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Creating a nontoxic nursery is like taking babyproofing to the next level. This was my mission when I was pregnant with Bash and I’m excited to share some of the ways we made his room clean and healthy, as well as personalized for him. Even if you don’t need a new baby monitor or nursery glider, these nontoxic recommendations are beneficial for anyone interested in lowering their exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins.
One such class of chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are very common and are released as vapor or gas from many commercially made products. New cars, furniture, fabrics, paint, and wallpaper all release VOCs and chemicals that are potentially dangerous. This is called off-gassing and it’s important to be aware of its risks. For instance, you may have experienced headaches or dizziness after spending an afternoon painting those nursery walls, but long-term exposure to off-gassing has been linked to up to 180 conditions.
Knowing these risks is especially important when you’re preparing to welcome a little one home because their little bodies are more susceptible to these hazardous compounds. Fortunately, there are several ways you can minimize your exposure to VOCs.
Look for Greenguard Gold certified products, which verifies products have low chemical emissions. Sprout San Francisco is a company devoted to providing healthy and clean options for all things baby and they were our go-to for our nursery glider* and dresser*. Sprout uses only natural and sustainably made materials in their products, making them safe for babies without sacrificing style or aesthetic. They also have resources to help you learn about shopping for healthy, green baby products.
When it comes to finding a mattress, you’ll want to consider off-gassing, as well as overall breathability. Newton Baby* makes Greenguard Gold certified mattresses that are more breathable than other leading organic mattress brands, allowing Babe to breath easily and safely.
Baby will (hopefully) be spending lots of time snoozing in their crib and opting for organic bedding is one more way to lower VOCs and other chemicals in your nursery. We love Coyuchi.
An air purifier* can help reduce VOCs, as well as allergens, bacteria, mold and other pollutants. There are all kinds of options for these and you can find some more info about finding one that’s right for you here.
We also strive to keep our nursery’s free of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), as there is evidence that children are more susceptible to this possible carcinogen. Our nurseries are free of all electronics, including WIFI and routers. Our sound machine* uses a real fan to create its white noise and we’re still able to keep an eye on our Bops with this closed circuit and low EMF.
On top of these safety measures, we wanted to personalize Bash’s nursery for him. We’re beach lovers and wanted to instill in him the same love for sand and surf. This Grey Malin Art piece from his Malibu series was an obvious choice for us. Point Dume is an epic surf beach in Malibu, named after Padre Francisco Dumetz of Mission San Buenaventura, and it was where I watched Chris surf all throughout my pregnancy with Bash. We love this spot so much we made it Bash’s middle name.
Finally, finish off your nursery decor with a little shelf full of books for the whole family to enjoy together. You can easily go with a theme (beach vibes, foodie in the making, touch and feel books) or include a variety. You can find some of our favorites here*.
Whether you’re a first-time mom or a seasoned one, or you’re still dreaming of your little Bop to be, planning out a non-toxic nursery is a worthy goal to care for and protect your children. If a complete nursery overhaul isn’t feasible, know that making changes little by little also makes a difference. For example, we moved our living room rug into Bash’s room instead of buying a new one to minimize off-gassing. Even airing out rooms is a great step to lowering VOCs in your home. Listen to my interview with Dr. Leo Trasande for more easy tips and changes you can make. No matter what, do what you can and don’t let any type of fear keep you from enjoying your pregnancy or time spent with your little one.