You want to maintain the best possible environment for your baby’s health and development. With a bit of planning, you can protect your baby from toxins hidden inside new furniture, changing pads, curtains, flooring and other products. Don’t get obsessed over it—just choose safer baby products. This guide will help you to minimize toxins and create an eco-friendly environment in the new nursery.
Toxic chemicals you need to know about
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, can be found in all sorts of things like rugs, floorings and paints. It’s tough to avoid them completely. Formaldehyde is a VOC found in furniture made from fiberboard, in clothing and even in mattresses. If you suspect that a new item contains VOCs, you can “outgas” things that contain VOCs for a period of time before keeping them inside the nursery.
Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is also a common toxin found in plastic toys, other plastic items and canned goods. You can easily find BPA-free products these days. BPA can affect reproduction so it’s best to avoid it completely. Look for “BPA Free” labels on products like toys, sippy cups, water bottles, and canned goods. Some old toys, especially those made before 1978, and certain cheap toys might contain lead. Lead can damage the kidneys and nervous system in babies. Look for eco-friendly toys made from natural wood or bamboo.
Safe paint for safe decor
You can’t resist the urge to paint your baby’s room with beautiful colors. Sure, go ahead! But make sure the paint you choose is totally free from VOCs. Look for low VOC or zero VOC paints. Lead paint is outlawed now, but if you’re living in an old house or building, check out the “Lead Safe” guide from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Use furniture that doesn’t off-gas
Solid wood, rather than fiberboard, is the safest material for baby furniture. It doesn’t off-gas carcinogens. The downside is that it can be pretty expensive. The two most important pieces of furniture in your baby’s room are the Crib and nursery dresser. Even if you can’t afford solid wood, the furniture should maintain baby safety guidelines. Buy furniture as early as possible and let it breathe so that any risks will be minimized.
No carpets! Look for alternative flooring
I know carpets can be tempting. They offer a soft surface for your child to crawl on, but they are not the safest because they can emit VOCs. Rugs and mats may contain glues, harmful dyes and fungicides. Your baby will crawl on the rug and might even suck on it. Look for carpets made from natural fibers, like wool, cotton or jute. Alternatively, tile, brick, bamboo or even a cork floor can be a whole lot safer. Avoid laminate wood at all costs.
Organic mattress and bedding
If you are including a crib in your nursery, you definitely need a mattress. Traditional mattresses contain PVCs (polyvinyl chloride) and flame retardants, which will off-gas. Look for organic crib mattresses. Choose 100% organic cotton bedding. As bedding material is by far the closest to babies, the effects can be stronger and cause more harm.
Maintain clean air flow
Your baby’s nursery should have proper ventilation and air circulation. Keeping the windows open for some time in the morning should help or use an air cooler to maintain air flow. You can also pick some non-toxic plants like Fittonia, Snake Plant, Spider Plant and Dracaena. These plants will add fresh oxygen and beautify the space. Make sure not to water the plants too frequently as this can increase the humidity of the room.
Clothes and diapers
For clothes, always use 100% organic cotton. Consider using cloth diapers as plastic diapers can cause rashes and cloth is a safer alternative.
Energy efficient lighting
The last thing to make the nursery eco-friendly is the lighting. Use energy efficient lights like LED and CFLs. These lights emit very low heat and don’t eat up the electricity bills. If you want to keep lamps, then go with materials like wood, bamboo and glass. Check if the coating is non-toxic and free from harmful paints.
You need to be realistic when creating a non-toxic nursery. You may not make it 100% toxic-free, but you can follow these tips and it shouldn’t cost you too much. Try to reuse furniture and things from other rooms that you think are safe for your baby. Keep the room as clean as possible and your baby should grow up fine.
Parenting is the coolest job ever but also the toughest. I am the mother of two and I’m on a quest to understand the psyche of today’s kids, how we can improve our parenting techniques and what it takes to be a good parent. I’m also a story teller who has lots of wild and crazy parenting stories to share with the world. Check out my site parentloves.com to take a peek.