Discovery Files

Crib mattress dangers

NSF-funded researchers discover harmful chemicals in crib mattresses

Babies spend over 50 percent of their day sleeping.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) Nordic Research Opportunity-funded researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have discovered that while infants sleep, they also breathe in high levels of chemicals released from crib mattresses.

The team analyzed the foam padding in 20 new and old crib mattresses and found they emit significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), potentially harmful chemicals also found in household cleaners and scented sprays.

The team hopes this research helps raise awareness about various chemicals that may be found in crib mattresses. They advise parents to air out mattresses and reduce infant exposure to harmful chemicals.