Fire / Flame Resistant Air Mattresses

Mattress Fire
Shawn J
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Does Your Bed Protect You While You Sleep?

Awhile back, I happened to catch a segment on the Today Show about a new flame resistant air mattress. The Fire Department lit your regular everyday air mattress and a new flame resistant air mattress on fire at the same time. Viewers watched as each air mattress was allowed to burn for 6 minutes.

Amazingly the regular air mattress was half gone while the flame resistant air mattress only had a little circle of a burn mark. I found this fascinating and the potential for lives to be saved great. So I decided to do a little digging and report to you on how this air mattress works and where you can buy one.

I want to begin by saying that each year 20,800 fires begin each year in air mattresses and bedding according to US Fire Administration study. I wanted you to realize that this is a real threat in any home and you should take the matter seriously.

As a matter of fact, bed fires are the second leading cause of fire deaths among pre-school kids. So if you have young children, you should give the idea of buying a flame resistant bed some real thought!

The Fire Defender Sleep System comes as a two-piece flame retardant air mattress pad and box spring cover. This product is protects air mattress sets from igniting for up to 30 minutes.

That is plenty of time for you and your family to get out of your house and get the fire department to put out the bed. Not only will your family be safe, but the rest of your house will be saved from going up in to flames.

The Fire Defender Sleep System is designed for comfort. It is soft and has a 100% cotton top fabric. It was also created to have a traditional look.

You can buy a Fire Defender Sleep System online. Twin sets usually sell for $149.99 while Full sets go for $169.99. Queen sets sell for $179.99 and Kings for $199.99. If you shop around you may be able to find them even a little bit cheaper, but from what I can see that is how much you will end up spending.

Starting July 1, 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission will require all air mattress sets manufactured or imported in the United States to meet a strict flame resistant safety standard. Their goal is to contain the fire for a longer period of time and keep the fire from becoming more intense.

This new requirement is predicted to reduce air mattress fire deaths by 78%. That is too large of a number not to take notice. Also, imagine how much money will be saved from possible damages.

How are Mattresses Tested?

All mattresses and mattress sets sold in the US must meet federal flammability regulations. As mentioned above, there are two parts to CFR 16. 

  • Part 1632 requires two mattress surfaces to be exposed to a minimum of 18 lit cigarettes. The burn mark on each surface should not exceed two inches.
  • Part 1633 requires that the mattress be exposed to an open flame (as pictured below) for 30 minutes. Nineteen kilowatts on the top surface of the mattress for 70 seconds and ten kilowatts on the border for 50 seconds. The heat released from the mattress should not exceed 15 megajoules during the first ten minutes of the test. Additionally, the peak rate of the heat should not exceed 200 kilowatts throughout the duration of the test. 

7 Tips to Prevent Mattress Fires

Tip #1: Your new mattress is NOT fire-proof, even if it carries a fire retardant label. All mattresses will burn if ignited. Compared to older mattresses, newer mattress will burn just more slowly and less intensely, giving you more time to escape. If a fire should occur on your mattress leave the house immediately and call the fire department. DO NOT attempt to put the fire out yourself.

Spraying the mattress with a hose will tear the barrier and often cause the fire to get bigger.

Tip #2: Don’t smoke in bed. This is a common cause of fatal bedroom fires and a simple one to prevent.

Tip #3: Keep matches and lighters away from children. Playing with fire can be deadly.

Tip #4: Using candles in a bedroom is strongly discouraged. While they may smell good, people often fall asleep and forget to extinguish them and they can cause a fire.

Tip #5: Keep space heaters a save distance away from beds and other flammable items. Follow all of the space heater manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and ensure proper ventilation around the heater.

Tip #6: Don’t run electrical cords or surge strips under your bed, air mattress or trap them against a wall. Heat from cords can build up and cause a fire. Also, avoid placing lamps where they can fall on the bed–just put them on a night stand far enough away from your bed

Tip #7: Promptly dispose of old mattresses to avoid a fire hazard.

Finally, make sure to have a smoke alarm in your bedroom and test is at least annually!