There are so many things to worry about as a new parent, but your child’s nursery shouldn’t be one of them. Make smart choices about the toys, furniture, and decor that you allow in the room and you can rest easy—whether your child is enjoying some tummy time on the throw rug or teething on their toys. We encourage you to build your child’s nursery around simple, eco-friendly choices that create a safe environment, free of toxins, for your child to grow and develop. As more parents opt for environmentally sustainable choices for their children, the array of eco-friendly furniture, artwork, and floor coverings mean that you’ll never have to sacrifice style or your ability to create an environment that stimulates your child’s imagination. Read on for five tips to make your child’s nursery more eco-friendly and healthy.
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Repurpose Furniture and Select Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Nursery furniture can be quite expensive. Consider investing in furniture that can grow with your child—like a crib that transforms into a toddler bed or an adult dresser that doubles as a changing station. By investing in these smart pieces, you’ll save money in the long run and reduce waste in the form of discarded nursery furniture that ends up in the local landfill. You can go one step further and choose furniture that comes from sustainable materials like bamboo. Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, water resistant, and extremely durable. Bamboo also grows very quickly—up to 24 inches in one day—meaning your bamboo furniture will have much less of an impact on the environment versus any other type of wood. If you choose to incorporate antique or re-purposed furniture into your baby’s room, avoid materials with peeling paint chips (like lead) that could be toxic to your child.
Skip Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
Children are much more susceptible to environmental hazard than adults. A lot of the pollutants that they are exposed to come from the floor as they learn to crawl and play. Wall-to-wall carpeting can give off fumes, while also harboring dust and allergens. For instance, pesticides, animal waste, and other potentially dangerous bacteria can be tracked into your baby’s nursery via people’s shoes. In the best case scenario, you should choose natural linoleum or a sustainably harvested wood like bamboo or cork for your child’s room. If you choose to incorporate throw rugs, make sure that they are undyed, made from sustainable materials, and easy to shake clean and vacuum in order to reduce harmful dirt and bacteria.
Choose Safer Toys
Without a doubt, your child’s toys are going to end up in his or her mouth. In addition to choosing toys without small parts that present choking hazards, also look for toys made from nontoxic materials. Toys that are battery-free, composed of recycled and reclaimed plastic and wood, or made of organic cotton are all good choices for your child and the environment.
The Green Toys™ Stacker takes a classic toy and makes it safer and more playful. All Green Toys are made in the USA from food-safe, 100% recycled plastic, which saves energy and reduces green house gas emissions. They are also BPA, phthalate, and PVC free. The eight whimsically colored nesting pieces stack easily from large to small, while also allowing little builders to use their imagination and stack in any order. Another great option is the My First Green Toys™ Shape Sorter . The Shape Sorter helps develop recognition of shapes and colors while also encouraging hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and fine and gross motor skill development. The two-part elliptical Shape Sorter and 8 colorful shapes (2 stars, 2 circles, 2 squares, 2 triangles) are the perfect size and weight for little hands. Each piece slides easily into the chute cut-outs on both the top and bottom of the Sorter, which opens with a simple twist, separating the two halves and letting the pieces out again.
Protect the Air Your Baby Breathes
In addition to avoiding carpet, don’t forget about the toxic fumes that come from the paint that you use to decorate your child’s room. We’re not saying you have to opt for plain white walls, but make sure you choose paint that is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You can also find paint that is not just VOC-free, but also antimicrobial, preventing the growth of mildew in your child’s room. If you want to forgo painting, consider PVC free wall clings to give your child’s room some unique style without all of the toxic fumes and labor. Or, incorporate some air-purifying plants for a shot of greenery that doubles as a soothing design for baby.
Keep Things Clean without All of the Chemicals
Your child is most likely going to put their hands and mouth on everything in their nursery, so when selecting cleaning products, be sure to opt for mild, eco-friendly cleaners as opposed to harsh chemical cleaners. You can find an array of eco-friendly options that are effective at eliminating dirt and bacteria while still keeping your child safe. Method and The Honest Company both have great, plant-based cleaners for your child’s nursery (and your entire home). If you’re looking to save money, you may want to learn how to create your own cleaning products using non-toxic household items (like baking powder, lemon, or apple cider vinegar) and essential oils.