDS. Based on information that was released by Dr. B.A. Richardson, a consulting scientist in Britain (following a tip from Mr. P.R. Mitchell), Dr. Sprott believes that the gaseous poisons in the mattress, combined with a fungus, create a chemical reaction that causes SIDS. For years parents were told to lie the infant face down on the mattress so that they wouldn’t choke should they spit up. When babies lie on their stomachs they breath against the sheet and into the plastic on the mattress. As the mattress doesn’t breath, it allows for a natural fungus to form on the mattress, which breaks down the pvc and releases toxic gases.

“Scopulariopsis brevicaulis finds its way into a crib mattress or synthetic bedding that may contain the three offending chemicals, it feeds on these chemicals and releases them as a toxic nerve gas.  Once a baby sleeps on the mattress, the mold grows exponentially and releases the toxic gas (activated by body heat).  If a baby has a fever, and the mold is present, then growth of the mold is greatly increased and hence the release of toxic gas increases.‘…’The gas disintegrates quickly, but if it is inhaled while it is still potent, it acts as a nerve gas and stops heart function resulting in death.  It’s that simple.  This research is affectionately called the “toxic gas theory”.”

The three gases found were phosphine, arsine, and stibine. Dr. Sprott determined that;

  • SIDS is due to gaseous poisoning
  • the gas is heavier than air, with little or no odour
  • the gas affects the baby’s nervous system so that breathing stops as does the heart
  • the gas is probably produced by micro-biological action on something in the baby’s cot; but was not able to identify the gas.

After Dr. Richardson’s findings were released in 1989, the rate of SIDS death dropped drastically in England as well as in New Zealand.  A campaign in New Zealand began to advise parents to wrap their mattresses in a special polyethylene cover to create a barrier between the baby and the mattress.

“During this time, there has not been a single SIDS death reported among the over 100,000 New Zealand babies who have slept on mattresses wrapped in a specially formulated polyethylene cover. The number of crib deaths in New Zealand that have occurred since mattress-wrapping began in 1994 is about 810. The number of crib deaths that have occurred in New Zealand on a properly wrapped mattress is zero.”

Don’t ask me why the US has not addressed these findings; they don’t even hint at a possibility that this could be reason for SIDS. I, for one, am not going to take chances on the life of my child. Furthermore, most parents only purchase one mattress and then reuse for each child. By using a non-wrapped or non-organic mattress you are increasing the child’s chances of getting SIDS; each time you reuse the mattress, each baby will break down more of the covering, allowing each child thereafter to have a higher chance of releasing the toxins. That brought me to thinking about the SIDS babies that I had read about, and how the first child was fine but the second child died of SIDS. It makes a lot of sense.

To be continued…

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. 29 Weeks 7 days – – My Journey to being healthy, pregnant and toxin free.

    [...] to make. The first one was purchasing a truly organic mattress with all of the dressings. I wrote a blog on this a few weeks back regarding SIDS and provided some links to some great mattresses. After [...]

    April 26, 20102:42 am
  2. lee

    delawares@reproducibly.lamon” rel=”nofollow”>.…


    July 28, 20147:16 pm

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