A healthy room for your babyNovember 2013

Paint, floors, furniture: there are many potential sources of pollution in a baby’s room and little ones are especially vulnerable. The following tips will help you create a safe and natural environment while getting the room ready for your new baby.

What a pleasure to prepare a cozy nest for your infant while s/he is still snug and warm inside your body! Your baby will soon be sleeping and playing in this setting designed specifically for him or her. While you often hear about outdoor air pollution, it’s less commonly known that our homes also contain many problematic substances. Yet babies and children spend 80-90% of their time inside, either at home, a babysitter’s or a day care center and later, at school. So it’s particularly important to provide them with a healthy environment. Fortunately, there are many natural and eco-friendly solutions for limiting the amount of toxic substances in your baby’s room.
Fresh air every day
The first important point is to get the room ready at least two months before the birth date and air it out every day both during and after your preparations. That way, any volatile compounds released by the work and new furniture will have time to dissipate before the baby comes home. After the baby is born, make it a habit to air out the room at least 10 minutes a day, both summer and winter, to make sure you’re ventilating the indoor air with fresh outdoor air.
In addition, avoid heating the room above 18°C (64°F): dust mites begin proliferating above 19°C (66°F), and at 20°C (68°F), formaldehyde, a toxic compound found in paint, varnish, adhesives and synthetic carpets, starts dispersing into the air. Fresh air is best for everyone’s health!
A colorful, but not polluted, room
For the walls, be careful when choosing conventional paint and wallpaper paste; they both contain many harmful solvents. If you decide on paint, choose one marked “EU Eco-label” or “NF environnement.” These two labels guarantee that the paint contains no heavy metals and a limited amount of harmful substances. Better yet, certain brands now offer 100% natural paint made from resin, vegetable oil or lime. If you prefer wallpaper, avoid PVC and instead choose eco-friendly paper and paste, which are perfect for a baby’s room.
Flooring also presents various healthy options. You can, for example, install a raw wood floor and protect it with vegetable oil (linseed oil, for example) or an eco-friendly floor polish. If you’re seeking a softer look, consider eco-friendly, GUT-certified carpeting. Another option is plant-based flooring, such as seagrass, sisal and coir (from coconuts), a completely natural solution.
Simple and natural furniture
During the first year of life, your baby will spend 14-18 hours a day sleeping, most often in its crib, so choosing the right crib is a very important decision. Paints, adhesives and varnishes used in conventional furniture generally contain a large number of harmful substances. A much better choice is raw wood furniture that can be assembled without adhesives or that is certified with an eco-label. Whatever you choose, be sure to purchase all furniture several months in advance and place it in a well-ventilated area until the baby arrives, such as the garage, a garden shed or an empty room, to give the furniture time to release any toxic substances.
A clean, healthy room
Also give careful thought to the products you’ll be using to clean your baby’s room as they may significantly contribute to indoor pollution. It’s best to use natural substances, such as baking soda, spirit vinegar and black soap, as well as eco-labeled products, which are safer and just as effective.
To learn more about preparing your baby’s room, please see our factsheet on this subject.


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