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The Eco-Friendly Nursery
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- James Tse
Forget about pink and blue -- green is the new color craze for baby nurseries. You don't have to paint your walls that shade, of course, but creating an environmentally healthy, eco-conscious cocoon is top of the list for many moms. The catch is often the cost -- who has the extra bucks these days? We've got news: Going green no longer means spending a lot of green. And you don't have to do everything here at once (or even at all). A few small changes at a time can make your baby's world a little bit better.
The centerpiece of your baby's nursery is, of course, the crib, and most eco experts recommend buying a solid-wood model. This Graco, Eco-Friendly Dakota Classic Crib is available for just $199.99. (Visit gracobaby.com to find a local retailer.)
Does going green sound pricey? The Graco crib shown on the previous page is available exclusively for only $199.99, and the matching changing table is $99.95 on amazon.com. Both are made with sustainable wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (look for their logo), which means that trees used to manufacture them were replaced after they were cut down, and there was minimal use of chemical pesticides.
If you can splurge on only one green product for your baby's nursery, go for a crib mattress made of natural ingredients like organic cotton and wool. "Green mattresses tend to be more expensive, but this is an investment worth making since your baby will lie on his mattress for hours every day and night for years to come," says Alan Greene, M.D., author of Raising Baby Green. Our mattress, the Serta Nightstar Eco Firm Mattress, available at Walmart.com, costs around $130 -- only $50 more than a conventional crib mattress.
Look for low- or no-VOC paint. "Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in paint produce fumes that have been linked to respiratory illnesses," says Dr. Greene. We used Benjamin Moore's low-VOC Aura paint in stem green, which costs $62 per gallon. Bonus: Aura doesn't require a primer (if your walls are in good shape) and covers in just one coat.
Cut back on carpeting. Since carpet fibers trap in allergens, hardwood flooring or area rugs are a greener option. We used Spiral Out rugs by FLOR, which are made of 80 percent post-consumer material ($39 for four tiles, flor.com).
Avoid traditional wallpaper. Most contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which releases toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process. If you opt for vinyl, try to use it sparingly, like we did with these reusable tree stickers by WallCandy Arts ("Season," $54; giggle.com)
To save money, you can also make your own wall art. We found 100 percent organic cotton fabric from Mod Green Pod and used it to create the wall hanging. ("Bloom," $80 per yard; modgreenpod.com). The company also sells vinyl-free wallpaper that uses only water- based ink ($110 for five yards).