Why I think the Avocado Organic Crib mattress is one of the best non toxic crib mattresses for this year! Avocado organic crib mattress review.
Who is Avocado Green?
Avocado Green Mattress is a leader in the natural and organic mattress space, delivering natural, organic and sustainable mattresses right to your doorstep.
All of their mattresses are handmade in the USA (they have a factory in Los Angeles), and the company has extensive, exclusive relationships with organic farms from which they get the materials for their mattresses.
This article focuses primarily on the mid-range and best selling Organic Crib Mattress. This is the model I own personally, so I have experience with it. However, I’ve also tried to point out similarities and differences between the other two crib mattresses where it makes sense to do so.
Disclosure: I reached out to Avocado Green and asked if they’d like to send me one of their organic crib mattresses for me to review. Happily, they accepted and sent me their best selling Organic Crib Mattress so I could check it out for myself. All opinions remain my own.
- Fits standard size baby cribs
- Eco friendly
- Only natural, certified organic materials - no plastic, synthetics, etc.
- Extreme transparency with no green washing
- Easy to identify infant side vs toddler side - it's embroidered into the cover.
- Very different firmness levels on infant vs toddler side
- Made in the USA, Strong Supply Chain Control
- No petroleum based polyurethane foams
- Greenguard Gold and Made Safe certified
- Free from chemical fire retardants
- No washable cover
- No waterproof crib mattress cover
- It's relatively heavy
- Not suitable for vegans (uses wool)
Avocado Crib Mattress Review
Unboxing My Avocado Organic Crib Mattress
The mattress ships flat in a basic cardboard box, and isn’t rolled and wrapped like most adult mattresses are these days.
We’ve never had a problem with a rolled mattress, but shipping flat means it’s ready to use immediately – you don’t have to let it decompress over several hours as you do with rolled mattresses. Great news if you have a cranky baby.
Inside the box, the mattress is protected in a layer of plastic wrap to protect it during shipping and delivery.
Ours also came with Avocado’s sustainability and eco-focused kid’s book, Little Blue Planet, which is an incredibly lovely story about taking care of our planet.
After unwrapping it, I did the sniff test to see if there was any new mattress smell. Often, conventional mattresses have a distinctive chemical smell to them after unboxing, which is actually the VOCs and other chemicals that go into foam mattresses, in particular.
My Avocado crib mattress had a slight earthy or “barnyard” smell when I stuck my face right up against the sleep surface (likely the wool and coconut husks). Over the first several weeks owning the mattress, the smell dissipated. Now it has a neutral smell – nothing too distinguishable.
The first thing I noticed about this crib mattress is the sleep surface. It’s made of extremely soft organic cotton, with sturdy olive green ticking around the edges.
The sleep surfaces have a sort of stippled effect to the cotton, with quilted leaf-like trios across the surface.
The sides of the mattress are quilted into squares.
I expect the difference here is to make the sleep surface as smooth and comfy as possible, and make the sides as durable as possible.
The entire outer layer of the mattress is made from GOTS organic certified cotton. Avocado has a relationship with a grower in India, and the cotton is grown exclusively for them, giving the company good control over this aspect of the supply chain from both a sustainability and labour rights point of view.
Firmness, Comfort and Support of this Dual Sided Crib Mattress
Avocado’s Organic Crib Mattress is a dual firmness crib mattress, which means there is a firmer infant side and a slightly less firm toddler side. (The Luxury Organic Crib Mattress is also 2-stage; the Eco Organic Crib Mattress is single sided).
Safe Sleep guidelines state infants need a firm crib mattress for safety. A firm sleep surface is correlated with reduced instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as entrapment and suffocation.
However, once your little one is past the critical first year and they start to have opinions? It’s nice to be able to flip the mattress over to the slightly less firm toddler side.
One thing I appreciate about this crib mattress is each side (infant side vs toddler side) is embroidered into the sleep surface. Some crib mattresses use the tag to identify the infant vs toddler side, which is fine until the tag inevitably rips off at some point.
This is probably the best two-stage crib mattress I’ve personally tested from a comfort point of view. The infant side is very firm (excellent for safety) and the toddler side is noticeably plusher, while still being supportive enough for a young child’s skeletal development.
