This guest post was written by Marcy Tate, a blogger at Networx, Your Home Improvement Network.
Spring kicks off the unofficial baby nursery planning season. In the US, the highest percentage of babies is born in July and August, making the spring the perfect time for planning a nursery. All new moms and dads wants the best for their babies, and the best in baby nurseries is creating a healthy, green or eco-friendly nursery. Here you’ll read the basics of what you’ll need for a green nursery and where to find it.
Getting the Room Ready
If you are planning to give your nursery a fresh coat of paint, choose paint without harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted as gasses from paint and are unhealthy for you, your baby and the environment.
Almost all good-quality paint manufacturers produce low or zero-VOC paint. Check Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams for some of the best selections of zero-VOC paint. Alternatively, try a super eco-friendly paint option, like milk-based paint from The Real Milk Paint Co.
Low-voltage and compact fluorescent lighting fixtures and lamps are the most eco-friendly way to go for your nursery. Select CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs with lower Kelvin ratings, as they will provide a warm glow. Ideally, choose wall or ceiling mounted lighting to keep electrical cords and plugs out of your baby’s reach.
Selecting light-colored window treatments will allow natural-light into the nursery while still blocking enough light for your baby to nap comfortably. There are a few green choices for window treatments:
1) Natural-woven shades made from highly renewable grasses.
2) Drapes made from fabrics like hemp or organic cotton.
3) Roller shades made from PVC-free material, such as the good-quality
roller shades from Earthshade.
Consider using area rugs or carpet tiles instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. Carpets can harbor dust mites and some synthetic carpets release off-gas VOCs. While there’s no way to predict whether your baby will be sensitive to dust mites, play it safe and avoid carpet. If you do choose carpet, make it eco-friendly and select wool or jute carpet. Check FLOR carpet tiles for a wide selection of carpet tiles.
While there aren’t too many toys your baby will need right away, using toys to decorate the baby’s nursery can add cheer and bring excitement to the room while waiting for the baby. Look for organic cotton toys, such as this set of organic cotton vegetables. Wooden toys are a timeless classic. Make sure they are from FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) forests. Check out Ecotoytown for just about every eco-toy out there. PlanToys is another excellent resource with a wide selection of eco-toys. Your local toy store will likely carry eco-friendly toys as well.
Bedding and Furniture Essentials
Like most wooden furniture, most cribs are not eco-friendly. The problems with cribs are that many are made with unsustainable wood or formaldehyde-filled plywood and utilize VOC finishes. Fortunately, there are several green crib options. However, be aware that they cost more than a standard crib. Spend time doing some research when it comes to your crib purchase, as you may be able to find an eco-friendly crib, like this one from Babymod, at Walmart.
Sustainable wooden cribs can be purchased at DucDuc and Q Collection Junior. The cribs are made from sustainable woods, without harmful chemicals. Additionally, Pacific Rim makes solid maple furniture from sustainable forests. Your best bet for selecting nursery furniture is to purchase unfinished, untreated wood.
Bedding is the most important part of the nursery when it comes to making it eco-friendly. Your baby will have direct, face-to-bed contact with the bedding. Start by purchasing an organic cotton mattress like those made by Savvy Rest. Savvy rest manufactures crib mattresses that are made with natural latex and certified organic materials.
Make sure to stay with natural fibers for the rest of your crib bedding, including the mattress pad, sheets and changing pads. Go for wool instead of vinyl when purchasing puddle pads: Those great pads that will protect the mattress against leaks. Organic cotton or bamboo crib sheets are an excellent green choice.
Putting together a green nursery is worth the extra bit of time and money needed to do so. Start early so that you can take your time pricing the items you need and budgeting out everything you desire. The reward will be a healthy, eco-friendly nursery for the most important item in the nursery: your precious baby.