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Paula Kashtan

Creating an Eco-Friendly Nursery

Check out these top tips for setting up a nursery using safe and sustainable materials.

There are definitely ways to help both baby and the planet while setting up the nursery. Here are some ideas to get you started:

• Instead of traditional wood flooring, go for bamboo or eucalyptus—both are highly renewable resources. Look for furnishing with a water-based aluminum oxide with no volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions.

• Look over the ingredient label before you select a paint. If you see things like turpentine, formaldehyde, any animal products or VOCs, put back the can. Paints with all-natural ingredients like mineral pigments, plant oils, crushed limestone and milk are a better bet.

• Avoid furniture made of laminated wood, plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard—the glue in these often contain formaldehyde. The pieces will wear down faster and release chemical fumes.

• Spring for a quality air purifier to deal with any pollutants. A freestanding humidifier with a HEPA filter is your best bet.

• Find window treatments made of natural fabric. (Extra points for organic cotton!) Steer clear of mini blinds—they’re made of PVC, which can give off gas when heated by the sun.

• Reuse! Ask friends for their old baby gear, shop at secondhand stores and check out recycling/sharing websites. Just make sure any used gear is still in safe condition, and hasn’t been recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).

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