In my experience, crib mattresses often say they are two-stage, but it’s really hard to notice the difference.
With the Avocado Organic, it’s really obvious from just feeling each side, which comes down to how the mattress is constructed.
The infant side consists of coconut coir and GOLS organic latex. This creates a very firm sleep surface. Grabbing the side of the crib mattress, I can actually feel where the coconut coir layer starts and stops; it fills up about 3/4 of the inner depth of the mattress, stopping about 1/4 of the way from toddler sleep surface.
The toddler side, on the other hand, has a layer of GOLS organic certified latex and another layer of GOTS organic certified cotton. It’s like an extremely plush, comfy mattress topper, while still having the super firm and supportive coconut layer beneath.
The firm infant coir layer is about 3.5″ deep and the plush latex/cotton toddler layer is about 2″ deep. These are rough measurements from my actual mattress, but since the mattress depth is officially listed as 5.5″ deep, I feel pretty confident!
One of my favorite tests to compare mattress firmness is the dumbbell test: placing a 15-pound dumbbell on the sleep surface to see how much of an indent it makes.
You can see in the photo the dumbbell makes almost no indent in the infant side of the Avocado crib mattress. This is an excellent sign in terms of infants sleep safety.
On the toddler side, the dumbbell makes a slight indent in the sleep surface, indicating it is softer and plusher for older kids (roughly age 1 through 4).
Out of interest, I repeated the test with a 20-pound dumbbell (babies tend to hit 20 pounds around 10 months to sometime after their first birthday), and the results were the same.
Edge support refers to how stiff the edges are of the mattress are.
In adult mattresses, it’s often described in terms of tying your shoes. Imagine you’re sitting on the edge of your mattress and leaning over to put on or tie your shoes. Does the edge of the mattress sink down and make you feel like you’re going to fall off? Or does it hold firm and give you adequate support?
In baby mattresses, edge support is important because you want the mattress to fit tightly in the crib, and not allow any gaps that a baby could get trapped in. It’s particularly important on the infant side of a mattress, since infants can’t move themselves away from a sinking mattress edge, whereas older babies and toddlers typically can.
The Avocado has excellent edge support on the infant side. The coconut husk fiber stands up well to a 15-pound weight and even holds it’s own against a 20-pound weight, with minimal sinking.
Edge support on the toddler side isn’t as good. You can see in the photo below, the mattress edge sinks and puckers under the weight of the 20-pound dumbbell. This makes sense, since this part of the mattress is made of latex and cotton, which isn’t as firm as the coconut husk/latex layer on the infant side. The toddler side maximizes for plushness and comfort vs edge support.
It’s also worth reiterating that edge support is slightly less important on the toddler side, and my mattress edge only buckled through the 2.5″ of the toddler side until it reached the coconut layer.
How Long Will it Last?
For many families, an organic crib mattress is a bit of a budget stretch, and the question becomes: how long can my child use it for?
Generally speaking, crib mattresses tend to last from infancy through age 4 or 5.
My daughter is about average height, and she was ready to switch to an organic twin mattress around 4.5 years old because she got too long for her toddler bed. However, we have friends with a 5 year old (almost 6) who is still quite happy in a toddler bed.
In terms of fitting on the mattress and being comfortable on the mattress, it’s going to come down to individual kids and what they like and don’t like.
Caring for the Crib Mattress
Beyond that, how you care for the mattress comes into play.
None of the Avocado crib mattresses have a waterproof crib mattress cover or sleep surface. This is a huge difference to one of Avocado’s main competitors (Naturepedic), and can be viewed as a pro or a con, depending on your preferences and priorities.
On the “pro” side of things, it gives families personal choice and the option to buy a 100% natural, 100% crib mattress (which the Avocado Organic is). There are plenty of crib mattresses that are non toxic and have many organic components, but aren’t 100% organic or natural, and use a synthetic waterproof layer to keep “accidents” from soaking into the sleep surface.
