Ways to Create an Eco-Friendly Nursery

by James SheaJanuary 15, 2019

Everybody wants to keep their baby safe and protect them from toxic chemicals. Babies undergo incredible amounts of physical and metabolic changes in a short period of time as they grow, and they are highly susceptible to toxins. The nursery is one of the most important places to limit toxins because babies sleep a lot. Newborns sleep between 10 and a half and 18 hours a day. Infants sleep as much as 12 hours a day. That is a lot of time spent in the nursery.

Mom and baby playing in nursery

Here are a few ways to limit your baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals in the nursery:

Use Safe Paints

Paints contain 10,000 chemicals, and those chemicals can release toxic fumes. For a baby, one of the biggest areas of concern from paint is volatile organic compounds. They have been linked to cancer and can cause harm to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system. A nursery should be painted with no- or low-volatile organic compound paint. Most premium paint brands produce a line of non-volatile organic compound paint.

Organic-fiber Crib Mattress

Parents often spend a lot of time picking out the right crib, but they don’t think about the mattress. Your baby rests on the mattress and not the crib. You should select a mattress that is free of toxic chemicals. Some crib mattresses contain fire retardants, plastic, polyurethane foam, vinyl, and other harmful substances. There are many environmentally friendly crib mattresses on the market. You can purchase a crib mattress made with cotton, wool, coconut, and other natural fibers.

Changing Pad

Changing diapers is part of daily life with an infant. That means you will have a changing pad. Most of them are made with vinyl and polyurethane foam and can release toxic chemicals. To reduce the exposure, you should find a non-toxic changing pad. Several companies produce eco-friendly changing pads. They are made with natural fibers and contain a toxic-free waterproofing agent.

Cloth Diapers

Synthetic diapers are a modern convenience for young parents. They are easy to change and disposed of quickly in a wastebasket. But they can release toxic chemicals into the air and exposure your baby to toxic chemicals when they touch your baby’s skin. (That doesn’t take into account the amount of waste created from disposable diapers.) Cloth diapers have come a long way in recent years, and parents can reduce the toxic exposure by switching to them.

Formaldehyde-free Furniture

Furniture is another place where a baby can be exposed to toxins. Urea-formaldehyde glues bind laminate and other inexpensive woods together. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause eye and nose irritations, coughing, skin rash, and other allergic reactions. The U.S. government has officially recognized it as a carcinogen. Many baby nursery cribs, changing tables, and dressers at big box retailers contain formaldehyde in the wood. It’s best to purchase solid wood furniture in the nursery. That can minimize the chances of exposure to formaldehyde. You should purchase children’s bedroom furniture made out of hardwoods like maple, oak, and walnut. Not only are they safe, but they also look gorgeous.


Area rugs add feel and texture to your baby’s nursery room, but you need to be careful when selecting an area rug. Some area rugs contain toxic dyes and flame-retardant substances, and they, like paints, release volatile organic compounds. Non-toxic rug options are available. These rugs are made of natural fibers and dyes. Many are handmade and add an exceptional look to your custom-designed nursery.

Girls Nursery

Limit Scents

A lot of people want to keep the baby’s room smelling fresh, but scented candles or diffusers can be harmful. They can release toxins into the air. A more environmentally friendly method is to place baking soda into the diaper pale. That will naturally eliminate many of the odors produced in the nursery. Also, you can open a window to let in some natural air.


Babies generally sleep better in the dark. Curtains at major retailers are often treated with flame-retardants or a chemical to keep them wrinkle-free. Those are hazardous to your baby. Natural fibers like bamboo might not block the light as much, but they help keep the nursery free of toxins. Silk and cotton are also options.

Limit Harsh Cleaning Products

A nursery should be clean, and that means selecting the right cleaning products. Many cleaning products are made from toxic chemicals but in recent years it has become much easier to purchase eco-friendly cleaners. They work just as well as traditional products but do not release toxins into your nursery. That way your baby is breathing clean air.


Babies always have toys, but selecting the right toys is important. Some toys are harmful and contain lead or BPA, a common additive in plastic. There are alternatives. Many reputable toy companies produce toys out of non-toxic materials. They manufacture wooden toys, naturally stuffed animals, rubber toys and some types of plastic toys. You need to do some research but plenty of safe options exist.

Rocking Chair and Ottoman

A nursery usually contains a glider or rocking chair. They are perfect for cuddling and nursing your baby. You should purchase a rocker that is made of solid wood and is painted or stained with toxic-free materials. You also want to select a rocker without flame retardant-free foam, because the foam can release toxic gases.

Wall Art

Once you select the furniture and paint for the eco-friendly baby room, you need to place wall art. Many decals and other wall art are made with PVC and phthalates, a substance that enhances plastics. These are toxic. You can easily select artwork that does not rely on these types of material. Several companies produce decals that are made of fabric, and you also hang posters and other artwork that are toxic-free.

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About The Author
James Shea
James Shea is an award-winning journalist and author. He owns Media Lab, a content marketing and search engine optimization company is Richmond, Virginia.