Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Green Nursery

Are you more eco conscious now that baby is on the way?  Having a toxic free environment for your little one is important as babies' immune systems are still developing and can not fight off infections the way adults can.  Since babies will spend most of their day sleeping, here are a few tips on how to create a green nursery that is non toxic and eco friendly.

Starting with the bare bones of the room-walls and flooring, many of us are working on a tight budget.  If you are thinking about remodeling-cork, bamboo, and other hardwood flooring options are best.  Carpet tends to collect allergens and dust mites, not to mention, new carpet can release gases for months.  If you already have hardwoods and want to soften the room, look to buy a natural fiber rug, made of wool or organic cotton.  Anything that is not made from natural fiber will need to air out for several weeks and should be kept away from mommy too.  If you already have carpet and don't plan on getting rid of it, make sure you are vacuuming it often to get rid of allergens and dust mites that can collect in the fibers.  It's also not a bad idea to keep the nursery a "shoe free" zone to avoid tracking in any bacteria and dirt.

As for the walls-most of us choose to paint as soon we know the baby's gender.  Opt for a low or no VOC paint and again-keep mommy away from this task.  Even low VOC can affect the health of a developing child.  Right now vinyl wall stickers are a big trend in nurseries however vinyl is something you'll want to avoid, no matter how cute it will make the room look.

This room from uses wallpaper instead of vinyl to add a fun decorative element-just remember to use a non toxic paste.

Before furniture is moved in, it's also important to begin purifying the air in your baby's room.  Open the windows several times a day and have a houseplant in the room to help remove air pollution inside.  It's also important to use natural cleaners on windows, flooring, and furniture.  Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda all have cleaning properties that will get the job done and mom can be worry-free during her nesting stage about inhaling anything toxic.

Now it's time for the basic pieces you'll need in the room.  You can obtain lots of furniture (for cheap) through friends, family, yard sales, and Craigslist.  This is obviously the most economical and eco friendly option, however reusing a mattress isn't recommended.  Be sure, before you purchase anything second hand, that you thoroughly inspect the piece to make sure nothing is broken or missing, and unless you plan on refinishing a piece, avoid anything with peeling or chipping paint.  It's also extremely important to avoid particle and fiberboard products that are held together with formaldehyde and toxic glues, which can release gases and toxins throughout the room for months.

For the baby's crib, look for an eco friendly mattress made of wool, organic cotton, or 100% natural latex.  Anything else will again have to air out for several weeks and should be kept away from mom.  For bedding look for organic cotton and linen materials and a natural fiber mattress cover to help reduce allergens.

For toys, remember babies like to put everything in their mouths so look for organic and plastic free items.  Wooden toys with non toxic paints and stains are another way to go.  Babies don't need many toys at first, so don't feel like you need to fill their room up with too many things.  The point of a nursery is to create a clean, calm environment where they can hopefully sleep soundly throughout the day and night.

100% organic cotton from

Made from wood and safe, non toxic paint from

Stay tuned for the next post-Greening your baby's bath time.

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