Safety Concerns of Using an Air Mattress

In the recent past, air mattresses have gained much popularity. When people want to go out for camping, you’ll rarely see them carrying traditional beds. It’s even laughable if someone does that. How about those pesky bugs-bedbugs!

These tiny parasites have made many people abandon their traditional furniture beds to air mattress. In an air mattress, a bedbug has minimal chances of staying unnoticed for a long time, unlike the ordinary mattresses which offer perfect breeding and hibernation grounds, especially along their hems.

According to American Journal of Public Health, another reason that has contributed to the popularity of inflatable mattresses is their cost efficiency as they are cheaper than the ordinary mattress.

As such, many low income earners are going for the cheap alternative a full-time sleep solution to save a bit of bucks. In fact, with as little as $20 you can get new inflatable mattresses, although a cheap one. Can you get a new traditional mattress at that price? It’s highly unlikely, right?

Unlike in the past decades where the mattresses were used occasionally, perhaps to accommodate home guests, nowadays some people use them permanently. In fact, some of them even claim that some inflatable mattresses look classier as compared to some of the traditional ones.

Nevertheless, despite the above benefits, about inflatable mattresses have been receiving negative comments. Perhaps you’ve already heard about some of them and you are here to confirm if they are just myths or there’s some truth in the concerns.

Here, we are going to look at the safety concerns related to the mattresses and without much ado, let’s begin with the first one.

1. Infant suffocation which might lead to death

The uneven, soft and impermeable surface of an inflatable mattress is dangerous for babies. Even if it is fully inflated, the mattress can mold the face of a baby, consequently obstructing his/her airway by creating an occlusive seal.

If the suffocation is not detected early, the baby can lose his or her life. Underinflated mattresses cause the majority of such deaths but even the fully inflated ones are not safe for little kids, especially those who are under the age of 15 months.

Although some people don’t that caution seriously, you shouldn’t join the bandwagon of the doubting Thomases. Figures don’t lie. And how do the figures concerning this risk indicate?

According to The National Child Death Review Case Reporting System, 108 infant deaths occurred as a result of inflatable mattresses between year 2004 and 2015 in 24 American states.

However, in their research titled ‘The Interface Among Poverty, Air Mattress Industry Trends’, Doering and Salm Ward indicate that the deaths could be more, attributing the underreporting to “air mattress” not being a clear choice on the reporting form.

Considering the risks that parents ignorantly put their little ones by putting them on inflatable mattresses, Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended that infants who’ve not attained the age of 15 months should not be put to sleep on such mattresses.

It is due to this recommendation that air mattress manufacturers like Intex began to print safety labels discouraging sleeping of the infants on their air mattresses.

However, these labels are not the ultimate solution to the problem as not everyone will care to read them. Thorough sensitization of people about the danger, besides the safety labels, is the way to go.

2. Back pain and stiffness

 The level of support that an air mattress provides is low as compared to that of a traditional mattress. That’s why you’ll find yourself rolling on it for a long time before you find a comfortable sleeping position.

Due to inadequate contouring support, your spine might get misaligned if you sleep on the mattress for a long time. The health issues that you are likely to experience due to a poorly aligned spine include back pain, back stiffness and lack of restorative sleep.

Therefore, if you have to sleep on an inflatable mattress, do it once in a while to avoid such problems.

3. Cancer-related Phthalates

Traditionally, all inflatable mattresses featured PVC vinyl plastic construction which was covered with a velvet-like material. However, nowadays, some of the mattresses are PVC free because of the health risks that are associated with this kind of plastic.

Are you wondering how sleeping on PVC Plastics can affect your health?

Well, it puts you at higher risk of developing an allergy The volatile organic compounds constituted in the plastics have been found capable of releasing toxic fumes when the smell of a new air mattress goes away. If your body is allergic to this fume, you are likely to develop a respiratory allergic reaction.

Even worse, the plastics can contain phthalates, colorless and odorless plasticizing chemical, to make the air mattress more flexible. Unfortunately, when your body absorbs phthalates, the chemical accumulates within you and can disrupt the normal hormone function as it mimics estrogen.

The disruption exposes you to a myriad of health issues including exposure to breast cancer, developmental issues as well as decreased fertility. No wonder The U.S. President’s Cancer Panel listed phthalates among the chemicals that can cause cancer.

To avoid such health issues, it’s advisable that if you have to buy an air mattress, consider those that use thermoplastic polyurethane as an alternative to PVC. Thermoplastic polyurethane is not toxic and offers the same benefits as PVC.

4. Skin reaction

Air mattresses feature plastic construction to hold air for a long time. However, besides suffocation and phthalates, a plastic material has another downside- it isn’t breathable.

Therefore, it doesn’t diffuse the heat that your body released when you are asleep. People with oversensitive skins can develop a skin reaction due to the accumulation of sweat on their skin.

Those are some of the major safety concerns of using an air mattress. Share this article with a friend to get them enlightened as well.

