NEW BABY NEW MATTRESS” was a recommendation that came about in the late 80’s. There was all sorts of scares about bacteria, fungus growing on mattresses, Body fluids reacting with flame retardant chemicals used in foam manufacture and giving off toxic gasses.
This is how it all started:-
Most reading this wont remember a TV program called "THAT'S LIFE" The show presented hard-hitting investigations alongside satire and occasional light entertainment. (I was on the show with my speeding ticket for 555 mph on Cricklewood Broadway - Another story) Anyway THAT'S LIFE did a scoop on people falling asleep smoking and setting fire to the settee and the house going up in flames!
As a result of this exposé every bit of foam used in the house had to be made flame retardant, including baby furniture and Moses crib and cot mattresses
Then came the hypothesis from Mr Richardson / Dr Spock that body fluids caused bacteria which in turn reacted with the flame retardant chemicals used in foam production and caused a toxic trihydride gases, and this gas increased the risk of cot death when breather in by babies.
This news was dramatic, hit the headlines and the press went overboard with the sensationalism at the expense of accuracy.
As you can imagine parents quite rightly were panic stricken about putting their precious new arrivals on a foam mattress that would be the cause the of a cot death.
The government had to step in. A leading group of experts was put together to analyse the hypothesis and found it's claims to be unproven. this did restore some confidence in foam mattresses
Even with the governments "Limerick report", the scare was sealed in stone and to this day it is still has some credibility with some professionals.
Out of that scare came the following:-
- A change in some flame retardant components used in cot mattresses.
- Baby to sleep on its back in a well ventilated room to disperse any toxic gas and your baby would breath in fresh air
- Feet to foot of bed, and no bumpers, so baby cannot get under covers
- Room temperature 16°c - 20°c .
- No smoking in the the nursery or anywhere near a baby now including E-Cigs
- Waterproof washable barrier between the baby an the foam
- Also "New baby new mattress" - in case there was bacterial grown on the mattress and reaction with the foam or plastic components.
The results of the back to sleep campaign were outstanding and heartwarming they produced a massive drop in cot deaths.
Now there are new pressures and these are to look after our planet. Do we want to throw into landfill a perfectly good mattress - here is some guidance
You should NOT use a mattress for a second or third child if :-
1) You do not know its history how it was looked after and how it has been maintained and cleaned
2) If the mattress does not have washable covers and the core is not waterproof protected.
3) If the mattress has the slightest dip or dent, - not supportive.
4) If the mattress is yours and you stored it in the loft and did not seal it in a plastic bag and it is not thoroughly washable, and does not have waterproof protection to the core.
You can use a mattress for another child if :-
1) You know its history and how well it was looked after.
2) The mattress has a protector (preferably wipe clean and or washable) that is waterproof and will prevent body fluids getting to the core foam or springs or coir and lambswool The waterproof protector can sit under a washable cover and over the base.
3) The covers have been washed regularly at 60°c the temperature required to kill dust mites.
4 ) The mattress has no visible dents or dips has been well maintained.
5) The mattress has been stored clean. All covers or toppers protective core cover, machine washable at 60°c . A fixed waterproof protective base cover can be cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleaner like Milton.
If you have bought a quality mattress you will be able to use it again and again provided it passes the 5 conditions above.