One of the most enjoyable experiences for new parents is setting up their unique nursery for their baby to grow up in.
Setting up your nursery isn’t just about adorable baby themes and cute wall decals though. Your number one priority before getting caught up in any of those things should be safety.
Millions of children get sent to the emergency room every year because of preventable home accidents.
Ensure you create a safe place for your baby and keep the following in mind before designing your home baby nursery.
Your Baby Crib is Top Priority
Babies can sleep up to 17 hours a day during infancy, that is a lot of time spent in the crib! So of course making your baby’s crib safe should be at the top of the list.
So first and foremost, your baby crib should be the first consideration when setting up your nursery.
Pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, toys and other items should be kept out of the baby crib during infancy. These and other items are all suffocation hazards for children under 1 year in age. A firm mattress and a crib sheet are the only two things that should be in your baby’s crib .
- Be Mindful of the Material Used
Your crib, and all other furniture, should be made with non-toxic materials and finishes. Look for natural furniture that is made from certified sustainable wood and non-toxic paints.
Plywood and fiberboard and other pressed wood sources usually contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, both of which can have adverse health effects. The easiest way to avoid furniture made with such material and that it was made for child safety is to look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association label.
- Choosing a Safe Baby Mattress
The mattress you use should be tight fitting and fit snug. More than two fingers in length should be all the room that can fit between the mattress and the sides of the crib, otherwise your baby’s limbs could get stuck. Since your baby will be spending the majority of their time in the crib, go for an organic crib mattress and organic cotton crib sheets.
- Placement of Your Baby Crib
Do not place the crib somewhere that will receive direct sunlight. You should place your crib on a solid wall away from windows, curtains and blinds which can be a strangulation hazard. Remove anything hanging nearby to avoid entanglement and the possibility of choking.
- Other Crib Considerations
—Avoid buying antique or aged cribs as they are more likely to have used toxic lead paint. If you find one free from lead paint, check the crib slats to make sure they meet current standards and are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to avoid slipping and baby getting stuck in between.
—Avoid crib bumpers. Recent research has found that crib bumpers pose a suffocation risk.
Make Sure You Use Zero-VOC Paint
Be wary not to use paint that contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Even so, follow the same safe painting procedures you would always do – release any and all fumes by keeping the windows and doors open for as long as possible to air-out the room after painting. And it’s recommended as an extra precation to do your painting at least 8 weeks before your baby is expected.
Keep the Air Flowing & Air Quality Clean
Keep air moving around and use an air filter if possible. Studies show that increasing airflow in the room reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. And keeping the air fresh and clear of toxins is always best. Don’t use any scented candles, air freshners or fragrances because they contain harmful chemicals that can get into the air.
Get Rid of Toxic Household Cleaners
Common household cleaners actually contain harmful toxins that can contaminate your home. Start using natural products, and DIY cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda. Never rely on marketing claims that something is “natural” or “green” – do your research and inspect the ingredients yourself to ensure they are safe and toxin free.
Miscellaneous Safety Tips
– If you’d like to decorate your nursery with carpet, rather than wall-to-wall carpet, choose an area rug for easy cleaning and to reduce allergy-inducing dust. Avoid nasty falls and tripping up on the rug by securing it with double-sided tape. And since your baby will start spending a lot of time on the floor when they get to the crawling stage, its important to choose a rug made from natural fibers as opposed to synthetic material
– Use a Wall Thermometer and keep the room at 68 to 72 degrees F. There is evidence that an overheated room can put your baby more at risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
– Set-up your nursery so that your changing table is in close range to changing supplies – baby wipes, baby powder, lotion etc. This is so you don’t have to go far from your baby while they are on the changing table. Don’t assume the safety strap is fail-safe – try to keep one hand on baby at all times.
-Forget about heavy picture frames or mirrors that could fall and potentially hurt your baby. Stick to wall decald and wallpaper. But make sure to choose a natural-fiber variety.