By Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director
We recently released our new Healthy Nursery Toolkit and our first eBook, Easy Steps to a Healthy & Safe Nursery. We made it as detailed and comprehensive as possible, but knew that our community would still have their own thoughts to share. So we reached out to our blogger friends to ask them for their top tips for a healthy nursery. Turns out we’re all pretty much on the same page! While there were plenty of suggestions like using cloth diapers and safer plastic products, opening windows for ventilation, vacuuming with a HEPA-filter vacuum, and buying houseplants to filter indoor air, the following are their top 5 favorite tips.
1. Use no-VOC paint
Most of our blogger friends suggest no-VOC paint, including Terri Babin of EcoCrazyMom.com who says, “Many paints are made of harsh chemicals that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These vapors can continue to leak into the air long after the room was originally painted.” If you’re stuck using conventional paint, Cindy Young of OnePartSunshine.com says to “have plenty of ventilation while working and give the room plenty of time to air out before the baby sleeps there. Definitely try to avoid working with VOC paints while pregnant.” Luckily, as Hilary Kimes Bernstein of AccidentallyGreen.com points out, no-VOC paint is widely available.
2. Invest in an organic crib mattress
Providing a safe sleep environment with a mattress that doesn’t contain harmful flame retardants was another unanimous tip. Sara Wittenberg of Treehugging With Kids says, “It may seem expensive, but mine was $250, and considering the amount of time baby will spend on it, it is well worth it.” She adds, “Be careful what you cover that organic (or any!) mattress with! Waterproof covers off-gas bad stuff, and you could negate the positives from a good mattress with a cheap cover!” Cindy Young of OnePartSunshine.com suggests considering natural bedding, too: “The healthiest options for baby are linens made from materials such as organic cotton, hemp and wool.”
3. Choose furniture wisely
The potential pitfalls when it comes to cribs and more means shopping carefully is at the top of most of our bloggers’ lists. “Natural furniture, made of certified sustainable wood and painted with non-toxic paints is the safest choice,” says Terri of EcoCrazyMom.com. Cindy of OnePartSunshine.com explains, “Pressed wood products such as particle board, plywood and fiberboard (or MDF) typically contain VOCs as well as formaldehyde in the glues and adhesives used to bond the particles together.” Though hard wood is more expensive, Terri notes it’s usually durable, making it a solid investment. Sara of Treehugging with Kids adds, “Buy any furniture early, unpack it from the boxes and allow it to air out for several months, to off-gas any potential contaminants.”
4. Use organic baby skincare
Scarlet Paolicchi of Family Focus Blog says, “Make sure baby skincare is all organic.” Great minds think alike; we happen to agree!
5. Clean wisely
This goes for laundry as well as the nursery, says Terri of EcoCrazyMom.com. “Common household cleaners are one of the worst culprits for toxins being introduced in the home!” To avoid these, you can DIY natural products out of things like vinegar and baking soda (bonus: these save money, too, she says). Cindy of OnePartSunshine.com reminds her readers not to rely on a manufacturer’s claim that something is so-called natural or green. “Inspect the ingredients yourself and check the product’s safety with a resource like EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning,” she says.