How to keep your baby's room environmentally friendly
A pretty, newly decorated baby’s room is fun to create and adds to the excitement of waiting for your baby’s arrival. But we are starting to realize all that new stuff — carpeting, paint, furniture and bedding — can off-gas a lot of potentially dangerous chemicals. How can we ensure that our precious baby’s nursery is as “clean” as possible?
Stephen Collette, a building biology environmental consultant in Lakefield, Ont., has done just that for his two young daughters. With some help from the Guide to Less Toxic Products from the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, he gives us a green nursery tour. But first, this advice: Do your decorating several months in advance of your baby’s birth and then air the room well, so the worst of any off-gassing has time to dissipate.
Walls “Walls should be painted with low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints,” advises Collette. Look for the Ecologo or Envirodesic label, from brands such as Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball. Wallpaper is mostly made of vinyl, which off-gasses plastic compounds. If you’re keen on wallpaper, you can reduce its air quality impact by sticking to borders.
Floors While a nice soft carpet might seem the comfiest choice, new carpeting off-gasses toxic chemicals. But if you really want it, carpeting with the industry’s Green Label contains fewer harmful ingredients. A better alternative, suggests Collette, is a natural, solid, easy-to-clean surface like cork or prefinished wood flooring. An area rug on top, with a no-skid undermat, “can be taken outside, washed and aired out,” says Collette, “and let UV kill the dust mites.”