By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
City & Shore Contributing Design Editor
Bernadette Upton is frustrated with new parents who care more about how a baby’s room looks than how it affects the baby’s health. Here are her suggestions for health and safety:
Forget those cute crib bumpers. Babies have died from suffocation because their fabric covered noses and mouths or because they got caught between the bumper and the mattress, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Select eco-friendly paints. Check the label and select low VOC or no VOC paints.
Avoid vinyl wallpaper. It is easy to clean but it can trap moisture and help mold grow. Plasticizers in the vinyl emit VOCs.
Select the right furniture. Find those made with recycled solid wood and repaint with eco-friendly paint. Avoid the “disposable” stuff made with particleboard, which emits VOCs. Cornices also should be made of solid wood.
Mattresses can be tricky. Read the labels carefully. Some may contain vinyl. Upton recommends a crib mattress from E.J. Schrader Mattress Co. in West Palm Beach lined with rubber foam and insulated with naturally flame-retardant wool. See schraderbeds.com or call 561-585-2139.
Use natural fabrics. She covered the loveseat in 100 percent cotton and suggests using washable, removable slipcovers.
Replace closet doors. Louvered versions allow air to circulate and prevent moisture and mold from accumulating.
Check area rugs. Look for those that are 100 percent cotton with no synthetic dyes.
Nix the air machine with an ionizer or ozone. Upton recommends the IQAir machine with HEPA filter.
Crib placement is key. Do not place the crib near a window. The baby could stand up and fall out.
Remove window treatments with cords. Replace with cordless blinds such as LiteRise by Hunter Douglas.
– Charlyne V. Schaub