Why Our Children’s Mattresses Are Toxic, And How To Choose A Safe One

When I first started researching natural health options over a decade ago, to help find a natural way to remission from the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis I’d had since I was 2, I never realised the rabbit hole it would take me down. I wanted to learn about nutrition and about how the body responds to certain foods, and assumed that eating the right foods and taking certain supplements would be the answer. How wrong I was!

It’s like a domino effect, because learning about one thing leads onto another, and another, and another. For example, after learning that a vaccine was what initially triggered my illness, I decided to start researching vaccines, and was shocked to find out that formaldehyde—an ingredient that has been banned in shampoos for its toxicity—was one of the harmful toxins in vaccines. But then I learnt that formaldehyde is one of the toxic ingredients contained in most mattresses.

The problem, of course, is that this is one very expensive rabbit hole, and we can’t possibly change everything at once.

When people ask advice on adopting a more natural lifestyle, my first piece of advice is to take it slowly, one step at a time, starting with food. So of course, for us, we came to the mattress game fairly late. But when I did finally get round to researching mattresses and bedding as the next step in our health journey, here is what I learnt:

What is in mattresses?

Most mattresses contain PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which have been shown to leach into the human body, storing in fat cells and altering hormone function (especially thyroid function). For those with existing thyroid issues, this is a huge problem, and for those with other autoimmune issues, like rheumatoid arthritis, the same applies. The problem is, my learning has led me to the belief that all our efforts must go into preventative health; what is the point in waiting until we get diagnosed with a thyroid problem, or cancer, before we take steps to do something about it? By this point our bodies are so loaded with toxins and out of balance that it takes a huge amount of hard work and dedication to fix it, more so than what I do now.

Knowing that both thyroid and autoimmune inflammatory issues are underlying in my body, and that my children are genetically predisposed to these, meant that I could not turn back the clock on knowing about these harmful chemicals.

Because of stringent fire regulations, mattresses are, in most cases, doused in flame-retardant chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). These chemicals can also cause infertility and foetal growth problems, and the most infuriating part? Mattress companies are not required to disclose all of the chemicals they use, ones which have to withstand an open flame from a blowtorch for over a minute, and these chemicals are most harmful to babies and young children. Other than PBDE, most mattresses contain other harmful compounds such as:

  • Formaldehyde – Commonly used in mattresses, especially as an adhesive in mattresses made from polyurethane foam (a toxic petroleum-based material).
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Can cause lung and skin irritation and are often found in the glue in many mattresses.
  • Decabromodiphenyl Oxide and other Brominated Flame Retardants – These are linked to hair and memory loss and are listed as possible carcinogens.

And so began our journey toward a safer option for our son, which is where we found Little Green Sheep. I spoke to a lovely lady there who was so friendly and helpful, and she explained all about their mattresses and how they are made, and why they are way safer for tiny little lungs and bodies than the usual store-bought mattresses.

We have recently moved Braxton to a single bed, in preparation for baby number two (who has an organic Snuzpod mattress waiting for her), so we purchased their single mattress.

Key features of these mattresses

  • Beautifully handmade for comfort using only the best natural ingredients
  • Free from toxins and harmful chemicals
  • Naturally temperature regulating
  • Breathable and anti-dust mite
  • Progressive support, meeting industry experts’ recommendations

What’s inside? 

  • Coconut Coir – Coconut fibres form a supportive core, acting as thousands of tiny springs and providing a flat, consistent support
  • Natural Latex – Derived from the Hevea Tree, natural latex binds the coconut fibres and acts as a comfy, supportive layer
  • Organic Sheep’s Wool – A wrap of breathable fleece that is Hypo-allergenic and temperature regulating, whilst acting as a naturally anti-dust mite feature. The sheep’s wool removes the need for chemical fire-retardant sprays due to its naturally fireproofing properties.
  • Organic Cotton – A luxury quilted non-removable and durable Herringbone cotton cover holds everything in place and aids the breathability of the mattress.


A balance between the carefully measured layers of natural latex and coconut coir helps to offer the right level of support, whilst also being extremely durable and long-lasting, with no individual pressure points which are commonly found in sprung type mattresses that are prone to sagging over time.


To us, Braxton’s new mattress felt fairly firm to start with, more than we were used to, but it turns out that the support it offers is exactly optimum for this sort of age (up to 12 years) and he has miraculously been sleeping through the night since we moved him into his new bed, so it’s a win all round! We also got an organic mattress protector from Little Green Sheep, to make sure we weren’t putting all this effort in, to then go and put toxic bedding on the mattress. We finished it all up with organic cotton bedding and we couldn’t be happier with the result.

Organic Spoon Mattress
Braxton’s New Room

I feel like I can rest a little easier now, knowing that my baby isn’t breathing in harmful chemicals for up to 12 hours a day, ones that will interfere with his natural health patterns and affect his long-term health.

I hope this article helps in your journey to healthier living, and that it has succinctly explained all you need to know about mattresses.

For more information or to buy mattresses or bedding, contact Little Green Sheep.

Love & health,

Note: Thank you to Wellness Mama for some of the information provided here.


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