Overwhelmed and Stressed with looking for a mattress

I don’t even know where to start. I am so overwhelmed with al the information on mattresses. I am looking for 2 full size mattresses for a 12year old and 9year old. I want the purest, healthiest mattress with every kind of proof to back it up. I know from reading this blog that there is no perfect mattress and that I have to decide what is the best one for me. However, this process is starting to stress me out. It has been months of research for me. So I can’t just buy the mattress because I have some reservations about each of my choices and am worried about making the wrong decision.

  1. I want to buy a mattress full of Credentials and certifications, really between OMI and Soaring heart
  2. I am not convinced I should get a latex mattress because am concerned about kids developing a latex allergy. I have read your posts on this but can’t just dismiss that it might not be an issue
  3. So was leaning toward buying a Cotton/Wool Futon from Soaring heart and this came with some questions like:
    *The futon is made up of organic cotton/wool but not GOTS certified like their latex mattress. Does this mean the cotton/wool could have been processed with chemicals I don’t want my kids exposed too?
  • It says no flame retardants or chemicals used, no boric acid? Do I just take their word for it? I know this company states it used boric acid in the past but stopped using it since 2012. But how am I 100% sure they don’t use it especially with a cotton filling.
  • The futon is covered with 15% wool is that enough to meet all fire requirements?
  1. Soaring Heart doe not have an Oeko-Tex100 or Eco Institute Certification. I assume this is not an issue with the latex mattress because it GOTS certified but what about the Futon? if there is not final product test do you truly know that it wasn’t made with harmful chemicals?
  2. Does GOTS ban the same things as Oeko-Tex 100 ? like flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides? Which one would you view having a higher standard if I am solely going by labels?

So once again I know there is no perfect mattress but I want the closest to perfect as possible and Certified proof.

Thanks so much for your help :

Hi purestmattress.

You said you’ve done quite a bit of reading on this site, so then you’re aware that certifications don’t necessarily equate to “safety” or test for harmful substances. Certain certifications certainly are valid, but they don’t necessarily always equate to what one person might consider a “safe product.”

As you know, the only reliable way to assess the “safety” of different materials in more general terms is based on lab tests and the certifications they have for harmful substances and VOCs so that you have some assurance than the VOCs are below the testing limits for the certification. If the materials in a mattress or the mattress itself has a reliable “safety” certification, then for most people they would certainly be “safe enough” … regardless of the type of material or the name of the manufacturer on the label or whether the materials are natural or synthetic or have an organic certification.

Most people that are looking for a “heavily-certified” or an “organic” mattress or materials are usually concerned more with “safety” than whether the materials have an actual organic certification but they have come to believe that “organic” latex/wool is somehow “safer” than latex/wool that doesn’t have an organic certification. Much of this can be based on some aggressive marketing about “organic” latex/wool which implies that it’s somehow “better” than non organic latex/wool. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a “safety” certification is enough.

While you may have already read this, there is also a lot more information in post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to about safe, natural, organic, “chemical free”, and “green” mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer “how safe is safe enough for me” and that can help you decide on the type of materials and components you are most comfortable having in your mattress or on the certifications that may be important to you.

The development of latex allergies tends to be an issue of repeated contact over time, usually with some sort of a transfer agent (such as talc in latex gloves), and deals more with dipped latex versus foamed latex. However, if you personally feel that having latex foam within a mattress is too much of a “risk,” then this makes the discussion of latex moot and you can cross that off of your list of items to consider based upon your personal preferences.

All the latex you are likely to encounter (either Dunlop or Talalay that is made with either natural or synthetic rubber or a blend of both) will have a reliable certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold or C2C and based on actual testing I would consider any type or blend of latex (regardless of whether it is natural or organic) to be a very “safe” material in terms of harmful substances and VOC’s (offgassing).

[quote]2. So was leaning toward buying a Cotton/Wool Futon from Soaring heart and this came with some questions like:
*The futon is made up of organic cotton/wool but not GOTS certified like their latex mattress. Does this mean the cotton/wool could have been processed with chemicals I don’t want my kids exposed too?[/quote]

The wool used by Soaring Heart is USDA certified and GOTS certified, and their facility is GOTS certified as well. Their certifications page [/url]lists this information here and their certificates.

You are best served by phoning Soaring Heart directly and having a nice conversation with them regarding all of your questions. Make a list and I’m sure they’ll be happy to address any of your concerns regarding certifications and the sourcing of their products. They are very helpful and take pride in their products.

