For many people, making a nursery as free from toxins as possible is a big priority. Here are some easy tips for greening the nursery: creating an eco-friendly baby’s room.
Start with Paint
For many people, painting the nursery is one of the first things they do. It can also be one of the most toxic. While most paints nowadays are free from nasty chemicals like lead, conventional indoor paints can still emit some high VOC levels. If you’re looking for a moderately-priced, conventional paint, stick with products that are very low in VOCs, like Benjamin Moore’s Natura or Aura paint lines, or Behr’s Premium Plus Zero VOC paint. Both of these companies in general have some pretty strict green standards so most of their paints are a safe bet. Apartment Therapy also has a great list of the most eco-friendly, low VOC paints including some soy based alternatives. Try to get the room painted as far ahead of time as possible so it can air out well before the baby arrives. Open those windows and let the fresh air do its job. Also, pregnant mamas should try to avoid painting if possible and let someone else do the job. If you do end up painting, going with an eco-friendly paint will definitely be the best option.
Keep the Crib and Mattress Safe
Like I mentioned in my eco-friendly crib guide, many cribs are full of toxins and other VOCs. Look for one that is made of solid wood and uses either natural finishes or raw wood that you can finish yourself. Another alternative is to get a used one that has had time to air out on its own. Pair it with a Natural Mattress – many mattresses are full of flame retardants and other toxic materials and fillers, even those claiming to be natural and eco. Check out my eco-friendly crib mattress guide for some good options. Don’t forget about the changing station either. There are a few good non-toxic change pad options and you can also pick up an organic cotton change pad cover.
Crib bedding is one of the major areas to think about since babies spend so much of their time sleeping (ahh, the life). Look for bedding made with natural fibers like organic crib sheets or muslin blankets. Forget about the unnecessary bumper pads and fancy comforter sets that aren’t recommended for use with babies anyway, and keep it simple and natural. When dressing baby for sleep time, try to stick to natural fibres as well, like pure cotton or wool.
The world of used baby items is huge. Look to friends or family to borrow items or hand-me-downs like clothing as children outgrow it SO quickly, especially in the first year. Online is also a great place to look for some items like clothing or a rocker chair. If you want to re-do a piece of furniture, consider using chalk paint, which is an awesome and super natural alternative to regular paint. It’s also really a easy way to re-finish a piece of furniture and make it your own.
Dont’ Forget the Toys
Many baby toys today are made out of non-renewable, toxic plastic and paint finishes. Babies really don’t need much in the way of toys, so think minimal and natural. A few simple cloth or cotton toys like rattles, soft balls or fun sensory items are good ideas. Some great ideas for babies are this sensory toy made by Dandelion, this Plan Toys roller, or this sweet Miyim knit rattle. I’m also a big fan of solid wood toys, which you can often find second-hand for dirt cheap.
Let the Breeze Flow
Lastly, whenever possible, open the window(s) in the room to let fresh outdoor air in. It will not only help promote a more relaxing and natural environment, it can help get rid of any toxins being emitted in the atmosphere. Adding a ceiling fan to the room and having it constantly going to let air flow is another great idea.