Their health is delicate and important! So here is why and how you can make a sustainable bedroom for kids
By Lora O’Brien
Whether you’re expecting a bundle of joy or you’re looking to revamp your kid’s bedroom, styling a room and injecting personality is always fun. The process can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially if you want to ensure each aspect of it is healthy and sustainable.
And there is so much to consider, from the choice of bedding to the paint used on the wall! The room your children spend a third of their lives in is meant to be a haven, so ensure you make their environment as comfortable as possible.
There are lots of good reasons to do so.
Dangers we ignore in children’s products
There are all kinds of toxins parents try to avoid. We secure the cleaning closet so they don’t get into the bleach. We lock away medications in a first aid box. But there are toxins hiding in all kinds of products we use daily.
Toys are rife with chemicals like BPA. This is a kind of plastic that can disrupt hormones, leading to myriad health problems, including cancer.
Formaldehyde is another carcinogen that’s often found in cheap forms of wood furniture. It can also be found in bedding, clothing and other textiles.
Although it can be tempting to place a baby monitor in your child’s room, don’t. These monitors use wifi. The EMF radiation they emit can cause all kinds of serious health problems for adults, and especially children.
EMF radiation, including radiation from WiFi routers, has been shown to have adverse health effects over long periods of time. Babies are more vulnerable to these health effects due to thinner skulls, different chemical makeup, and other factors.
A word about VOCs
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous. These are compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of:
- dry cleaning agents
- home-scent products
- hard and soft furnishings
- cleaning products
- craft materials like glues and markers
The EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. So avoiding VOCs is essential in a sustainable bedroom for kids. Or adults!
I get it – it all sounds a bit daunting. But it doesn’t have to be a minefield. Below are 10 easy steps to take to make a sustainable bedroom for children of all ages!
How To Create A Safe Bedroom For Children
1. Use eco friendly paint
Let’s kick things off with the obvious: paint. The first step to decorating is usually by dusting off the paintbrushes, popping the top off a tin of paint and going to town with the walls. But before you paint you’ll want to ensure you’re not slathering the walls with toxic chemicals that your little one will ingest.
Most paint releases something called volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs. These contribute to indoor air pollution and can cause many health effects, from irritations to chronic respiratory issues. Yikes!
Luckily, there are a lot of eco friendly paint brands readily available today offering low-VOC paints which are not only safer for the health of our children, but better for the planet, too.
Whether you want soft pastels or brilliant bold hues, Little Knights make paint that is 100% VOC-free, has zero smell, is antibacterial and even works to actively purify the air in your home.
See more eco friendly paint brands here.
2. Opt for natural cribs
The next thing you’re going to put into a sustainable bedroom for kids is a crib. As this is where your baby sleeps, you’ll want to be sure you’re not buying poorly made products as you’ll want them to last a long time. Not to mention, they need to grow with your kiddo, too. So be sure they’re hardwearing! Opt for strong, natural materials such as solid wood. The furniture will not only last if you have multiple children, but the wood won’t look dated as it’s pretty timeless.
Babyletto is a brand founded as a way of providing affordable eco-friendly products for the modern family. Their award-winning eco crib is loved by many as it grows with the child, morphing from a crib to a toddler bed to a daybed and then to a full sized twin bed.
Dadada is another brand offering toxic-free nursery furniture. Inspired by generations of furniture makers, they are providing a sense of luxury and safety to the modern home, whether it’s rocking on a chair as you read to your little one or nursing them in the early hours.
3. Go for non toxic mattresses
Mattresses are a huge issue in terms of health. Much like paint, they release VOCs that off-gas at room temperature. When people think they’re inhaling that ‘new’ scent, it’s really the toxic chemicals being released. Synthetic foam, found in most mattresses, releases a lot of VOCs. That’s why it’s crucial to shop for natural materials, especially in the bedroom of little ones.
Kalon has created the perfect crib mattress to provide your child with a safe and comfortable place to sleep. Their Dream No.1 crib mattress is made entirely from natural and organic materials in the USA. The safe materials are naturally breathable and resistant to mold and bacteria. To provide longevity, the mattress is two sided with dual firmness so it can be flipped when your kiddo is ready for adjustment.
Naturepedic makes mattresses for all ages, whether they’re for babies, toddlers or older kids. All of their mattresses are 100% certified organic and are free from harmful chemicals. They’re also waterproof and easy to clean.
4. Choose natural pillows
Much like a mattress, a pillow is something that touches your child every night. So you’ll want to ensure they’re not sleeping on top of pillows filled with toxic stuffing.
Naturepedic has pillows specifically designed for kids that are toxic-free and sustainable with a fiber filling made from 100% renewable resources. There are zero harmful chemicals, no petroleum and, most importantly, no chemical smell.
