Nook Sleep smashes it out of the park when it comes to aesthetics. Their Pebble crib mattresses are visual joy, giving design-minded parents a bit of reprieve from all the primary-colored kid stuff in their lives. But what about safety – both human and environmental? Can the Nook Pebble Lite offer good looks, great function, AND a safe, non-toxic sleep for your baby? We dug into the details to find out.
Introducing the Nook Pebble Lite Breathable Crib Mattress
The Pebble Lite Eco Friendly is Nook’s most breathable crib mattress. As with all Nook Sleep crib mattresses, it has a distinctive and beautiful Pebble cover, which will look like a million bucks in your baby’s nursery.
And according to Nook, it will also help keep your baby safe and cool.
“The asymmetrical pebble pattern increases air circulation over, around and through the mattress cover. Air travels through the valleys between the Pebbles making a more breathable sleep space for infants.”
Besides creating airflow on the surface of the mattress with the gorgeous cover, Nook achieves breathability by layering CertiPUR-US® certified foam with woven PETE (recycled water bottles) under the cover.
You can see what that looks like in this cross-section image:
What’s Inside the Nook Sleep Pebble Lite Crib Mattress?
Both the Nook Pebble Lite and the Nook Pebble Air use CertiPUR-US® certified foam in their mattresses.
Buying CertiPUR-US® certified foam products is like a security blanket for parents. You know it’s free from many (although not all) harmful chemicals and fire retardants that can be used in or added to flexible polyurethane foam during manufacturing.
However, it’s worth noting here that Nook doesn’t use any chemical fire retardants.
Specifically, foam with the CertiPUR-US® certification is made without:
- Ozone depleters.
- Some flame retardants. CertiPUR-US® requires foam to be free from PBDEs, TDCPP and TCEP (”Tris”). Again, Nook is transparent about the fact they don’t use any chemical flame retardants.
- Mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.
- Phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
CertiPUR-US® certified foam also has to emit less than 0.5 parts per million Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
Recycled PETE Bottles for Breathability
Admittedly, breathable plastic sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but Nook seems to have pulled it off.
The Nook Pebble Lite combines CertiPUR-US® foam with recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE).
Even if Polyethylene Terephthalate sounds intimidating, I can assure you you’re familiar with this material. PET or PETE is a food-grade plastic. You’ll know it in its most common form: plastic soda bottles.
Nook uses recycled bottles in their mattresses.
According to Nook Sleep:
“PETE is BPA-Free water bottle plastic that has been repurposed to create the lightweight, ultra-firm and extremely breathable side of the Pebble Lite … In addition to being non-toxic and safe, it is also responsibly reused in this eco-friendly mattress option.”
Is PETE Safe?
Leading health authorities and governments around the world consider PETE safe. While some research is now starting to call PETE’s safety into question with food use, there’s nothing that we’re aware of to suggest it wouldn’t be safe in a mattress.
To learn more, read our guide to polyethylene terephthalate.
Is it Really Eco-Friendly?
Worth noting here, that although Nook positions this mattress as eco-friendly, they don’t actually back up the claim with any data as far as we can see.
Terms like eco-friendly can be quite deceptive, which is why the FTC Green Guides discourage companies from using them unless they can back up the claim.
This is a perfect example, pulled from the FTC Green Guides Summary:
Claiming “Green, made with recycled content” may be deceptive if the environmental costs of using recycled content outweigh the environmental benefits of using it.
At the end of the day, Nook is recycling PETE that would likely otherwise end up in a landfill to use in this mattress. However, once the mattress has reached the end of it’s life, the plastic will still exist, as it’s not biodegradable.
As a consumer, it’s really hard to say what the eco-friendliest thing to do here is. Plastic sucks for the earth. But Nook didn’t create the plastic – they’re re-using plastic that already exists in our world, and giving it a second lease on life.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which of the Nook Pebble mattresses are right for your family, and which fit with your commitment to living green.
If you decide plastic isn’t for you, but still want to get the gorgeous Nook wrap and support a company that really does seem to be trying to do the right thing for our babies and the earth, the Nook Pebble Pure is a great choice.
What About the Cover?
All Nook Pebble mattresses use a crib-ready cover (wrap in Nook speak). They’re all made of eucalyptus fiber, organic cotton, an organic cotton and poly blend, and zinc, with a nylon zipper.
