8 Must-Haves for a Happy, Healthy Nursery

Set up baby’s room for safe sleep with these picks.
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profile picture of Kate Traverson
May 4, 2022
new mom holding and kissing baby in front of crib
Image: Getty Images

You may have figured out the color scheme, arranged the furniture and hung art on the walls, but have you thought about how baby’s nursery can impact their health? Since infants can sleep as many as 16 hours a day (unfortunately, not all at once!), the nursery is a place they’re bound to spend a lot of time, even if they’re still rooming with you at night. To prepare a safe and healthy space for both sleep and play, we’ve rounded up our favorite essentials to help you—and baby—rest easier.

Smart Baby Monitor

Every new parent is guilty of sneaking into the nursery to check on baby’s breathing. But with this smart device that tracks both breathing and movement, you can put your mind at ease—without getting out of bed. A 2021 Best of Baby winner, the Miku monitor is so much more than a camera. It alerts you to any major changes in baby’s breathing, and also analyzes sleep patterns to help you optimize their shut-eye.

Our Pick: Miku Pro monitor, $399

Organic Mattress

A nontoxic, firm and well-fitting crib mattress is an important element in any healthy nursery. The Avocado Eco Organic Crib Mattress is free from toxic chemicals, off-gassing, chemical flame retardants, fiberglass and polyurethane foams—instead, it’s made from certified organic cotton, hemp and wool. Bonus: These natural materials help keep baby cool and comfortable, no matter the temperature.

Our Pick: Avocado Eco Organic Crib Mattress, $249

Blackout Curtains

Quality sleep is important for baby’s health (and yours!). Keeping the room dark and cozy helps baby drift off to dreamland faster, as well as distinguish between day and night—a difference many newborns have a hard time figuring out. Blackout curtains or blinds are designed to shut out more sunlight than traditional curtains, so an early sunrise is no sweat.

Our Pick: Pottery Barn Kids Evelyn linen blackout curtains, from $109

Air Purifier

Research shows that indoor air can actually be more polluted than outdoor air. With a new baby at home, you’re bound to spend more time than ever inside, so it’s a good idea to invest in air purification in all your living spaces, not just the nursery. The FridaBaby 3-in-1 air purifier features a HEPA filter to catch dust mites, mold spores, smoke, pollen, odors and other air pollution. Plus, it also includes a night-light and a white noise option…talk about a triple threat.

Our Pick: FridaBaby 3-in-1 air purifier, $80

Organic Crib Sheets

For the safest sleeping space, the only items that should be in baby’s crib are a firm mattress and a tight-fitting crib sheet. Natural fabrics like organic cotton are the way to go. Avocado’s 100 percent GOTS-certified Organic Cotton Crib Sheet in a luxurious 400 thread count is lightweight and breathable to keep baby comfy and cozy.

Our Pick: Avocado Organic Cotton Crib Sheet, $29

Nontoxic Play Mat

Babies spend a lot of time on the floor, but carpets tend to trap pollutants and dust mites more than hard-surface flooring. A good solution? Bare floors with a natural foam play mat that encourages tummy time, rolling over and crawling. Toki Mats are nontoxic, free from PVC and phthalates and come with a washable 100 percent cotton cover (with loads of cute prints) to make cleaning a breeze.

Our Pick: Toki play mat; $185


When baby gets a cold (or even just a stuffy nose), you’ll be so glad to have a humidifier on hand. The moisture can help clear up congestion and keep baby breathing comfortably. But traditional humidifiers are often prone to mold, thanks to the wet, dark and poorly ventilated water tank. The Canopy humidifier is made with anti-mold technology that keeps the machine running until there’s absolutely no water left (no damp enclosure means no mold will grow). On top of that, embedded UV lights kill 99.9 percent of any mold, bacteria or viruses in the water.

Our Pick: Canopy Humidifier, $150

Organic Swaddle/Sleep Sack

You already know that baby’s crib should be empty aside from the mattress and crib sheet, but what about when the temperature drops? Instead of blankets, a wearable swaddle or sleep sack can act as a comfortable extra layer for baby to wear over their pj’s. Tip: If baby is still young enough to be swaddled (read: not rolling over yet), choose one with adjustable fasteners that will keep them snug with no complicated wrapping required—and also prevent Houdini-worthy escapes.

Our Pick: Halo organic cotton swaddle, $30

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