There are many things you can do to ensure that your baby is raised in a non-toxic environment, and that your child rearing leaves as minimal an impact on the planet as possible. As a bonus, a “green” nursery environment is also healthier for parents and anyone else who spends a lot of time around the baby.
Once the new baby arrives, there are plenty of ways to be green, such as using cloth diapers. Parents should also get as many hand-me-downs as possible, rather than purchasing new goods that had to be manufactured in facilities that are damaging to the environment.
There are also many things you can do before the baby arrives while you’re setting up the nursery. Fabrics, paints and furniture should be non-toxic and Earth-friendly, as explained below.
When purchasing anything new, it is always preferable to choose organic fabrics. If you’re using hand-me-downs, this may not be an option, but any new manufactured goods that you purchase should have made as minimal an impact on the Earth as possible. From blankets and mattresses to toys and clothing, materials such as organic cotton and bamboo are non-toxic and chemical free, and also come in fire and waterproof varieties.
Traditional paints are bad for pregnant mothers. Once the paint dries, it can still be bad for the baby. The indoor air pollution caused by paint is not good for anyone’s health, so paint at least a month before the expectant mother’s due date to make sure the paint is dry far in advance. Choose paints that have labels indicating they are “Zero VOC,” “VOC-free,” “Eco Organic” or “Safe Paint.” There are low-VOC paints available, and a number of proprietary paints from leading brands are certified “green.” You can also find all-natural paints made from alternative substances, such as balsam, calcium, chalk, citrus, clay, lime milk and talcum.
The first and best option is to reuse hand-me-downs from a previous child or from friends and family. Furniture from Craigslist or yard sales may also be a good option, and could save you a lot of money. Reused furniture is eco-friendly because it does not require any new manufacturing or use of precious resources, but make sure all used furniture is up to safety standards and that it isn’t painted with lead-based paints. If used furniture isn’t an option, stick to high-quality products made from FSC-certified hardwoods with nontoxic glues and low-VOC finishes.