“Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains.”

This year, as the weeks went by I watched my little sister’s belly get bigger and bigger, and now that she is in her 33rd week, finishing the new nursery has become a really hot topic. Parents (and auntie) want the best for the new family member. Designing the perfect healthy nursery for your little baby-to-be can be fun, but it can also be challenging. You have to be able to juggle design, functionality, safety and health.

Here’s the best way to create an  auntie-approved safe and healthy nursery for the little princess!


Choosing health and safety first

Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of air quality on their health. And here I am not only talking about second-hand smoke – which is already well known to be associated with an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – but also VOCs.

VOCs are chemical compounds left over from the manufacturing process of many common household items. For more information, read my last blog post about the top 11 best air-filtering houseplants. In this post you will discover the 5 chemicals evaluated by NASA in their study to improve indoor air quality with indoor plants, because we know that indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

Considering that children exposed to strong VOC emissions run a 4 times greater risk of suffering from asthma than other children, it is clear that to protect their health, it is essential to reduce their exposure to these chemicals by making wise choices for the healthy nursery. Because many of the pollutants and chemicals that could harm your baby are present in the textiles, crib, mattress, toys and furniture you may choose if you are not careful…

Babies also depend on you for making the right choices to ensure their safety. As any experienced mother will tell you, baby-proofing is essential, especially in the nursery, where your little one will spend more than a few hours of unsupervised time.

That’s why when setting up your safe and healthy nursery it’s important to be sure every item you choose is as safe and healthy as it is beautiful.


Choosing a safe and healthy crib and furniture

Babies and toddlers spend 10–14 hours a day sleeping and playing in their crib, so obviously it should be the safest and healthiest space possible.

To avoid exposing your baby to dangerous contaminants, you need to make sure your furniture, and particularly the crib, are made of hardwood that is either finished or painted with a water-based non-toxic paint or stain containing no VOCs. Plus they should be lead and phthalate free. Certified sustainable hardwood is also a must for Mother Nature.

Even though you should avoid medium-density fiberboard, plywood, particleboard, and laminated wood because of the carcinogenic formaldehyde most contain, you might inherit some or you even have already purchased your crib and furniture.

If so, you have 2 options to minimize the impacts in your healthy nursery:

1- If you are unsure about the wood or finishes, you can place it outside or in a well-ventilated garage for at least a month before you use it. This will allow some chemicals to off-gas before you bring it into your nursery.

2- If you know there is particleboard in the equation, you can seal it completely using a specially designed sealant paint to prevent any chemicals from escaping into the air.

While you may love the idea of using the family crib or adding a vintage touch, chances are it doesn’t meet modern safety standard, especially if it was made before 1990, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards were updated. Cribs made before 1990 may be structurally weak or have loose part and lead paint. Also, always look for a crib with the JPMA certification. The JPMA Certification seal signifies the highest level of established product testing and ensures adherence to ASTM standards, federal and state laws, as well as some retail requirements. Each product is  sample tested at an independent laboratory to guarantee it meets the highest safety standards.

But the crib isn’t the only thing to look for in a safe and healthy nursery. Your changing table should have adequate safety straps and rails, and be strong and secure. You also need to make sure your rocking chair and any other furniture are safe, stable, and not easy for your baby to climb on.


Choosing a healthy mattress

Traditional crib mattresses are made from plastics, which leach BPA and phthalates and are treated with flame-retardant chemicals known as PBDEs. All of these chemicals can be absorbed through your baby’s skin, ingested, or inhaled, harming developing hormone and nervous systems. Some are potential carcinogens.

To avoid putting your baby to sleep in a bed full of chemicals and VOCs, chose vinyl-free wool and cotton mattresses. Look for healthy mattress interiors made of untreated wood, metal, and nontoxic adhesives. Make sure it also meets the internationally recognized Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), which is your guarantee that it’s free of toxins and made from fiber and fabrics certified by Europe’s National Organic Program.

Want a list of 9 of the top options to create a healthy nursery? I recommend taking a look at TreeHugger’s selection.

In your quest for a healthy nursery I also recommend looking at Baby Joy mattress selection. I found this really nice Toronto-based, family-run business while searching for the best auntie-approved mattresses. It’s a Canadian online store offering organic, natural, non-toxic, chemical-free, and eco-friendly baby products (Every word in that sentence is music to my ears).


Choosing healthy bedding

Studies have shown that finding the right sheets, pads, and toppers for your baby healthy nursery is just as important as finding the right mattress, because together they can significantly reduce the chance that your baby will develop asthma, eczema, and allergies.

