You’ll find many blogs and articles on the internet about making sure you home is safe for a baby or toddler. But we’re not talking about childproofing here – although that is important, of course! We need to look deeper into the home furnishings and items we have in our houses, and if these are providing a natural and safe environment for our little ones.
For example, do you know about the harmful effects of off-gassing, and how many household items release VOCs? Electronics, furnishings such as paint and carpet and furniture such as sofas and mattresses all emit VOCs into your home, and they have been linked to a number of diseases and ailments such as asthma, coughing and even leukaemia.
So, how safe do you really think your home is for your children? Especially their bedroom where they spend most of their time and where they sleep? We’ve put together some valid tips to consider about redecorating and furnishing your home either preparing for a new arrival or while you have kids.
Don’t Replace Carpets Often
Babies, toddlers and carpets don’t really mix – which is why you may feel the need to replace your carpet after a few stains and spillages. However, this may not be the best choice for your child. Carpets are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to emitting VOCs (harmful gases). Think about the new carpet smell – it can last for months and it bad for the body every time we inhale it. Think about the impact this could have on your little one’s lungs.
While nobody knows the exact causes of asthma, the NHS suggests replacing carpet with wooden flooring to minimise exposure to triggers. Children are more likely to develop asthma, so it’s important to reduce the risks. Also, laminate or wooden flooring is much easier to clean, so it’s perfect for family life.
Kill Nasties Naturally
All homes suffer an infestation at some time, whether it’s ants or mice, and the first reaction is to run for the killer sprays. However, pesticides contaminate the air in your home, and as it is an enclosed space it can be difficult to purify the air your family are breathing in. There are plenty of natural ways for getting rid of insects – try the homemade versions first before using other methods as a last resort.
While it’s obvious you need to protect your children from dangerous chemicals you may have lying around the house (household cleaners, perfumes, medication), have you thought about the harmful substances you can’t see? Have you checked your home for carbon monoxide, radon gas and lead? These are the silent killers which could have a huge impact on your child’s health, simply by breathing inside your home.
Buy Second Hand
While you may want to treat your little prince or princess to the latest brand new toy or fashionable teddy, that may not be best for their health. The same applies to furnishing your home; furnishings which are brand new will emit VOCs for a much longer period. Buying a second hand sofa or bed means that the VOC-emitting period has probably passed, and won’t pose as much of a risk to your family’s health.
Use Water Based or Solvent-Free Paints
The household paint used to paint walls and varnish floors is highly toxic. Whenever you are re-painting anything in your home, make sure you open windows and doors to try and get rid of the fumes. The eco option is to choose a paint which is water based – as these contain no oil or solvents, they are odour free and a much better choice for your family. Now you can also buy completely natural paints, which are plant based and made from natural substances, for the ultimate eco-friendly option.
After following these tips, ask yourself again: how safe is your home for your child? Think carefully before buying anything new and redecorating rooms within your house.