- Keep the room ventilated! An unseen threat to a green nursery is the presence of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which are released (or “off-gassed”) by thousands of products. These compounds are used to help paint spread and eventually dry. VOCs pose long-term risks to human health and the environment. And although VOCs are everywhere, it’s indoor air that tends to have higher concentrations of VOCs. Remember to avoid VOCs at all costs, especially in your little one’s new room.
- Avoid exposure to harsh fumes that can emerge from traditional paints and lack of air flow. Avoid major home renovations during pregnancy, which can increase chemical exposures, or try to avoid being in the house during the work. Purchase no-VOC paints, and ensure that the future nursery has excellent ventilation — particularly while it’s being painted.
- If you must use carpets, be very, very picky. Carpets can serve as home to allergens and dust mites. Further, many synthetic carpets are made with latex backings, and these backings as well as the adhesive used to affix them to floors can release VOCs by “off-gassing.” Looking for an alternative? Try a rug made of natural fibers like wool or cotton that does not come with a synthetic backing.
- Buy toys made from natural materials. Ensure that all of your baby’s toys are nontoxic, non-PVC, non-BPA and non-phthalate. In other words, look for toys made of natural materials such as wood or silicone. Before you know it, your baby will be sucking and teething on everything in sight. PVCs can leach harmful phthalates, and BPA (bisphenol-A) can also impact your baby’s long-term well being. We prefer toys made from organic cotton and sustainable wood. Check out Plan Toys for some great options.
- Choose organic or natural fiber bedding. Why? Your baby is going to spend a large part of his or her early years sleeping in a crib. Most crib mattresses on the market contain toxic chemical fire retardants, which have been associated with many health issues. Organic cotton, natural wool, or bamboo mattresses and bedding are friendly to both the environment and your baby’s skin. We like brands like Nook and Naturepedic.
- Purchase a crib and baby furniture sourced from certified sustainable or reclaimable materials. Ideal furniture pieces also completely avoid the use of VOC’s and formaldehyde – not only in their wood, but also in their paint, glue, and or resin. Take a look at beautiful designs from Oeuf and Duc Duc or for a cheaper alternative, consider Ikea.
- Opt for all-natural, nontoxic, and chemical-free cleaning supplies to maintain a tidy green nursery. You should be able to read and understand, simply from the label, every single ingredient that your cleaning products contain. Green products are environmentally sustainable and their ingredients are safe for your baby to touch or inhale. Our founder Grace uses Dapple in her daughter’s nursery.
- The same principles apply to other baby needs like clothing and diapers. You spent nine months making a natural environment for your growing baby in the womb – keep it up in their nursery!
What tips would you add to our list for the ideal green nursery?