With asthma and allergies on the rise, many parents are opting to create green nurseries for their children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 7 million children have asthma, which can be triggered by environmental factors such as pollution.
“Children are going to spend more time outside of the nursery in places that aren’t green,” says Sheneq Aranda, consultant and owner of Premier Baby Planning, a baby-consulting service based in Houston. “You want to focus on the nursery; it’s like a haven for the baby. You want them to be able to rest their immune system. It’s the one place you really can control.”
Aranda shared her tips for creating a green nursery in the home.
Q: What is a green nursery?
A: Going green in your nursery simply means making a best effort to protect your baby from toxins and harmful chemicals. It also means choosing products that protect the environment, providing you and your baby with cleaner air to breathe.
Q: Why create a “green” nursery?
A: Infants and children are extremely sensitive. You want to create a space as pure as possible. By doing this, your child is less likely to be affected by asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. A green nursery can also help a child become more calm and reduce colic.
Q: What chemicals should parents avoid or limit in the nursery?
A: Vinyl, PVC, phthalates, bleach, formaldehyde, lead and pesticides.
Q: What are your top “must-haves” for creating a green and healthy nursery?
A: Mattress: Choose organic. Baby sleeps for 12 or more hours per day on it. Look for options free of vinyl, PVC, phthalates, pesticides and bleach. If mattress is cotton, be sure that it is organic. (Aranda’s favorites are Greenbuds at New Living, and Nook Sleep at Baby’s 1st Furniture).
Paint: Choose Non-VOC. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds often found in paints and cleaning solutions that release emissions and off-gasses into the air for years. Safe paints are even better for the environment. Be sure the paint and dye coloring is completely free of VOC’s. (Aranda’s favorites are found at New Living.)
Furniture: Choose solid wood. Find options that are free of formaldehyde and VOC finishes. Avoid pressed wood made of medium-density fiberboard, since MDF off-gasses carcinogenic chemicals into your baby’s room. (Aranda’s favorite manufacturers are Romina, at Baby’s 1st; Caravan, at New Living; and Oeuf, at Kuhl-Linscomb. Oeuf uses MDF, but in an environmentally conscious manner.)
Air purification: An air purifier can help clean out the air in a room, which is more toxic than outdoor air. Change air vent filters in your home every month. Open windows as often as possible. Avoid toxic cleaning products such as bleach. (Aranda’s favorite is Austin Air, at New Living).
Flooring: If you must have carpet, look for wool, hemp or organic cotton options. Carpet usually has an underlay and glue, and both may contain formaldehyde. Better options include cork, hardwood, bamboo and natural linoleum. Flooring must be free of formaldehyde and VOC finishes. (Aranda’s favorites are found at New Living.)
Toys: Go organic or wooden. Buy washable stuffed toys. If toys cannot be washed, clean them by tossing them in the dryer on high for 20 minutes. Look for wood toys with nontoxic paints. Also, remove shoes before entering your nursery. It’ll keep the floors cleaner for baby to safely play on the floor. (Aranda’s favorites are Haba toys, at Kuhl-Linscomb, and GreenScenes Toys in Houston.
Written by Melanie Warner. First published by the Houston Chronicle on Thursday, April 19.Share: