Archive | Toxic Bed Information

Dream Design Natural & Organic Mattresses

When I set off with my goal to purchase organic mattresses – my boys were close to purchasing a bunk bed that they saved for almost 2 years. The buildup for this was tremendously exciting and I didn’t want to drop the ball not finding mattresses they would like and that lived up to the safety requirements I needed them to have. With being a green business owner and blogger I have to admit this purchase proved to be much more difficult than I expected. It’s funny that the end result of purchasing my boys their mattresses came down to good old fashion word-of-mouth (thanks Sabrina and Trish!). Let’s not forget that I’m not buying an organic crib mattress(where there are many options available)  but twin mattresses that are larger and heavier in size. This factor almost (don’t forget I say almost) rules out purchasing larger mattresses online from across the country because the cost to ship these pieces starts to really add up.

The mattresses that we purchased are not organic but natural Dream Bed mattresses from Dream Designs. This ‘natural’ option allowed us to buy greener mattresses that are chemical free, locally crafted, and made with locally produced materials. The only difference between the organic and natural Dream Beds is the cotton casing around the exterior of the mattress is either organic or natural – also the cotton batting inside the mattress.  Oh – and quite a bit of money. The difference between the two options is more than $500 and since we were purchasing two – the decision was based on cost savings and the mattresses meeting my requirements for not containing chemical flame retardants or PVC (supporting a locally made mattress was just a huge bonus!). For a child’s organic twin mattress, you are going to pay approx. $1000.00. We paid under $500 per mattress for the natural option through Dream Designs…it’s a substantial savings.

I am very happy with the purchase. My main goal was purchasing mattresses for my kids without chemical flame retardants and a plastic exterior made from PVC. The natural flame retardant within a Dream Design mattress is wool, which meets the government criteria ~ naturally ~ so that chemicals are not added to the foam when the mattress is being manufactured. Linda, the owner of Dream Designs has amazing product knowledge and could answer all of my questions – she even cleared up the mystery that polyurethane foam can be used without having to add chemicals if it’s wrapped in wool or a natural flame retardant. The polyurethane foam that is used in a Dream Design mattress is locally sourced and also naturally biodegradable.

I always find it easier to gage size and dimensions from real pictures for products so I’ve included a few shots of my bottom bunk’s mattress. They are designed as futon mats and provide a very firm surface. Going from an older spring mattress to their new futon mattress was different for my sons and did take a bit for them to get used to. Also, you need to be wary of wetness. If you have a child that has the occasional accident, you should have a mattress protector because the exterior of the mattress is cotton without a waterproof liner. There are three options when selecting a Dream Design mattress 1) Tatami which is more like a bed topper or sleeping mat 2) Deluxe which consists of cotton & wool wrap combo around 2 layers of foam 3) Supreme which offers an extra 3rd layer of foam. Also of course – the different option between natural and organic Dream Beds. The difference in price between the Deluxe and Supreme is approx. $100 but after testing the different mattresses we actually found that the Supreme was too hard a surface and have been happy with the Deluxe. You can view from the mattress thickness below.

Being a newbie to purchasing new mattresses – I was surprised at the huge jump in price when researching kids organic mattresses from the cost of organic crib mattresses.  Thank goodness these mattresses will last 10 years and I feel good about my investment.  The joy my boys have experienced saving all that time to make a major purchase on their own has been amazing to watch. It was very cute observing my older son (who has dibs on the top bunk) experience a bit of ‘princess and the pea’ symptoms the first few weeks on the new mattresses and bunk bed. “I just feel like something isn’t quite right” he kept saying.  I didn’t want to be the one to tell him he’s missing having his little brother right next to him in bed since they’ve been split up to sleep in the top and bottom bunk. Both have settled into their independent sleeping quarters now and can’t wait to show off their new purchase to friends and proudly announce “and we even saved for 2 years!” A great experience to watch and I’m so proud of my guys…thank goodness there’s still room for Mommy on that bottom bed so I don’t loose any cuddle time.

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Ty & Lumi Organics

I’m so excited to talk about the newly launched Ty & Lumi Organics site ~ formerly called Snug As A Bug ~ this company is rockin incredible organic bedding designs for babies and young children.  Their new ecommerce site is amazing (love the logo), with product designs, baby bedding sets, and a business concept that I love, involving manufacturing organic bedding right here in North America.

Ty & Lumi bedding is extremely fun, safe, and adorable to look at, but this company is doing something very unique that is lowering cost and bringing their customers savings when sourcing organic bedding. Founder Jill discovered over a year ago that she could source organic cotton fabric within Canada and silkscreen Ty & Lumi designs locally and this would all cost less than importing organic cotton fabrics from overseas. It is not very often choosing the local route to manufacture products is less expensive and I was buzzing when owner Jill and Wendy explained this concept during their interview. Their silkscreen process uses water based inks to ensure additional reduction in skin irritation for babies.

