When I had my first child, I investigated everything I bought—especially the crib mattress. I researched the companies selling the mattresses and the materials in the bedding. Some parents will spend top dollar for the comfort or safety rating, while others may invest in an organic label. But what if a company makes claims it can’t support? According to the FTC, one company, Moonlight Slumber, LLC, deceptively advertised its mattresses as organic and labeled its products with a safety shield it invented.

The FTC’s first misleading organic bedding complaint has details. Moonlight Slumber, LLC advertised one of its mattresses as “organic” and another as a “safe, organic alternative to traditional crib mattresses.” The truth is that the cores of the “organic” mattresses—the parts that makes up most of the mattress—and the fire barriers are not organic, and about 70% of the cotton covers are not organic. The company also made up a “Green Safety Shield” certification and awarded it to itself.

So what can you do if you’re not sure about a company’s claims about its products?

  • Get the facts: Do your research on the product and the company. Look for reviews on impartial sites not associated with the company.
  • Check out certifications: Seals or certifications can be useful, but only if they’re backed up by solid standards. The package also should tell you about any connections the company has to the organization behind the seal, if that connection might influence your opinion about the certificate or seal. An online search may give you information about how long a certification has existed, and who is behind it.
  • Don’t settle for a shabby product: Disappointed by a product or service you’ve paid for? Use these strategies on solving consumer problems or report it to the FTC.

For more about information about organic claims, read Shopping “Green.”