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Friday, January 15, 2010

Friends of mine are joyously anticipating the arrival of their first baby. As this wonderful time creeps closer and closer for them, they are beginning to think about decorating the new nursery. However, I cautioned them that before they get caught up in what colour the room should be, they should put a little research into giving baby a healthy room first and foremost.

Babies not immune to the effects of the toxic chemicals that we bring into our homes, in fact they are actually much more at risk to health problems associated with those chemicals. We are aware that babies are much more delicate than adults, but what you may not know is that they have a more absorbent skin surface for their size than adults and they are unable to eliminate chemicals from their body as well. With the number of chemicals that are accumulating in the environment and the polluted indoor air quality that is in every home it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that asthma rates and childhood cancers are on the rise. However, there are things that can be done to help reduce the number of chemicals that your newborn will come into contact with. We can’t keep them in a plastic bubble all their lives but at least we can give them a healthy start in life.

Paint – Choose the colour that you intend on painting the nursery carefully. Bright colours, which have a lot of colourant in them, will be the colours that do the most off-gassing. Off-gassing occurs when the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are released from the product and into the air. Off-gassing is recognizable whenever you have that “new-car” smell or the “fresh-paint” smell. Stick to light colours for the nursery and shop around for a no-VOC paint. Ensure you compare stats for paint when you are shopping many companies will indicate a low or no-VOC product but that may not include the colourant. As an additional act of protection, make sure that the room is painted at least two to three months prior to the baby’s arrival so that the fumes have a chance to dissipate.

Furniture – Shopping for cribs, change tables and dressers may be half the fun of decorating the new nursery but when shopping, make sure that you purchase products wisely. All products on the market must meet strict safety standards to ensure that they child won’t get hurt by them, but there are currently no regulations for what the piece is made from. Composite woods and all other pressed wood furniture is bound together using formaldehyde (yes, the same chemical used in embalming the dead). These products off-gas smog and asthma-inducing chemicals for long time after the furniture has been put together. Instead look for unfinished solid-wood pieces that you can finish yourself using natural hemp or linseed oils to ensure a healthy environment. Conventional crib mattresses are coated with fire-retardant, stain-repelling and anti-bacterial chemicals. If you aren’t able to find an organic mattress, than ensure that you bring the conventional one home several weeks before the baby is due before setting your newborn down on it.

Nadine Andrews D.I.D.

Commercial and Residential Interior Design
Kelowna BC
Ph 250864-9848
Fax 250469-9411

1 comment:

  1. This was really great advice. I knew about the "paint 3 months ahead of time" thing, but the rest was totally new information. Thank you for sharing! :D


Residential and Commercial Interior Design Kelowna