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A Greener Home For Your Baby

Room to Grow

Greening the nursery is next on the agenda, because your baby will spend many hours playing, getting her diapers changed, and snoozing (let's hope!) in it:

Crib mattress. An organic mattress made with chemical-free cotton and/or wool may cost a bit more, but it's money well spent considering your baby will be in her crib for up to 16 hours each day. If you're going non-organic, try to buy your mattress a month or so before the baby arrives. Unwrap it and let it air out in an unused room (or at Grandma's house!) until you need it so that the flame retardant, glues, and other additives can dissipate.

Paint. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are a group of possibly harmful chemicals found in paint, sealants, and adhesives that become a gas at room temperature. VOCs may cause health problems, including nausea and headaches, so choose low- or even zero-VOC paint. (Once the paint is dry, however, the risk is minimal.) Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Glidden all make low- or no-VOC lines.

Carpet. If you have a strong family history of allergies or asthma, it's a good idea to avoid wall-to-wall carpeting in your baby's room. It can trap dirt, dust mites, and other allergens, which may exacerbate these conditions. New carpeting can also emit toxic fumes, so let it air out for a couple of weeks before your baby spends any time there. A hardwood floor softened by area rugs made of natural fibers is the ideal green nursery flooring.