I recently found myself searching for an organic crib mattress. I thought the process would be simple but quickly discovered that there are many choices, all boasting different claims.
Some crib mattresses say they’re “made with organic materials,” while others are labeled “nontoxic,” “environmentally friendly,” “green,” or “natural.” Then there’s the confusing matter of certification, with some labels sporting GreenGuard Gold, GOTS, GOLS, or CertiPUR-US awards.
If you’re as confused as I was, you’ll want to read on. We’ve dug deep to learn more about crib mattress standards and organic mattress certifications. We’ll explain it all below in simple terminology.
We’ll also share our top picks for organic crib mattresses based on certification, safety features, cost, size, and weight. Here’s how to find the best organic crib mattress for your baby.
- Waterproof coating
- Limited lifetime warranty
- GreenGuard Gold certified
- Durability proven and tested
- Easy to clean
- CertiPUR-US certified
- Blended organic cotton cover
- CertiPUR-US & GreenGuard certified
- Blended organic cotton cover
- Extremely lightweight
- GOTS and GreenGuard certified
- Can be used with a toddler bed
Natural vs. Organic: What’s the Difference?
Thanks to the work of journalists and environmental groups, we now understand that many modern products are made with a host of harmful chemicals. From pesticides to fire retardants, chemicals are introduced into products at every stage of the manufacturing process. Baby products, like crib mattresses, are no exception.
Unfortunately, for many of these chemicals, we don’t understand exactly how they impact human health. We do know that once products are in the home, these chemicals can “off-gas” and affect indoor air quality. Poor air quality can, at the very least, lead to eye, nose, and throat discomfort for your child (1).
Several brands have started offering “natural” or “organic” products in response to these revelations. These allegedly contain fewer harsh chemicals, such as heavy metals, pesticides, or phthalates.
In reality, though, the “natural” label means almost nothing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a policy on using the word “natural” with food products. However, it doesn’t apply to textile products like mattresses.
In essence, companies are free to use the term to attract buyers. The products behind the label don’t actually have to contain fewer chemicals or be more eco-friendly. So, the next time you see the word, it may be a good idea to dig deeper!
Items under an “organic” label are a different story, although still a complicated one. As of this writing, there isn’t a 100% organic certification available for mattresses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows non-food brands to use the term organic, even when only a portion of the materials are certified organic.
However, there are a variety of helpful eco-friendly and organic certifications that can tell you more about your mattress. They inform you of some of the following criteria:
- The percentage of organic materials in the product.
- The types of chemicals not used in the product.
- The sustainability of the supply chain.
- The labor practices for the workers that manufactured it.
We use these certifications to ensure the crib mattresses we recommend are the most organic the market can offer.
How to Choose an Organic Crib Mattress
When it comes to crib mattresses, there are so many options. For many families, eco-friendly and organic materials are a top priority. However, other factors should be considered to ensure a safe sleeping environment for your child.
A firm mattress is crucial for babies — especially newborns. Those guys aren’t yet strong enough to roll over or move their heads well. A firm mattress will be less likely to sag or conform to their bodies —minimizing the potential for suffocation on fabric and mattress material (2).
A great way to test for firmness is to push on the mattress you’re thinking about buying. When you push your hand down and then remove it, can you still see the imprint afterward? If so, it probably isn’t firm enough for a young baby.
When buying a mattress, you should ensure it fits your crib perfectly. This sounds obvious. However, both mattresses and cribs can vary slightly from their standard sizes, leaving some room for your baby to fall into the gap.
Test your crib and mattress compatibility before your baby arrives. Many cribs have the recommended mattress sizes on their packaging. If in doubt, ask someone at your local baby store.
This one is less about baby safety and more about parent safety. Some mattresses can weigh more than 20 pounds. Foam mattresses tend to be between 9 and 13 pounds, while coil mattresses can be between 15 and 25 pounds.
When you change the mattress sheet or take it out to be cleaned, you’ll be picking it up while bending over the crib railing. It can put a lot of strain on your lower back, especially because most cribs are pretty deep on the lowest height setting. It’s a good idea to test the weight before you purchase.
