Brentwood Home’s Wildfern is a 2-stage baby crib and toddler mattress. Filled with coconut coir and natural latex, it’s a safe, non-toxic choice for your baby. Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of this crib mattress.
Brentwood Home talks a big game when it comes to this mattress. The company claims it’s the “most natural crib mattress you’ll find anywhere for your child.”
That’s a massive claim in the increasingly-competitive industry of organic crib mattresses, especially when competing against big brands.
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t skeptical about this claim! So we dug in to learn more.
What’s Inside the Brentwood Wildfern Crib Mattress?
One of our main complaints about the mattress industry is the lack of transparency. Too often, companies expect us to spend a full one-third of our lives on a product, but they won’t tell us what’s inside. Babies spend even more time on their mattress, and are even more sensitive to chemicals and toxins than adults.
“Children … are far more susceptible to adverse affects from chemical exposures than adults, even at very low doses.”Aimee Quitmeyer and Rebecca Roberts, PLOS Biology
When it comes to many mattresses, whatever lies beneath the surface of the mattress cover is a complete mystery – and not in a good way.
Introducing a Baby Crib Mattress with a Dose of Transparency
That’s not the case with Brentwood Home. Before you commit to one of their crib mattresses (or, indeed, one of their adult mattresses), you can get a fairly clear picture of what’s inside.
The Wildfern consists of 3 layers: 2 inner layers, and the outside cover.
A Coconut & Organic Natural Latex Baby Mattress
If you cut open a Brentwood Wildfern mattress (not recommended!), it would look like the picture below. The Wildfern has a 3” layer of coconut husk (yes, really!) and a 1” layer of natural latex.
It would look like this…
Coconut For Firmness
The husks of used coconuts may seem like a weird material for a mattress, but it’s increasing in popularity. The Emily Natural Crib Mattress, the Naturalmat Coco Mat, and the Nook Pebble Pure also use coconut coir, and for good reason: coir has great breathability and moisture-resistance, both of which are super important in preventing mold and bacterial growth.
Fibres from coconuts also have another major “pro” when it comes to crib mattresses: they don’t compress or sag over time. After years of use, you’re unlikely to find uneven firmness across the surface of the mattress, or peaks and valleys from sagging. Babies need a consistently firm mattress, and coconut fibre is dense and durable.
You might be surprised to learn that there are actually a number of coconut crib mattresses on the market!
Organic Latex for Plushness
On the other side of the mattress, there’s a layer of natural latex.
Remember, the Brentwood Wildfern is a 2-stage mattress. Face the coconut side (the firmer side) up for a baby, and flip the mattress to the latex side (the plusher side) for a toddler. 2-Stage crib mattresses should last your baby until they outgrow a toddler bed – usually around 5-years-old.
Latex has a number of great features for a crib mattress. To start with, it’s naturally “anti” dust mite. Dust mites don’t consider latex to be a suitable home, and won’t colonize a latex mattress like they will a conventional foam or coil crib mattress.
Latex is also great at temperature regulation, which is critical to keeping both young and older babies safe. According to a retrospective study published in Environmental Health Perspectives looking at the relationship between outdoor temperature and SIDS cases in Montreal between 1981 and 2000:
On the hottest days, when the temperature exceeded 29°C (84.2°F), infants had 2.78 times greater odds of dying from SIDS compared with days when the temperature was 20°C (68.0°F). The relationship between higher temperatures and SIDS was stronger for babies aged 3–12 months compared with those aged 1–2 months….Carrie Arnold, Environmental Health Perspectives
Finally, latex is breathable and is slightly firmer than conventional foam. Because of this, you can expect the Brentwood Wildfern to provide a bit more support for your toddler when compared to a foam mattress, while still being comfy.
It’s worth noting here, that natural latex is different from synthetic latex, and the difference is important. Synthetic latex is a plastic with various additives. Natural latex comes from the naturally-derived sap-like substance from rubber trees. The Wildfern uses natural (and organic) latex.
What About Chemicals?
Just as Brentwood Home tells you exactly what goes into their mattresses, they also tell you what doesn’t go into them: the standard array of chemicals you find in most conventional mattresses.
The Wildfern is GREENGUARD Gold Certified by UL Environment. This means it’s been certified by an independent third party, and has met or exceeded the most stringent GREENGUARD standard (Gold).
The Brentwood Home baby crib mattresses and toddler mattresses are all free from lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates, and meet the most stringent Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) standards. No off-gassing here, folks!
Brentwood Home even posts their GREENGUARD certificate so you can check for yourself.
What About Fire Retardants?
Instead, the Wildfern uses hydrated silica as a fire barrier.
Silica (silicon dioxide) is a crystal that makes up about 12% of the earth’s surface. If you’ve ever been to a beach or a playground, you’ve seen silica in the form of sand.
