The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has developed a new foam mattress standard that specifies the requirements, sampling and test methods for foam mattresses suitable for domestic and hotel use.
However, according to UNBS, the standard does not apply to mattresses used for medical or orthopaedic purposes.
The main changes from the previous editions are:
A change in the title to cater for other foam mattresses, such as expanded polyethylene mattresses
Inclusion of requirements for other mattresses apart from polyurethane mattresses
Adjustment of mattress cover requirements to cater for various materials that are available on the market
Inclusion of the dimensions for baby cots (mattresses)
Inclusion of top skin requirements
Deletion of classes and grades of mattresses.
The standard requires that mattresses be classified as:
Hybrid mattresses are those that contain two or more compositions or a mixture of materials e.g. both polyurethane foam and innerspring units.
Non-innerspring mattresses do not contain any innerspring units. These may be produced from foams such as polyurethane, latex, thermobonded polyester, polyethylene or any other resilient filling.
Additionally, the mattress cover must be;
- New, clean and free from defects such as splits, tears, loose yarns, voids, spots and odour that interfere with the appearance and performance of the mattress.
- Intact with the stitching closed at the seams.
- Compatible with the thread used for stitching
- Free from chemicals which are harmful to the skin or those that can react with the rubber foam shall not be used in the finishing of the fabric.
- Made from any of the following materials or their blends: cotton, polyester, silk, wool, viscose and nylon.
UNBS says all mattresses are required to meet the flammability requirements to reduce the risk of fire.
"When the mattress is tested, it must not burn for three minutes or more and should not burn beyond the gauge line," it says.
The new Standard requires manufacturers to label the mattress legibly and indelibly with a strong label on the outside of the mattress.
These labels should include the following;
a) name and physical address of the manufacturer/importer/distributor and/or trademark, if any
b) Country of origin,
c) Mattress dimensions shall be visible.
Consumers have been asked to always look out for these labels in addition to the UNBS Q Mark when buying mattresses.