Crib mattresses can take a beating. Diaper blowouts, spit-up, and vomit can all cause liquids to soak into your mattress. These liquids can harbor mold or mildew if left unattended or not cleaned properly.
Many mattresses come with removable waterproof covers, which are a great option to consider. They make accident cleanups super easy and protect your mattress from potential damage.
The Best Organic Crib Mattresses of 2022
Here are 5 great organic crib mattresses for you to consider.
1. Naturepedic Organic Coil Crib Mattress
Best Organic Coil Mattress
This coil mattress has many of the certifications we discussed above to assure buyers of its high-quality material. The mattress has a 252 coil count and is padded with GOTS-certified 3D fabric for ultimate comfort.
Rather than using chemicals for protection, this mattress has an organic cotton cover that is not only breathable, allowing 360-degree air circulation, but also waterproof for easy cleanup of messes.
When it comes to chemicals, the mattress is GreenGuard Gold certified. This means it is held to stringent chemical emissions limits. The mattress also comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for defects, which always gives peace of mind.
At just over 22 pounds, though, this is one of the heavier mattresses out there. If you haven’t been lifting weights recently, changing the mattress could be a two-person job.
- GOTS and GreenGuard Gold certified.
- Breathable and waterproof.
- Firm mattress.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Changing sheets can be a chore with this 22-pound mattress.
2. Colgate Bassinet or Cradle Mattress
Best Organic Bassinet Mattress
Bassinets are used in the earliest days, but this is also the time when children are most sensitive. The Colgate bassinet mattress is a great option if you’re looking to go organic from the beginning but don’t want to use a traditional crib just yet.
This mattress is made with a GreenGuard-Gold-certified nontoxic material. A waterproof core helps protect it from long-term liquid damage — perfect for those newborn diaper blowouts or when you need to set your baby down after bathtime.
Designed to last, this bassinet mattress is tested for safety and durability and meets government safety standards. The mattress also meets the GreenGuard Gold standard for chemical emissions.
At 11.2 pounds, this is not a lightweight option compared to others on the list, but it certainly will fit most bassinets and cradles. Many bassinets are oval-shaped, but some aren’t, so take care that yours is the right size and shape before purchasing.
- Tested and proven to be durable.
- GreenGuard Gold certified.
- Easy to clean.
- It only fits oval-shaped sleep spaces.
3. LA Baby Foam Organic Crib Mattress
Best Affordable Organic Crib Mattress
This soy foam mattress is CertiPUR-US certified for its low chemical emission levels. Soy foam is also high-density, ensuring this mattress provides the support new babies need. Because foam is usually petroleum-based, this soy alternative helps reduce your carbon footprint.
One side also includes a memory foam layer. This is for toddlers who are strong enough to control their bodies and can safely sleep on a softer mattress at night.
The mattress is wrapped with a blended organic cotton cover. “Blended organic” means it doesn’t quite fit the higher percentage standards of GOTS, but it does contain some organic raw material. This cover is waterproof and hypoallergenic for babies with sensitive skin.
At 13 pounds, it’s lighter than many on the market. It’s also designed with air vents to promote durability and a longer lifespan.
- Lighter than other organic mattresses at only 13 pounds.
- CertiPUR-US certified.
- Blended organic cotton cover.
- Waterproof outer layer.
- Not fully organic.
4. Colgate Eco-Classica Organic Crib Mattress
Best Organic Foam Crib Mattress
This mattress is CertiPUR-US certified, ensuring that the foam material is made with fewer chemicals. It’s also compliant with the GreenGuard standard, which means it meets more stringent VOC requirements.
The mattress is covered with certified organic cotton, containing a percentage of organic raw material. On the back side of this cotton cover is a waterproof layer to protect the mattress from accidents.
At 6 inches thick, you’ll get a tight fit for sheets, reducing the potential for suffocation hazards in your child’s crib. And at just over 9 pounds, this mattress is extremely lightweight.
Like others we have reviewed, this mattress is two-sided. As your child grows, you can flip it over for more comfort.
- CertiPUR-US certified.
- GreenGuard certified.
- Blended organic cotton cover.
