Avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome With A SAFE Mattress

Find out how I came to discover the causes behind Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and what I designed to prevent more unfortunate baby deaths.

The cause of cot deaths: chemical mattresses

In 1994 I watched a programme on ITV called The Cook Report.

In it, Robert Cook, an investigative journalist, made a documentary about cot death & the link between mattresses & cot death. The findings of scientist Barry Richardson and New Zealand-based chemist Jim Sprott were later brought into question. They investigated the link between the chemicals used in foam mattresses and baby cot death. Significantly since the Cook report, deaths dropped dramatically from 400 a year to approximately 200. The controversial research claimed that the chemicals formed a toxic gas called “stibine” whilst the baby slept. The mattresses contained arsenic, antimony or phosphorus to make them anti-flammable. These chemicals are no longer used in mattresses and due to lots of guidance cot deaths have thankfully declined.

Government report dismissed findings

In 1998 the government produced their own report that dismissed the findings of the Cook Report. The report said:

“Our main conclusion is that there is no evidence to suggest that antimony or phosphorus-containing compounds used as fire retardants in PVC and other cot mattress materials are a cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

“Parents can be reassured that the toxic gas hypothesis and the claims put forward on the Cook Report do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. We have been thorough in our research and have found no link between cot deaths and chemicals added to PVC cot mattresses.”

Advice to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

At the time I was interviewed on the Radio re my thoughts on the subject & I reinforced the advice at the time:
● Empty cot is a safe cot
● Cut smoking in pregnancy
● Do not let the baby get too hot
● Keep the baby’s head uncovered
● Place baby on his/her back to sleep
● No toys and teddies in the crib or cot
● If baby is unwell, seek advice promptly
● Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby

This was a huge scandal at the time & it has always been in my thoughts for many reasons. Those poor parents & the guilt they must have felt, they will never know if their baby’s death
could have been avoidable. Whether the findings are true or not, my personal belief is it’s never a good idea to use a 2nd hand mattress, use chemicals in a mattress or smoke near a baby. That is my personal opinion. To me, it makes sense not to put any chemicals near a baby if possible. Then there is no doubt and you can sleep easily.

Taking matters into my own hands: creating a mattress that is safe for babies

So I designed a mattress that not only doesn’t use any chemicals it is also made from sustainable materials. I named it the SAFE mattress:

● Sustainable
● Animal friendly
● Free from chemicals
● Eco Friendly

Why is it called a SAFE mattress?

Sustainable because of the materials that are used. Animal-friendly because there is no animal testing. It’s free from chemicals because it’s not made from foam. Foam has to be fire retardant, so we use a naturally non-flammable material, hence no chemicals. Eco Friendly due to the Baby Birds link with Ecology.

Not only do Baby Birds produce this SAFE mattress we also plant trees with Ecology to offset our carbon emissions.

A great demand for a thicker mattress with no chemicals

The demand for this mattress has been incredible and I’m so proud that we have made such an impact on parents’ opinions. We feel that 200 babies a year is still too many. If taking chemicals
out of baby’s mattresses helps, then it can only be a positive result. The mattress is slightly thicker than a normal mattress and has a removable cover. You will need to add a sheet. Baby Birds recommend our organic fitted glovesheet. The rules are the same for cot and cot bed mattresses and we have linked with a fabulous company called Mat Instinct which produces natural, sustainable mattresses with no chemicals. Click here for cot and cot bed mattresses from Matt Instinct.

A more expensive mattress that lasts for years and protects your baby

Although these mattresses cost slightly more than a foam mattress, your baby will use that mattress every day for many hours. It’s probably the most used item your will purchase. If you don’t want to use chemicals on your baby’s mattress all through their life, we have the solution. SAFE mattress for pram and crib followed by Mat Instinct in their cot and cotbed.

Our range of mattresses for any size, from a range of brands

We offer any size pram or crib mattress. Our listings are split into brands and there is one listing for miscellaneous sizes:
For various sizes
Silver Cross

Send us your mattress size

Please email [email protected] if you can’t see your required mattress size. You can always send us a template of your mattress if it is an unusual shape at Baby Birds, D2 Link Park, Weymouth Dorset DT3 4FL and we’ll do our best to help you.

More information about SIDS

To find out more about SIDS, Joanne Lewsley wrote a really good article on the Baby Centre website here.