As more of us become aware of all the pollutants we inhale each day when breathing indoor air, it makes perfect sense to want to prevent your infant or toddler from breathing these harmful airborne contaminants. Which ones are harmful? Here is a list of the top 5 most frequently found sources of airborne contaminants in your child's nursery and alternatives that are healthier. Rethinking your choices will make the nursery safer for your baby and you.
1. The Mattress-Many manufacturers use chemicals on mattresses to make them less flammable. These chemicals off-gas fumes, and when inhaled often interfere with normal growth and development which can cause learning and behavioral difficulty.
When the mattress foam is made of polyurethane, in most instances, it is coated with a volatile organic chemical known as toluene that also emits harmful fumes for months. Having your baby exposed to and breathing these fumes whenever they are in the crib is pretty scary. Try certified organic bedding which uses all natural products in the manufacturing process and makes play in the crib and bedtime in the nursery safer.
2. Walls and Curtains-Paint, drywall, fabric for draperies and even the wood studs that support the drywall often contain chemicals such as formaldehyde. It is often added to resist stains, and to make fabric wrinkle less. And the glue used for wallpaper and borders can sometimes emit harmful vapors long after the paper has been hung.
Constant inhalation of even the slightest amount of these chemicals can make your baby seem fretful, or restless. And because they are unable to tell you what is wrong, these fumes are probably the last thing you would suspect. Using paints that contain low or no levels of volatile organic chemicals, even though pricier, will give your baby healthier air to breathe.
3. Furniture-Pressed wood furniture, and even plastic furniture, at first seem like great ideas because they are durable, easier to clean, and less likely to be damaged by tiny hands; and even if the worst happens, they are not family heirlooms that have been passed down for generations.
And even though all of this may be true, a lot of pressed wood furniture is made and finished with chemicals that can and often do off gas fumes. (This is sounding like a repeating CD isn't it?) Better to use wood furniture to insure that the baby furniture is not adding to airborne indoor quality problems.
4. Carpet-Not only can carpet be finished with chemicals that make it stain and soil resistant, but the adhesives that are used to glue it down are often laden with strong smelling chemicals often associated with "new carpet smell." And even if your carpet isn't new, it is a haven for trapping mold and mildew, and other spills and accidents that are hard to remove because they may have soaked into the padding or the sub floor beneath.
These pollutants are then sent airborne as your baby crawls, rolls, or sits on the floor, making for even poorer indoor air quality. Wood, or laminate floors with area rugs that can be washed regularly are a healthier alternative.
5. Air-Even if we lived outside, we would all be exposed to mold and mildew spores, pollen, dust, bacteria, viruses, and even volatile organic chemicals which occur naturally throughout nature. Indoor air quality becomes unhealthy when these very natural pollutants can't find a way out of baby's nursery and your well insulated home.
This results in an unnatural build up of pollutants that can interfere with a normal baby's breathing and in fact exacerbate respiratory function for those babies with allergy and asthma. The best way to constantly eliminate airborne contaminants in the nursery is by using a high efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) in your baby's nursery to provide 24 hours of clean, healthy air daily.
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