Babies! It’s hard to find anyone who is immune to their soft skin and toothless grins. Everything about them is adorable; small fingers, legs, feet, and small bodies. They make for compact keepsakes and it is no wonder that newborn parents become fierce protectors, buying the newest baby gadgets, the softest cotton blankets, and keeping sick people at bay with stern looks. But one thing that parents may forget to double check is the air quality in their baby’s room.
Studies done by the Environmental Protection Agency have found that air pollutant levels can be two to five times higher inside the home than outdoors. This is particularly worrisome when you consider that babies spend most of their early years primarily in the home. So what can you do to make your baby’s nursery room as pollutant free as possible?
Air Pollutants, I’ve Got my Eye on You
Here are a few things to think about if you want to keep your baby’s nursery in tip top shape:
- Most nursery room indoor pollutants are from products we use. Sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide can be traced to fuel-burning stoves, fire places and furnaces. While our babies need the warmth and comfort of a cozy room, these airborne chemicals that are hovering in the air can be unsafe for you and your baby.
- If you’ve recently purchased new furniture for your baby’s room, beware of formaldehyde gas, which is a by-product of the glues found in pressed wood used to make cabinets and tables. Formaldehyde is a known respiratory irritant that can also cause asthma and allergies. To be formaldehyde free, purchasing furniture with the labels “green” or “natural” usually means that they do not contain toxic chemicals.
- Every nursery needs the perfect color, right? If you’re going to repaint the nursery walls, choosing a paint company that carries zero VOC and low VOC emission is the way to go. Most interior paints are latex paint, which emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), microscopic particles that can travel into the lung and cause allergies and asthma. Although you will have finished painting the wall years ago, the latex paint can give off VOCs for years, called off-gassing, so your baby will most likely be breathing in the chemicals long after the paint has dried.
- Carpeting, although tempting, can collect dust, off-gas, and become a canvas for anything you come into contact with outside your home. During your trip to the store, you come across bacteria, dirt, and quite a number of particles that your crawling toddler will introduce to their mouths as they traverse around the floor, so if possible, it is best to consider hardwood floors. If the carpets have already been installed, leaving shoes by the door and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will help to keep airborne bacteria in check, as well as trapping unwelcome dust and pollutants.
A MinusA2 air purifier can be most helpful in trapping the dastardly particulate foe. But not all air purifiers are the same. The most effective air purifiers will have a true HEPA filter that will trap airborne allergens down to 0.3 microns in size, 99.97 percent of the time. It is also important to have an air purifier that has a Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter to trap unwanted chemicals, VOCs and off-gassing. Since babies have lungs that are less than a quarter in size compared to an adults’, they are breathing in more air than we are, therefore are more at risk when breathing in toxins and airborne viruses.
Since your baby’s lungs are still developing, why not give them the cleanest air possible? The cleaner the air, the better the chances that your baby will not develop asthma, allergies, or other respiratory related issues as they continue to grow.