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Updating your baby’s nursery to a more timeless, neutral space for your little one, or looking for more classic pieces that could work for more than one child? We have compiled some tips on creating an eco-friendly, modern space that will grow with your child that won’t break the bank!

Choose materials carefully. For the walls, opt for a child safe, enviromentally-safe, no or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, such as Real Milk Paint. Paint is one of the top indoor air pollutants, and VOC’s are the toxins that off-gas into the air upon application. Most major paint manufacturers now make a no or low-VOC line of paint with a wide choice of colors, so when picking out paint, read labels carefully or ask a store associate for assistance.

We all know that the color in a space can greatly affect our mood… and our children’s mood! For young children, opt for a color scheme that promotes a healthy night’s sleep & a calm, nurturing atmosphere for play. A neutral color can help to stabilize and ground, while green is an ideal color for any space. Green is neither hot nor cool & symbolizes growth & new beginnings. Use yellow sparingly, or not at all, as yellow is the hardest color for your eye to break down.

In addition to paint, carpet is another major indoor air pollutant, so instead look for hardwood, bamboo, cork, rubber or tile options for bedroom flooring. Adding an area rug made from natural fibers adds the needed warmth you want in a bedroom, plus offers a sound deadening quality to help sound from bouncing off the floor & walls. Wool is strongly suggested as it is a self-extinguishing fiber, an added bonus. We love this ABC Classic Rug from Peurobaby, as it is ethically made from 100% raw materials and non-toxic dyes. It is also washable, which comes in handy with little ones! It is extremely lightweight and easy to pick up and move, with anti-slip underlay to ensure safety.

When adding furniture pieces to your child’s room, such as dressers or chairs, look for unfinished wood furniture, and then stain/paint with a NO VOC stain or paint. This will limit any off-gassing of toxins that a finished piece of new furniture would emit into the space. Another eco-friendly choice is to choose a recycled or upcycled item from a family member or friend. For a fun, timeless piece that blends in seamlessly with any space, the Wooden Toddler Slide from Peurobaby is perfect for indoor use, and encourages exercise, motor skills and independence! Available in a wide variety of colors, the slide is made from molded wood and finished with water-dilutable finish, free of methylpyrrolidone and free of phthalate plasticizers.

For additional play items that grow with your child, choose items that delight their imagination and encourage independent play, from a wooden kitchen to an adorable Chalkboard Ride-On Wagon! This little wagon is a favorite with my children… my now 6 year old likes to decorate it with her artwork, and my little guy likes to pull his wooden cars around in it! It wipes clean easily, too!

When choosing new linens and bedding for a neutral space, think cool colors such as blues, greens, and lavender to calm and soothe, rather than jarring, bright colors! Organic cotton blankets, sheets and pillows give your child a soft, safe place to snuggle into at night, and if possible, opt for Naturepedic, a company that makes GOTS certified organic cotton sheets, pillows, and more… all allergen-friendly, as well! We also adore Aden + Anais, who make the softest, breathable, 100% cotton muslin blankets, changing pad covers, and sleep sacks.

It can be fairly simple to makeover your child’s space to create a delightful, neutral space in which to sleep and play! When in doubt, opt for eco-friendly, natural, and classics that grow with your child.

*Peurobaby provided a sample & images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

Today’s informative article was written by health professional Marissa Oachs. Check out Marissa’s blog for more up-to-the-minute articles on parenting at http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/. A BIG thanks to Marissa for this engaging piece for families!

What Every Mother Should Know…About the Air We Breathe

By Marissa Oachs

As a health professional, healthiness has always been a priority to me. Now that I have a new baby my focus on health has really switched from my health to focusing on making my child’s life and health as healthy as possible. What I have learned over the last year as I have researched the best products for my family is that it is a very scary world. Almost all the products you buy in the store are unhealthy for you…it scares me to death and often infuriates me. WHY and HOW can industries and companies sell things to humans that they know are hurting us! When I started learning this, I knew I had to change my life and spread the word to other mothers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called indoor air pollution one of the nation’s top environmental health concerns. The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating this disturbing phenomenon, too. In fact, the WHO states that 40% of all buildings pose a serious threat to health because of polluted air. A cubic foot of untreated indoor air alone can contain up to 20 million particles such as pollen, dander, and smoke. Scary, I know!

Even scarier is the fact that more than 99% can’t be seen, and many particles are small enough to enter your lungs. Pollen, ash, and dust come indoors from the outside. Pets give off dander. Dust mites, feeding on decomposing skin (gross!!), thrive in mattresses. And cigarette smoke lingers. We all know smoking is bad, but second-hand smoke has been identified as a major health risk too.

And as much as we care about our children, over the years the air has hurt us women the most. There has been a dramatic increase in rates of asthma in women in the past 10 years because of our longer exposure to household chemicals. We often work closely with toxic chemicals and research has shown that our health care costs are $12.2 billion just from environmentally associated diseases!!! Has it hit home, yet?!

So…what can we do to fight these harmful air pollutants in our homes and in our children’s lungs? The good news is there are lots of things we can do! And I can honestly tell you…once you start trying to make a difference, you will notice a difference. I did…and my conscience is clear too!

Here are some quick tips:

1) Start by cleaning up that air – Look into buying an air purifier. Look for one that attacks all three types of air pollutants – microbials, gases, and particulates

2) Ventilate your home – Run the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen, open your windows, and make sure you have a good exhaust system in place for appliances and stove. Check out The American Lung Association’s recommendations for more ideas. http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/indoor-air-quality-47020101#ixzz0eJQL3iPT

3) Prevention – Be careful of the products you use.

  1. a. Use no-VOC or low-VOC paints – Paints release trace amounts of gases for months after application — even though they appear to be fully dried and the smell is gone. These gases are called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. If painting indoors, open windows and use exhaust fans to remove gases. Do not store open paint containers indoors.
  2. Use non-toxic cleaning products – Most cleaning products on the market today can produce harmful air pollution indoors. Hair and nail products, cleaning products, art and hobby supplies and other common products can increase the levels of VOCs. Some of the VOCs in these products include substances linked to cancer, headaches, eye and throat irritation and worsened asthma.

Feel free to reach out to Marissa Oachs if you have any further questions! http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/