How to build a safe nursery
July 22, 2013 11:00 AM

Anybody out there having a baby? A grandbaby? A new niece or nephew? Adopting a new baby?

Then it is time to get that nursery ready, and in a safe manner.

This is a subject I’ve addressed before, and it’s worth revisiting.

We all know about the lead that is to be avoided when purchasing a new crib. Well, not to worry because all new cribs are free of lead. Old hand-me-downs, not so much. Just be careful.

What about fabrics? Most baby linens and baby sleeping clothes today are fire-retardant, and it has been that way for many, many years. Be wary about old hand-me-downs, however.

OK, now for the walls. Is it time to paint? Colors are important, of course, and a theme is always nice both for the baby and for the parents to enjoy.

But be sure the paint is nontoxic. Did you know that toxic chemicals from conventional paint will give off gas for three to five years after painting? And you thought the danger was only while you could smell the fresh paint.

It is said that the fumes, called volatile organic compounds (VOC), can cause many health issues for babies and toddlers.

Short-term health effects include headaches and nausea.

The long-term health effects include asthma, neuro-developmental impacts, congenital defects and, well, even cancer.

Since babies spend up to 16 hours sleeping and resting in their nurseries, they can be exposed to gas fumes a lot.

Plus they have a higher resting metabolic rate than adults, so they are especially vulnerable to breathing in those dangerous pollutants.

What about a solution? Good news: Consider going with a company that offers a baby-safe (and mother-to-be-safe), nontoxic, eco-friendly and beautiful solution — a company we’ve highlighted before. Lullaby Paints has a paint line praised as much for its color, coverage and durability as for its safety.

Check around for similar products from other companies.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at

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