What Are the Dangers of Sleeping on a Latex Topper?

Latex is the rubbery material derived from plants, used in a variety of commercial products. One of those products is the latex mattress topper. Latex mattress toppers are made of latex foam and sometimes covered with latex rubber. There are some dangers to using latex mattress toppers that every potential buyer should consider.

About Latex Mattress Toppers

You could top this mattress with a latex topper, but consider the dangers first.

Latex mattress toppers are an alternative to mattress toppers made from memory foam and cotton. They are often more expensive than basic cotton toppers, but less expensive than memory foam. Some people prefer latex toppers because they consider it more environmentally friendly than toppers made from petroleum-based foam.

Latex Allergy

The most obvious and immediate danger from a latex topper is the threat of an allergic reaction to the material. People who have allergies to latex can go into anaphylactic shock if they sleep on a latex mattress topper. Without immediate medical attention, the person could die. Some people with a latex allergy are not aware of it, which is even more dangerous.

Fire Hazard

Latex foam is quite flammable. When latex foam catches fire, it liquefies very quickly and spreads. The flaming material can stick to skin and can leave severe burns over the entire body. The fumes from the burning latex also can be harmful.

Dangers to Children and Pets

Latex mattress toppers may pose particular risks to children and pets. Children and pets may be able to tear away any covering that may be on the mattress topper and get to the latex foam inside. Once the foam is exposed, if a child or pet tries to consume or rip up the foam, they face a risk of choking or suffocation. Latex itself is non-toxic, but additives in the foam could be harmful.

Preventing Threats

In order to prevent the possible dangers of latex toppers, take several precautions. Make sure that the person who will be using the mattress topper, whether that person is a friend, relative or yourself, is not allergic to latex. Ask about the person's medical history or get an allergen test from a local hospital. Also, only buy latex toppers that have some sort of flame retardant, or a protective covering. Keep fire hazards (lit cigarettes, matches, hot lamps) away from the topper. See that someone carefully supervises children and pets near the mattress topper.

About the Author

Jeremy Cato is a writer from Atlanta who graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and an English degree from Morehouse College. An avid artist and hobbyist, he began professionally writing in 2011, specializing in crafts-related articles for various websites.