Welcome to the Mattress Forum! … and I’m glad you found us.
You may have read this already but post #2 here and the topics it links to also has much more information about mattresses and children and “safe” materials including a link to some general guidelines for children in post #2 here. It also includes a number of links to the better forum posts and topics about mattress and children as well which also include more information about many good options for children which may also be worth considering in a wide range of prices.
For younger children any mattress that uses materials that are “durable enough” (see post #4 here) that you would also consider to be “safe enough” or “natural enough” and is in a medium firmness range or firmer would generally be a suitable choice for a child. The choice between them would really be more of a budget and preference choice than a “better/worse” choice. If you are hoping to purchase a mattress that will last them until they leave home (possibly with the addition of a softer topper as they grow older and develop more adult proportions) then higher quality and more durable materials would also play a bigger role in your choice as well.
The question of “how safe is safe enough for me” is specific to each person or parent and their individual sensitivities, circumstances, criteria, beliefs, and lifestyle choices just like some people may choose an organic or even a vegan diet and would consider other diets to be “unsafe” for their children while other parents would be quite comfortable making different choices. Once you have decided on the specific materials that you are comfortable with then your choice will become much simpler.
The same information in the previous link about “natural” and “safe” materials will help you decide on the type of materials you are comfortable with in your mattress as well and once you have decided on this then your choices will become simpler as well.
Just in case you haven’t read it yet … the best place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly can help you know how and why to avoid the worst ones. If you follow all the steps in order and one at a time you will have the best chance of success.
Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability, durability, and value.
If you let me know your city or zip code I’d also be happy to let you know about any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area as well. I realize that you would probably have difficulty visiting local stores but it’s always a good idea whenever possible to test a few mattresses in person to get a better sense of which types of materials and mattresses you tend to prefer so you aren’t making “blind” choices. Without this you would be much more dependent on the return/exchange options that are available to you after a purchase just in case the choice you make doesn’t turn out as well as you hope for.
The tutorial includes a link to a list of the members here (including Cozy Pure) that sell mattresses online (in the optional online step) that compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency and many of them make latex and latex hybrid mattresses that use different types and blends of latex that have a range of different designs, options, features, return and exchange policies, and prices that that would all be well worth considering.
I can certainly help you to narrow down your options, help you focus on better quality/value choices that are available to you either locally or online, help you identify any lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you may be considering, act as a fact check, answer any specific questions you may have along the way that I am able to help with, and help with “how” to choose but only you can decide which specific mattress, material, or manufacturer/retailer is the best match for you based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.
There is more about the different ways that one mattress can “match” or approximate another one in post #9 here. While it’s fairly simple to assess the durability of the materials in a mattress so you can make reasonable durability comparisons … if two mattress use the same materials but have a different design that doesn’t include exactly the same type, thickness, and firmness of all the materials and components inside them then it’s most likely that they would feel and perform differently as well and the only way to know for certain how they would compare for you would be based on your own careful testing or personal experience. The 3" of HD (not HR) 1.8 lb polyfoam in the bottom layer of the iChoice and the 1" of 1.35 lb polyfoam in the upper layers would have little effect on the durability of the mattress but every layer and component in a mattress will have some effect on all the other layers and components in the mattress and on the mattress as a whole in terms of how it “feels” and that could affect whether it would be a good match for you in terms of PPP…
When you can’t test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart who can help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattresses and the options they have available that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked that they are familiar with, any special considerations you may have, and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about “matching” their specific mattress designs or firmness options to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences or even to other mattresses that they are familiar with than anyone else.
All foam materials whether they are synthetic or natural will have some offgassing but that doesn’t mean that they would be harmful. The scent from a flower for example is a form of offgassing but isn’t normally harmful. A more important question is whether any offgassing is harmful but all the latex you are likely to encounter (either Dunlop or Talalay and made with either natural or synthetic latex or a blend of both) are certified for harmful substances and VOC’s by either Oeko-Tex or Eco-Institut and by most people’s criteria all of them would be a very “safe” material. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here.
There is also more about organic and “safety” certifications in post #2 here and in post #2 here.
Yes … wool can be used as a fire barrier without the addition of any chemicals (see post #2 here). There is also more about “safe” methods that can be used to pass the fire regulations in post #2 here without needing a doctor’s prescription for a mattress that doesn’t pass the fire regulations.
You can read more about the pros and cons of two sided mattresses in post #3 here. With very high quality and durable materials such as latex or other more durable materials and components a two sided mattress isn’t as important because beyond about 10 years or so the limiting factor in the useful life of a mattress may be changes in the needs or preferences of the person themselves (see the quality/durability guidelines here) but even with latex a two sided mattress will be more durable (as long as you flip it on a regular basis) than a similar mattress that has the same comfort layers on only one side of the mattress.
Hopefully the information in this reply will help but if you are stuck with any of the steps in the tutorial or have any other questions I can help with then you are certainly welcome to post them on the forum.