Moi Mili is great if you’re looking for fun scatter cushions to decorate a reading nook, or the bed as children get older. Whether you want clouds or cute shells, they’re made from 100% certified linen.
5. Buy natural duvet sets
You have to consider blankets and duvets when making a sustainable bedroom for kids, too. Encasing your little one in synthetic materials while they sleep is far from ideal. Materials like polyester restrict the body from breathing, so they’ll likely get got and not sleep well. Opt for natural materials such an organic cotton or linen to keep their body regulated, helping them to have a restful sleep.
Brooklinen has you covered from babies to toddlers and beyond with their range of bedding. From crib sheets to bedding sets, they’re all OEKO-TEX certified for chemical safety.
Babyletto uses GOTS-certified organic muslin cotton to make their baby blankets. They’re made from 3 layers of breathable fabeic to keep your babe cosy and warm.
6. Choose the right lighting
Lighting is super important and should be a factor in any children’s bedroom. It’s no secret that most artificial light has blue light which keeps us wired, especially after sunrise. Plus, harsh overhead lighting won’t help anyone to wind down for bedtime, so help your children go to bed more easily by opting for amber lighting. It creates a calming and soothing environment for kids of any ages. If you’re still feeding your little one at night install a dimmer switch so you can see what you’re doing while keeping the lights low, or have a cute lamp to use.
Block Blue Light has all your needs covered with their range of amber light bulbs. They even have portable lights that can be carried around the house which is great if your little one uses the bathroom in the night. Their hallway lights are also great to have a light on that is subtle.
Little Lights makes whimsical lamps for your children’s bedroom and they’re adorable. Made with solid pinewood and soft glow lighting, it emits the right amount of light to make the room cosy, giving them plenty to read by without keeping them awake. They have so many cute designs though, it’ll be hard picking which one to get!
7. Plan for plastic-free storage
Between birthdays, Christmas, visiting relatives and special occasions, children are lucky to receive so many beautiful gifts. But often, this can lead way to clutter and crowded spaces, which isn’t good for anyone! Children, as well as adults, can become overwhelmed when living in clutter. So you’ll want to make sure everything has a home in your children’s bedroom.
Unfortunately, most storage boxes are made from plastic. But for a sustainable bedroom for kids, you’ll want to choose wood.
For example, Oeufis an innovative storage system designed to ensure toys have a home. From Lego to oversized puzzles and everything in between, it’s perfect for kids to tidy their toys away but still have them visible.
The storage system is Greenguard Gold Certified, meaning that your little one won’t come into contact with VOC’s or other harmful chemicals. It’s a must if you’re making a sustainable bedroom for the kids!
8. Use VOC-free rugs
Rugs are the perfect accessory to any room in your home. But they’re especially perfect for kid’s bedrooms! Whether you have hard wooden floors or just want to create a cosy vibe, a rug can bring a room to life. But rugs are often made of artificial fibres like polyester, and are treated with chemicals that emit VOCs. So if your children are playing on them, you’ll want to make sure they’re toxic-free and safe.
Organic Weave has gorgeous rugs if you’re looking to invest in something to grow with your kiddo. Soft and lavish, your little one can step, stomp, run and crawl across is safely. Handmade using GOTS-certified cotton, it’s made using all natural dyes.
Lorena Canals creates gorgeous rugs for any bedroom. The Eco City Washable Play Rug is a real winner. Made from soft cotton, it comes with a bag of accessories for kids to play on the rug, turning the household accessory into their new favourite toy, too.
9. Choose non-toxic toys
Toys are important to childhood. But if you want to make a sustainable bedroom for kids, you’ll have to learn how to make conscious choices. Anything with wifi should obviously be off the list completely. And plastic isn’t the safest choice, thanks to hormone-disrupting BPA content.
Luckily, there are so many wonderful brands that provide ethical toys that our kids can cherish and then pass down for generations to come.
Cuddle + Kind works alongside local artisans in Nepal to make sweet cloth dolls that are designed to last for decades. Thoughtfully handcrafted, they’re bound to become a best friend to your little one. Lorena Canals also has gorgeous ethical toys. Their cotton dolls are perfect for any kid role playing, while their baskets that double up as pretend kitchen and washing machines are so cute!
Of course, there are also loads of wood toys that are perfect for boys and girls alike. Check these out for a complete selection. All toys are made from sustainably sourced wood, coloured with non toxic paints. That’s also important!
10. Greenify the room
Adding some greenery into a room has many benefits! These include instilling a sense of calmness and purifying the air. Plus it really brightens up a home! It’s a very cheap and ethical way to make a more sustainable bedroom for kids. Be sure to check the plant is non-toxic, and keep it out of their reach by putting it on a shelf.