Oh Baby! 7 Steps To Design A Healthy Nursery

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I can count on one hand the number of baby showers I’ve attended where the gifts received were intended to heal and nurture a newborn baby. In 2005, actress Demi Moore attended a Green Power Baby Shower which I thought was ingenious and hoped would become the new trend for expecting moms.

Sleeping baby in crib

Image courtesy of David J Laporte.

It just makes sense when you consider that studies reveal the average baby in the US is born with 287 chemicals already in their body (180 of which cause cancer in humans or animals and 217 which are toxic to the brain and nervous system). Creating a nontoxic nursery is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity; especially since your delicate little one will spend up to 17-hours a day here.

While it’s easy to be swoon by cheap toys, convenient devices and contemporary furnishings, consider everything your baby comes in contact with and choose products with natural, organic and nontoxic materials in mind.

Here’s how.

1.) Clean & Sanitize Toxin-Free – For generations we’ve been led to believe a clean home is a healthy home, but check under your kitchen sink and you’ll likely find a host of hidden chemicals. If you think you’re doing your newborn a favor by using anti-bacterial wipes and disinfectant sprays, think again. Did you know those products contain pesticides like Triclosan? And, by nature, little ones put everything in their mouths and are always on the ground; making them especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals.

  • Read labels on cleaning products and choose brands with full disclosure; not listing ingredients could mean they have something to hide.
  • Make your own diaper wipes with a spray bottle of water and essential oil and washcloths. You’ll avoid alcohol and fragrance contained in the disposable brands and save money.
  • And, for sanitizing baby bottles, pacifiers and toys, try the new UviCube, which uses UV light to eliminate 99.9% of harmful bacteria.

2.) Choose Organic Bedding – Choose certified organic cotton that’s been untreated, unbleached, and unprocessed for your delicate baby’s bed sheets. Also look for colored dyes fabrics that use all-natural ingredients derived from nature’s plants and minerals.

Be sure baby sleeps safely and soundly on an organic mattress that is free of dangerous flame retardant chemicals. We recommend mattresses made from certified wool (as a natural flame retardant alternative), natural rubber and certified organic cotton. Look for 100% wool puddle pads as well.

3.) Ban Plastic and Play Naturally – Be aware of toys (especially imported) which may contain lead, a neurotoxin. But that’s not the only toy hazard. Most toys sold by major retailers are made from plastics and include dangerous PVC – polyvinyl chloride. PVC is a health hazard and major contributor to indoor air pollution. Look instead for organic plush teethers, rattles and toys from MiYim. Or, try non-toxic and food-safe toys and tableware from Green Toys which are made in the USA.

4.) Air on the Side of Caution – The EPA lists indoor air quality as one of the top 5 environmental health risks in the US today. Since children breathe in more air pound for pound than adults – it’s vital to maintain clean and healthy air – in this room in particular.  The simplest way to improve the air quality is to open windows and let the fresh air in! Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option.

Make sure to implement a quality, portable air purifier for removal of biological and chemical contaminants like dust, pollen, dander, odors, chemical vapors and more. The Air Angel™ is perfect for nurseries and cleans 250 square feet using NASA technology.

Baby nursery finishes

Image courtesy of Emily May.

5.) Use Non-Toxic Paints and Finishes – Before baby comes home from the hospital you can start painting the nursery walls green. Don’t panic mamas. You can use any color, just make sure it’s low-VOC or zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) to avoid residual toxic chemicals found in typical paints and finishes. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of chemicals found in common commercial paints. Painting should be done at least a month before baby arrives and it ideally by someone other than pregnant mama. Remember, the crib is your baby’s “home” and needs to be as pure as possible in every way. Avoid particleboard which may off-gas formaldehyde and choose real wood and natural finishes for furniture.

6.) Choose Safe Flooring – You can bet your (baby’s) bottom dollar he or she will spend a lot of time on the floor, so avoid new carpeting. While it may be cozy underfoot, carpet harbors a plethora of nasty germs, bacteria and chemicals. VOC’s can off-gas from the carpet backing, adhesives and the fibers, as well as from topical stain or water resistant treatments. If you can’t live without carpet in the nursery, look for untreated, natural fibered area rugs or have a piece of carpet cut to the size of the room, air it out, and wash and rinse it with water before having it fitted. Ideally, hard surfaces are your best bet as they are much easier to keep clean, and less likely to trap potential contaminants. Look for hard surfaced flooring like FSC certified wood, natural linoleum or cork.

7.) De-stress with Less EMF’s – Radio frequency (RF) signals from portable devices have been shown to interfere with the body’s immune system. Traditional DECT baby monitors emit significant amounts of microwave radiation over extended periods of infant exposure.

  • You’ll want to check out the SmartNova Baby Monitor which emits 97% less radiation and no pulsing radiation.
  • And, for expecting mothers, you’ll love Belly Armor’s line of RadiaShield® fabric products including belly blankets, belly bands, maternity tops and more!

Finally, when rocking your precious cargo to sleep, read their way to health with my children’s book, “My Body My House.” It’s a colorful picture book that teaches children (oh, and parents, too) about the importance of a healthy home environment!

Feature image courtesy of Jorge Cruz

 

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Lisa Beres
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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of The Healthy Home Dream Team and the 30-day online program Change Your Home. Change Your Health. She is the author of the children’s book My Body My House and co-author of Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet, Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes and The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office. Lisa’s TV appearances include "The Rachael Ray Show," "Nightly News with Brian Williams," "TODAY," "The Doctors," "Fox & Friends," "Chelsea Lately" and "The Suzanne Somers Show."
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