Bringing your new baby to your new home is an exciting time in parents’ lives. But, it can also be terrifying for first timers!
Luckily, when you build a new home, there are many things you can do to make your home as safe as possible for your little one. From choosing building materials that are healthier for your family and the environment to ensuring the temperature is just right in baby’s room, here’s what you can do to create a safe and healthy home for your baby:
Making Healthy Choices
When you build a new home, you make choices on the type of flooring material to be used, cabinet finishes and paint colors. Talk to your builder about which materials are the healthiest. Some flooring materials, such as carpet, have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can be released long after your home is built. Choosing materials, such as no or low-VOC paint, with no or minimal chemicals is ideal.
Ask your builder which materials are best to use in your baby’s new room to ensure that your little one will not be exposed to harmful or irritating fumes. The nice thing about these materials is that they tend to be environmentally friendly. Since your baby will inherit the earth, you’re keeping them and future generations, in mind when choosing these types of products.
VOCs affect your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). VOCs can come from building materials, as well as household cleaners, so be sure to check labels. “Indoor air quality is too often overlooked and is impacted daily by the products we use to clean our home,” says Devin Donaldson, of The Optimist Co., which sells natural cleaning products. “By making a few product choices, your indoor air quality can be managed for a safe and happy home.”
As a new parent, I was terrified of SIDS (sudden infant death). According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 3,700 sudden unexpected infant deaths in the United States in 2015. These included deaths due to SIDS (1,600), unknown cause (1,200) or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed (about 900).
It’s no wonder that years later, I am still terrified of it. Although my son is now potty training, I still keep his bed free of anything but a pillow and small blanket (and that’s just used in the winter). There’s still much to be understood about SIDS, but there are a few things you can do to make sleep time safer for baby, including:
- Using wearable blankets, instead of loose ones;
- Removing everything from a crib, including bumpers, stuffed animals and pillows; and
- Keeping the room at an optimal temperature.
“Avoid using blankets at nap or bed time,” says baby safety expert Hindi Zeidman, who created the Ollie Swaddle. “Instead, babies should sleep in a wearable blanket or similar.”
She also suggests that baby’s sleeping area be kept clutter free (free of blankets,
pillows, plush toys or wedges) and that sheets fit tightly around the mattress. “Steer clear of using a pillow top mattress or mattress pads, as it could lead to suffocation if the baby rolls onto his tummy.
“To protect your infant, only use bedding and clothing made of non-toxic flame-resistant materials free from drawstrings and ribbons that might catch. Buttons and snaps should be securely attached to prevent choking hazards,” says Zeidman.
“Parents must pay close attention to where they place the crib in the nursery room, as it is important to know where the crib is in relation to window coverings and their cords,” Zeidman says. “Window coverings and cords can cause strangulation, so parents must make sure to not place the crib by a window that has cords for blinds or curtains. Another way to keep baby safe is by cutting cords to keep them out of baby’s curious hands.”
Keeping your baby’s room at the right temperature is extremely important in preventing SIDS. “Avoid overheating baby,” says Zeidman. “Ensure the room has good air flow. If the room seems stuffy, use a small fan to provide fresh air. Keep the room temperature around 70 degrees to 72 degrees.”
Parents can do a lot to their new home to make it as safe as possible for their new addition. By staying vigilant, baby will be safe and healthy in your new home.