My Child Can’t Sleep Well: What to Do?

Ample sleep is very important for the overall functioning of the human body. As such, your kid should sleep enough. But how much of it is enough?

Well, the total number of hours that a child should sleep depends on his or her age. Kids aged between:

  • 1 to 4 weeks old should sleep for 15  to 16 hours per day
  • 1 to 12 months ought to sleep for 14 to 15 hours per day
  • 1 to 3 years should sleep for 12 to 14 hours per day
  • 3 to 6 years should sleep for 10 to 12 hours every day
  • 7 to 12 years should sleep for 10 to 11 hours every day
  • 12 to 18 years ought to sleep for 8 to 9 hours per day

In case your child sleeps for hours that are less than the recommended ones in respect to his or her age, he/she is at higher risk of various health issues such as obesity and common colds as compared to a child who gets enough sleep.

Nevertheless, don’t worry much if your kid doesn’t get enough. In this article, you are going to see an array of techniques to make your little one sleep sufficiently.

1. Create a bedtime routine

There are some activities that if done routinely before bedtime, particularly 15-30 minutes before bedtime, your kid can associate them with sleep. When such things occur or are done to the child, his or her mind starts to prepare to get to sleep. Some of the routine activities that you can consider for your child include:

  • Bathing the child
  • Wearing pajamas on the child
  • Asking the child to brush his/her teeth or assist him/her do so
  • Have a small storytelling session with the child
  • Kissing the child goodnight

If you make these activities a habit before every bedtime, your child will pick them as signs of an approaching bedtime. Remember to be consistent in these activities to make them effective in preparing your little one to sleep.

2. Encourage regular daytime physical exercises

When a kid gets tired as a result of physical exercises done during the day, it becomes easy for him or her to fall asleep at night.  As such, let your kid play with his or her peers or if alone, encourage the physical exercises that he/she can do on his own. You can even take part in them as a way of encouragement. Nevertheless, it’s important that the kid remains calm with minimal physical exercises within three hours before bedtime to prevent overstimulation that could hinder sleep when it’s required at night.

3. Minimize stress before bedtime

If your kid takes long before falling asleep after going to bed, cortisol hormone which is also called “stress hormone”  could be responsible for the delay. The hormone is usually activated when the body is quite active as a result of excessive physical exercises, noises or bright lights, among other conditions. To reduce prevent an excessive amount of the hormone in your kid’s body, prevent these causative conditions. Ensure that the lights in your house are dim, reduce the volume of your TV/radio or any other sound gadget in your house and let the kid remain calm for about three hours before the scheduled bedtime. If you can, install room-darkening shades to reduce light in your kid’s bedroom and living room.

4. Find a way of instilling a sense of safety

Some children fear to sleep alone at night, and the fear might make them stay awake for the better part of the night. If your child is a victim of this fear, you need to find a way of instilling a sense of safety in him or her. Constant assurance that there’s no danger at all in sleeping alone in a room might go a long way in making the child less fearful. Encourage him or her to be brave and reward and praise him/her whenever she/she shows bravery, especially during bedtime.

Also, you should try as much as you can to ensure that the child doesn’t watch scary TV shows or movies or play frightening computer games until he/she gets the courage to sleep alone without sleep-interrupting fears. If the kid is afraid of the dark(this is a common fear among many young children), have his/her room always slightly lit during bedtime. Remember we said that too much light could promote sleeplessness.

5. Increase daytime’s natural light exposure

Melatonin is a hormone that is involved in the regulation of the sleeping and waking cycles. High levels of the hormones promote sleep while low level makes a person to be mentally alert and active, hence minimal possibility of falling asleep. When your child is alert and active during the daytime, there are high chances that they’ll have a deep sleep at night. 

Exposure to plenty of natural light decreases melatonin production, signaling the body to prepare to be awake. Therefore, it’s important that you encourage the child to get outside especially during the morning hours for maximum possible natural light exposure. If you live in a house that allows a lot of natural light to get in, the better as you’ll only be drawing the window curtains aside.

6. Prevent the child from getting too full at bedtime

While an empty stomach can make a person roll in bed all night long without getting even an hour of sleep, being too full can also make it difficult for your child to fall asleep. Besides, it can disrupt the normal sleep pattern as the body remains active while digesting the food. Therefore, avoid giving the kid heavy meals within three hours before bedtime. If the kid wants to eat something within the period, let it be a light snack such as yoghurt, banana or low-sugar cereal.

7. Avoid greasy, sweet or spicy foods near bedtime

Greasy, sweet or spicy foods can cause sleep disruptions or difficulty in falling asleep/ getting back to sleep if taken near bedtime. Other foodstuffs that can also cause these sleep issues include bacon, cheese, caffeinated drinks, sugary foods, and tomatoes, among others. If your child tends to eat these foods, it’s high time you remove them from his/her near-bedtime snacks to promote a smooth sleep pattern.

Having implemented the above tips, there’s a very high possibility that your child will be able to sleep well.