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From time to time I get inquiries about whether our futon would work well for kid's beds. Obviously, the big question is: What about night time accidents?
Although we have two cats that my wife Yumi treats as her kids, I don't think this qualifies us as experts on this topic. Today I am pleased to say that I have some excellent information regarding using futon for kids beds coming from a much more reputable source than me; someone I would consider an "expert" on the topic . . . at least based on her experience of raising (along side of her husband Drew), count 'em, five (5) boys, and her recent experience of ordering futon from us for them to use as beds.
Kendra (and her husband Drew) came onto our "radar" when in two separate orders (they wanted to test out a couple of shikibuton first before going "all in," I guess) they purchased 5 single sized futon. I remember saying to Yumi at the time, maybe they have a BnB or guest house or something." :)
Later Kendra and I traded a few emails, and I began to get a clearer picture of what they were doing and my interest was piqued so I asked her for more information. She was extremely helpful and generous with her time. She also sent me a bunch of awesome pics. So below are comments from emails we exchanged which I feel will be very helpful for parents considering futon for their children. Don't miss the great pics of her handsome crew as well.
Naturally, before she purchased she had some concerns; Kendra contacted me with these questions:
"I have a couple questions about the futon and kakebuton. We're thinking about buying futons for two of our kids, who are currently 4-5 years old. On their current mattress, we have a waterproof mattress cover for when they wet at night. Would that inhibit airflow too much? Do you know what people typically do for kids who still have occasional night accidents?
For the kakebuton, what temperature is that for? We live in Florida, so the weather is usually warm and I'm not sure how much we would actually use it - but we're in the military, so we'll likely be moving in 2-4 years.
Also, is the kakebuton able to be washed in a normal household washing machine, or does it require an industrial capacity washing machine?"
This is my response to her initial inquiry:
"Great Questions :)
Waterproof Bed Covers
As our sizes don't really align with US bed sizes, I'm not sure if your waterproof mattress cover will fit. However if you think you still can use it, it will be okay to use if you follow our care instructions (see our video series on our website) and remove the futon from the cover weekly and hang it outside to breathe and dry. This is very important, especially in places like Florida where it is so humid. Japan is very humid as well, especially where we live in Kochi. Hanging futon out every week or two for 3-4 hours keeps them lasting for many years and re-fluffs them up.
Our kakebuton are quite warm. Many people buy them to complete the set and together the shikibuton/kakebuton look amazing. However you would only be able to use it in cooler months for sure. (You may be able to turn your heater off at night even.)
I highly recommend getting our cotton covers to protect your futon investment. The covers come off easy and you can throw them in the washer while you hang your shiki & kake outside.
Washing your futon set isn't really necessary or recommend. If a situation arises where you feel you absolutely need to wash it (if it gets urinated on, for example), please use a commercial service with a very gentle agitation cycle. Twisting or wringing the futon may displace the cotton inside.
Finally, after washing, it is extremely important that your futon is 100% dry through-and-through before using or storing it. I would recommend only hanging your shikibuton to dry, which may take several weeks.
I hope this is helpful."
Below is what Kendra shared after purchasing and her kids actually using them.
"There is a picture [below] of the futon with just the waterproof cover on it (plain white). We discovered the hard way not to have just that on the mattress (without being covered by a regular sheet), because one of the kids was messing with it while falling asleep for a nap and stretched a thin spot in it that was no longer waterproof. Of course he had a pee accident right there, and it went trough to the futon (which is the one hanging out without the zippered cover). We sprayed the spot with a carpet cleaner we’ve used for pet accidents, and even though it left a small “bleached” looking spot on the futon, it does not smell like pee, so that’s a good enough solution for us if that sort of thing happens again. The product we used is called Spot Shot; we sprayed the area, then put a towel on the spot and stepped on it to blot the area dry."
"Here is the link for the waterproof covers we got (full size works better than twin size for the single-size futon, since it can wrap around the sides a bit): Link to Plastic Sheet Kendra Uses
". . . is a picture with a twin size sheet over the waterproof cover; one with one of my kids’ bedding (blanket, pillow, teddy bear); one with the futon folded to make a little seat for the kids to sit on (although some of our kids are a bit too rambunctious for us to use them like this; the quieter kids would be content to sit, but the crazy ones just use it as a trampoline, so really we just keep them folded and off-limits for the day); one with the futon folded in the corner; and one with all five piled up the way we normally are storing them (the order they get put in the corner is pretty random, so it’s not always the same ones getting squashed on the bottom of the stack)."
"When we were looking into buying these for the kids, we spent a lot of time on the internet trying to find pictures and information that would help us make a decision and had a hard time finding much, so I hope the pictures I’m sending you will be helpful for other families looking at buying from you. And if you have any questions for us about how we’re using them, feel free to ask."
Finding Traditional Japanese Futon in Your Home Country.
Having trouble finding traditional Japanese futon? One common theme I hear from my customers is that they had lived in or visited Japan and they've found it impossible finding traditional Japanese futon in their home country like the one they had slept on in Japan. That is . . . until they finally found FutonBedsFromJapan.com. As we're fast approaching our first year in business (the website was actually finished (mostly!) last February (2015), but it takes some time for Google to do it's magical ranking process so that people can actually find our website—Something we're still working feverishly on!), so I'm calling our first order as (roughly) the first day in business (June, 2015), we've now created the place to go to get the REAL thing: Authentic, hand-made Japanese futon made in and shipped from Japan.
It is a blast to get their emails: "Finally! You sell exactly what I've been looking for all these years!"
Of course, that's cool. However, when they go on to say (after receiving their futon), "Your futon is even more comfortable than the one I slept on in Japan", we're even more excited. We never get tired of hearing this! We never grow bored with all the positive feedback and reviews. In fact, as I recently wrote Jan in a reply to her email to me, my "crazy futon experiment" has rapidly transformed from "a way to make money" to a honest-to-goodness Movement. Futon Fans Unite! :)
Anyway . . . Here's Jan's comments about her recent futon purchase (also the pictures on this post were graciously provided by her as well)
Hi Dean -
I just wanted to check in with you now that I've slept on my futon for a few nights to let you know that I'm really happy with it and to thank you so much for all of your help! I just filled out the customer satisfaction survey.
I've attached a couple pics (not the greatest) in case you want to use them in the blog/reviews section of your website. I am so happy with my purchase and so grateful that your company exists. I searched for a place to buy a traditional Japanese futon after returning from a trip to Japan a few years ago and couldn't find anywhere that I felt was selling an authentic product, let alone somewhere/someone who made it so easy and made me feel so comfortable. I knew from the minute I found your website that I was getting exactly what I'd been searching for.
Of course I was very grateful to receive her comments . . . but then she wrote again in a follow up email (below).
Follow up email:
Hi Dean -
I just woke up and had to send you a quick email to say thanks again, I love my futon more with each night! You can't imagine how happy I am to be getting a restful sleep. It is so comfortable and I really love that it is all natural. While I was getting rid of my Western mattress I took a good look and was horrified by all the synthetic materials from which it was made. Anyway, I just wanted you to know how grateful I am that you've made authentic Japanese futons so accessible.
Jan already had a box-frame she wanted to use. She contacted me before her purchase to ask about it to make sure it would work. Notice she also purchased some traditional tatami mats (from another vendor) to complete the authentic futon bedding experience. She already had a nice thick down-filled comforter. All in all we think it looks fantastic! (In fact, I love the look of her whole room!)
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