Best Organic Crib Mattress, Budget-Friendly: Colgate EcoFoam Supreme

Can we talk? Organic crib mattresses can be priced like they came out of a hotel mini bar. We’re talking “Honey, we’ve got to take out a second mortgage” expensive. So it is with relief that we found an organic crib mattress that doesn’t break the bank: Colgate’s EcoFoam Supreme mattress.

After testing 11 different organic mattresses and consulting with experts on mattress construction (as well as visiting mattress factories ourselves), we pick Colgate as one of our best bets. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Eco-friendly foam = lightweight. We like lighter weight crib mattresses made of foam—they are easier to lift up in the middle of the night to change sheets, especially for sleep-deprived parents. The only problem? Most foam crib mattresses are made from petrochemicals. This mattress is made from ecologically friendly CertiPUR-US foam. This foam is:

✓ Made without ozone depleters

✓ Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants

✓ Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals

✓ Made without formaldehyde

✓ Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

✓ Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)

• Made in the USA by a family-owned company. Colgate, a small family-owned mattress maker outside of Atlanta, Georgia founded in 1955, is one of the companies we’ve been researching for over 25 years. And we’ve always found them to be straight shooters. This contrasts to some imported crib mattresses, whose claims of “natural” and “eco-friendly” materials are hard to verify.

• Waterproof cover.

• Affordable. 

• No chemical fire retardants. 

What Needs Work

• Only one stage. Some mattresses have two stages—a firm side for baby and a slightly less firm side for toddlers. This is preferred by some parents, but this mattress only has one level of firmness. That said, we don’t think this mattress is uncomfortable for toddlers, based on our testing and reader feedback.

• Polyurethane foam. Yes, the foam here is more eco-friendly than other petrochemical foams . . but we know some folks prefer more sustainable materials in a mattress. In that case, we’d recommend our next pick.

Best Organic Crib Mattress, Splurge-Worthy: Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress – Classic Lightweight

If you are considering giving an organic crib mattress as a gift or have the budget for a splurge, here’s what we’d pick: Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress.

We actually visited Naturepedic’s factory outside of Cleveland, Ohio to verify the company’s claims of organic and sustainable practices. Here’s a shot of a worker assembling a Naturepedic crib mattress, attaching the organic cotton batting to the mattress core:

Best Organic Crib Mattress Factory Visit

(For the record, we always pay our own travel expenses when we visit a factory. We don’t take money or freebies from the brands we recommend).

Here’s more on why we recommend this mattress:

What We Liked

• Lightweight. This mattress features closed-cell air pockets made from food-grade polyethylene. As a result, this mattress is half the weight of a traditional coil mattress. Here’s a photo of the inside of the mattress:

Naturpedic Wavesupport photo

• Two stage option available. This mattress comes in two versions. The dual-firmness model with a harder side for infants, and a softer side for toddlers. The basic model lacks the softer side for toddlers. For the record, we think either is fine. If you want a coil mattress, Naturepedic’s Organic Cotton Classic 150 coil mattress is a good option.

• Quality construction: organic cotton filling, a firm foam or coil innerspring AND a waterproof cover. All of Naturepedic’s mattresses contain no PVC’s, polyurethane foam or chemical fire retardants.

• Waterproof cover. This mattresses’ cover is organic cotton fabric with a food grade polyethylene waterproofing—making it both waterproof and dust mite/bed bug proof. Under the cover is another layer of organic cotton filling and there are no chemicals required to make it flame retardant. Another plus, the mattress is seamless with waterproof edges.

What Needs Work

• Pricey. The No Compromise is not exactly the cheapest mattress on the market, but it is comparable to (and somewhat less expensive than) other organic, chemical-free options.

• Glitches—but good customer service. Some parents have complained their mattress sagged after only a short time. Other parents note that the measurement of the mattress was off and it was too small for their crib (leaving an unacceptable gap). Naturepedic replaced those mattresses that had problems. Overall, the company’s customer service is good.

More on Naturepedic, the Brand

Naturepedic’s owner Barry Cik got the idea for his company after a frustrating search for a crib mattress for his grandchild. Cik, an environmental engineer and hazardous material expert, was appalled at what he found on the market—crib mattresses made of petro-chemical foam, chemical fire retardants and more.

“I knew all about vinyl/PVC, polyurethane foam, and the various chemicals contained in them and there was no way I was going to put my grandchild to sleep within a few inches of these chemicals” Cik said. In 2004, Cik launched Naturepedic as a more natural alternative.

The company has five goals for its crib mattresses: no harmful chemicals; no allergenic materials; natural, organic and renewable materials wherever possible; practical, easy to clean design; and third-party testing by GreenGuard to ensure they meet strict standards.

Best Organic Crib Mattress for Hot ClimatesColgate zenBaby Hybrid 2-in-1 Crib Mattress with KulKote Technology

If you live in a hot climate, this is the organic crib mattress we’d recommend: Colgate’s zenBaby Hybrid 2-in-1 mattress is a foam crib mattress that is treated with a special gel called KulKote. In a nutshell, this helps regulate temperature—keeping a mattress from getting too hot. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Two stage design. Firmer side for babies, less firm for toddlers.