Look for safe organic and chemical-free baby bed sheets, pads, and toppers that are made from 100% organic cotton. The best choice of fabric for a mattress pad is tightly woven organic cotton. Hemp is also a good choice as it’s a durable fiber from a plant that grows well without chemicals; silk can also be added to make hemp fiber softer.

Choosing the right window coverings

Childproofing your windows and installing safe and healthy window coverings is a definite must. No cutting corners allowed here!

Make sure your curtains are properly installed and sufficiently fixed to the wall stud or secured with the appropriate dry wall anchors, so they don’t fall on your child. You should never ever use tension rods. They are the perfect recipe for injuring your child’s head.

Never place your crib, rocking chair, changing table, or playpen within reach of your curtains. Plus you must ALWAYS keep cords permanently out of children’s reach.

As with bedding, you should look for 100% organic cotton or hemps fiber for all the same reasons we discussed above, plus they hold up well in sunlight.

Some of you may not often think about washing your bedroom curtains. But let’s face it, they tend to collect dust and dust mites, which can cause allergies and other respiratory problems, so please, for the sake of all the good choices you’ve made so far in your healthy nursery, wash them often.

You can also choose solid wood plantation shades with a nontoxic finish. They are easier to clean and tend to collect less dust than curtains. But “easier to clean” does not mean they’ll clean themselves, so remember to wipe them down as well.


Choosing the right lighting

Being the daughter of an electrician, I know that lighting can make all the difference in a décor. For a safe nursery be sure to cover all electrical outlets and tuck away cords. You should also be wary of potential chocking hazards. I would also recommend avoiding floor lamps and table lamps – or any other heavy decorative items, for that matter – on tablecloths which can easily be pulled over.

Choosing a no-clutter nursery

Stuffed animals, toys, and dolls are fun, but they collect dust. A nursery low in clutter has fewer places for dust mites and other allergens to hide, plus it’s safer for your little one.

For a healthy nursery, make sure you limit bedroom accessories to just those pieces you truly love. While it may be tempting to use the area under the crib for storage, don’t! This is a prime hiding zone for dust mites, along with irritating dust bunnies and general grime. Choose smart wardrobe system and chests of drawers.


Choosing the right paint

Nowadays, many people know that conventional paint contains benzene, formaldehyde, mercury, solvents, and many other VOCs. Choosing an eco-friendly, nontoxic, VOC-free interior paint is also a must. As someone who worked at a paint company in my former life, I can tell you how important it is to make sure the colorant used to tint your paint is also VOC-free.

You can also consider natural paint, which is made from food-safe plant and mineral ingredients, or milk paint, which is made from milk protein, pigment, lime clay, and water.

Even if you’re using VOC-free paint, you need to make sure the room is well ventilated. Delegate painting to somebody else when you are pregnant, and keep children out of recently painted rooms. Wait at least 72 hours or until the smell is gone. For babies you will need to wait a few weeks.


Choosing the right flooring

Small children spend much of their time on the floor playing and learning to walk, so flooring is an important piece of your healthy nursery to think about.

Removing wall-to-wall carpet is the healthiest thing you can do in your home, because they off-gas chemicals and harbor toxins and pollutants. So putting in VOC-free hardwood floors to replace your carpets is one of the smartest choices you can make in your entire home – not just the nursery. Because usually you’ll want your child to move, play, and live everywhere around the house!

For an optimal indoor air quality in your healthy nursery, consider a Lauzon Pure Genius air-purifying smart floor like our relaxing Red Oak Absolut hardwood flooring or even our sustainable and unique Organik Charm hardwood floor made of Hard Maple. A Pure Genius floor not only destroys VOCs, it helps reduce asthma and allergies by purifying indoor air by up to 85% and its anti-microbial finish decomposes up to 99.6% of bacteria, viruses, and molds. Which is reassuring when you see what your baby puts in his mouth…

Our unique Pure Genius is a built-in feature of all Lauzon’s Designer and Ambiance Collection flooring series (except Homestead and Urban Loft series), as well as all square edges and Herringbone floorings.  It is also offered as an option on the rest of the Ambiance Collection hardwood floors.

You can’t eliminate every source of contaminant or danger from your safe and healthy nursery, but you can go a long way towards lessening their presence and impact with these simple guidelines. I hope they will help you and your baby sleep better – so the little Princess will be full of energy to play outside with auntie!



A special thank you to the lovely Marie-Ève Pelletier who so kindly accepted we take pictures of Arielle’s beautiful nursery!

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