Learning How to Set Up a Healthy and Safe Room for Baby

Bob continues to talk with Bernadette Upton of EcoDecor about the materials used in an ideal room for baby and safety procedures to put in place when the baby becomes a toddler.

Clip Summary

Moving to the baby's room, Bob continues to talk with Bernadette Upton of EcoDecor about the materials used in an ideal room for baby. Although the room is designed for infants, Upton reviews safety procedures to put in place when the baby becomes a toddler, such as removing tablecloths, anchoring furniture, removing climbable furniture, and safeguarding electrical outlets. Upton discusses the treatment-free fabrics used in the window treatments, including washable cotton and solid wood to avoid the glues and formaldehyde found in pressed woods and particle board. The exposed edges and surfaces of particle board and pressboard should be completely sealed with a non-toxic sealer to stop off-gassing. The sofa is an eight-way hand-tie, which can only be constructed using solid, formaldehyde-free, wood. Upton recommends using wallpaper over vinyl, using a minimal amount of it, and airing it before hanging. When selecting a crib, Upton advises selecting one built after 1991 because the crib bars are a safe distance apart from one another and harmful chemicals were banned from the manufacture of children's furniture after that date. The baby's mattress is an organic, chemical-free mattress. The house has natural wood floors with throw rugs.
This is probably the most elegant baby's room I've ever seen.

Well thank you.

And the theme continues with the circus tent.

Yes it does. This our big top, and we're coming into a room which is a healthy baby's room.


We wanted to feature the baby's breath program by the American Lung Association that is available to all expecting parents. And it's about bringing the baby home to a healthy room.

Now, it's awfully elegant and elaborate for a baby. What happens when you have a toddler? Well, this is, this room is designed for an infant. For mom coming home with the baby, and this is their room, their special room.

So mom's included in the equation.

Yes, mom is included in this equation.


However, when baby becomes toddler the first thing we want to start looking at is removing tablecloths, the drop cloths to the floor, anchoring furniture, which is very important. Even that table, if it's free-standing, it should be anchored to the wall.


We actually...

And covering up the receptacles and the electrical plugs.

All of that. Absolutely for toddlers. Removing furniture. the climbable furniture that could get near windows and that would have to be brought forward.

So you've done this really for, mother and child returning.

Returning home from the hospital, that's right.

And it's the first stage, so that's why it's so elegant.

Beginning home, coming home from the hospital.

In terms of healthy air, don't you have to worry a lot about the stuff that makes up window treatments?

Absolutely. A lot of fabrics today have sizing and has a lot of formaldehyde and other chemicals in it. And so, therefore, this is all washable cotton and actually the big top as we see it is made up of all washable cotton again and the frame underneath is all solid wood.
There is no particle board, so therefore we have no formaldehyde emissions.

That's one of the key things is to use natural wood not man-made lumber products.

Absolutely, in a baby's room unless you were using, if you 're starting from scratch, there is MDF - medium density fiberboard.


There's ply wood and there are even some particle boards that are made without formaldehyde and that's what you look for - formaldehyde free.

So if you're a do it yourselfer and you're planning and building baby furniture and stuff. That's what you want to look for.

Absolutely, and if for some reason you are hard pressed and you use regular particle board that does have formaldehyde. Whether you building closets or shelves or whatever, you must seal off every part of the particle board that can be seen, or hat's where the emission can come out and you seal it with a nontoxic sealer.

Right. Now this looks like it's an antique sofa.

It 's an older sofa, it's a recycled sofa. It happens to be, and this is a big clue, it happens to be an ight way hand tie which means the spring system, the spring construction is all eight way hand tie.

You mean the springs down here.

Yes the springs down there.

And what does that indicate?

That indicates that eight way hand tie can only be constructed on solid, a solid wood. frame. So you know again we're not getting a particle board frame because a particle board could never hold an eight way hand tie construction.

Oh, I see what you mean.

And in getting solid wood, once again, we know we're not getting formaldehyde.

What about the is it again a mural painted, or what?

Actually, this is not a mural people think it is because
the color was matched so well to the background.
This is a wallpaper and I recommend wallpaper over vinyl, particularly in a baby's room.


Vinyl doesn't have the breathe-ability especially in hot, humid climates.


But, even when you have something, keep your wallpaper to a minimum. I've only selected one wall. Or borders are great.


We actually off gas. We unroll this wallpaper for two and a half days, and it would have absolutely no odors what-so-ever.

Before you installed it ?

Before we've installed it. Now. Yeah. We used a non-toxic adhesive also. Right.

Now is the crib an antique?

The crib is recycled.
It's not necessarily antique. However even with using older or recycled cribs, we want to be using something preferably from 1991. Because we want to stay according to the codes that are within 2 3/8 inches. You don't want it any larger than that.

The openings between the bars cannot be greater than that.

That is correct. And cribs, a lot of cribs before nineteen ninety one may have

Chemicals in the paint that are very undesirable.

What about the actual mattress?

The actual mattress is an organic mattress, and it...

Can I look at it?

Go right ahead. Oh, there you go. That's an organic mattress, and it has...

Which means it's rubber?

Well no, organic is-- yes it means it's rubber but it could also be a cotton insulated so this particular mattress is real rubber foam on the inside. Insulated with wool, which is naturally, inherently flame-retardant. So there's no chemicals in this.


And then the organic cotton that surround it.

Okay, so everything is natural, as much natural product as you possibly can get near the baby.

Absolutely because most mattresses or phones will have what's known as PBDE; poly brominated diphenyl ether's which means PBDEs and that's an off gassing, a toxic off gassing that comes from foams, from the flame retardants.

The more natural the better.

The more natural the better.

And of course we're in a 1920's, house so we've got things like this beautiful hardwood floor?


You told about recycle. This is the ultimate, we are sitting on something that is as old as the house.

But my point is that you wanted to avoid the wall carpeting, right?

Oh, if you can, I would.


If you're going to use wall to wall carpeting, first thing is, are you going to use a synthetic or if you going to use a wool? If your going to use a natural wool then won't have have the problems of the Phenylcyclohexene which is the 4 PC's that off gas.

But you're better off with scatter rug like this which is washable.

Absolutely and you can take it out to be cleaned . The wall to wall carpeting has to be cleaned in a room and that is not preferred.

And you've done such a great job and you can get the babies breath brochure from the American Lung Association?


Bernadette, thank you so much.

Thank you.

Congratulations, it's a beauty.