Posts Tagged ‘ cribs ’

Toxic Chemicals Found in Crib Mattresses

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic chemicals often found in household cleansers and paints, have been found in the polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding materials found in many crib mattresses.  More on the new study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin:

The researchers studied samples of polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding from 20 new and old crib mattresses. Graduate student Brandon Boor, in the Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, conducted the study under the supervision of assistant professor Ying Xu and associate professor Atila Novoselac. Boor also worked with senior researcher Helena Järnström from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. They reported their findings in the February issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers found:

  • New crib mattresses release about four times as many VOCs as old crib mattresses.
  • Body heat increases emissions.
  • Chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone.

The researchers concluded that, on average, mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 87.1 micrograms per square meter per hour, while older mattresses emitted VOCs at a rate of 22.1 micrograms per square meter per hour. Overall, Boor said crib mattresses release VOCs at rates comparable to other consumer products and indoor materials, including laminate flooring (20 to 35 micrograms per square meter per hour) and wall covering (51 micrograms per square meter per hour).

Boor became motivated to conduct the study after finding out that infants spend 50 to 60 percent of their day sleeping. Infants are considered highly susceptible to the adverse health effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants.

“I wanted to know more about the chemicals they may inhale as they sleep during their early stages of development,” he said. “This research also helps to raise awareness about the various chemicals that may be found in crib mattresses, which are not typically listed by manufacturers.”

The 20 mattress samples are from 10 manufacturers. The researchers chose not to disclose the names of the manufacturers studied so that their results could draw general attention to the product segment without focusing on specific brands.

At present, not much is known about the health effects that occur from the levels of VOCs found in homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Researchers advised parents to allow new mattresses to air out in a garage or protected porch for as long a period as possible before placing it in a child’s crib.

Track Baby’s milestones with our helpful tool.

Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery
Nursery Ideas: Design a Nautical Nursery

Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock

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Crib Bumper Pads Banned in Maryland

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Bumper pads, the plush liners that are intended to prevent infants from bumping their heads on their wooden cribs, will be banned in the state of Maryland starting Friday.  The state cited safety concerns, including a suffocation risk, and lack of measurable benefits in making its rule.  The Associated Press has more:

Maryland’s health department notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health all advise against their use.

The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.

The ban doesn’t apply to vertical bumpers that wrap tightly around each crib rail or mesh crib liners, but the health department doesn’t endorse them.

For more information on crib safety click here.

Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock

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New Crib Safety Guidelines: What Parents Need to Know

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Starting Tuesday, June 28, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ban on drop-side cribs will take effect.  The cribs, which allow parents to lower one side of the crib for easier access, are responsible for 150 suffocation and strangulation deaths between 2007 to 2010.

The CPSC voted unanimously to overhaul the rules governing crib safety in July 2010, the first such move in nearly 30 years.

Manufacturers and retailers must make and sell only compliant beginning tomorrow, but rental cribs, such as are available in hotels, child care centers, and furniture rental companies, have until December of 2012 to comply with the new rules.

The new standards:

  • Ban drop-side construction altogether, requiring instead that cribs have fixed sides.
  • Require that mattress supports are stronger.
  • Improve the strength of the crib slats.
  • Require that crib hardware be more durable and less likely to fail.
  • Make crib safety testing more rigorous.

“I am very pleased that the new mandatory crib standards will stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous traditional drop-side cribs and will vastly improve the structural integrity of cribs,” said CPSC chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum in a statement.

The CPSC has published a Q&A for parents (visit the drop-side crib info page and scroll down to the “Consumers” section) with information on what drop-side crib owners can do.  Some key points families should know:

  • Families should not sell or donate a drop-side crib, even if it has been been fitted with immobilizing hardware.  Disassemble and discard the crib instead.
  • Parents can see if their particular drop-side crib has been recalled, and request a free hardware kit to immobilize the drop-side.
  • Some manufacturers may consider offering incentives or partial refunds for drop-side cribs, though they are not required by law to do so.
  • If you have a drop-side crib and are unable to purchase a new crib, check your crib’s hardware frequently, do not use the drop-side function, and check regularly to see if your crib has been recalled.

For more on crib safety, see:

And for more on product recalls that might affect your family, consult’s Toy and Product Recall Finder.

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