You can use the Nook Lite without sheets. Because of this, Nook wanted to be sure it could stand up to gross, messy babies. They made a lot of their textile decisions around this.
The organic cotton is soft for your kiddo’s skin, the eucalyptus fiber helps to wick moisture away from your baby, and the zinc is used as an antimicrobial agent.
Is the Nook Pebble Lite Non-Toxic?
A Warning about “Non-Toxic”
According the the FTC Green Guides: “Marketers who claim that their product is non-toxic need competent and reliable scientific evidence that the product is safe for both people and the environment.” In our experience, not a lot of companies actually do this, and it’s worth taking companies’ claims about products that are non-toxic, green, organic, etc. with a hefty grain of salt.
It’s really hard to say for sure if the product is completely non-toxic without knowing exactly what goes into the manufacturing process.
What we can do, however, is get a best guess scenario based on the info we have.
And Nook does a pretty good job backing up their statement that this mattress is non-toxic.
Fire Retardants in the Nook Pebble Lite
Nook doesn’t use chemical fire retardants in their products. Instead, they rely on inherently fire retardant materials (coconut coir, wool, etc). Or they use non-toxic fire barriers.
The Pebble Lite has a non-toxic fire barrier.
Unfortunately, Nook doesn’t provide a lot of information about this fire barrier on their webite. Throughout their website, they describe it as a “Non-Toxic Freudenberg Fire Barrier.”
We interpreted this to mean Nook’s chosen fire barrier is proprietary to Freudenberg. However, Nook actually reached out to us to explain further:
Our goal with FR is to mirror the natural fire barrier capabilities of wool using a combination of natural and non-toxic man-made materials. The ideal combination of genetically enhanced materials such as rayon and silica offer the highly desirable FR properties, which essentially means that the fire protection is naturally part of the polymer backbone and can never be worn or washed away. Rayon is regenerated cellulose fiber, while silica occurs when mineral quartz, sandstone and other rocks combine. The non-toxic fire barrier is free from carcinogenic chemicals and harsh toxins found in most other fire retardants. So the long and short is that we have done our research and we have checked the boxes and the FR Fire Barrier is not only safe and healthy, but it will stand the test of time as well.
This, combined with Nook’s independent certifications, help to back up their claim this is a non-toxic crib mattress.
In addition to using CertiPUR-US® Foam, Nook has certifications from GREENGUARD GOLD, the Global Organic Textile Standard, Oeko-Tex®, bluesign®, and more.
- Nook’s products meet GREENGUARD Gold standards for the lowest chemical emissions checked for.
- Global Organic Textile Standard means Nook products need to contain at least 95% organic fiber, along with other stringent requirements. Products can’t be treated with bleach, formaldehyde or other toxic substances, they must use non-toxic dyes, and they need to manufacture in facilities applying strict social and environmental standards.
- Oeko-Tex® certified textiles certified to be free from chemicals and safe for human use. Nook doesn’t specify which of the materials it uses meet Oeko-Tex® Standard 100.
- Nook sources from FSC certified forests. It’s unclear if this is related to packaging or the eucalyptus fiber.
- Nook follows the bluesign® system for sustainable textile production. This ensures harmful substances aren’t used in the manufacturing process, and ensures production is safe for people and the environment.
Local Economy Supporting
Part of Nook’s thing is supporting their local economy. In this case, that means the USA. The company sources a lot from US producers and manufacturers. This is good news for the environment, because it cuts down on greenhouse gases for shipping, and the US *may* have more stringent environmental standards than some manufacturing powerhouse countries.
With the Nook Lite, Nook uses US-made and tested CertiPUR-US® certified foam and US-made zippers. The company sources packaging for the mattress from Los Angeles.
What’s to Love and Change about the Nook Pebble Lite Crib Mattress
What’s to Love
- Dual sided, making it suitable for both infants and toddlers.
- Local-economy supporting, which is good for workers and the environment.
- Lifetime limited warranty on the mattress (and all other Nook crib mattresses).
- Gorgeous Pebble cover that’s functional and an attractive addition to your nursery. Plus, if you use it without sheets it means less laundry when you do have to wash it.
- Breathable design that is great for your baby and the environment (thanks to the fact Nook uses recycled plastic water bottles).
- Multiple independent certifications to give you confidence its safe and non-toxic for your baby and the environment.
- Reasonably lightweight, weighing in at 17 pounds.
What We’d Change
More information about the non-toxic fire barrier.