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.