Every mum wants the same, best thing for her child. Just recently, one of my friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I felt her excitement as a new mum when she called me one day, asking about a nursery that’s both charming and safe for the baby. Her main concern was about items in the nursery that give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are chemicals that come from many products we use to build and maintain our homes. It goes in the air we breathe and we unknowingly inhale these toxic chemicals. Too much VOCs are harmful to the baby and may cause allergies, respiratory diseases, or even cancer.
As much as possible, we want to build a nursery where the baby can grow healthy and safe. Hence, here’s the list of the five important things that should always be non-toxic in your baby’s nursery:
We always get excited with paint especially when we’re decorating a room. It is a thrilling activity from choosing the paint colour to applying it on the walls. However, you should know that paint is one of the top sources of VOCs at home.
When choosing paint, always read the label! Double check for a non-toxic and low-VOC label that is backed up by notable institutions. When you’re already sure of the paint you have, it’s time to get your hands dirty!
Working with architecture draftsmen, we always promote hardwood floors in nurseries and kid’s rooms. It is an easy lay surface for a baby who’s already starting to stack building blocks or roll toy cars. On a visual perspective, it makes the room warm and cosy. Wood is also safer compared to high VOC-emitting carpets.
Some parents prefer carpets for a growing baby because it cushions the child from falls and bumps. If you really want to install a new carpet on the floor, I suggest that you shampoo it with carpet sealers. These products fight indoor air pollution and prevent toxic chemicals from out-gassing from the synthetic carpet backing. For a more budget-friendly solution, just lay out a natural, undyed wool rug on the floor.
One of the best parts about decorating your own nursery is the freedom to choose the furniture you’re going to use. There is a myriad of furniture pieces available in your house and in the market that you can explore. You can double your dresser as diaper changing tables. You’re also free to put whichever type of seating you want in the room!
The one thing you have to be keen about your baby’s crib. Its material and the finishing used must be non-toxic. Babies will spend most of their time in it, hence you have to make sure that it is safe for them. The good news is, the government is already making efforts to standardise furniture such as cribs so it won’t harm the health of children. Before heading out to buy one, scout the internet for safe and non-toxic cribs!
On the other hand, if you’re planning to use hand me down cribs or items brought from the thrift shops, I suggest that you sand the old stains and varnishes first and repaint them with the non-toxic paint we talked about earlier. Old stains and varnishes can wear off and be accidentally ingested by the young ones.
Unlike cribs, you must not use second-hand mattresses because it might be infested with bedbugs and dust mites. Comfort also comes with age, hence an old baby mattress is not as comfortable as it is before.
If you buy a new crib and find the pre-fitted mattress unfit for your baby, do not hesitate to invest in a separate mattress. Synthetic mattresses were treated with toxic chemicals. Instead, go for items made of natural latex, wool and organic cotton for these are naturally fire retardant and most likely didn’t undergo hazardous treatments. Organic mattresses are pricey but I’m sure you can score items that are worth you money. If you can find dual-sided organic mattresses—one side is dedicated to the infant, the other for the toddler—the better. This is already a good value for your money because you can use it longer.
Bedding and Fabrics
This is where you can totally express your creative side. Play with patterns, texture, and colours that work cute and amazing together! Just wash the fabrics in hot water several times before using it, in order to eliminate the chemicals used to treat it. High quality fabrics don’t fade easily. Use linen and 100% cotton fabrics.
I hope you find these tips and pointers helpful as you welcome the newest member of your family. Good luck and I wish you good health!