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Keys to Setting up a Green Baby Nursery

Preparing for baby is an exciting time and nesting is one joy to go along with it.  As you begin to dream over design and decoration for your baby’s nursery, here are a few keys in setting up a green or eco-friendly space.  Remember, baby spends on average 10-14 hours a day sleeping leading the nursery as one of the most important rooms in the house.

Non Toxic Paint – At one point in time, lead in paint was a big concern.  So, unless you are living in an older home or using paint from years ago, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are today’s problem.  VOC’s are toxic chemicals released into the air by various solvents and lacquers, including paints. They have been known to cause ear, nose, and throat irritation, damage to central nervous system and in some cases VOC’s have been suspected of causing cancer. Before applying paint, take the safe route and choose a brand that is low or zero-VOC to reduce the risk of toxic fumes.  As a last precaution, make sure the room is well ventilated, painted months in advance, and that friend or spouse paints the room for you. 

Non Toxic Carpet – Do you live in a house with hardwood floors?  Hardwood floors are actually one of the best options in nursery flooring.  Why?  Traditional carpeting can harbor dust mites and allergens, while new carpeting may give of those nasty VOC’s.  If you miss the plush that carpet provides, choose an organic cotton or wool area rug for added comfort or warmth. 

Crib – Thinking about handing down an older sibling or cousin’s crib?  Although this is an easy way to save dollars and keep a family heirloom, any crib with old peeling pain, varnish or bent slants should be avoided.  If a new crib is in your future, be sure to find one finished with low or Zero VOC paint or finishes.  Also, take a look at eco-friendly furniture made from sustainable materials such as bamboo.   Avoid furniture made with pressed wood which contains resins and glues that give off high VOC levels. 

Organic Mattress - Over the last 30 years, crib mattress materials have been replaced with petroleum-based synthetics. Nearly all crib mattresses in use today contain polyurethane foam, vinyl (PVC), phthalates, chemical fire retardants or barriers, and an extensive list of added industrial chemicals. Recent studies have questioned the use of these materials.   To ensure baby’s safety and comfort, a few great crib mattress options are organic cotton mattresses, organic wool, or pure natural rubber. Both Naturepedic and Ecobaby have a variety of organic mattress options to choose from.

Organic crib sheets – Similar to organic crib mattresses in that your baby is spending hours sleeping on top of them. Conventional bedding is full of chemicals and conventionally grown cotton is the most heavily pesticide-laden crop grown.  By choosing organic cotton crib sheets, your baby will thank you later.  Naturepedic, Jubi and Eazz Wraps are three brand names with organic crib sheets in their lines.

Toys – Every room needs a few playthings and when selecting toys, less is more.  Keep in mind, babies and children love to put objects in their mouth, so choose organic cotton toys.  Wood toys are also a good option, but make sure to purchase unpainted.  For any plastic toys, look for PVC-free (no phthalates) and BPA Free.  Miyim Inc. is one company who understands organic toys. 

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