When a company has a good reputation, backed up by objective third-party certifications, I would tend to take their word for it. At a time were the virtual anonymity of the internet allows anyone to post virtually anything online and have it be represented as fact, many times needlessly destroying the reputation of ethical and quality companies, it is imperative that businesses put out quality and accurate information. And as a business that is very focused upon strict quality guidelines for their products, and based almost entirely upon the accuracy of these guidelines, businesses like Soaring Heart by default are held to an even higher level of scrutiny, and a deviation from that would destroy their reputation.

There comes a time when you have to trust the information you’re being presented, based upon your own research of the product and proper vetting of the business itself (I encourage a phone call). After all, that’s what I do. :slight_smile:

They use no flame retardant chemicals to meet the federal flammability guidelines, so if the product is certified then the wool would have ben enough to meet the standards.

Final product testing has to do more with the facility where the product is assembled being GOTS certified (Soaring Heart is). Individual component testing, depending upon the test, could/would test for harmful substances and VOCs. The Soaring Heart certifications page is here. Again, I think a nice phone call with your questions listed would certainly assist you in acquiring the information you desire to put your mind at ease.

What the GOTS home textiles standard covers is listed here. It focused on compulsory criteria and doesn’t ban anything. You can see that some of the standards are social in nature and have nothing to do with the “safety” of the product. Oeko-Tex is an actual test of the product for harmful substances and VOCs. Some of the other certifications Soaring Heart already maintains already certify many of the things with which you have a concern, so adding the redundancy of an Oek-Tex certification is quite possibly an extra expense that they don’t wish to pass along to the consumer. But again you’d have to ask them that question and the reasoning behind the certifications that they maintain (which are quite numerous). An omission of a particular certificate doesn’t necessarily equate to a particular product containing all of the products for which that particular certification tests.

As you know, Soaring Heart is a member of this site and I think highly of their knowledge and experience and their mattresses and futons all use high quality materials (including organic Dunlop latex, wool, and cotton and innersprings). They are very knowledgeable about the materials they use and are committed to educating their customers rather than “selling” them. I personally wouldn’t have a concern having my children use any of their products.

I hope that information is helpful!


Thanks so much for all this great information. I have read and reread it several times. After all this I am liking the following:

  1. Naturally Organic Little Sprout latex Kid’s Mattress in Full $1,499
  2. Little Lamb Organics The standard Latex 1,531
  3. Holy Lamb Organics Natural Mattress 7" Latex mattress 1,350

So both similar in materials and price:
*6" core certified organic latex
*Surrounded by organic wool and cotton

What do you think about these? And more specifically:

  1. Little Sprout is made in Canada. I don’t know where I read or heard this but I heard if you ship a mattress from Canada or another country they have to spray it with preservatives or some sort of chemicals. Is this true?
  2. Little Lamb Organics has Bedfax labels. Is this a good label to go by? A reliable label? The label says that the Fabric/Cover is “Certified Organic Cotton Fabric 10%” However, it does not state 100% Certified Organic Cotton fabric. Does this mean it is blended with something else?
  3. Holy Lamb Organics states cotton is GOTS certified but I can’t find their Certification for it

Any other suggestions along the same lines as those above? Would like to purchase online. Maybe something with a better price?

Hi Purestmattress,

We second everything Phoenix said! He is incredible, huh!?!

All 3 of these companies are great! I have been to the farm where Little Lamb gets there wool. They are local to Colorado and get organic wool however it doesn’t care a certification. We also really love and support Holy Lamb! You can’t go wrong.

Organic wool is tricky. The only certified organic wool to my knowledge, comes out of Australia and New Zealand so it’s an imported product. Companies that are claiming to have organic wool made in the USA are buying from someone in the USA that sources it from overseas.

Other companies operating in the US like to source wool from more local farms. All of these companies based in the US are buying from organic farms that raise organic sheep with organic wool. The problem is that there is still not (although it is coming) certified organic carding, which is the process in which the wool is processed to be put in a mattress. This wool gets termed Eco Wool. Which is organic wool without a certification.

Hope this helps!

Hi purestmattress,

Mattresses sold within the USA must meet 16 CFR parts 1632 and 1633 (federal flammability guidelines). Perhaps that’s what you read about. This doesn’t mean that the item must be sprayed with preservatives or chemicals, only that it pass the standards, and there are ways to do this using non-toxic materials or natural materials like wool.