On the “con” side of things, you still need to figure out how to protect the mattress from liquid accidents, as pee that soaks into the inside of the mattress can quickly become a problem in terms of mould, mildew, and other gross things.
Instead of a waterproof mattress protector, Avocado makes a crib mattress protector that’s made from GOTS organic certified cotton and fiberfill. For families that want to avoid polyurethane coating or a waterproof plastic layer, this is a great option.
The protector pad isn’t waterproof; rather, it’s thick and absorbent. When your little one does have an accident, remove the protector pad and wash it.
Because accidents happen fairly frequently in babies and young children, you’ll likely want several protector pads: one on the bed, one in the wash, and one in the cupboard.
The Avocado Organic Crib Mattress is mid-range as far as organic crib mattresses go.
Compared to Naturepedic Breathable Crib Mattress, ($399 to $449), it’s right in the wheelhouse of mid-range organic crib mattresses.
Warranty, Sleep Trial and Return Policy
To Eco Organic crib mattress and the Organic crib mattress has a 30-day sleep trial and a 25-year warranty. The Luxury organic crib mattress has a 100-day sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.
Size and Weight
All Avocado Crib Mattresses are designed to fit a standard crib. The Organic Crib Mattress measures 28” x 52” x 5.5” and weighs 28 pounds.
Avocado Green makes their own crib sheets, but you can also use third party sheets, especially if you’d like something with a print, design or different colors (Avocado’s sheets are plain white).
I tested 4 different brands of crib sheets on my Avocado Organic Crib Mattress to test fit. Based on my experience, the best crib sheets for the Avocado organic crib mattress are the Burt’s Bees crib sheets and the Pehr crib sheets (in addition, of course, to Avocado’s own brand of crib sheets!).
- Burt’s Bees organic jersey crib sheets (perfect fit)
- Pottery Barn organic cotton crib sheets (okay fit)
- Little Unicorn muslin crib sheets (okay fit)
- Pehr organic cotton crib sheets (perfect fit)
Worth noting, I tested without the Avocado mattress protector.
Best Crib Sheets for the Avocado Crib Mattress
The Burt’s Bees organic crib sheets fit perfectly. In my experience, these crib sheets will fit pretty much any crib mattress (this is based on me testing them multiple crib mattresses). I found they slipped on to the mattress very easily, and I love that there is plenty of fabric to cover the bottom of the mattress, making me more confident that they’ll stay in place. They’re also super soft and organic, making them one of my top picks for the best crib sheets.
The Pehr Sheets also fit really well. There was enough fabric to wrap under the bottom of the mattress, and it was a tight fit overall. The Pehr sheets are also organic and extremely soft.
Okay Crib Sheets for the Avocado Green Crib Mattress
The Pottery Barn Kids sheet fit okay, but not perfectly. While it went over the mattress fine (with a bit more struggle than the Burt’s Bees sheet, to be fair), the fabric didn’t cover the entire edge of the mattress.
The Little Unicorn sheets fit much the same as the Pottery Barn Kids sheets. The fit is okay, but not perfect. There isn’t enough fabric to wrap around the bottom of the mattress, which I really like about the Burt’s Bees product, as I think it helps keep them in place better.
Health Benefits of a Fully Natural and Organic Crib Mattress
A non toxic crib mattress is one of the products I think it’s worth spending a bit more on to ensure babies aren’t exposed to harmful chemical chemicals while they sleep.
Newborns sleep up to 17 hours per day, and they get up close and personal with their mattress. Volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde in glues, phthalates in waterproof protectors, and chemical flame retardants are all shown to come with some health concerns.
If I can spend a bit more to not expose my baby to those chemicals during the majority of their day (sleep and naps)? To me, it’s a no brainer.
Since purchasing our first non toxic crib mattress for our daughter, my entire family has switched over to sleeping on non toxic mattresses.
Organic Crib Mattresses Materials & Certifications
All Avocado crib mattresses are made of natural materials, with no toxic chemicals, and zero synthetic fabrics or fillers.
GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
Avocado uses 100% GOTS organic certified cotton, grown in India without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
Organic Wool (GOTS and Responsible Wool Standard Certified)
Avocado uses GOTS organic wool from Gaddi sheep that roam organic, pesticide free pastures in the Indian Himalayas.
