As one of my MANY “nesting” projects, I set up our co-sleeper/bassinet the other day. I feel better now that I have such an important thing crossed off my list! The reason that this project warrants a blog post is that I put something very important on the mattress. It’s called a “BabeSafe Mattress Cover”, and it’s something that we believe is very important for the health and safety of our babies. We used one for our older daughter and I don’t intend to ever have our babies sleep on any mattress without it.
So, what is a “BabeSafe Mattress Cover”? Glad you asked! Well, you can get all of the details at Eve’s Best (look to the left column- it’s the first item under “Healthy Baby”), so here’s my summary. The theory is that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (called “Cot Death” in many other English-speaking countries) is caused by the toxins that the baby breathes in from the mattress and bedding. It makes perfect sense to me. This theory explains why babies that sleep on their tummies are so much more likely to die of SIDS than back-sleepers. Their faces are turned with their mouths and noses so close to the mattress, that they get a much higher concentration of the toxins. You might be wondering what toxins I’m referring to.
First of all, there are the chemicals from the very composition of the mattresses. They are synthetics that often out-gas toxins. Then there are flame-retardants, which are applied to all baby mattresses unless you spend tons of money (and you might even need a doctor’s prescription!) to get an untreated mattress. Flame-retardant chemicals are toxic… often they are neuro-toxins, which affect the nervous system (that could explain the “inexplicable” SIDS, when a baby just quits breathing). On top of the chemically-laden mattress, parents put a “protective” mattress pad to keep the mattress safe. That puts the baby in danger from more chemicals. There are ones that are “anti-microbial” (if it kills other things, why wouldn’t we expect a chemical to hurt/kill humans??), there are more flame-retardants for “safety”, there are cheap plastics that out-gas chemicals… the list could go on for quite awhile. One top of those, parents put sheets that are often doused in dangerous chemicals by the parents themselves! The synthetic scents in laundry detergent and the chemicals used in fabric softeners to “soften” the material are toxic, too. Wouldn’t it make sense that a tiny little body could inexplicably quit breathing with all of these toxins they get with every breath?
ON TOP of the horrible chemicals, there are several (usually harmless) fungi that feed off of the chemicals and emit a “toxic gas”, which is possibly even more dangerous than the chemicals themselves. Go the Eve’s Best to read about it yourself and check out the statistics that compare BabeSafe users and people who don’t use them. There have been NO reported cases of SIDS in babies sleeping on a properly wrapped BabeSafe covered mattress. None. I know that there are no guarantees about these kinds of things, but the statistical evidence is enough to convince me that it’s worth it!
Here’s what we do to protect our babies from high exposures to toxins. The “BabeSafe” can be ordered in several sizes each for cribs, bassinets and co-sleepers. We already have one on the crib (same one we used for our oldest and there is no need to replace it), so we ordered one for the new co-sleeper we bought. The special mattress cover prevents any toxic chemicals from getting to the baby, so once it’s on…
both the mattress AND the baby are protected! When it gets dirty, I just use a paper towel with some soapy water (liquid castile soap is non-toxic and works beautifully!) to wipe it clean.
Instead of a toxic mattress pad, we use several organic cotton flannel receiving blankets next…
They provide a little bit of softness on top of the mattress without added chemicals.
We finish with an organic cotton crib sheet, washed in a non-toxic laundry detergent and dried without fabric softener (it’s plenty soft enough without it!)…
And there you have it! Soft, safe and healthy for a sleeping baby!