The Bedfax label is a program from the Specialty Sleep Association that supplements the law label every mattress company is required to have attached to their mattresses. It’s just a list of what is inside of the product, and any third-party certifications that the product may have achieved. It’s not a test or certification, and in and of itself has little real value as it doesn’t provide specifics about the quality and actual thickness of the layerings of the materials within a mattress. Bedfax also maintains a web site that directs people to stores using the Bedfax system, which in my opinion is the real reason a manufacturer or retailer might want to participate in this program (advertising), as the Bedfax system makes no determination about the quality of a product. I wouldn’t use the label as a definitive source of information about the product.
ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint: bedfax.org/the-label/

Their Natural Mattress – 7” is listed as Eco-Wool. Their certifications page is here.

All of these products appears to use higher quality materials and there are no apparent weak links in their componentry.

An organic certification does add to the cost of a product, even though it may not be “better” than another product where the manufacturer decided not to certify their product. While it’s certainly true that some manufacturers take advantage of consumer naiveté or lack of knowledge about organic descriptions or certifications and what they really mean … there are many others who don’t and for members of the forum that are better informed and know how to make more meaningful comparisons and how to ask “better questions”, you may be able to find better values using componentry of the same quality without some of these certifications.

I would also keep in mind that some of the non organic wool that you will find in several of the mattresses you listed is also a very high quality material so you may not wish to exclude the ones that use organic cotton quilted with natural wool that isn’t certified organic (see post #2 here and post #2 here about organic certifications). It would be somewhat like a local farmer selling food directly from their farm that was farmed organically but didn’t have a certification (which in this case would be a USDA organic certification) that may actually be “more organic” than some of the certified organic food that you can buy in the store.

There are also other wool cooperatives around the country that also have very high quality wool that aren’t certified organic (some of the woolen mills are listed in post #3 here). “Most” of the organic certified wool comes from outside the country but as you can see in the GOTS list here there are also US suppliers of organic wool (although the list doesn’t specify whether the raw wool was sourced in the US).

If you want to look online, then you may want to use the expertise and expertise of the members listed in post #21 here, who are all very experienced and knowledgeable and specialize in providing the type of help and guidance on the phone that can help you make good choices. Many of them will offer products using GOLS certified latex with wool/cotton encasements.

Let us know what you find!


Thanks so much this definitely clarifies things about the wool and I think I am comfortable with choosing a mattress which may not have Organic certification for the wool.

I do have one more question. Sorry if it’s redundant, but it seems this is the only way for me to truly understand this whole process of picking a mattress that I am truly comfortable with for my children.

About the Cotton. Many of the mattresses I have looked at state the cover is made with Organic Cotton however there is no GOTS certification. I asked a company about this and they told me this is because the cotton yarn is Organic not the actual cover made from the yarn. Is this an accurate statement? Should I be looking for some of certification for the Cotton Yarn? I worry about this because conventionally grown Cotton has a lot of pesticides, etc. So would want the Cotton yarn to be organic… So I guess my main Question is How do I verify the Cotton fabric/yarn is actually organically grown?

Hi purestmattress,

I’m glad the information I provided was assistive to you. :wink:

Without knowing the specifics about any particular brand, cover or product you were considering, I can offer some general information that I think will help make things a bit clearer for you.

First, there is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a “safety” certification is enough. I know some of this repeats a bit of what I provided previously, but it’s a good reference paragraph for you if you want to get into the minutiae of the certifications.

What commonly occurs with covers is that you may have a blend of different fibers in the cover - let’s say for simplicity that it’s a cover using 50% cotton and 50% polyester fibers. The cover may be using USDA organic certified cotton for that part of the covering, but the finished cover as a whole would be 50% organic cotton and 50% synthetic material woven together, so the finished cover wouldn’t quality for GOTS certification (see in the link I previously provided about GOTS), as it would have to contain at least 95% certified organic fibers (in our scenario it would only be 50%). So the company could advertise the cover is made with organic cotton (and maybe even weave the term “organic” into the pattern of the cover), but the finished cover wouldn’t be able to be GOTS certified. This may be what you’re seeing in some of the covers you’re considering. The best way to confirm the actual certification would be a detailed conversation with the manufacturer or a knowledgeable retailer where they can explain the certifications, if any, that a product has and to what components those certifications apply.


Ok so I was ready to purchase the Little Sprout mattress and thought of another concern . The Wool is Organic but it is shipped from Argentina. Does wool or any natural material shipped from another country need to be treated in any way? Like to make sure no bugs or something get shipped inside the wool?
Sorry if this is somewhere on this site but I just couldn’t find it.
Thanks again

Hi purestmattress,

No, treatment with a chemical isn’t required. It is required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the wool be free of blood and manure. You can read about the incredibly detailed USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) here. The wool you mentioned has a GOTS certification certificate, and GOTS has a list of prohibited chemicals, just in case you wanted to review that.