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For Grown-ups


For your reference, we've assembled answers to the most common consumer questions about mattress and bedroom safety. Click a question to read its answer. If you have a question that's not addressed here, you can email it to us at SPSC Media, and we will respond to you promptly.



Are there any federal regulations in place for mattress manufacturers regarding flammability?

Yes. Two federal flammability standards apply to mattresses. The first, called 16 CFT Part 1632, requires that a mattress resist ignition from a smoldering heat source like a cigarette. The second, called 16 CFR Part 1633, requires that a mattress resist ignition from a small-flame heat sources, such as a match, lighter or candle.

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What are good storage areas for unused mattresses?

Unless you are currently using a mattress as part of a bedroom set, it should be properly disposed of. Most people don't realize what a potential fire hazard extra mattresses can be when they are stored in crawlspaces, basements, attics, and garages — especially if they're near oily rags, gasoline, and other flammable materials. When it comes to mattresses and fire safety: If you're no longer dozing on them, dispose of them.

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Where can I dispose of my mattress properly?

A number of companies around the country will recycle the components in a used mattress. These include the steel springs, foam, fabric and wood. These materials can be recycled to make other products or burned as fuel. Click here for a directory of these facilities. If you are not able to access one of these facilities, call your local sanitation department — many counties have dumps or landfills that accept large household trash and appliances. If you are buying a new mattress, check with your retailer — many will pick up and dispose of your old mattress when they deliver your new one.

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How can I know for sure that my mattress complies with the federal mattress flammability standards?

The best way is to know when and where your mattress was manufactured. All mattresses made or sold in the United States after July 2007 must comply with the federal smoldering ignition and open-flame ignition standards. Each mattress made after July 2007 must bear a label stating that it meets the Part 1633 standard.

In addition, to help inform consumers about how to use a mattress safely, the Sleep Products Safety Council began a voluntary hangtag program in 1987. Along with showing that a mattress complies with applicable federal flammability standards, these hangtags also provide important safety information. They are typically attached to the mattress, itself, or included with the purchase information handed out by retailers.

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What is the Sleep Products Safety Council safety hangtag?

It's an informational tag that manufacturers typically attach to residential mattresses. It warns consumers of potential fire and safety hazards that may result from the improper use of sleep products, and it offers guidance for home fire protection and actions that should be taken if a fire occurs. In addition, the tag shows that a mattress complies with applicable federal mattress flammability standards.

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How can I protect my family in case of a mattress fire?

The best measure you can take is to replace any mattresses in your home that were made before July 2007, the month the most recent federal mattress flammability standard went into effect. And be sure to get rid of your old mattresses if you are not using them. They are a fire hazard when kept in garages, basements, attics, or other storage areas. There are also other important steps you can take to protect your family, which include having working smoke detectors and a fire escape plan.

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How can I educate my family about fire safety?

The For Grown-ups and For Teachers areas of our site have games, interactive quizzes, and other terrific ways to educate your family. In addition, the U.S. Fire Administration's Web site offers fact sheets, publications, games, and a directory of additional resources.

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What should I do if my new mattress has an odor?

Much like new cars, mattresses sometimes have a "new mattress" odor. Often, you can remedy it by letting the mattress air out before putting on sheets or other bedding. While there is no set amount of time for airing out a new mattress, the longer, the better.

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I recently heard a report on the dangers of babies sleeping in adult beds. Why is this hazardous?

Parents often think that if they push a big bed up against the wall – or put pillows along the sides of the bed – their babies will be safe as they sleep. This is not true. There are many potential hazards of adult beds for infants, and several deaths have been reported. Read more about Hidden Hazards for Babies in Adult Beds.

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I've heard news stories about dangers associated with the use of PBDE fire retardants in mattresses and other home furnishings products using foam. Should I be concerned?

Your new mattress will not contain PBDEs. Production of PBDE fire retardants in the United States was discontinued in 2004.

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