Our $300 Mistake [And How We Fixed It]

It was supposed to be a fun, new exciting thing. A fun first. A brand new big girl bed! But it ended in a nightmare and brought months of medical problems for our little sweetheart, and even ourselves.
The first week of January, we purchased Bella her first bed, we bought her a Serta mattress for a good deal at Kmart, and ended up buying her bed frame online on Amazon.com. It was a super cute bed, had drawers for storage underneath and was white so it would match her dresser we were getting ready to re-do for her.
When we received the bed, it just had this certain smell about it. I didn't think anything about it, I juts figured since it was new it would smell like that (that smell you'd smell walking through the wood section at Lowes or Home Depot). The bed itself was cute, and was actually really easy to put together. But after a few nights of our little sweetheart sleeping in there I noticed a change. The room would smell so strongly from the bed that it was almost hard to breathe and I'd get a headache from it. I'd wake up so congested I could barely breathe through my nose. Buy the real worrying started when Bella started having asthma like issues, had a mild rash covering most of her body and vomiting multiple time a night... oh and then the coughing started.
She was otherwise healthy, but coughing, so much coughing. She'd cough so much she'd throw up everywhere. She couldn't keep food down and her nose was either congested or running constantly. Now you might think it was just a random cold since it was winter... But my mama instincts told me something different.
We racked our brains, the internet and the doctor's mind to find out what was wrong with our little girl. The Pediatrician told us it was acid reflux, and though giving her tums helped settle her tummy for a few days, even in the back of my mind I knew that it wasn't the right diagnosis.
Meanwhile, we purchased some sealant to hopefully seal the bed up, since though the outside was white and sealed up, the biggest part of the bed, where the mattress laid on it, wasn't actually sealed (the photo's online didn't show that), and neither was any of the inside or back of the headboard. They were all unsealed particleboard! My husband painted the entire thing with sealant not once, but twice. and the smell still never subsided. And kept in fact getting worse. Now during this time we switched bedrooms, my husband started sleeping in our daughter's room on a spare twin bed next to her new bed and Bella and I moved into our master bedroom. Her symptoms got a little better, but no by much, and my husband started getting a nasty cough and having multiple nose bleeds.
Meanwhile, I started looking up allergies, we already know she has a dust mite allergy and I was thinking it could have been that but wasn't sure. Well I also came upon some articles about allergies to particle board and furniture made from it.
Interesting fact... ALMOST ALL particle board furniture is made with FORMALDEHYDE!
Yep, that toxic stuff. So all this time our family and little daughter were breathing in these toxic fumes and we unknowingly had them in our home. I read other's experiences with formaldehyde allergies and also read that although it bother's adults some too, children especially as susceptible since they have such small bodies and sensitive systems.
Once we realized what was going on we shut the door for the next week while we tried to figure out what to do with this useless and toxic piece of furniture. I worked tirelessly on trying to get it returned. I called the company who though I have to say was extremely courteous and helpful said they couldn't help me, since I purchased it from amazon and not them directly. SO I then called amazon, who wanted me to put it in a box and ship it back to them with a packing slip (I'm still laughing at that lol). I had to explain that it wasn't something I could just throw in a box and ship back, it was in fact a 200 pound bed that was put together. Long story short, once I explained everything to them, they were kind enough to tell me that though I had to take it apart and tape as many pieces together as I could, that they were going to send a truck to pick it up and take it to the airport and fly it back to them. And after that they would refund my money. Whew, I mean talk about a relief. Not only was I getting this thing off of my hands but I was also going to get my almost $300 refunded.
After some digging I found out that apparently this company has gotten in trouble before, for putting more than that allowed amount of formaldehyde in their products. But you'd think that a company that makes furniture for children wouldn't put it in there at all. I mean I get it, they don't want bugs living in the furniture, but I don't think THEY get it, that I want to keep my baby safe. There are too many issues in this world to worry about for my daughter than for me to have to worry that her own bed will slowly kill her. Also, there are a few green companies who use a safe compound made from mushrooms I believe it is, as a safe alternative to formaldehyde. 
In the future we are going to be very (and I mean VERY) careful of what kind of furniture we purchase. And yes, I know sometimes it is impossible to not purchase furniture made from particle board or pressed wood, but please if you purchase make sure it is sealed up everywhere! Don't purchase anything that has unsealed and exposed particle board or pressed wood. Especially if it is an item for a child's room. Their systems are so fragile and sensitive and the side effects of formaldehyde exposure (especially in children) are pretty scary. Did you know that rashes, vomiting, coughing, asthma, sore throat, nose bleeds, scratchy eyes, congestion, post nasal drip and even more severe things such as infertility and cancer are side effects of being exposed to too much formaldehyde or being exposed for a long while?
A few more items we've found out to avoid from our research of formaldehyde exposure, that you would never even think of, are stretchy jeans, wrinkle resistant sheets and clothing and even Johnson & Johnson baby soaps and shampoo and de-caffeinated coffee! 
It's seriously scary stuff. I now smell every piece of furniture and item that comes into our home (because I'll never forget that awful smell, and my nose knows). We ended up going with a metal bed frame for Bella's new big girl bed for her bedroom and we couldn't be happier with it. No more health issues and all of our health problems cleared up after we got rid of the other bed, though Bella's cough took a little longer since it turned into sinusitis but cleared up after a round of antibiotics.
This blog post isn't meant to scare everyone, but it is meant to serve as a story of what happened to us, our personal experience and a mama not wanting any fellow mama's to go through the same thing. A mama can never keep her babies and family too safe.


  1. That's so scary! Glad you were able to return it and get most of your money back. I didn't realize formaldehyde was in particleboard. I'm going to be more cautious when I buy furniture now.

  2. Wow!!! Wh would have thought?! This is so informative and I appreciate you for sharing!

  3. So freaky!! Thank you for sharing...it's just awful what the US allows in products!!!

  4. YES! Oh my word, I hate that you had to find out about this toxic exposure in this way but it's in EVERYTHING! It maddens me how the FDA/gov't wants to keep stuff like this hidden. This is why I only use clean products. J&J is terrible!! I only use Cali Baby, Honest and Young Living products in our home. I make a lot of cleaning products myself. It's just what we gotta do to protect our family. I hope there is justice brought to this company. This is just awful!!!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! I found this out about particle board a few months ago and was appalled! I have been ridding our house of it and replacing with real wood furniture that's used since it's more affordable and eco friendly to reuse!

  6. Wow...that is insane! Glad you found the problem quickly!