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LIFE IN THE 2010s

6 Secrets to Creating a Safe & Stylish Nursery

The air in the average newly decorated baby nursery contains more than 300 chemical pollutants, according to a study from the Greenguard Environmental Institute and Good Morning America revealed. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air in most American homes is more polluted than the air outside. When it comes to your new baby's nursery, it's all the more important to eliminate any harsh chemicals to protect your child from the potentially devastating long-term effects of such exposure. Here are six tips to help you create a stylish and safe nursery for your new baby:

Paint in Advance

According to ABC News, it's best to paint the nursery before installing new flooring or bringing new furniture into the room because otherwise these items may absorb the emissions from the new paint. This can cause the chemicals to be continuously released into the air over time. Be sure to ventilate the room for a few days before bringing in new rugs, furniture or textiles.

Be discerning about the type of paint you choose. The ingredients of the paint are much more important that the color. Healthy Child, Healthy World notes that conventional paint off-gases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for up to three years after application. Avoid paint that contains formaldehyde, animal products, turpentine and VOCs. Instead, look for low or zero VOC paint with all-natural ingredients such as:

  • Crushed limestone
  • Mineral pigments
  • Milk
  • Plant oils

photo Rick Kimpel

C​hoose Solid Wood Over Pressed Products

Paint isn't the only thing in the nursery that can contain VOCs, pressed wood and wood composite furnishings can also contain VOCs and release chemical fumes. Pressed wood products such as plywood, fiberboard and particleboard are glued for strength and the glue used often contains formaldehyde, according to TheBump.com. As the piece wears down over time, chemical fumes will be released into the air. Instead, opt for cribs, changing tables, dressers, rocking chairs and other nursery furnishings that are made from solid wood.

Cord-free Window Treatments

Replace mini blinds or any other type of corded window treatment with roller shades. Window treatments with cords are a choking hazard. Though this may not seem like an issue for an infant, your baby will be up and crawling around before you know it.

Opt for an Organic Mattress

According to Healthy Child, Healthy World, conventional crib mattresses are made using a plethora of potentially harmful chemicals for waterproofing, flame retardant and antibacterial compounds. These chemicals are released into the air and can have potentially dangerous long-term effects on your child's development. Instead, get an organic mattress that's been Greenguard certified to be safe.

Buy Used Items

Resist the urge to splurge on new furniture. You can minimize chemical exposure and save money by instead getting gently used items from friends, family or a second-hand shop. Unless it has been recently refinished, used baby furniture has already off-gassed in someone else's home, making it safer for your little one's nursery. Check to make sure the item meets the latest safety standards and hasn't been recalled before getting it.

Go PVC-free

Healthy Child, Healthy World notes that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) often contains toxic substances substances like cadmium, lead and phthalates. PVC is commonly found in an array of baby products, including bibs, teething rings, toys, car seats and foam changing pads. Opt for products that are PVC-free to keep your little one safe.

 
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