Redecorating the room that will be home to a new baby seems to be a modern rite of passage for expectant parents. It’s a nice way to pass the time, sniffing all the sweet smelling baby laundry, arranging the adorable stuffed toys and choosing pleasing decor. However, we may unwittingly expose our babies to multiple toxic chemicals in their most vulnerable stage of life if we’re not careful. Here are some ways to ready your home for a new baby without endangering health.
Choose No VOC paints
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are solvents that helps give paint the right consistency. Some VOCs are known carcinogens and have cause liver or kidney damage, headaches, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and other symptoms. Thankfully you can find nontoxic and no VOC paints nowadays. Try a Google search for manufacturers. Milk Paint is one such company.
Minimize New Furnishings
New furniture typically offgasses formaldehyde, a neurotoxin. Look for furniture at local consignment stores. You can also save a lot of money this way. Be sure to research whatever furniture items you do decide to purchase to make sure items haven’t been recalled for safety reasons. Car seats should always be purchased new. Be sure to wash the car seat cover following the manufacturer’s instructions, to remove chemical residues from the fabric.
A Safer Sleeping Space
If your baby is sleeping with you, be sure to follow recommendations for safe co-sleeping practices. If you choose to use a bassinet or a crib, be aware that most mattresses use polyurethane foams and polyester, and are possibly even made with toulene and formaldehyde, and offgas fumes that can be toxic to your young infant. Flame retardants are also placed into foam used in conventional mattresses, and these have been linked to brain and nervous system damage.
You can find non-toxic mattresses and bedding for your baby’s bassinet and crib. Search online retailers for “natural bedding”. You might find that some of these are made of natural rubber, organic cotton and other untreated natural materials. New babies spend a lot of time sleeping and in contact with the mattress so this is especially important. Recommended: The Baby Safe Mattress
Natural and Non-Toxic Toys
New research has found that so-called “educational toys” for babies, including videos, do no good and are certainly not a substitute for the ordinary contact that baby has with his loved ones. Talk to your baby a lot, sing to him, hold him for much of the day and breastfeed him, and he’ll live up to his genetic capacity for intelligence.
When your baby is old enough for toys, choose wooden toys that are solid wood, not particleboard that is held together with toxic glues. Cloth toys, especially those made from organic cotton and silk, are also recommended. Plastic toys not only lack aesthetic appeal, but they may contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which has been linked in some research to cancer and other health issues.
Many online retailers are now offering safer alternatives for your baby’s nursery, so you can have fun putting baby’s room together and breathe easier too.