What makes this the right choice of mattress protector for my baby? It promotes a Safer Breathing Zone™.
How does it provide a Safer Breathing Zone? Firstly, it enables parents to provide optimal air quality for their baby to breathe while sleeping. The patented, vapour-proof construction shields baby from cot/crib mattress off-gassing and thus limiting VOC exposure. The mattress protector is also tested and certified not to produce its own VOCs. Secondly, the product is Firm Friendly™. Free from padding and firm fitting to limit potential hazard if the baby turns over.
Should I buy a mattress protector based on comfort, that is soft and padded? Overly padded mattress protectors can make sleeping surfaces too soft. Globally all consumer advice and safe sleeping organisations recommend a firm sleep surface.
What is the risk for my baby if the sleep surface is not firm enough? A sleeping surface that fails the standard increases the risk of suffocation by up to 3 times as outlined in the voluntary Australian Standard (Standards Australia/New Zealand Standard 8811.1:2013)
How do I know if my baby's total sleep surface is firm enough? Possibly your mattress is certified to meet the voluntary Australian Standard AS/NZS 8811.1:2013. If not you can use a Firmometer (the actual device used for creating and testing the Standard) or a homemade version to check the whole sleep surface including any bedding you plan to use. Examples of how to make a measure can be found at choice.com.au and wikihow.com
What do I do if my baby's sleep surface is not firm enough? The first step is to assess all the variables and see if you can change anything. If the mattress passes, you can then create a sleep surface that passes by using a mattress protector that is not overly padded. The use of sheepskins, blankets, towels or multiple bedding under protectors or fitted sheets are also not recommended as they will soften the sleep surface.
Why are cot/crib mattresses the indoor epicentre for indoor VOC exposure for babies? Babies sleep 12 to 14 hours a day and exposure to mattress-released VOCs can be physiologically more significant for infants compared to adults. Exposure is magnified with a higher concentration of VOCs in the air directly above the mattress. The VOCs emitted from the mattress are delivered to the baby's breathing zone due to the baby's body heat creating a buoyant thermal plume. (Boor et al., 2014)
What are VOCs and off-gassing? VOC's or volatile organic compounds are a group of carbon-based compounds that can be both human-made and naturally occurring. VOC's easily off-gas at room temperature and can become toxic, although effects are not often acute, they can have long-term adverse health effects. Many household materials and products such as paints and cleaning products give off VOC's. Common VOCs include acetone, benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, toluene and xylene. Off-gassing can also be known as outgassing.
What are the dangers of exposure to VOCs? Health impacts include asthma, behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, autism, cancer, dysfunctional immune systems, neurological impairments and reproductive disorders. A review of studies on air pollution exposure and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) concluded that while more research is needed, there exists suggestive evidence that air pollution affects SIDS. (Assessment of Indoor Air Pollution in Homes with Infants. Picket & Bell 2011, sec. 1, par. 3)
How do these VOCs get into a mattress? Some come with a mattress, new or old, from when it is made. These compounds are common in manufacturing processes such as foam production, gluing or bonding fabrics and flame retarding. Other mattress VOCs are from exposure to everyday pollutants around the home. Examples include paint fumes, new carpets, cigarette smoke, and fragrances. Imagine baby mattress foam is like a big sponge that can attract pollutants from common household sources to which it is exposed. Technically speaking the mattress foam is highly sorptive and adsorbs VOCs into the mattress before being desorbed again when heated. (Boor et al., 2014)
Many mattress protectors are breathable; what does this mean? When a fabric is "breathable", it means that vapour or gas can permeate through it. Technically the material is vapour-permeable. Breathable is a common term in sportswear and rain gear. Simple tests for breathability of fabric include being able to smell coffee through it or to see if steam can pass through it. Breathable is often misinterpreted as the ability to be breathed through which is actually air-permeability.
Does the AIRWRAP™ Baby Safe Mattress Protector produce any harmful VOCs itself? All AIRWRAP™ branded products are designed, manufactured and tested not to contain any VOCs.
Do I need to be worried about VOCs if my mattress is brand new? The concentration of VOCs from chemicals used in mattress manufacturing is most potent when new.
I am buying an organic and certified VOC free mattress do I still need to be concerned? It is excellent if you are choosing to buy an environmentally better mattress certified to have low or no chemicals through its manufacture. However, mattress foam is highly sorptive and can attract VOCs from a variety of household sources such as paint fumes, new carpets, cigarette smoke, and fragrances. These nasties attach themselves to the mattress and come back out again when heated, polluting baby's breathing zone.
Why is it made including polyester rather than a natural fibre like cotton? The mattress protector's surface fabric sits below a fitted sheet when in use, which means the baby is never directly in contact with it. Therefore product performance was the most critical consideration when deciding on what fabrics we have used. The AIRtect™ patented multilayers are combined in a way, and certified, not to have any VOCs. It is also recommended to be cleaned regularly as part of a healthy sleeping environment, so it needs to be durable. Some of the protector's key features could also be compromised if made incorporating a natural fabric layer. Performance issues include a reduced cleaning capacity, shrinkage, wrinkling and even a need to iron.
Will it protect my cot/crib mattress as well? It will protect your baby's mattress as well as any other crib/cot mattress protector.
What is the AIRWRAP™ Baby Safe Mattress Protector made of? 100% polyester fabrics with a patented AIRtect™ internal, non-toxic, waterproof and vapour-proof layer.
How does it fit onto the mattress? Much like a fitted sheet, a fitted mattress protector pulls over the corners and edges of the mattress. Only use your mattress protector if it covers the top of the mattress, fits firmly and is free from damage.
Do they fit all mattresses? We currently have four sizes available in Bassinet, Large Cradle, Cot and Large Cot. Accurate fitment is essential as not to compromise the firmness or VOC protection features.
Do they fit Stokke, Leander and other round-edged mattresses? We are yet to create a protector that will work on these mattress sizes.
I am concerned about allergies, can the AIRWRAP™ Baby Safe Mattress Protector help? The AIRWRAP™ Baby Safe Mattress Protector, like many protectors, can help with allergies as part of maintaining a clean and hygienic sleeping environment. Regularly wash all bedding, including the mattress protector. The use and routine cleaning of a waterproof and vapour-proof protector can help prevent bed bugs, dust mites, allergens, bacteria and fungal spores.
Is the AIRWRAP™ Baby Safe Mattress Protector machine washable? Yes, it is. Wash separately before use. Warm hand or gentle machine wash with like colours. Line dry in shade or low tumble dry. Some detergents with especially those with fragrance may contain VOCs.
What kind of sheet should I use? Use only a well-fitting fitted sheet preferably made from all-natural fibres.
I am using a second-hand mattress, what should concern me? Environmentally it is excellent if we can reuse mattresses for babies. Older mattresses may have less VOCs leftover from their original production but still may be hosting VOCs from other household sources. For example, this is particularly relevant if a mattress were stored uncovered in a garage, shed or location polluted with exhaust fumes, paints etc. Through previous use, mattresses may be harbouring bed bugs, dust mites, allergens, bacteria and fungal spores. The firmness may also have diminished with time and use. We recommend parents should consider firmness testing, steam cleaning and use of a waterproof and vapour-proof mattress protector when using a second-hand mattress. Like with all baby products do not dry-clean.