Shopping for a new nursery is one of the best parts of being pregnant. You get to design an entire room from scratch to meet the needs of the latest addition to your family. But while browsing cute clothes and toys can be fun, it is important to ensure that any item entering the nursery is also safe for your baby.
Indoor Air Quality
Parents are increasingly concerned about the furniture and other materials that go into a nursery. Every piece of furniture and toy that goes into the room affects the air quality. That’s because most materials (flooring, paint, mattresses) emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are carbon-based compounds that easily turn into vapors or gases. Have you ever noticed the new paint smell in a room? It’s due to VOCs in the air. While not all VOCs are harmful, many of them cause dizziness, headaches, and eye pain even in low concentrations. Others are toxic at higher levels.
You definitely don’t want to expose a child to VOCs for any length of time! Babies do not have completely developed immune and neurological systems like adults. So something that only irritates you may be very harmful to your baby.
That’s why maintaining indoor air quality in a nursery or your entire home is so important.
If you’ve ever shopped for paint or bedding before, you might have noticed Greenguard Certification on the packaging. Greenguard certification can help you find products that are safe to use in the nursery.
Certified products have passed scientifically rigorous tests to ensure they have low chemical emissions. The testing process measures the emission levels of hundreds of different chemicals from all types of items – including building materials, furnishings, electronics, and cleaning products.
Testing for Greenguard Certification
If a product bears the Greenguard certification, you can rest assured it has passed a meticulous and thorough testing process for VOCs. The testing process can take anywhere from 1 month up to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the tested product.
Greenguard certifies thousands of products each year. So how can you be sure that a product certified 5 years ago is still safe? Once a product passes the testing process, Greenguard re-tests a new version each year. It ensures parents have peace of mind when buying anything for their baby’s nursery – from wall paint to a crib or mattress.
Greenguard Testing Chambers
The actual testing takes place in special chambers that are temperature and humidity-controlled to ensure a baseline atmosphere inside. These testing chambers are made of polished stainless steel and vary in size from small boxes to room-sized chambers.
Smaller items like laptops and heaters go into the smaller chambers. Bigger pieces like queen beds or cribs go into the larger, room-sized chambers for testing. Furniture pieces stay in the chambers for over 2 weeks as they emit the most VOCs on day 1 and then decline to a steady rate over a few weeks. Electronics are kept inside and monitored initially as well as after turning them on (normal usage patterns).
As the items off-gas, chemical analysts monitor and measure up to 300 different chemical emissions. A product is certified only after it passes all the tests.
Greenguard and Greenguard Gold
There are different levels of certification within the Greenguard system. While obtaining Greenguard certification for products is rigorous, the Greenguard GOLD expands the testing criteria even further. These products are tested for additional chemical emissions (over 360) and need to have lower emissions overall as well.
Greenguard GOLD certified products are often used in schools and healthcare environments where indoor air quality is vital. These products also meet the requirements of the state of California Department of Public Health (known as CDPH v.1.1-2010) . You don’t have to worry about health and safety if you use Greenguard GOLD products in the nursery.
Create a safe and healthy nursery
So how can the Greenguard certification help you create a safe and healthy nursery for your baby? Look for products that bear the Greenguard certification when shopping for anything baby-related. Many products from baby furniture to bedding carries the Greenguard certification, just keep an eye out while you shop.
The entire range of Natart Juvenile is Greenguard certified, so you don’t have to compromise on the vision for your nursery or the health of your baby. All the cribs, dressers and other furniture across the range are made of solid wood to minimize VOC levels. Even the mattresses from Natart are Greenguard certified, which makes sense as babies spend most of their time in a crib.
You should also shop for and use low-VOC paint for the walls. Toys and furnishings made of natural fabrics are also likely to be low-VOC but always confirm with the manufacturer. You can also check the vast Greenguard database to check if a product is safe for your baby or not.