Ty & Lumi have your nursery bedding requirements completely covered with one-stop shopping for fitted crib sheets, duvet covers, blankets, sleep sacks, change table/bassinet covers, and burp cloths. Ty & Lumi have created 5 incredible designs – it’s tough to pick a favorite!

~ Sleeping Green ~

~ Moo Moo ~

~ Snug As A Ladybug Pink ~

Another very smart and customer friendly option for their customers are Ty & Lumi bedding sets. Funny if you compare prices of the bedding sets at Babies R Us or other big box stores with the Ty & Lumi sets…the different in price is not far apart. Even better – the Ty & Lumi sets are organic and contain items you actually need for your crib and baby. I’m very practical and would rather give or receive items like a wool organic duvet, organic cotton duvet cover, organic cotton blanket, organic fitted crib sheet, sleep sack ~ rather than a crib skirt and bumper pad items that really don’t get full-use. Check out my favorite set on their site and don’t let the name Blanket Set deceive you. It contains a Sleepy Sheep wool duvet, duvet cover, cotton fitted crib sheet, and blanket. They’ve really covered all your bases with this package and it’s affordable for organic bedding at $369.00 – we are talking about a high quality organic wool duvet and all organic, locally made bedding – it’s a great price. Teaming up with Sleepy Sheep, who provide the beautiful wool duvets (who we’ve written about and are big fans) creates very convenient one-stop shopping for expecting parents. For those fans of sleep sacks, there are also special sets that contain a sleep sack instead of the blanket.

Ty & Lumi has really produced lovely options for parents who don’t want to compromise style for sourcing safe bedding for babies with delicately forming nervous systems. I know I’ve battling the question of quality over cheaper price point items before and bedding is no exception. But how cute the designs are mixed with the fact Ty & Lumi are manufacturing this bedding line local to where the fabrics are actually printed and shipped from (in Canada Whoot!) is just a superb business model and one that should be supported. Also it’s important to check organic certification and Ty & Lumi is Oeko-Tex certified. I’ve often seen this level of certification and asked Jill to explain what it means in an easy-to-understand paragraph. Here is her response:

The Oeko-Tex Certification is an International testing and certification system for textiles (Oeko-Tex Standard 100) and companies (Oeko-Tex Standard 1000). Textile samples are tested for the presence of harmful chemicals that have been known to persist on fabric (formaldehyde, pesticides, heavy metals, loose dye/colour, phthalates, chlorinated organic carriers, dyestuffs, allergy-inducing dyestuffs and preservatives such as pentachlorophenol and tetrachlorophenol). Oeko-Tex Certification is not an organic certification. However, it does test for some pesticides such as ones that are known to be harmful but are not yet banned. Many of the harmful chemicals it tests for are ones that are used in the fabric preparation process. Since babies are so small, their bodies are more susceptible to harmful chemicals. These chemicals can cause skin irritation and breathing problems. Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Product Class 1 is great for infants with eczema and asthma.

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification consist of four categories:

* Product Class I: Products for Babies up to 3 years
* Product Class II: Products with Direct Contact to Skin (i.e. clothes)
* Product Class III: Products without Direct Contact to Skin (i.e. linings, stuffings)
* Product Class IV: Decoration Material

The highest and most difficult certification to obtain is Product Class I. This certification means that a child can suck on the fabric and no harmful substances will come off.

Ty and lumi fabrics are organic (they are grown from non-genetically modified seed and without the use of toxic chemicals) and they are Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Product Class 1 certified.

I’m excited to announce our latest contest here at Mommy Footprint, as Ty & Lumi Organics has generously provided a signature organic fitted sheet – the winner of the contest selects their colour. The retail cost of this product is $64 and it’s so important to have a breathable, organic material close to where baby spends so many hours of it’s day. Thanks Jill & Wendy!

Contest will close May 28th and you can be entered to win by posting a comment on the Mommy Footprint Facebook fan page or via the Contest Referral Form. Everyone has a baby shower to attend this summer and this fitted organic crib sheet is a thoughtful, practical, and very much appreciated gift for any expecting mom.



Tips To Improve Household Carpet Health

A shocking quote from a great new book I’ve been reading called Ecoholic Home really jolted me into shifting my cleaning agenda with my home’s carpet. “One researcher said you’d have to vacuum 25 times a week for several weeks to bring the level of contaminants below safety standards”. Yikes!  There’s a shocking statement for anyone that hasn’t started to pay close attention to the health of their carpet. What do I mean by carpet health? Maintaining a regular routine of proper carpet care and here are 3 great tips, mentioned in Super Natural Home, if you’re looking for natural and effective ways to start:

1) If you must buy a new carpet, choose one made of wool.  It’s naturally flame retardant, nontoxic, and non-allergenic, and it deters bacterial growth.