The wool is Responsible Wool Standard certified, which means land-management and animal well-being practices are followed.
GOLS Organic Latex (Dunlop Latex)
Avocado uses only GOLS organic certified dunlop latex, grown on a 4,000 acre organic rubber tree plantation in India. Avocado manages the plantation directly, and also is a part owner in the GOLS certified latex processing facility where the latex is processed.
No Chemical Adhesives or Glues
Chemical adhesives are a concern because they can “off gas” volatile organic compounds. Avocado hand sews their mattresses, and all are free from adhesives and glues.
Natural Flame Retardant
Avocado crib mattresses are free from chemical flame retardants, using wool as a natural flame retardant instead.
All mattresses sold in the United States have to meet federal flammability standards. How companies meet that standard is up to them.
For the most part, companies use chemical flame retardants to pass the testing standards.
For companies that don’t use chemical fire retardants (Avocado is one such company) alternatives include using a synthetic, non-toxic fire barrier such as rayon or hydrated silica, or using naturally flame resistant materials, such as wool.
Avocado uses natural materials (wool) to achieve fire resistance in their organic crib mattress, and it is chemical flame retardant free.
Greenguard Gold Certified
All Avocado crib mattresses are Greenguard Gold certified as low emissions. Greenguard certification refers to volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions, and Greenguard Gold is the strictest certification level, allowing the lowest emissions.
UL Verified Formaldehyde Free
All Avocado crib mattresses are also UL verified formaldehyde free, meaning you don’t have to worry about formaldehyde off-gassing. Formaldehyde is most often present in mattresses via glues and adhesives. The Organic Crib mattress is free from both, and is instead hand-stitched together (rather than glued).
This crib mattress also has the impressive MADE SAFE® Certification. Whereas Greenguard certification refers to VOCs only, MADE SAFE® certification prohibits the use of a massive list of materials that have been found to harm human, animal, aquatic, and eco-system health.
While there are plenty of mattress companies that have Greenguard Gold certification (including many polyurethane foam mattresses), there are very few that have achieved MADE SAFE® Certification. Avocado is one of them. The only others I know about are Naturepedic mattresses, the My Green Mattress Emily Mattress, and Happsy.
GOTS Certified Factory and GOLS Certified Processing Plant
In addition to using GOTS and GOLS certified inputs (GOTS organic cotton and wool; GOLS latex), Avocado’s processing and manufacturing facilities are also certified.
The latex processing plant in India is GOLS certified. And in California, the mattress factory is GOTS certified.
This means Avocado’s manufacturing facilities have to follow strict guidelines, which include factors such as fair wages, a ban on the use of harmful chemicals and materials, and the use of certified organic materials.
Carbon Neutral Certified
Avocado became Carbon Neutral Certified in 2019, and has since become a carbon negative business. This was achieved through a combination of reducing carbon off-sets, as well as carbon offset projects
Safe Sleep Guidelines
Paediatricians and child health and sleep experts recommend all parents and caregivers follow safe sleep guidelines.
Two basic safe sleep guidelines include:
- Place your baby to sleep on their back on a firm mattress with a tight fitting fitted sheet. Never place your infant or newborn on a soft mattress or a bed filled with soft bedding and blankets.
- Don’t put any other bedding in the crib with your baby. This includes a pillow or shams, stuffed animal, blanket (or comforter or duvet). The crib should be bare other than the mattress and tight fitting sheet.
Infants can easily suffocate in soft beds, and applies to both the mattress and the bedding. You can find the detailed safe sleep guidelines – updated in 2022 – here.
Types of Crib Mattresses
Foam crib mattresses are the most popular and common type on the market today, comprised primarily of polyurethane foam (memory foam is generally not suitable for crib mattresses, as its typically not firm enough).
Polyurethane foam isn’t sustainable, and is petrochemical based. Even soy foams and other plant foams tend to have some petrochemical content (labelling laws don’t require manufacturers to specify how much is plant based).
