By embracing the low-tox mindset and using natural alternatives where and when possible, there are specific changes you can make to create a healthy environment for your child. Our top tips are:
- Use plants as natural air purifiers to remove airborne toxins. Setting up a few of the right kinds of plants in your nursery can be a great way to improve air quality and cleanliness. Spider plants are easy to grow, safe for household pets (cats and dogs) and great for air quality. Keep out of reach of any little hands!
- Ensure there is airflow through the space. Plants are great to detoxify the air, but having a fan or air filter to create more flow through the room is also helpful. Make sure these stay clean though so dust isn’t being blown around!
- Use natural materials whenever possible. Cotton curtains, rugs, and bedding can all be found and are significantly healthier options than synthetics. If you don’t have any allergy concerns with wool, there are many natural wool clothing, diaper, and rug options out there too. Wooden furniture is also a healthier option – synthetic and coated materials can emit chemicals that are toxic when inhaled. The same goes for toys; there are many wooden and fabric toys (often available second-hand!) that are much healthier than plastic options.
Setting up a few of the right kinds of plants in your nursery can be a great way to improve air quality and cleanliness.
- Use fragrances and air fresheners. Fragrance-laden cleaning products and candles deliver airborne chemicals into your little one’s environment and create unnecessary toxicity. Use a non-toxic cleaner if you need to sanitise surfaces in your baby’s room. Solutions like baking soda in water, or charcoal sachets to deodorise without harmful chemicals.
- Bring formaldehyde into your home! This chemical is used in many furniture and textile products for babies and adults alike. The “new furniture smell” is actually off-gassing of VOCs and formaldehyde, as well as other similar chemicals. You can order a home test kit and check the formaldehyde levels in your baby’s nursery (or elsewhere throughout your home). To avoid it, look for the UL/GREENGUARD Formaldehyde Free standard.
Once you begin viewing the items in your home through a low-tox lens, you will become more aware of the chemicals in everyday items, and more equipped to recognise these before making purchases. Cultivating awareness and a low-tox home environment is important for you and your bub, and can be done through simple swaps and conscious actions!
Shay Lawrence is the founder of CaliWoods and CaliBaby. They specialise in low-waste tools and low-tox baby items to help Kiwi families reduce their waste. You can follow them on Instagram @calibaby_eco.