New and expecting mothers have heard about the danger of SIDS over and over again, but we’re rarely given an answer. We’re told the cause is unknown and that little can be done to prevent it. We’ll wake up dozens of times during the night just to make sure our baby is breathing. We lay our babies on their sides, swaddled with blankets at their back, just to make sure they don’t roll over and sleep in a prone position – a common belief of a contributor to SIDS. However, new research has brought us closer to understanding what exactly may be the cause of SIDS. For dozens of years, new mothers may have been laying their babies down on the cause of SIDS – chemical-laden crib mattresses and portable crib mattresses.
Unlike organic crib mattresses, the traditional crib mattress contains chemicals like arsenic, phosphorus, and antimony. These were added to the mattresses initially with the best of intentions, as they act as fire retardants. However, before manufacturers added these chemicals to their mattresses, SIDS was rarely heard of. Afterward, the death rate skyrocketed in newborns. As more and more people began to look at the relationship between non-organic crib mattresses and portable crib mattresses and SIDS, science discovered a very scary possibility. As crib mattresses start to age, these fire retardant chemicals react with ordinary household fungi (harmless fungi, at that) to create a very, very dangerous chemical reaction. The toxins emitted, as these compounds interact, are actually a thousand times more toxic than carbon monoxide. While other factors like nutrition, smoking around the baby, and sleep position are still potentially factors in SIDS, given the research relating non-organic crib mattresses to fatal toxin release should be enough for new mothers to take a look at their portable and non-portable crib mattress purchases.