2) Vacuum with a well-sealed, high-quality high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.

3) A good doormat will stop a lot of toxins right at the door. Or, take your shoes off when entering your house.

Thanks to Beth Greer for these tips. I totally agree with the tip regarding a great quality HEPA vacuum cleaner. My Dyson HEPA vacuum has already make a noticed improvement with the air quality in my home. I also learned that dirty shoes can drag in pesticides and unwanted chemicals into your home. A new found reason to have guests remove their shoes and put out door mats.

Air deodorizer are very toxic and should be removed from any cleaning routines (glade plug-ins, fabreeze, etc.), as they simply mask odour and off-gass phthalates into your home. Same goes for traditional carpet cleaners that you sprinkle, leave, then vacuum.  Skip the toxic route and grab your box of baking soda.  Even better <evil smile emerges>, give the box of baking soda to a young child and watch their delight in sprinkling this natural homemade carpet cleaner. Just like the antibacterial cloths that only need water to clean your windows, children can help out because it’s totally natural and safe. My sons love to help sprinkle the baking soda before I begin a deep vacuum of my carpeting. It’s a good idea to test the baking soda on darker carpets in a small test area first. My carpet is white so I’ve never worried about it.  Another tip before you vacuum is to replace toxic carpet spray for stains and go to the pantry to mix a paste of white vinegar and baking soda, work into the carpet with a brush or toothbrush, let paste dry and vacuum.  Two very easy methods to help remove odours, stains, and naturally reduce pollutants in your carpeting.  A huge bonus is you’re not yelling at your kids to get out of the room while you apply the cleaning cocktail or baking powder because it’s safe for them to be exposed to and even help clean with!

My last bit of research on improving the quality of your home’s carpet is the topic of hiring professional steam cleaners. There is nothing like a deep clean with steam that helps eliminate dust mites, allergens, dust, dirt, and chemical contaminants. BUT – with an extra big BUT…it is very difficult to find professional carpet cleaners that are truly non-toxic. I went with the company Citrus-O for many years, but they continually ask if you want the scotch guard extra (which is offering Teflon coating with the highly toxic chemicals PFOAs – a proven carcinogen). Also, I would always have a headache for days after Citrus-O left my house, dry mouth, and very irritated eyes. I haven’t the time to look over the material data sheets on their site, but my reaction says it all to me. If I find a company I can recommend, I’ll write a follow-up article. Over the last year, I’ve borrowed steam cleaners from friends that own them, and filled them with Dr. Bromers liquid soap (or you could use vinegar).  But if you want to hold companies marketing themselves as all-natural carpet cleaning accountable, ask them if they use either of these chemicals to ‘clean’ with: perchloroethylene (nickname is perc) or naphthalene. Suspected to be carcinogens, they are notorious dry cleaning additives known to cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea if inhaled (sound familiar to my symptoms?), kidney and liver damage. Next time you book your carpets to be cleaned, ask the company these questions and please post back to the comments of this article and share the results.

For more information on carpet health, you can read my recent review of the Dyson HEPA filter vacuum at: Dyson Asthma Certified Vacuum Cleaner



Dyson Asthma Certified Vacuum Cleaner

You may have noticed a fresh look for the Mommy Footprint site. Please check out our new, streamlined layout with a super charged focus on companies that are doing great things with children’s health and the environment. I’m thrilled to be hosting a Dyson banner at the top of Mommy Footprint to show my support of their amazing Asthma and Allergy Friendly certified products.

Like most parents, once my mind is fully wrapped around an issue regarding my kids health or happiness, I fully spring into action. Last month when my oldest child was ‘officially’ tagged with Asthma from the specialist, the wheels kicked into overdrive in my head.  Parents always question their abilities or things they’ve done when told their kids have a condition and I’m no different.  I’ve always known that I don’t vacuum or dust enough – even knowing many chemicals like phthalates travel within homes in dust.  It didn’t help having a weak in-house vacuum system because you wonder how much good you are actually achieving with poor suction and lots of carpet to get through.

The most common advice I’ve heard with helping a person suffering from asthma or allergies is to rip out all your carpet in your home. That theory, true or not, is not an option with my house having an entire upper floor with carpeting and my family room downstairs.  That option is simply too costly and when I replace my flooring, I want to source very green options (more costly) with material like cork. For me, the best option was to start researching a vacuum system with a HEPA filter. This type of vacuum is one of the few options I found in my research that is so effective for an allergy/asthma sufferer because the HEPA filter is amazing at removing air-born irritants and very small particles that other vacuum cleaners would not effectively trap. If you smell an odour when vacuuming – that is irritants coming back out of your machine. What brand did I choose to contact with my questions? Dyson. Dyson machines are actually certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma Society of Canada and 10 allergy associations worldwide. The reason a Dyson vacuum is so effective because they use Root Cyclone technology and include a HEPA filter that remove the smallest particles of dust, mould, and bacteria.

