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Tips To Achieve Healthier, More Restful Nursery

Armen Hareyan's picture

While billions of dollars are spent yearly on strollers, high chairs, car seats, and other items to help infants stay safe and comfortable -- parents often overlook the environmental health impact of the one place where their babies spend the majority of their time -- the nursery.

Steven Hong, a specialist who designs healthier indoor environments for the home, and president of Sylvane.com, offers these tips to help parents create a healthier restful environment for their infants:

-- Paint First, Breathe Later - Fresh paint may look great in a nursery, but lingering fumes can cause problems from nausea and eye irritation to internal damage. When decorating, plan -- and paint -- the nursery well ahead of mother's due date. Otherwise, have the baby sleep in a different room until the fresh paint has dried and fully off-gassed.

-- Clear the Air - A baby's lungs are very sensitive and pollutants, new furniture, plastics, new carpeting, mold, and even dust mites can irritate. Clear the air with a quality air purifier, or run the air conditioning. Keep ducts clean and change and clean furnace filters regularly.

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-- The Weekly Wash - Dust mites thrive in moist areas and are a major source of allergies. Wash bedding at least once weekly in hot water to keep mites, and their excretions, from building up.

-- Clean Enough to Eat Off - Since babies spend much of their time on the floor and place nearly everything they touch in their mouths, it's critical to keep floors clean and germ-free. Consider using a high quality HEPA-filtered vacuum or steam cleaner, at least weekly, to safely remove germs and particulates from floors and carpets.

-- Put Out the Cat - Keep pets out of nurseries and cribs. Pet dander can lead to allergic reactions, causing discomfort -- and poor sleep. Moreover, pets may also bring in pests, such as ticks and flees, into the nursery from the outdoors.

-- It's the Humidity - Control moisture levels to keep baby's room comfortable year round. In the summer, humidity can cause odors and mold. In winter, heated air becomes dry, prompting sore throats and dry skin. An air conditioner or dehumidifier can help in the summer. A humidifier can add moisture, and comfort, in the heating season. If winter drafts are an issue, be sure any supplemental heating units are certified as child-safe.

"When parents create a comfortable environment in the nursery, they're not only helping to ensure the health and well-being of their babies, but in turn might just allow themselves a bit more shuteye as well," says Hong.