Baby Nursery – Top Tips to Create an Allergy-free Baby’s Room
The allergy free nursery became important in our family when twins arrived last month – each was under 4 lbs. Protecting babies while their immune systems are not fully developed is a real priority. We have been using hand sanitizers religiously before touching these tiny newborns. Here are some quick tips to make your home allergy free for the new babies in your family.
1. Test the indoor environmental conditions of your home. It is always a good idea to first test your home for: molds, dust mites, pet dander, cockroach allergens, fiberglass fibers, formaldehydes and other pollutants. There are several types of dust mite, mold and allergen test kits available starting at $39.95
2. Use HEPA air purifiers in the baby nursery. A good HEPA (high efficiency particulate absolute) air cleaner can remove up to 99.95% of airborne allergens from your household air! A high-grade air purifier is essential for allergy suffers in order to achieve excellent indoor air quality. HEPA air purifiers do require periodic filter replacement, but clean air in the nursery is a must. Both the Blueair and Hamilton Beach machines are favorite choices for a small nursery. If you have a baby with asthma, then the IQAir is the air cleaner of choice.
3. Use toxic free cribs and furniture. Of course, anything that you buy in retail stores has had to pass “Child Safe” laws, but the purists will appreciate a toxic free maple crib and furniture to match. The crib is much nicer than it appears in the pictures we currently have on our site. It is light in color and beautifully made. The advantage of the matching furniture is it is so classic in appearance, it could literally last a lifetime – from cradle to the grave.
4. Vacuum up pollen spores, dust mites and other allergens (including pet dander) with a high grade HEPA vacuum cleaner twice weekly. Vacuum walls, carpet, flooring, chairs and furniture…everywhere with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Use the hand tools on the vacuum to get hard-to-reach areas. Good hand tools on your vacuum cleaner are the answer here. It also helps if you keep carpeting to a minimum.
5. Sanitize, deodorize and disinfect your home and nursery with a vapor steam cleaner. Vapor steam cleaners do not use supermarket chemicals, but use just water to clean the nursery floors, rugs, changing table and much more around the rest of your house. Steam cleaning kills dust mites, mold spores and other unwanted bacteria. It improves indoor air quality and reduces allergen counts in the air and potential respiratory ailments for your newborn. A lightweight steam cleaner like our WhiteWing Steamer, would be a superb way to keep the nursery sanitary at all times.
6. Keep dust mites at bay. Wash all nursery bedding in 140-degree hot water. This helps to eliminate dust mites, pet allergens and pollen. Use dust mite encasings in the nursery for the baby mattress, to protect your baby from dust mites. If you use a latex mattress in the crib, the latex is naturally inhospitable to dust mites. Fibers like silk are also naturally dust mite repellent, as they do not retain the moisture that dust mites need to thrive.
7. In winter use a humidifier. During this cold dry weather, a humidifier is a must. We prefer a warm mist humidifier such as the Slant Fin as it provides a nicer feel for a baby’s room but put it out of reach because the vapor does come out warm although not at burn temperature. A cool mist humidifier such as the Hamilton Beach would also be a very acceptable choice.
8. Keep pets off of the crib and out of the nursery. There is no need to give your pets away when the babies arrive. In fact, I believe in the benefit of bringing up pets and children together. All you need to do is keep them out of the nursery when you are not in the room. In my own childhood, my poor mother had heart failure when she saw two big dark paw prints in my baby crib and no baby! Turned out the dog had gently lifted me up in his mouth and taken me into his dog basket and she found us later all curled up sleeping together! No small wonder why I turned out to be an animal lover later in life!
9. If your house has high humidity, reduce moisture levels with a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers help control mold and dust mites in all environments. Since they tend to be noisy, I would put a dehumidifier close to, but not inside the nursery. I would not buy a low temperature one since they are noisier and better off in basements. Clearly, I would not like to think of any infant having to cope with even just the discomfort of high humidity, but everyone does not have central air conditioning and for those that do not, a dehumidifier is a godsend.
10. Use a furnace filter to add protection and help clean your indoor air. Washable furnace filters will help effectively clean the air in your entire home with the use of your air purifier. We gave one of the new mothers in our company a gift of our best EnviroSept furnace filter and a particulate counter to measure the “before and after”. She shamefacedly admitted that the particle count went down in her house by over half! And we will not even mention what the “before count” was, but it caused raised eyebrows in our office!
11. Wash any rugs. When babies start to crawl, any carpets are a trap for all sorts of unmentionables, from bacteria to formaldehyde . . . many pollutants that you would not want your infant burying their face into. Washable rugs or hypoallergenic rugs which you can then go over with a steam cleaner, are the way to keep the babies faces out of all the dust mites, and bacteria which thrive in carpets.