If you’re designing a nursery for your baby, you might want to consider the benefits of going green, both for your baby’s health and for the environment. Fortunately, environmentally friendly nursery products such as toys, furniture, paint, and flooring are easily available today. If the idea of creating a beautiful, eco-friendly nursery for your baby seems like an attractive thought, here are some tips to start with.

A nursery room in our Aria model home at Copper River Ranch
A nursery setup in our Aria model home at Copper River Ranch, featuring a deep navy accent corner. [View Floorplan]

Use paint that is free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

Regular paint tends to be full of chemicals that emit harmful fumes. These chemicals tend to evaporate and dissipate over a period of months, compromising the air quality in your child’s nursery. When you decide to paint your baby’s nursery, look for paints that are marketed as low on VOCs- or as free of them altogether.

A mother setting her baby down in their crib.

Select organic bedding for your baby

Your baby can spend between 12 and 16 hours a day in the crib. Making sure that you select organic bedding is one of the most important parts of building an organic nursery. Conventional crib mattresses come treated with chemicals for flame retardation. These volatile chemicals turn into fumes over a period of months, polluting the air around the crib. Luckily, many companies now make organic crib mattresses. While these can be more expensive than regular mattresses, they are worth the investment for the freedom from toxic fumes.

The third bedroom at our Avery model home at Copper River Ranch, staged as a nursery.
The third bedroom at our Avery model home at Copper River Ranch, staged as a nursery. [View Floorplan]

Find furniture made of low-formaldehyde materials

Eco-friendly furniture can be a great idea for your baby’s nursery. If you’re going for environmentally friendly stuff, however, you need to be careful at the big box stores. Most ready-to-assemble furniture is built out of plywood, MDF, and particleboard, materials that contain carcinogenic chemicals like formaldehyde. Just read the label and try to find pieces made out of low-formaldehyde materials. Solid wood is a great option, as well.

Buying used furniture is another way to go. Used articles of furniture such as dressers and changing tables may be built of particleboard or other concerning materials, but they are likely to have dissipated their store of volatile chemicals by the time they get to you. It isn’t a good idea to buy a used crib or mattress, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents that these articles tend to deteriorate over time, causing other concerns. Also, try to avoid antique furniture, as well, as pieces may be coated with lead-based paints and finishes.

A baby reaching up and gazing at the stuffed toys hanging from a mobile.

Choose eco-friendly toys

Inexpensive toys made of plastic may seem harmless enough, but they often contain chemicals like phthalates and BPAs. Some imported toys even contain lead. When you buy toys for your baby’s nursery, it’s important to make sure that they are made out of organic cotton, toxin-free plastic, and chemical-free wood.

A mother taking a break from cleaning to play with her baby.

Always use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies

There would be no point investing in eco-friendly furniture, bedding, or paint if you cleaned all of it with conventional, chemical-filled cleaning supplies every day. While you could buy organic cleaning products at the stores, using simple materials such as baking soda, vinegar, and salt can be effective ways to clean a nursery, too.

Expecting parents shopping for an eco-friendly and safe crib.

When you buy green, make sure that it really is green

Since many consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that are environmentally friendly, some companies take advantage of them by marketing regular products as organic or otherwise green. It’s important to do your homework, and make sure that you can tell when a product is really green. Certifications by organizations such as the Environmental Working Group can help you avoid being taken advantage of.

Your baby spends a great deal of time in the nursery that you create for him or her. So, it’s important to make it a safe and healthy space for you and your baby to enjoy, learn, and grow.

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