How to Design a Safe Nursery for Your Newborn

Most expectant parents are both excited and somewhat trepidatious about the prospect of bringing home a baby. As a result they end up reading mountains of books, taking parenting classes, getting advice from family and friends, and basically learning everything they can in preparation for having to care for their new bundle of joy. Of course, it’s not all rote memorization, although there’s definitely a learning curve. You also get to enjoy the process of outfitting a nursery with all of the items you’ll need to make the newest member of your family feel comfortable and welcome. But even though you can have some fun with decorating, you also need to consider the relative safety of every product you put in the nursery. So here are some safety tips to get you on the right track.

As with any room renovation, the place to start is with the foundations, which is to say the flooring and paint. You might not put too much thought into the paint aside from the choice of color, and this can certainly be a difficult decision if you’ve decided to wait and be surprised by finding out the gender of your child at the time of birth. However, you may not be aware of the fact that most house paint contains potentially harmful VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that can linger in the interior air long after the smell of drying paint has dissipated. Since infants are particularly susceptible to respiratory and skin irritation, you might want to opt for a non-VOC paint product as a way to prevent any possible problems in this area. As for flooring, you’ll probably want to select carpeting for a cushy surface that your baby can crawl on. But think about the benefits of organic-fiber carpeting, which is less likely to irritate sensitive skin or cause allergies due to chemical processing.

Of course, the real fun starts when you begin to add the furniture, accessories, and other finishing touches that will make your nursery start to take shape. If your motto is safety first then you might want to start with consumer reports pertaining to cribs, changing tables, rocking chairs, swings, and even items like nightlights and baby monitors that you are likely to have in your nursery. Although you no doubt expect the highest level of testing and safety from manufacturers that make products for infants, your job as a consumer and a parent is to exercise due diligence when it comes to finding the products that are right for you home and your family. Consumer reporting can help you to do this. So whether you’re looking at a crib, carrier, orĀ playard, make sure to do your homework.

Your job isn’t quite done yet, though. You still have to attend to finishing touches like linens, toys, and purely decorative elements. If safety is your main concern, you might want to purchase organic linens and clothing for your baby, not to mention cleansers that are safe for baby’s sensitive skin. As for toys, make sure to check boxes and labels – they should tell you which products are designed for infants thanks to age ratings. And the only real safety issue associated with most other decorations is security of placement. As kids grow they will start to climb, so make sure to use Velcro strips and safety straps to secure furniture to walls, and lamps and other items to the furniture. This will help in the event of an earthquake (if they’re common to your area) as well as when your newborn starts to crawl, climb, and walk.

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