ZH Testing the safety of cot mattresses Where children and babies are involved, safety is especially important. In the UK, British Standards cover the supply of cot mattresses.
The two important British standards for cot mattresses are BS It should be noted that the standard does not cover flammability requirements. BS covers only the flammability aspects. In the UK, there are mandatory requirements for the flammability of all domestic mattresses, including cot mattresses. A separate Spotlight article, 'Domestic mattresses and bed bases' covers BS This article will consider the requirements set out in BS for cot mattresses.
Monofilament sewing thread shall not be used in the cot mattress.
Filling materials must meet the relevant cleanliness requirements, namely BS EN Hygiene and cleanliness requirements' or BS There is also a requirement that the fillings used must achieve a certain performance in relation to hardness and fatigue performance. The exact performance requirements of the fillings depend on the type of filling used. These performance requirements do relate to safety, as a mattress that 'sags' after use could collect vomit and present a choking hazard.
For a PU foam filling, the hardness grade must be at least as defined in BS Also, the fatigue performance must be at least 'Class A', as defined in BS Mattress flammability test Spring units must conform to the requirements of BS For other types of fillings for example, compressed fibre there is no hardness requirement, but the fatigue performance must be at least Class A as defined in BS The cover materials used must meet certain physical requirements.
These requirements cover aspects such as colour fastness to wet and dry rubbing, colour fastness to perspiration, tear strength, seam slippage, tensile strength, burst strength, dimensional stability to washing, colour fastness to light and colour fastness to washing.
Not all of these requirements apply in every case. The requirements depend on whether the cover material is a knitted fabric, a woven fabric, a nonwoven fabric or plastic sheeting.
In some cases, the cover materials used on the top surface and bottom surface may be different, and so each would need separate testing. The cover materials used must meet certain requirements with regard to hazardous chemicals. The standard refers to requirements for 'coatings on exterior surfaces'.
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However, in practice, tests are carried out on the cover material complete with any coating. Any ventilators used in the construction must also meet the same requirements with regard to hazardous chemicals, and they must not be positioned on the sleeping surface. Construction — Any gaps in the sleeping surface must pass a probe test intended to identify potential finger entrapment sites.
In addition, any mesh fabric used must pass this test. If impermeable covers are used, provision for ventilation must be made. Separate ventilators, if used, must be securely fitted and pass a 90N 'pull' test.
A cover which does not completely enclose the mattress must be sufficiently tight to prevent it being removed or dislodged unintentionally, and the uncovered portion of the mattress must be in the centre of its underside.
If a cover, or part of it, is removable for cleaning purposes, at least 50 per cent of the underside must be covered by it. Mattress handles are not allowed.
There is a 'performance' test which assesses how well the complete cot mattress withstands cyclic pounding figure 1. The height loss must not exceed 10 per cent of the original height. If there are any springs in the construction, these must not fracture or protrude through the cover after the test.
Cyclic pounding test Dimensions — There are no limits on the length or width of the cot mattress, but these must be measured and the nominal length and width must be declared on the marking label. There is a limit on the thickness of the cot mattress: Marking — There are several requirements for marking, which would normally be in the form of a sewn-in label.
Certain specified information must be present, including listed warnings. One of the warnings indicates the internal dimensions of the cot with which the cot mattress is to be used. These internal dimensions are calculated from the nominal measured dimensions.
Packaging — There are requirements for any plastic covering used to package the cot mattress in order to avoid the risk of suffocation. Testing for BS compliance As can be seen in this article, there are tests that are carried out on the component materials fillings, cover materials and other tests carried out on the complete cot mattress.
It is recommended that samples of the component materials PU foam fillings, compressed fibre fillings, cover materials are tested first. Only when these component materials have passed the tests would it be worth proceeding to submit a complete cot mattress for further assessment.
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