To be clear, hydrated silica isn’t sand. First, sodium silicate is made from a series of chemical reactions involving sand, sodium carbonate, heat, and water. The sodium silicate is then mixed with acid to precipitate hydrated silica.
According to Brentwood Home’s website, the US FDA classifies hydrated silica as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). If you do a search of the GRAS database, you won’t find “hydrated silica” listed. You will find sodium silicate listed as GRAS. Silicon dioxides are also classified as GRAS. According to PubChem, silica hydrate is “a hydrated form of silicon dioxide.”
Adding to the body of experts who consider hydrated silica safe is the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Their review found it to be safe “as used in cosmetics and personal care products.” Toothpastes, makeup, and food products also use hydrated silica.
It has no known toxicity or carcinogenicity, which is great news for your baby.
The other good news? It meets and exceeds federal flammability and CPSC standards.
A Waterproof Cover
The Brentwood Wildfern’s mattress is waterproof, which can be a bit of a red-flag for families who want a green, non-toxic crib mattress. In most mattress covers, waterproof means plastic or vinyl (PVC).
Brenthood Home clarifies the Wildfern crib mattress cover is PVC-free. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t readily explain what it is made of. According to the product page on their website:
[The] Handcrafted cover is made with a waterproof top panel & premium upholstery fabrics, which makes cleaning a breezeBrentwood Home
Brentwood Home has gone a long way in bringing transparency to the world of mattresses, but to us this seems like a missed opportunity. What exactly are, “premium upholstery fabrics?”
We wanted to know more, so we started digging around and found this:
“The crib mattresses are made waterproof with a polyester fabric coated in food-grade polyolefin.”Brentwood Home
The fact that we had to dig for the info is probably one of our main criticisms of this mattress. And it honestly made us a bit skeptical of polyolefin.
What are Polyelfins? (And Are They Safe?)
Polyolefin is a plastic and a fibre commonly used in activewear and other textiles, plastic shrink wrap, milk carton coatings, crates, food bottles, toys, carpet fibres, insulation, electronics, and more. Notably, the are also used in conventional diapers. Like PET plastics, they are derived from fossil fuels, and pretty much ubiquitous in our lives.
According to the European Association for Textile Polyelfins (so…not exactly an independent, impartial group, but it’s a start):
Environmentally, polyolefins are remarkably well tolerated and from a health and safety point of view, they are particularly harmless.European Association for Textile Polyelfins
In 2016, a group of plastic-industry toxicologists conducted a review of available toxicological data of polyolefins used in food packaging. The study found no evidence of harm to human health, including low potential for acute toxicity, no genotoxicity (gene damaging), no concerns regarding carcinogenic effects, and no indication of reproductive or developmental toxicity.
A Look at the Mattress Cover
A visual inspection of the mattress gives some clues about its quality and functionality. The Wildfern’s exterior side panels are a breathable mesh material. From a functionality point of view, this is great news. The coconut husk layer also makes this quite a breathable crib mattress. Allowing airflow in and out of the mattress will go a long way in stopping bacterial growth and preventing mold from taking root.
The top panel – this is the non-PVC (polyolefin) waterproof cover they refer to – is seamless, with a non-vinyl trim around the sides to bind the waterproof top panel and mesh side panels.
The piping is fairly thick, which will help keep the sheets taught, prevent damage and wear, and maintain edge support.
Brentwood Wildfern Crib Mattress Summary
What’s to Love
- The Wildfern is vegan. No wool or other animal products, making this a great choice for a vegan household.
- The Wildfern is durable. The coconut fibre plus the natural latex will stand up for a long life. The fact that it’s a 2-stage crib mattress means you’ll be able to use it for your baby and toddler for a number of years. In that regard, it’s an investment piece that will last your kid until they outgrow their toddler bed, typically around 5 years old. If you’re balking at the price ($295), consider that’s a cost of $59 per year if your kid sleeps on it for 5 years.
- It’s naturally hypoallergenic, anti-static, and anti-microbial due to the materials used.
- It’s made in the USA in Los Angeles.
- It has a 10 year warranty.
- The Wildfern has no odour out of the box. This is a huge complaint for many mattresses, but especially for conventional foam mattresses and memory foam. The Wildfern doesn’t suffer from this problem and you won’t feel like you’re introducing a toxic gas cloud into your baby’s nursery.
- The value for price is fair. Brentwood makes the Wildfern in the USA with high-quality and non-toxic materials. This adds cost! Despite this, the company has priced the Wildfern at $295 – well within the mid-range for crib mattresses. Don’t get us wrong: $295 is not pocket change. But value for money on this mattress is pretty good.
What We’d Change
- The Wildfern only ships within the US. If you’re an international customer, you’ll have to look pretty hard to get the Wildfern.
- We want to know more about the mattress cover. Brentwood Home has done such a great job of being transparent about the inside. How about some more information on the waterproof cover, too?