Eco-friendly Ways to Prepare Your House for a New Baby

Pregnancy is an exciting but stressful time. You’ve only got nine months to prepare your family and your home for the new arrival, and all those changes can be daunting. To help you get ready, here’s a list of six easy things you can do to help make a safe and happy home for your family.

1. Replace harsh chemical cleaners with green alternatives 

Your baby will come in contact with all sorts of surfaces in your home – from the crib where he sleeps to the table where he’s changed to the sink where you bath him – so you’ll be working hard to keep your home clean. Unfortunately, most common household cleaners contain a variety of chemicals that are harmful to the health of you and your baby. To avoid these dangers, replace regular cleaning products with eco-friendly alternatives: use an oxygen cleaner to avoid dangerous chlorine bleach fumes, replace solvents that release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with soy-based options, and use an all-purpose cleaner made from plant-derived cleansing agents.

2. Put your baby to bed in organic, natural fibers 

Babies spend up to 70% of their first months in their cribs, so make sure your little one is safe and comfortable in organic, natural-fiber bedding free of dyes and chemically treated fillers. Greenhome.com carries Naturepedic organic cotton baby mattresses as well as a variety of organic cotton sheetsblankets, and bumper covers. Also be sure to wash sheets and baby clothes using a green detergent free of environment-damaging phosphates and other additives that can irritate baby’s skin.

3. Test and filter indoor air 

Most people, when they think of air pollution, picture car exhaust pipes or smoggy skylines, but the EPA has consistently found significantly that indoor air has higher levels of pollutants than outdoor air. This is especially true for VOCs, which dissipate in outdoor environments but can remain at high concentrations in enclosed areas. Mold, cigarette smoke, and malfunctioning heaters and air conditioners are also common sources of indoor pollution. The health effects of this pollution vary depending on the type of pollutant and the length of exposure, but can range from asthma and other respiratory symptoms to a more serious conditions. To help protect your baby, test your home air quality and use an air purifier to filter out harmful pollutants.

4. Keep the floors clean 

You’ll want to make sure your carpets are clean and baby-friendly before your little ones starts crawling and exploring. If you’re installing carpet, chose one that is free of chemical stain guards, harsh dyes, and mothproofing. Also be sure to clean your carpets regularly – most of the dust, dander, and allergens that enter your home will eventually settle into the carpet and can be stirred up by crawling tots. Traditional carpet cleaning services use a cocktail of noxious chemicals, so look for environmentally friendly carpet cleaning services or do it yourself using a steam cleaner and green carpet shampoo.

5. Be careful with renovations 

Home renovations are a major source of indoor pollution. Paint, solvents, insulation, and pressed wood products are all sources of toxic VOCs. In fact, homes undergoing renovations have been shown to have VOC concentrations up to 1000 times normal levels. So if you’re planning building projects to make room for a new baby, be sure to leave enough time to have construction finished well before your little one comes home.

6. Watch out for toys 

Babies spend their early years surrounded by toys, and, as all parents know, they’ll stop at nothing to get those toys in their mouths. So make sure all your baby’s toys are safe and non-toxic. Give her an organic cotton stuffed animal that is produced without the use of pesticides or dyes and make sure that plastic toys are made from recycled materials and free of BPA and phthalates.

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