Foam also tends to off-gas VOCs (although you can reduce this by choosing a Greenguard Gold certified mattress). It’s also highly flammable, meaning foam mattresses may use chemical flame retardants to pass federal flammability requirements.
Innerspring or Coil
Innerspring crib mattresses are the other “most popular” type of baby space. There are plenty of non toxic inner spring crib mattresses; these usually use natural materials like organic wool and cotton in addition to the springs.
My Green Mattress’ Emily mattress and Naturepedic offer non toxic innerspring crib mattresses. These companies use plenty of natural materials in addition to the steel springs, but whether you call them “all natural” (since they used steel coils) or not probably comes down to your own priorities and what you’re looking for in a crib mattress.
In addition to some great choices in the innerspring category, there are also innerspring mattresses that use polyurethane foam and synthetics in addition to the steel springs, so you need to do your research when shopping.
Natural Crib Mattresses
Natural crib mattresses use mostly natural materials, which may or may not be organic. Some of them also use bio-based synthetic materials, such as the Nook Pure Organic 2.0, which uses a synthetic derived from corn fiber.
Most of the materials you’ll find in a natural crib mattress are the very same ones you’ll find in this Avocado crib mattress: natural latex from rubber trees in SE Asia, organic cotton and wool, and coconut coir, derived from coconut husks.
I would classify the Avocado crib mattresses as natural!
Breathe Through Crib Mattresses
Breathe-through crib mattresses are a relatively new type of crib mattress, pioneered by Newton Baby.
Since Newton brought their original crib mattress to market to a lot of fanfare and success, a number of competitors have since sprung up, including the Organic Dream Comfort Supreme and Brentwood Home EcoAir.
These mattresses are unique in that they use a food-grade low density polyethylene core (polyethylene is a type of plastic commonly used in food containers, such as yoghurt containers). The mattress core looks similar to dry instant noodles, allowing air to flow through the mattress core, creating a “breathe through” sleep surface.
Lightweight Crib Mattresses
Another newer to market category are lightweight crib mattresses. These build upon the traditional coil mattress style, but instead of using steel coils, they use new technology made of synthetics (typically food grade plastic) to replace the coils. Naturepedic lightweight crib mattresses are a leader in this style of mattress.
I’ve been excited to try one of the Avocado crib mattresses for some time, and I have to say: it didn’t dissapoint.
The materials used are a standout feature for families who want to stay away from plastic and other synthetic materials in their child’s crib mattress. Even the “waterproofing” has been well thought out in this regard, with the choice of absorbent protector pads instead of synthetic waterproofing. And I really appreciate how Avocado has such transparency when it comes to their supply chain.
I also found the way they’ve done “two stage” is notable, and makes this crib mattress stand above so many others that I’ve tested. There’s a very noticeable difference in firmness and comfort levels between the infant sides and toddler sides of the mattress, which is great in terms of infant safety and toddler comfort. I also think this mattress will be quite comfortable for larger or heavier children who aren’t quite ready for a twin mattress or larger.
The main con I see with this mattress is the weight. Natural latex and coconut coir are on the heavier side, when it comes to materials. This means the mattress overall is heavier than new-style lightweight mattresses or breathe-through mattresses.
I’m fairly small (I’m only 5 feet) and found it was manageable to lift, flip, and maneuver. If you’re planning a c-section birth, be prepared to get some help for those first few weeks. And don’t try to lift this mattress yourself after a c-section!
Based on my experience owning this mattress, I think the Avocado Organic crib mattress is an excellent, non-toxic choice for most families. It’s also one of the best crib mattresses I’ve had to personally test thus far.
A dual-firmness crib mattress that's Greenguard Gold and MADE-SAFE certified. Made with coconut coir, GOTS certified organic cotton and wool, and GOLS certified organic latex, this crib mattress doesn't contain polyurethane foams, chemical glues or adhesives, vinyl waterproofing or polyethylene, or flame retardant chemicals. It's also Climate Neutral Certified and handmade in the USA (Los Angeles). Since it's not waterproof, I recommend pairing with 1 (ideally 2) organic mattress protector pads. This is Avocado's best-selling crib mattress, and it's a great choice for purists who want natural and organic all the way through.