Creating and designing a space for your baby is an exciting task for parents. While getting caught up in choosing the color scheme and perfect crib, however, aspects like health and safety are often forgotten in the excitement. It is important to know and understand the products that are being used in the process of designing your baby’s room to ensure it’s a safe space for them.
Here is a list of potentially dangerous mistakes parents should keep in mind while decorating the baby’s nursery.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Decorate Your Baby’s Room
Parents often wait until the last few months before decorating their baby’s room. Fresh paint, furniture, rugs, crib, etc. exude gas for weeks, which is harmful to the baby. The odor is a sign of all the impurities and harmful compounds contaminating the air of the nursery. So start decorating your child’s room well in advance to air out the space and make it suitable for the baby. Use low-odor or no-VOC paints to reduce the toxicity level. Keep the new furniture in another room or under the sun until the harmful chemicals have dissipated or simply invest in chemical-free organic options.
Don’t Use Germ-Prone Carpet
Carpeting your baby’s room from wall-to-wall may seem like the best option to child-proof and provide comfort to your baby at the same time. But research shows that carpets are the breeding ground for disease with bacteria, fungi and harmful toxins like flame retardants, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, acetaldehyde, PFOA and perchloroethylene. With a variety of options available in the market, opt for untreated carpets with no-VOC or toxic finishes.
Don’t Use an Old Hand-Me-Down Crib
A crib is, of course, the centerpiece of a baby’s room. Babies sleep for more than 12 hours in a day — so before buying a crib, go through the safety standards. Invest in a crib that has been manufactured post-July 2011 as the new safety standards were made mandatory after this date.
Organic mattresses and sheets which are a healthier option to the baby are now easily available in stores. Avoid the use of crib bumpers as they are dangerous to your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that “…crib bumpers contribute to an unsafe sleep environment for infants and should be banned.”
Don’t Use Toxic Air Fresheners
Maintaining a fresh and good-smelling room is a nice way to welcome baby when s/he moves in. Air fresheners are harmful in nature as they contain a chemical component known as toluene, which may cause liver and kidney damage. So instead of buying chemical products, try a natural way of keeping the room fresh and odor-free, such as this organic lavender (which also reportedly promotes sleep … music to exhausted new parents’ ears) and vanilla spray.
Another option: According to What To Expect, “get some houseplants on the shelves (but out of reach of little hands). Plants act like miniature air purifiers that sweep toxins from the air, release oxygen and boost the room’s humidity (a plus when your little one’s got a stuffy nose). Even better — just seeing all that green can have a soothing effect on you and your little one. Choose safe and sustainable varieties like the pointy-leafed cast-iron plant, Boston ferns, and spider plants.”
Don’t Choose a Dark Room
Ideally, select a room that has tons of natural light for baby’s nursery. Sunlight is good for newborns as it is a good source of Vitamin D and ignites the neurotransmitters in baby’s rapidly developing brain. Worried about the light keeping the baby awake? Invest in some sweet blackout curtains.
Don’t Pick Toys Just Because They Look Cute
Make sure they’re appropriate and safe for your little one! Because babies put everything in their mouths, be sure to buy products that you don’t mind your child using as a chew toy (and are not a choking hazard!). Steer clear from products that have toxic plastic or wood, and have a painted finish. Paint can flake if your baby bites or plays with it, making it hazardous for their health. Choose organic and nontoxic toys for your baby.
Don’t Ignore Electrical Extensions and Cords
Clip, secure and/or hide every wire to keep it out of the baby’s way. Loose cords in the form of baby monitors, blinds, or electronic accessories pose a strangulation threat. Mount these electronic devices on the wall (if they’re even needed at all!) and out of reach of your baby.