Dyson Canada sent me a DC25 All Floors model to test in my home and even my children have remarked ‘we’ve never seen mom this excited before’. Funny how life changes and a quality, well-designed, powerful vacuum has made my life so much easier and very exciting to clean my home with. Not only is it super powerful, but it’s a pleasure to push and simple to use. I couldn’t believe the amount of dust that has come out of my carpets. I had vacuumed with my in-house vacuum system only days before using the DC25 and look at all of the dust it removed from my carpet! I took a picture because it was so shocking what we’ve been living with and this was only from 2 rooms!

I’ve included various links throughout this article for you to learn more from the Dyson site. My focus for this article was sourcing a product that will and is already helping provide a healthier environment for my child with asthma. Dyson machines are known to never lose suction, but the filters and strength of the machine offer so much more and the proof is in the canister for me. The lines left on my carpet from the superb suction from the machine looks like I’ve just had my carpets professionally cleaned. The industrial strength of the Dyson, balanced with this lightweight, beautiful design makes me want to use it more often and I know I’m improving my home with reducing chemicals and possible irritants for asthma, eczema, or allergies with my kids. When you purchase a Dyson vacuum online – the shipping is free so if you’re in the market for a new vacuum, click onto the Dyson Canada or US site and experience their amazing customer service.  The warranty is great too with 5 year parts and labor. Dyson, you really are the total package with cool looking design, easy manoeuvrability (click here to watch video of the Dyson ball), and great results!

I will be writing a few more articles in this series about how to effectively manage your carpet’s health to help improve the overall environment for your household. Along with a HEPA filter vacuum, there are many more natural tips that will help.



Natural Tips to Improve Bedroom Air Quality

I recently had a wonderful phone call with ‘Mama Maven‘, otherwise known as Tanis Frame and like most green minded mamas – an instant connection formed. Tanis’ passion is to empower parents with knowledge and is hired to speak to schools or parent groups and share her quality knowledge with topics like healthy home, baby carrier info and diapering alternatives. She can also be contacted to speak in a smaller, more intimate setting with groups of friends – very cool for a group of ladies joining the new world of parenting.

During our phone call, she suggested additional tips for naturally removing contaminants and improving bedroom air quality and I’m happy I can share. My thanks to Tanis, who with a background in toxicology and children’s environmental health is an amazing resource for information and it’s always fun to learn tips that are inexpensive and easy to source.

Tips to Instantly Improve Household Air Quality

Fresh Air!   Could it be that simple? Inside our home is where many chemicals off-gassing resides, particularly formaldehyde and benzene. Released from furniture, carpets, cleaning products, along with phthalates and flame retardants in bedding and dust, these toxins tend to collect in our homes and the air we breathe.  So get outside and spend time outdoors and bring the fresh air in and open your windows and flush through fresh air. Enjoy the benefits of quick recirculation and refreshing of the air you’re breathing. An instant process to remove odours and think of it as nature’s air freshener. One of the quickest ways to create a toxic environment for children is to spray air fresheners and febreeze in the air. Read more on masking odours with chemicals here.

Bring in Plants! Not only do plants freshen the air we breathe, but also the planet and our indoor spaces. Tanis mentioned a study by Nasa about how plants remove assorted chemicals in different amounts. It is SO interesting!  The common philodendron, spider plant, devil’s ivy, and Boston fern naturally remove formaldehyde from the air.  Peace lilies, chrysanthemums, and gerbera daisies are said to filter out benzene and trichloroethylene.  Mama Maven’s personal favourite is the Snake Plant because it’s not only a top air purifier, it grow quickly, is inexpensive, and it’s very difficult to kill. (Big bonus for parents that don’t have time to manage finicky plants.) Another great plant is the Spider Plant because it hangs out of reach and the “babies” can be rooted in water and planted over the course of the year.

Added note from Suzanne… Certain plants recommended are considered poisonous houseplants so you need to keep up, away from pets and children (e.g. Snake Plant). Here is a list of Poisonous Houseplants from the Blog Houseplant Care Tips **

Added note from Suzanne… I read the Houseplant chapter of Adria Vasil’s latest Ecoholic book, called Ecoholic Home and she agrees with plants improving air purification and recommends “15 leafy creatures in a 2,000 square foot home should do the trick” for encouraging absorption of certain VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene. A great read if you are looking for extensive and quality research on greening and creating a healthier home.

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