Thursday, September 6, 2012

Greening the nursery

You know I love my guest bloggers! Why? Because they give me a break while providing you with useful information. Today's guest blogger is currently the resident writer for where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, Kay Winders enjoys freelance writing, gardening and the beach. Today she's sharing her thoughts on the impact bad choices can make on the environment and your family's health when it comes to setting up your baby's nursery.

How to Green Your Baby's Nursery

Your baby's nursery should be a safe and comforting place for him to learn and grow. Yet most nurseries are rampant with toxic materials and harmful chemicals found in the wood of furniture, the plastic of toys, and the fibers of clothing, linens, and flooring. Each represent lurking dangers to your baby's current and long-term health -- not to mention the health of the planet.

There are many ways to make your nursery safer for your baby and for the environment. Here are a few ways that you can green your baby's nursery:

Use Non-Toxic Paints

Many paints have a high number of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are both harmful to your baby's health and to the environment. Even paints that have low VOCs can contribute to health problems such as cancer, kidney and liver damage, and neurological disorders. VOCs can also continue to have an impact long after the paint has been applied (for many, many years).

When painting your nursery and selecting painted furniture, be sure to select a paint that does not contain VOCs. There are many online retailers that sell paints that are safe for both baby and the environment. They are often a bit more expensive, but the cost is worth the protection.

Install Natural Flooring

Carpet is treated with a number of chemicals that can be harmful for your baby -- especially when she starts crawling and is up close and personal with the floor on a regular basis. Laminate and some hardwood floors are also treated with harmful chemicals.

Replace these types of flooring with a natural product instead. Bamboo is a great choice, as it is a sustainable product and -- if not treated with a sealant -- is all natural and contains no harmful chemicals. Otherwise, just be sure to investigate the chemicals used in the creation of any material you choose, and avoid plastic or composite materials. 

Buy Real Wood Furniture

Most furniture on the market today is made of composite materials -- meaning that it is a blend of wood (or even just wood particles or sawdust) and glue, resin, and other harmful chemicals. This furniture emits toxic gases that can negatively impact the health of your baby. Of course, these chemicals are also terrible for the environment.

Choose real wood furniture that is not treated with chemical sealants or stains. Try to select sustainable wood products, such as bamboo. Hard woods take many years to grow, and buying furniture made of these woods contributes to the depletion of valuable forestland. 

Choose Safe Bedding

Conventionally manufactured mattresses and bed linens are treated with harsh dyes and chemicals to preserve and protect the fabric. These can irritate the skin and lungs and contribute to long-term health problems such as allergies, eczema or even more serious conditions such as cancer. They also contribute to the destruction of water supplies, soil, and ecosystems.

Choose an organic mattress and bed sheets and blankets that are made of sustainable fibers that are not treated with harsh dyes or chemicals. Again, bamboo is an excellent choice. This sustainable plant can be used to create a wonderfully soft fabric that is safe for your little one and the environment. Hemp and organic cotton are some other good choices.

Purchase Safe Toys

Finally, plastic is a toxic material -- a risk to both the health of your family and the environment. It has been linked to a number of health problems, and has a very destructive impact on the environment. You should avoid it wherever you can, but especially in your children's toys.

Opt for toys made of natural fibers, wood or metal. Make sure they are not treated with dyes, chemical sealants or harmful paints. Choose organic and sustainable materials when possible.

Greening your baby's nursery is an important step in helping protect his health now and in the future, and it's an important way to help protect the environment. It may take a little extra research or a bigger budget to accomplish, but the benefits will be well worth it.

Did you green your baby's nursery? Tell us how in the comments.


  1. Great advice!

    I recently came across info linking crib death (SIDS) to fungus interacting with flame retarding chemicals in baby mattresses, creating deadly vapors.

    1. That's really scary! Thanks for sharing the info.


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