Is it Safe for a Baby to Sleep on a Memory Foam Crib Mattress?
The use of a memory foam crib mattress is not recommended for infants. To avoid suffocation, baby crib mattresses should be firm, whereas memory foam is soft. Because babies can’t regulate their own body temperature, they require a cold sleeping surface, and memory foam is heated.
Memory foam crib mattresses are also unsuitable for newborns for a variety of reasons. Continue reading to find out more.(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here)
Why You Should consider An Alternate Option To Memory Foam On A Crib Mattress
It’s A Suffocation Risk
The flexibility of a memory foam mattress is one of the reasons why so many adults like to sleep on it. Memory foam adapts to your body when you lie down on it. While this is a great way to sleep as an adult, it is extremely hazardous for a newborn.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states:
“If the child is placed in or rolls over to the prone [tummy] position, soft mattresses, particularly memory foam mattresses, might form a pocket (or indentation) and raise the risk of rebreathing or suffocation.”
This is one of the primary reasons why softer isn’t always better when it comes to infant crib mattresses. No compromises are acceptable when it comes to a firm cot mattress for babies. This is also true of memory.
It Retains Body Heat
One of the most common complaints regarding memory foam mattresses among adults is that they are too hot to sleep on. Memory foam has a proclivity towards retaining body heat.
In this sense, traditional memory foam is the worst. Even newer forms of memory foam, such as open-cell and gel-infused memory foam, are hotter than non-memory-foam mattresses.
Adults may find this unpleasant, but newborns may die as a result.
The National Institute of Health states:
“Infants are susceptible to temperature extremes and have trouble regulating their body temperatures. Multiple layers of heavy clothes, thick blankets, and high room temperatures have all been linked to an increased risk of SIDS in studies.”
The relationship between SIDS and SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant) and hyperthermia is well-documented.
“One of the measures to decrease the risk of SUDI (source) has been to avoid overheating.”
This danger isn’t limited to the tiniest of infants. In fact, kids older than 3 months may be more susceptible to the SIDS-overheating connection than babies younger than 3 months. “High ambient temperature may be a unique risk factor for SIDS, especially at 3 months of age,” according to peer-reviewed Canadian research.
With this in mind, it’s critical to do everything you can to keep your infant cool at night and during naps, especially if they’re older. This includes deciding on the greatest crib mattress.
Memory Foam Crib Mattresses Smell
Another typical criticism regarding memory foam is its odor, which is in addition to the fact that it is rather heated.
VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are found in memory foam (VOC’s). The bonds that keep VOC’s together break down over time because they are volatile (unstable). Off-gassing occurs when bonds break down and create gaseous byproducts. VOC’s such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, and perfluorocarbons may be present in memory foam.
The odor, which originates from the chemicals used during production, should linger approximately a month.
As parents, we know that the VOC’s stated above aren’t something we want our children to come into contact with.
Traditional crib mattresses produced upper-airway and lower-airway discomfort in mice, as well as reductions in mid-expiratory airflow velocity, according to research investigating the respiratory consequences of mattress off-gassing in mice. “A polyurethane foam pad coated in vinyl caused the most airflow reduction (affecting 26 percent of the breaths)” (emphasis ours). Further study into all children’s mattresses (not just memory foam) has found that materials used in traditional mattress manufacture pose a substantial risk to children’s health, with mattress coverings, in particular, causing newborns to inhale excessive levels of phthalates.
To be clear, these findings do not relate exclusively to memory foam, but rather to crib mattresses in general. It’s also not a recommendation for memory foam crib mattresses, but it does make a strong argument for selecting an organic crib mattress over a standard one.
Safe Crib Mattresses To consider
Memory foam mattresses are not suitable for use in cribs. We don’t do that in our house, and we strongly advise you to do so as well.
All memory foam crib mattresses and mattress toppers are affected. Memory foam products designed particularly for newborns are available from several manufacturers. We will avoid these items until an unbiased kid health and safety group weighs in on them.
We want to avoid memory foam crib mattresses as long as prominent paediatric organisations suggest it.
Instead, choose for an organic crib mattress or a traditional foam or innerspring crib mattress.