An important element of keeping your child safe in your home – besides the baby gates, drawer latches, and outlet covers – is to consider the whole of the environment in which you live. What products do you clean with? What materials are used throughout your child’s main play area? Some of the unhealthiest elements in your home come from the most unexpected of sources. So here are three of the smartest ways you can play it eco-safe in your home while your children play, play, play the days away.
Sure, you know that carpeting latches onto dirt, debris, and heaven knows what else you’ve picked up on your shoes, but there are other reasons to be wary of the soft stuff. Mainly, allergy causing compounds. Consider alternatives like natural linoleum which is long-lasting or cork which resists moisture and – bonus! – absorbs sound. If you just don’t have the cash or inclination to tear up and lay down new flooring, vacuum as often as you can and deep clean regularly with child-safe cleaners.
Paint releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you’re splashing on a new coat of paint to spruce up the playroom, opening the windows and inviting in some fresh air isn’t enough to play it safe. You can be eco-friendly throughout your entire home by using low- or no-VOC paint – it’s free of lead, mercury, cadmium, and other harmful, nasty chemicals. It will even make the job of painting that much more enjoyable – you’ll notice the greatly reduced paint odor.
If I had a hammer
Need to increase the organization in the kids’ rooms? Consider investing in some built-ins for two reasons. One, mass market cabinetry pieces are often made with particleboard and medium density fiberboard – and along with these ingredients come formaldehyde adhesives and other carcinogens. Two, built-ins are a huge space-saver, and they’re built-in safety as well. If your little climber starts moving on up, those sturdily installed shelves won’t come toppling over. If you prefer freestanding furniture, opt for solid wood, and don’t you dare neglect to add furniture straps for adequate babyproofing!
It isn’t complicated to be eco-friendly. Just make a habit of thinking one step ahead – every little effort can make a difference in the health of your home and family. Leave your shoes by the front door. Vacuum often. Wipe surfaces regularly with a damp cloth. Open the windows at every opportunity (but be sure your window guards and locks are in place), and use smart, dimmable lighting when natural light is in short supply.