In yesterday’s blog I talked a lot about what a healthy home is. In today’s I thought I’d highlight a special case: what it means to create a healthy home for a baby.
The answer isn’t so different than any other healthy home, but with a slightly different focus. That focus is the baby’s room itself.
Of course, the first thing to do in your home when you’re bringing home baby is make sure all the obvious dangerous things are out of the way: electric sockets covered, furniture secured, small items put away, and all sorts of dangerous chemicals out of house. Be it that old drain cleaner, the forgotten-about bottle of rubbing alcohol, bug spray, old paint, etc., dump it. Between the dangers they pose, the fumes they’re giving off, and the fact you’ll probably never use them anyway… just get rid of ‘em.
Now to the baby’s room itself: Eliminate all of all the dust collectors (carpet, drapes, old blankets, pillows, and mattresses). In particular, I’ve always thought that carpet in a baby’s room is one of the biggest culprits. Carpet’s the place that collects the most dust, pollen, and other irritants. Also, with all that bodily fluid literally flying around baby’s room, the carpet becomes a petri dish of viruses and bacteria. Better a hardwood floor that collects little dust and is easy to wipe up. In these cases, I actually recommend a high gloss finish; though it is marginally slip-ier, it’s easier to wipe things up off of.
And regarding that finish on the floor, remember to use only a water-based no VOC coating. This is also true for whatever paint you choose for the room; again, nothing that off-gasses so look for paint and adhesives with no VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Also, I’d recommend having a humidity monitor in the baby’s room (a $50 purchase) and make sure the relative humidity is between 40% and 60%. This is why when you have to get the humidifier for the baby’s first cold (which we all inevitably do) it’s worth it to spend a little more for one that distributes cool mist, which carries less humidity than a warm mist humidifier. And if the humidifier is also filtering the air, even better.
I recognize this is a lot of information but don’t worry; these things can be done over time. And if you’d like more information check out a video we did on this subject.