What an interesting topic for St. Louis families and nannies! We are all focused on being environmentally friendly, what better way than to start in your baby’s nursery? Thanks to the International Nanny Association for such an interesting article.
Enjoy reading, Jessica
TLC for Kids
Five Steps to a Greener Nursery
By Cortney Gibson, Soon-to-be Certified Greenproofer
As newborn care specialists, we know that our clients look to usfor advice on everything from what they should buy for the nursery to which parenting books they should read. They rely on us to be informed, knowledgeable, and current on safe newborn care practices. I’m sure you’ve answered hundreds of questions about nursery necessities and preparing for Baby, but have you ever researched how to make your clients’ nursery healthier and safer?
Now, more than ever, it’s critical to know what makes for a green nursery and how to help your clients achieve it. There are five easy steps to assembling a non-toxic nursery. Here a few simple suggestions to get you started.
1. Air, water, and food. We can’t live without them, so be sure they are as clean as possible. Air purifiers, open windows, ceiling fans, and houseplants can help keep the air cleaner. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems or even a Zero Water filter pitcher can make for cleaner water. As for food, help your clients learn about the benefits of eating organic, whole foods. Visit www.EWG.org/foodnews/ to learn more about which fruits and vegetables should be purchased organic and which ones can be conventional.
2. Walls, floors, and windows…oh my. If your clients are considering replacing the carpet in the nursery, encourage them to seek a resource for non-toxic flooring. Traditional carpeting is often referred to as “toxic soup” because of the overwhelming number of toxic chemicals found in it. Opt for wool carpet or rugs that haven’t been treated with chemicals. Alternatively, hardwood floors with a no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) finish are a great choice. For the walls and any painted furniture, encourage your clients to buy low or no-VOC paint, allow for plenty of ventilation during the painting process and do the job well in advance of Junior’s arrival. For windows, steer clear of heavy fabric curtains, which can harbor dust mites and other allergens. Instead, new parents might consider wooden plantation shutters or a simple fabric blackout roller shade, which can easily be vacuumed and kept clean.
3. Eco-friendly bedtime for Baby. Generally speaking, babies spend more time in their cribs than anyplace else in the home. This is why the crib and mattress are probably the most important purchase parents can make. To help them make the best choice for their family, suggest that they look for a hardwood crib with a non-toxic finish. Finding a green mattress is a bit trickier. By law, mattresses have to be flame retardant, which means traditional mattresses are dipped in incredibly toxic chemicals. Parents can look for a wool mattress surrounded by organic cotton. Alternatively, an impermeable cover can be purchased that will keep the traditional mattress from off gassing toxic fumes.
4. Everything that touches Baby’s skin should be organic. These days, it’s much easier to find organic cotton and bamboo clothing and linens than even a few years ago. Whenever possible, clothing, sheets, blankets, towels, washcloths, and bibs should be organic cotton or bamboo. To keep everything clean and soft, teach your clients about laundering with dye free and fragrance free detergent and to try using distilled white vinegar in place of softener. For bath time, non-toxic soaps and lotions are a must. Don’t be fooled by a “natural” looking bottle of baby soap. Read the label and then check www.CosmeticsDatabase.com for more information on your favorite products.
5. All that glitters is probably toxic. Finding green toys for babies is no easy task, but it is possible. By now you’ve probably figured out that most toys sold in the USA are made in China, contain tons of petroleum products, and are generally bad for people and the planet. Help your clients find safe toys by looking for wooden or organic cotton toys from reputable companies. Try www.RosieHippo.com and www.BranchHome.com.
As professionals, I believe it’s our responsibility to give our clients the most current information on health and safety, so that they can fully research for themselves and make informed decisions about caring for their newborns. Just as we teach parents to put babies safely to sleep on their backs, we should also teach them about the hidden toxins lurking in their nurseries and help them choose healthier products for their homes. The planet will thank you and your clients will think of you as their own personal superhero. What are you going to do to be a little greener today?
To learn more about becoming a Greenproofer, visit www.BabyPlannerInstitute.com.