How to Choose A Nontoxic Baby Crib

baby nursery Jul 09, 2018

by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée


Our toddlers spend about 12-14 hours per day (night time and naps) sleeping in their bed during their first 2 years of life. (1) They use that time to get stronger and grow.

While our 6-month olds are just starting to sit, our 12- or 18-month olds are starting to walk. It’s incredible the progress made in such a short amount of time.

It’s our job as parents to protect them at that young age.

One of the ways to do that is to make sure their baby crib is made without toxic materials.

Can a crib be toxic to your baby?

Yes, they certainly can be. Cribs are constructed from wood, glues, and finishes (paint or stain and finish). Mattresses are made from filling material, covering materials, glues, fabric finishes, and sometimes plastic. Each of these materials can be made with synthetic fibers and other materials made of chemicals that have been found to be toxic to health, especially in children.

Let’s take a closer look.

Advertised as “solid wood” or “solid wood and wood veneer,” cribs made of solid wood can mean they are made of solid softwoods—like pine or solid hardwoods (such as oak).

Softwoods, even solid softwoods, are known for releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, contributing to poor indoor air quality that has been linked to health conditions and illness. Paints, stains, and finishes (wood finishes and material finishes) often have VOC chemicals as well as other chemicals that have been linked to health conditions.

Crib mattress' filling is often made of polyurethane foam that typically has more than eight chemicals in it. These chemicals may affect brain development, reproductive health, the immune system and the endocrine system to name a few of the health hazards. (2)

Some of the same chemicals are used to make vinyl crib mattress coverings as well.

Benefits of a nontoxic crib

The chemicals found in crib frames and crib mattresses may be associated with a host of health conditions—including developmental effects, cancer, and damage to the nervous system, liver, and/or kidneys. (3) Therefore, choosing a nontoxic baby crib may help protect kids as their little bodies develop.

Ways to identify a suitable nontoxic crib for your baby

Here are a few tips when selecting a nontoxic crib:

Crib frame

  • Solid hardwood construction
  • Nontoxic and zero-VOC glues
  • Low-chemical and zero-VOC paint, stain, and/or finishes

Crib mattress

  • Organic cotton mattress covering
  • Organic wool, cotton, or natural rubber mattress fill
  • Manufactured with nontoxic glues, or (even better), hand sewn/stitched mattress
  • No flame retardant (requires a doctor’s note currently) or the least amount of flame retardant possible
  • Free of specialty finishes such as “water resistant” or “stain resistant”
  • No plastic covering on the mattress


Kids spend about 12-14 hours per day sleeping in their crib, so it’s important to choose a nontoxic baby crib made of materials that doesn’t harm their growth and development. Standard cribs have been found to contain chemicals that cause a multitude of health conditions, including harm to the development system. Consider choosing crib frames made of solid hardwood and nontoxic finishes, and mattresses made of organic materials with nontoxic glues and finishes. The lowered amount of chemicals in your baby crib may make a positive difference in their development and health.


(1) Kids

(2)(3) A to Z of D-Toxing

Stay connected with nontoxic lifestyle news and updates!

Receive our free Ruan Living Nontoxic Cleaning Guide when you join our email list.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

Detox Your Inbox

Easy tips, podcasts, workshops, updates, and more!


For You

40-Day Home Detox



D-Tox Academy




Ruan Living

Our Mission

Sophia Ruan Gushée

Corporate Wellness

D-Tox Academy





Stay In Touch

[email protected]