Most parents will take many precautions when it comes to the health and safety of their baby. One thing usually not considered is the baby air quality in the home and especially the nursery. Indoor airborne pollutants can have serious adverse health effects on your baby. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) "indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks". Such ill effects as asthma, allergies, hay fever and breathing difficulties can be contributed to long term exposure to indoor air pollutants.
What makes baby air quality so important is that babies are more vulnerable to the ill effects of air pollutants than are adults. This is due to the fact that their lungs are still developing and therefore more sensitive than adults. Babies also take more breaths per minute than adults therefore increasing their vulnerability to air pollutants.
Approximately 6.3 million children have asthma according to a recent EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) study. Most children with asthma also tend to develop allergies. Many of the common items found in a baby's nursery can emit harmful pollutants such as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air. Such items as the furniture, carpet, wallpaper and even the paint on the walls can omit VOCs.
Baby air quality should not be overlooked on a parents to do list for their new baby. There are several things that a parent can do to improve the air quality.
By far the most important thing a parent can do to protect their baby from indoor air pollutants is purchase an air purifier. A good air purifier can catch the tiniest of air particles and remove a lot of the dangers in the air. A good HEPA air filter will remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, almost 300 times smaller than the width of a human hair. A HEPA air filter has a filter made of tiny woven fibers. The filter will suck in the air, in a room, trapping extremely small particles including dangerous air pollutants. This will greatly improve baby air quality. The Ultimate Green Store and Mighty Nest sell several highly effective medical grade HEPA filters made specifically for your infants room that will greatly increase baby air quality.
Most paints omit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air which can be toxic. This process is know as off-gassing and mostly occurs as the paint dries but can last for years. A good air purifier can greatly reduce or eliminate this danger. When painting the nursery use "green" paints which more and more paint stores are making available. These paints have reduced or no VOC emissions. When painting the nursery make sure to leave the windows open and fans turned on to help the room dry as quickly as possible. Do not let children or pregnant women near the room for at least 72 hours and do not let the baby sleep in the room for several weeks (it is best to paint the room well before the babies arrival).
Carpets, and the padding beneath them, are huge sources of indoor containments responsible for most of the off-gassing in the typical nursery. There are a few non-toxic rugs being produced today and they are very hard to find and usually expensive. Bare floors are recommended however most parents want a soft rug for their baby to crawl around on. If you decide on using a rug in the nursery try to air it and the padding out before laying it down. Ask the place you purchase it from if they can air it out for you. After installing the rug keep the room well ventilated (widows open fans on). A good air purifier should be used to remove all or most of the VOCs from the air.
The varnishes and adhesives used on cribs, changing tables, rockers and other furniture found in the nursery can emit dangerous toxins into the air. One of these is formaldehyde which is a carcinogen (cancer causing agent). Parents should consider natural or "green" furniture which will use non toxic adhesives and either no varnish or natural finishes such as beeswax. Also a good air filter can remove most or all of any dangerous air pollutants off-gassed by the furniture.