• Made in the USA. This mattress is made by Colgate, the same reputable company we discuss earlier in this article.

• Foam is made from plant-based oils.

• No chemical fire retardants. 

• Cooling technology. A special non-toxic gel on the top layer of the mattress is made of a “phase change” material. Basically, it absorbs heat when the temperature rises and releases it if the temperature falls. For those science-y types, here is a graphic:

What is Kulkote technology?

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

Best Lightweight Mattress: Lullaby Earth Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

Lullaby Earth is part of the Naturepedic mattress company—we recommended one of their mattresses earlier in this article. Lullaby Earth are Naturepedic’s more affordable line of crib mattresses. What is the different? These mattresses are made with foam instead of coil springs (that is less expensive to manufacture). Also: Lullaby Earth mattresses have one layer of cotton batting while Naturepedic mattresses use two layers.

Here’s why we like this mattress:

What We Liked

• Non toxic foam. This crib mattress is made of polyethylene foam (a non-toxic, food-grade foam that requires no fire retardant chemicals). Most other non-organic foam mattresses on the market are made of polyurethane.

• Lightweight at just 7 lbs. That makes it easier to change sheets in the middle of the night.

• Seamless edges makes the mattress easier to keep clean.

• Affordable. 

• Made in the USA at a factory outside of Cleveland, OH.

• Waterproof cover. 

What Needs Work

• Noisy, says a few critics. We didn’t notice this in our testing, but we see some parents say they found the cover to be too noisy.

• Sagging. We see a few reports from our readers that this mattress sagged after several months of use; others said it didn’t sag at all. We’re not sure how widespread this issue is, but we understand how that would disappoint parents who thought they could get longer use out of this mattress.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing cribs and crib mattresses since 1994. Yes, that long! In addition to hands on inspections of crib mattresses, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!

How we picked a winner

We take a hands-on approach to evaulating crib mattresses—that means checking density of samples for firmness and researching the various exotic materials some mattress makers use (are coconut husks safe for a baby to sleep on?).

We also gather significant feedback from our readers (parents like you who’ve read our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print). We track mattress quality and durability—does that mattress start to sag over just a few months of use?

Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of crib mattresses to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.

We meet with key company executives from the major crib mattress makers at least once a year, to stay up on the latest trends and research.

6 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Crib Mattress!

1. Forget all the fancy claims: all you need is a firm mattress with a waterproof cover.

What’s inside the mattress (foam, coil, latex, mohair, etc) is a matter of personal preference. After reviewing dozens of studies on crib mattress safety, there is no evidence that one material is healthier (or more dangerous) than another . . . despite what you might read online! Organic crib mattresses are a matter of personal preference.

Next, it should snuggly fit your crib with no gaps more than two fingers length between the mattress and the crib.

Two finger test for crib mattresses

And while you’d think it would be no-brainer, there are some mattresses sold with NON-waterproof covers, so buyer beware.

2. That crib mattress could cost more than your crib.

Yep, the best quality crib mattresses can run more than the cost of a crib. Organic cotton batting, seamless covers and other quality features do cost money.

3. There’s no such thing as a “breathable mattress.”

Many parents are understandably concerned about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Unfortunately, some crib mattress makers play on this fear by claiming their super-duper mattress made from special material (unicorn husk shavings?) is “breathable” and a lower suffocation risk than non-unicorn mattresses. Quick fact check: that’s FALSE.

These magical claims may lead some parents to think it is ok to put baby to sleep on their stomach. Wrong—the safest way for baby to sleep in a crib is on their back . . . on a firm mattress.

4. Key quality feature to look for: triple laminated/reinforced vinyl covers.

These covers are more durable and less likely to tear (when you move the mattress around to change the sheets). Lower quality mattresses just have a single or double layer of vinyl.

5. Say no to that hand-me-down.

Your friend’s cousin has a crib mattress sitting in her attic that she’d love to pawn off . . . uh, we mean graciously give you. Politely refuse. Why? Bacteria and mold can grow in an old mattress, even if it has a waterproof cover—and especially if it has been stored in a dank basement or unventilated attic. We also suggest a new mattress with each baby.

6. Lighter = Better.

Babies do all sorts of things in cribs other than occasionally sleep. When it is time to change the sheets, you have to wrestle with that crib mattress. And here, lighter mattresses (usually foam) are much easier to handle than heavier options (most likely coil mattresses).  Another option: go for quick change sheets that don’t require you to wrestle with the mattress.

Let’s take a look at the structure of a foam mattress vs. a coil mattress (photo credits: Sealy):

Sealt Foam-Core Crib and Toddler Mattress

Compare the foam mattress (much lighter) to the spring version.

Sealy Posture Perfect Crib and Toddler Mattress

If you have to change sheets a lot (common occurrence!), the springs make this version a lot heavier.

 

Photo credit: Paul Hanaoka

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