The most important thing for all parents is the safety of their children. No parent wants their child to be harmed, especially if they could have prevented it.
Then the baby arrives, and we make sure they are in the safest environment possible. Soon, all parents become professionals when baby-proofing their house. They look for any dangers that are hiding in almost every room, and funny enough, the baby’s nursery is often overlooked. That is because parents take so much care getting this room ready, that they assume any items in it are already safe for a baby.
It also is because rarely do babies come home from the hospital and go right into their nursery. They usually spend some time sleeping in the same room as their parents, before venturing into their very own room. This means that they are a bit older, and their skills have advanced. This can sometimes mean that the nursery has hazards that are hidden everywhere.
To prevent potential injuries, we have found 20 of these hazards that mom and dad may miss.
20. THE CRIB…
We are going to start with the biggest one, and that is the crib. The crib is the staple of the room and it is the focal point. The place everyone will look as soon as they enter the room. That is why parents take a lot of time to pick out the perfect crib. However, this is usually based on how the crib looks and not much thought goes into what the crib is made of.
A lot of cribs (and other furnishings) are made with pressed/composite wood. This wood can contain formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause an array of concerns. The best way around this is to make sure you select a crib that is made of solid wood or buying a used crib that has already had time to off-gas on its own. As long as the crib still meets current safety standards, a second-hand crib is a great way to save some money.
19. …AND THE MATTRESS
The crib isn’t the only culprit when it comes to potentially dangerous chemicals, the mattress that is in it can be hazardous and a lot of people don’t even know. According to the Mother Nature Network, 72% of crib mattresses are made with chemicals that are not-so-good. They are found to contain flame retardants, antibacterial, and waterproofing finishes.
Not a lot of people think to check the ingredients of the mattress they buy. The best way to get past this is to look for an organic certified mattress. You may pay a little more for these items, but there is no price too high for the safety of our babies.
18. HOW IS THE FLOORING?
It is always a good idea to take a look at the flooring that is in the nursery, and it may come to your attention that some changes need to be made. A lot of people like the look of hardwood floors and feel that carpet is out-of-date. However, hardwood floor is not the softest landing pad if something should happen.
We all like to think our baby would never fall, but it happens. It takes just a second of mom looking away for a fall to happen. Or a baby could learn how to stand up in their crib in the middle of the night and take a tumble. This is why it is actually best to have a carpeted nursery. At the very least, a nice and large rug should do the job.
17. PINK OR BLUE, IT COULD BE WRONG!
We often get trapped in thinking that the world has come a long way when it comes to making sure that products, we use are not harmful. Especially paint. Painting the nursery is one of the most exciting parts of setting up the nursery. It doesn’t matter what color you’re painting the room, it needs to be safe.
It is important to pay attention to the kind of paint you are using in the nursery because the fumes can last longer than it takes for the paint to dry. Normal paint can emit toxic gases for up to three years. The best way to get around this is to find a zero-VOC, non-toxic, solvent-free paint. You can even find natural substitutes like milk paint.
16. HAVE YOU DONE THE CRAWL TEST?
This is not exactly a hazard in the baby’s room, but it is an excellent tip when it comes to baby proofing any room, including the nursery. Baby proofing is really only necessary when a baby becomes mobile. Once they can start crawling and moving around, they may start getting into things. Babies are also curious, and they will want to explore.
Mom and dad want to make sure that they don’t miss anything and the best way to do this is to see the world from their little one’s point of view. That means getting down on all fours and crawl around the room. This can help you notice hazards that you may miss if you are standing up. You may look silly, but it is the best way to make sure everything is safe.
15. DO I SMELL SMOKE?
It is amazing how many people do not make sure their smoke detectors are working and it can make a huge difference in the well-being of your family. Every house needs to have a smoke detector on every level of their house, and it is critical in giving an early warning that something is wrong. If you have enough detectors, chances are there is one outside of, or near, your baby’s nursery.
It is always important to make sure that the batteries are working in the smoke detector. A tip from the fire department is to change the batteries out when you change the clocks for daylight savings time. Even if the batteries don’t seem to be dying, just freshen them up so you know you’re covered, and your family is safe.
