How to Create a Healthy Room for Baby
Here’s how to create a safe, healthy environment for your new baby
If you’re an expectant parent, you’re probably just about ready to pull your hair out! With everyone giving you conflicting advice, its difficult to know what’s best for baby. Well, take a deep breath, we’re here to help. By being informed and reading your labels, you can create a safe, healthy environment for the new addition to your family.
When creating a nursery, o ne of the most insidious dangers is offgasing. This is when materials release chemical gases into the atmosphere of your home that your family breathes in. Indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air. Poor indoor air quality can lead to a wide range of ailments from respiratory difficulties to cancer.
Start with a fresh coat of VOC-free paint. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are carbon-based chemicals that can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness with long-term exposure leading to chronic illnesses including cancer.
VOCs can also be found in building materials, so if you are renovating the nursery, be sure to select materials that are VOC-free. Check that the existing materials are safe especially if the paint is old (it may contain lead) or if your home is carpeted.
VOCs can also be found in pesticides, air fresheners and cleaning products, even if these are labeled as ‘natural’. Instead, opt for pest management that does not require chemicals and clean with lemon, vinegar and baking soda. You can also create your own air fresheners using natural products.
Another source of VOCs are fire retardants which are found in baby clothing and furniture, especially in crib mattresses. These chemicals aren’t all that great at slowing the progress of fires, and they lead to some severe health problems. Women with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies take longer to fall pregnant and can have smaller babies. Other studies show that flame retardants are linked to hyperactivity and lower IQs in children.
Be sure that your baby’s clothing, mattress and nursery furniture are free from flame retardant chemicals.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common chemical found in plastics. The National Toxicology Program report in September 2008 expressed concern about the effects of BPA on the brain, prostate gland, and behavior in children. BPA is an endocrine disruptor and can be found in some baby bottles and in the liners of some liquid formula brands, in sippy cups, pacifiers, and teething toys.
NPR’s recent study of over 400 plastic products from popular retailers like the Walmart and Target found many BPA-free products still contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals. This is why many parents are opting for alternative materials where possible. From glass baby bottles to fabric teething toys, parents are looking to natural, organic materials for all their baby’s needs.
You can improve the quality of your indoor air by opting for building materials, furniture and cleaners that are VOC-free. Plants are a wonderful way of restoring a healthy indoor air quality or use a HEPA air filter.
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