- Easy to clean.
- Weighs only 9 pounds, making it easy to move around.
- Not fully organic.
- The infant side is firmer than many other mattresses.
5. Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress
Best Organic Cotton Crib Mattress
This mattress is made with GOTS-certified organic cotton and doesn’t contain polyurethane foam. The mattress is also GreenGuard certified and contains no phthalates, vinyl, latex, perfluorinated compounds, formaldehyde, or flame retardants.
It’s covered with food-grade polyethylene waterproofing that isn’t derived from GMO plants. This keeps liquids and biological irritants, like mites, out of your mattress and away from your child. It can also be beneficial for babies who are sensitive to allergens, such as dust and pollen.
The size of this mattress contributes to its durability. It will fit most toddler beds. If taken care of, this mattress can last from the newborn days through the toddler bed years.
- GOTS and GreenGuard certified.
- It can be used with a toddler bed.
- Materials are good for kids with allergies.
- Doesn’t hold its shape for very long.
Organic and Environmental Certifications: What Do They Mean?
When it comes to crib mattresses, six different certifications may apply. Some apply to chemical levels in the mattress, while others indicate how the material was farmed and produced. Mattresses can have more than one of these certifications, or none of them.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
This certification is the best when it comes to organic crib mattresses. Products with this certification must meet the stringent environmental, social, and human toxicity criteria set by the standard (3). The standard is subdivided into two sub-categories: “organic” and “made with organic.”
“Organic” produced certified under GOTS must be made of at least 95% certified organic fibers. “Made with organic” products must be made of at least 70% certified organic fibers but with no more than 10% synthetic fibers.
All GOTS-certified products must contain no heavy metals, formaldehyde, or other harsh chemicals. Additionally, the workers manufacturing the mattress must not be held under forced labor, work excessive hours, or be forced to work in unsafe conditions.
The standard is regularly updated and considered by a group of stakeholders. After they’ve made changes to the standards, manufacturers have a set period to comply to maintain their certification.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
The Global Organic Latex Standard is similar to the GOTS standard but applies to mattresses made with latex (4). More and more mattresses are being made with latex due to its durability and flexibility. This standard ensures your product meets certain environmental and social regulations.
Like the GOTS standard, a GOLS-certified mattress must be made of at least 95% certified organic raw material. Every link along the supply chain, from the rubber plantation to the final retailer, must meet the standard to comply.
A GOLS-certified mattress must be tested for harmful chemical emissions, labor conditions, and filler material percentages. Mattresses can be both GOTS and GOLS certified.
Organic Content Standard
This standard applies to any non-food product, including mattresses (5). This standard only considers whether the materials in the product are organic or not. It does not verify the level of harmful chemicals that may or may not be present.
Products certified to this standard must be made of at least 95% certified organic materials. It covers the entire supply chain, from processing to mattress distribution. If your product is certified, the label will say “OCS 100 certified.”
Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX
This standard does not ensure that the materials in your mattress were produced organically, but it can assure you that the mattress contains fewer chemicals. Mattresses that meet this standard must comply with harmful chemical testing limits. These limits are reviewed and revised annually.
It also provides a helpful online tool for customers who want to verify that their product is actually certified. All you have to do is go to their website and enter the certification number to ensure the label is real (6).
This standard is designed to reassure buyers that their products are low in chemicals and don’t emit particles. Like the GOTS standard, it has two sub-categories: GreenGuard and GreenGuard Gold (7).
The GreenGuard certification tests products for levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are compounds that can easily turn to vapor or gas and subsequently be inhaled by humans (8).
The GreenGuard Gold certification holds products to even stricter standards for VOCs. Products must be tested and meet maximum levels for all VOCs combined.
The CertiPUR-US standard is designed for products that are made with foam. Many crib mattresses are made almost entirely of foam. If you choose this kind of mattress, CertiPUR-US will help assure you that it has reduced chemicals.
Mattresses that comply with this certification are made without ozone depleters, phthalates, certain flame retardants, or formaldehyde and have low VOC levels.
Like other standards, the CertiPUR-US website helps buyers find brands and stores that stock certified products (9).