14. IT IS EASY TO FORGET THE PLUGS
Electrical sockets are a big one, and this is normally the first thing parents go to cover. They go out and buy the plugs and go around their house and make sure no fingers or items can be shoved in there. You may be wondering, if so, many parents do this, then why is it on this list? It is not exactly a hidden hazard.
The truth is, a lot of these sockets go unnoticed. Maybe they are behind a dresser or a shelf and mom doesn’t think she needs to put one on those. There is no way a baby can move a shelf, right? Well, a baby cannot but an older infant and toddler can, and it is amazing what they can get in to. It is best to check behind every piece of furniture and plug all of them up.
13. WHERE IS THE VENT?
We briefly mentioned the vent in the baby’s room, but it needs its own section. The vent can be a concern for many reasons. Mostly it has to do with temperature. If the heat is running and the baby’s crib is too close then it can cause the baby to overheat. The opposite is true in the summer months when the air conditioner is on.
It is also a good idea to see how clean your vents air. Air vents can build up a lot of dust and air particles over the years, and it is not usually something that is on everyone’s ‘to clean’ list. It is always a good idea to have a company come in regularly and clean your venting system. Dust and other things can irritate the baby’s lungs and cause some breathing issues.
12. BE WARY BEFORE CLEANING
This one may be one of the most surprising and it is not a piece of décor. A lot of parents keep all of their babies cleaning supplies in the nursery. They usually get a lot from baby showers as gifts, because these items are necessary and needed and it is always good to build up a supply stash. However, baby cleaning products can be a hidden hazard.
In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 1,4-dioxaine in 67% of products tested. This is a hazardous chemical that can cause illness later in life. What’s even worse, is that 82% contained formaldehyde even though they were marketed as “gentle” and “pure.” You may be noticing a trend, but it is again better to go with organic products.
11. IS A CHANGING TABLE WORTH THE RISKS?
A changing table is an item that a lot of people go back and forth on whether they actually need. Some parents love theirs, and others seem to use it just for storage. I am the latter, because I rarely changed my baby in their nursery, it was more of any flat surface will do situation. As it turns out, this may have been a good idea.
According to Mother Nature Network, 70% of foam baby products (like change table pads) contain toxic flame-retardants. If you absolutely need this item in your life it is best to find one that has a wool or cotton filled pad, with PVC-free waterproof materials.
10. LABELS COME ON TOYS FOR A REASON
Babies generally have a supply of toys before they are even old enough to use them. Parents-to-be get them as gifts and they sit and wait for that little baby to pick them up and play with them. The thing about young babies is that anything that finds its way into their hands will end up in their mouth. Putting objects in their mouth is how babies learn about the world around them.
Since we know this, we need to make sure that they are safe for little ones to put them in their mouths. PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is used in a lot of products. It is found in baby bibs and teething rings, and even some toys. PVC can contain some toxic additives we wouldn’t want anywhere near our baby’s mouth. It is always best to look for PVC-free items.
9. WHERE ARE THE TOYS?
All the beautiful toys that the baby has collected have to be stored somewhere and this is where all those cute toy chests come into play. There are some pretty adorable toy chests out there and with the expansion of home-made items, there is no limit to creativity and customization. This can be a hidden hazard that many don’t even think about.
The lids of these toy chests could be quite heavy, and they can fall on your child if they are able to open it. Solid wood toy chests may look great, but they are not the safest option. Mom should look for one that is made of plastic, as it is not as heavy. Just to be safe, she may want to drill some air holes in the lid in case her child gets trapped inside.
8. WINDOW COVERINGS COULD BE #1
A lot of people overlook window safety, and they shouldn’t. We want some kind of window covering on the window so that we can make the room dark at times when we want the baby to be sleeping, and when they are infants it doesn’t really matter what you use. However, once they start moving around window blinds can be a trap. Window coverings should have no cords at all, as babies and toddlers can get trapped in them.
