September 25, 2009

10 Green Nursery Tips

We all benefit from cleaner air and fewer chemicals in our home. However, babies are much more susceptible to environmental contaminants. Their organs, including their lungs, are still developing and deserve the best chance at a long and healthy life. To give your baby a great head start, to provide them with a chemical-free zone, here are 10 green nursery tips.

1. Paint your nursery with non-toxic paint. Non-toxic paint essentially comes in two varieties – low VOC or volatile organic compounds, and VOC-free paint. The difference, other than the levels of toxic compounds, is generally a few dollars per gallon. VOC-free paint isn’t available at all retailers so it pays to plan in advance.

You’ll want the paint in your nursery to be good and dry and to have plenty of time to air the room out before your baby moves in. Planning your baby’s nursery when you’re still 4 or 5 months pregnant should give you plenty of time to find a retailer that sells VOC-free paint, choose a color, get the room painted and leave time for it to dry and air out.

2. Safe flooring. Consider also pulling the carpet up and using an environmentally-friendly flooring option like bamboo. If you are set on carpet, stick with natural fibers and make sure whoever installs your carpet uses only non-toxic adhesives.

3. Clean air. Bedding, carpet and other items harbor dust mites, pollen and other irritants. Consider purchasing a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) to clean the air your baby breathes. Babies are particularly susceptible to respiratory problems and an air filter can go a long way toward helping them develop strong lungs and a good immune system.

4. Non-toxic cleaning products. Baby nurseries can quickly become full of germs and contaminants. However, most commercial cleaning products contain chemicals and fragrances that are harmful to our health and can harm the immune system of your little one. Use natural products that you can make at home yourself or check out the natural products in your local stores. More and more natural cleaning products are becoming available every year.

5. Chemical-free cribs and dressers. Look for nursery furniture made from sustainable wood like bamboo or recycled wood products, and which is finished with VOC-free paints or stains. Many plastics emit toxins. Furniture made with plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard or MDF often contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

6. Organic bedding and clothing. Sheets, blankets and the clothing closest to your baby’s skin should ideally be 100% certified organic. This not only ensures your baby’s sensitive skin is protected from pesticides and chemicals, but that fewer pesticides and chemicals are added to our environment.

7. Chemical-free toys. Every day we read about some toy recall. Lead, mercury and other toxins like Bisphenol A (BPA), can cause serious health issues for adults and children alike. Because children explore with their mouth, it’s even more important to make sure their toys are safe and chemical free.

8. Organic baby mattress. Choose a mattress made with wool casings or organic cotton filling to protect your baby from harmful plastic toxins and chemicals.

9. Choose cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are certainly convenient; however, they are a landfill disaster. They don’t biodegrade and cause terrible pollution. Instead, consider cloth diapers and supplement with the occasional chlorine-free disposable.

10. Launder your baby’s clothing and bedding in a fragrance free, natural detergent to prevent harsh chemical reactions. There are many options at your local supermarket and your natural food’s store.

Creating an environmentally friendly and chemical free nursery for your baby, gives them the best start at life. They’re not exposed to harmful chemicals and your carbon footprint is reduced.

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Alexis Rodrigo

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