A natural nursery uses biodegradable cleaning products and paints, and natural fabrics like organic cotton, linen and hemp (some crib death experts say to avoid sheepskin, as it may contain arsenic). Natural materials may also help prevent eczema and asthma in susceptible children. Although such items cost a little more, organic fabrics last longer, as the fibres have not been treated with chemicals. This organic bunny rattle toy is made from 100% organic cotton, with corn fibre filling. Supervise age-appropriate rattles at all time.
Tips to Help Prevent Crib Death
This tragic event is more common these days, which makes people wonder why. There was a theory about it being caused by mould in mattresses, although others debunk this. Obviously smoking around babies is a no-no, but again years ago most parents smoked, and yet crib deaths were lower? A few natural nursery toys are better than lots of battery-operated toys that also can over-stimulate a young brain. Organic Cotton Music Box is made with corn fibre filling. Cute enough to cuddle, pull the string, to lull your babe to sleep. Always use age-appropriate items with safety advice.
- Lullaby Trust says to remove excessive clothing, blankets and hats when indoors or in cars (and not to let children sleep excessively in car seats). They list products not to buy (‘sleeping bags’, snuggle suits and Finnish cardboard baby beds – with safety tips, if you use one). In New Zealand, sleeping bags and sheepskin are not used/recommended.
- Do not use pillows for babies (crib death experts usually say for up to 18 months). NHS do not recommend cot bumpers.
- Get rid of all the stimulants like battery-operated nursery toys. Most babies just prefer a quiet room with a parent to sing lullabies to them! If you have a little screamer, read How to Help Your Baby Sleep (by a sleep expert who is also mum to triplets, so she should know!)
- Choose natural paints over toxic ones that offgas. Edward Bulmer Nursery Collection is a VOC-free paint in 12 soothing colours, use with LifeTime Wood Treatment to stain wood (a powder you mix with water).
Organic Nightwear vs Chemical Flame Retardants
Many parents are not happy with children wearing chemical fire retardants, but obviously want children to be safe. The chemicals came into being after tragedies in the 40s when children died due to flammable fabrics like rayon, until it was found the chemicals could cause ill health. In the 90s, an act allowed children’s nightwear to be made without them, but only if snugly fitted.
Today less parents smoke and we have smoke alarms, fire escape ladders and good advice. The rise in eczema and asthma also means the chemicals can do more harm. If you wish to use nightwear without fire retardant chemicals, their advice includes:
- Ensure children’s nightwear fits snugly.
- Read the labels – the white label which states fire retardants are added, looks very similar to the yellow label saying they haven’t.
- Make your home fire-safe. Don’t use cigarettes, lighters or matches indoors, and choose oil-filled radiators over convector heaters that blow out hot air. Fit tested smoke alarms on each floor, and avoid plug-in alarm clocks and electric blankets. Don’t charge laptops and phones on beds, due to risk of over-heating. And have a fire plan (buy escape ladders (also for pets & babies). Avoid candles in bedrooms (if used elsewhere, see candle safety tips and avoid scented candles near pets).
Where to Find Sustainable Children’s Bedding
Better for the planet and gentler on skin, organic cotton and linen bedding lasts longer, as the fibres have not been treated with chemicals. As above, natural bedding is not treated with fire retardants, so follow fire-safety tips, and see above for tips on how to help prevent crib death.
- Frugi (Cornwall) sells organic cotton bedding for children, sent in biodegradable packaging (made from potatoes). Everything is ethically made in fun designs, with reversible patterns.
- Isla and Wilbur offers beautiful duvet sets with optional fitted sheets, from 300-thread count organic cotton. The Twin Lamb design is from original watercolours featuring Wilbur the highland calf.
- Kalusha Bedding offers soft beautiful linen bedding and pillow cases, in a fabric that can regulate temperature well. The range includes neutral tones in the softest shades of pink (stone-washed to make them extra-soft).