Also, you want to make sure that there is nothing under the window that a little one can crawl on and get access to the window. It may seem like it would never happen, but there is a risk that a little one could climb up and push against the window or screen and have it give-way.
7. IT IS ALL ABOUT LOCATION
We know when it comes to real estate it is all about location, but did you know that it is also about location when it comes to the baby’s nursery? That’s right, mom and dad need to pay attention to where they are putting things in the baby’s room. Most importantly is that you want to pay attention to the vents in the baby’s room.
Placing the crib too close to the vent could mean that the baby could get too warm during the night. The temperature when a baby is sleeping is very important, as a baby who is too warm may be at a higher risk of SIDS. Also, if the crib is under a window in the room, there could be a cool draft that comes in at night.
6. DOORS ARE THE HIDDEN ENEMY
I would think it is safe to say that every nursery has a door. Maybe some parents take it off later for whatever reason, but they always start with a door. Something as simple as the door can be a hidden hazard that no one would expect. Not many parents think to baby proof the door, but they are the perfect contraption to squish little baby fingers.
A lot of parents make mistakes, and there have been many instances of babies and toddlers getting their finger stuck in the door. There are many items on the market that can help prevent this from happening. There are a bunch of products that prevent the door from closing tightly and will force the door to stay open just a little bit. Mom can even cut a pool noodle and make a simple and inexpensive hack for this as well.
5. BEDDING DO’S AND DON’TS!
You would think it has been said enough, but there is never enough when it comes to the safety of our little ones. There are always things on the market that are adorable and are targeted at parents, but they are not safe. Bedding is a big one. There are tons of adorable bedding packages mom can buy, and they come with blankets, pillows and bumper pads. All of these things are a hazard for a small baby.
All the baby needs are a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Anything else in the crib could be attributed to SIDS or suffocation. If you are concerned about your baby getting cold, all you need to do is make sure the room is climate controlled and the baby is dressed appropriately.
4. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THE LAMP?
A nursery has a lot of furniture and almost all parents know that they have to secure the furniture so that it doesn’t tip over on a curious baby who wants to climb everything. What they often miss is the lamp! A lamp in the baby’s room is a necessity, especially if it is the only source of light in that room. However, once the baby starts getting around, it can become one of the biggest hazards in the room.
If it is a floor lamp, the baby could pull it down and then the bulb may be introduced to little fingers. This could result in burns or cuts. If it is a table lamp, then there may be a cord that is showing. For some reason, babies love cords so they could be tempted to give it a yank, having the lamp come tumbling down.
3. MOBILES ONLY LOOK CUTE
Mobiles are one of the most popular baby items. You can get them in all different colors, shapes, and themes and they are great for entertaining a little one for a few minutes. Color and music are enough to stimulate a growing brain. However, these can become a hazard if the baby is left unattended with one.
Most people place them on the crib and that’s where they stay. However, they should be removed any time the baby is going to be in there unattended, like when they are sleeping. This is because they could detach from the crib and come falling in. The cuteness is just not worth it.
2. IF THE SWING IS IN THE NURSERY, IT COUNTS!
There are very few items more valuable to a parent than a baby swing. A swing is a great invention that has been helping babies sleep for years now. However, it is not without risks. A swing is not the ideal place for a baby to sleep because it keeps them in an inclined position. This means that their chin usually ends up touching their chest and it can restrict breathing.
It is also important that a baby is never in a swing unattended. A lot of parents place their baby in the swing and go about their daily chores thinking the baby will be happy. This is extremely hazardous if the baby is not strapped in as they can easily slide out.
1. MONITORS ARE SO HANDY!
It is hard to imagine a world when we didn’t have baby monitors. The ability to look in on our children when they are sleeping is nothing short of a miracle. Video monitors are a must when it comes to the nursery and a mom’s peace of mind. They involve a handheld monitor for mom and a camera that is mounted in the baby room.
The monitor is normally placed near the crib so that mom can check on the baby when they are sleeping, but that means that the cord is usually within the little hands. This means that there is a possibility for the baby to pull the cord into the crib, which would be a great hazard. Or, they may even just pull the whole camera into their crib.