When it comes to designing their child’s room, many parents focus on the bedding, wall decor, where to store toys, and window furnishings but neglect the floor. But floors are one of the most abused parts of our homes, especially if we have young children.
So, whether you’re renovating your home or planning a nursery, it’s a good idea to choose safe and durable flooring to aid their safety and development.
Choosing Nursery Flooring: Key Factors to Consider
When it comes to your little one’s safety, providing the best and most suitable nursery flooring should be a priority. But before we do that, let’s take a look at some of the key criteria you must keep in mind when making your choice.
Important Factors to Consider
Though rare in babies, allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and itchy red eyes may be triggered by dust, dirt, pollen, animal dander and other airborne contaminants. If you’re concerned about allergens affecting your baby’s health, consider choosing hypoallergenic flooring. Vinyl, laminate and hardwood are some of the best choices when you need to minimize allergens and create a healthy environment for your child.
● Scratch Marks
Scratches and dents are inevitable on nursery flooring thanks to rough play. If these bother you, consider using a carpet over hardwood or laminate flooring. Alternatives like vinyl are easier on your pocket and can be replaced periodically.
As your baby grows, they will spend a lot of time on the floor learning to sit, crawl, play and run. That’s why it’s important to make sure it’s warm and comfortable. Cork and carpet are great choices, but if you want a more lasting option, consider installing an underfloor heating system for hardwood or laminate flooring. Carpeting the floor or placing cushions around the crib can minimize the impact of heavy toys and any accidents. Also consider using padding under the carpet for extra comfort and safety.
● Noise Absorption
Bouncing balls, falling toys and screeching toy cars are familiar scenarios in a child’ room. With all the noise that toddlers are capable of generating, choosing a flooring material with sound-insulating properties, like vinyl tiles or area rugs, is not a bad idea. Avoid hardwood or engineered hardwood as they can be noisy under even normal circumstances.
● Easy Maintenance
Stains are inevitable with a newborn, what with all the milk spills, diaper leaks and other messes. So, make sure the nursery flooring you choose is easy to clean and maintain.
● Future Use
Your child won’t be a toddler forever, and as they grow, they may no longer like their room. If you plan to redesign it to fit the requirements of a teen or adolescent, choose a durable and permanent flooring option like laminate or hardwood. Use area rugs or carpets to avoid slip-and-fall accidents.
Safest Flooring Options for Newborns and Toddlers
Whether you’re expecting your first or fourth child, ensuring a safe and comfortable atmosphere is a must. Since each type of nursery flooring has its pros and cons, you need to weigh your options before deciding what’s best. Here are a few ideas:
Babies grow up quickly, and they’ll soon be crawling everywhere. And since toddlers are prone to falling down and bumping into things, soft and comfortable carpeting is a wise investment. It not only protects your baby from bumps and bruises but keeps you comfortable as you’ll inevitably spend more time on the floor than you would otherwise. Carpeting also keeps the nursery warm due to its insulating properties and tamps down external noise – something that will help with night feedings.
However, carpets trap dust, mould and allergens that cause wheezing, rhinitis and severe allergic reactions in kids with weaker immune systems. That’s why your best option is to use carpets with high-quality natural fibers like jute, hemp, wool or sisal. It should also have no latex backing, be tacked down or supported by a wooden base.
Note: Make sure that the carpet you choose is free from toxic substances like adhesives and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde. Vacuum the entire carpet every other day to get rid of any trapped dust, mould or dirt particles. Always make sure that the carpet is completely dry before using, as dampness can give rise to mould and fungi.
2. Hardwood Flooring
Known for its strength, durability and easy maintenance, hardwood is an excellent flooring option for nurseries and kids’ rooms. Just make sure that it’s nailed down and contains natural sealant without UV protection.
Since hardwood doesn’t trap allergens or chemicals, it’s safe for kids. However, considering its hardness, it could potentially be a health hazard for toddlers who have just learned to sit, crawl or pull themselves up to stand. The perfect solution is to use wool rugs, rubber tiles or natural cotton mats to make things safer and more comfortable.
Note: depending on the kind of wood and finish, the cost per square foot of hardwood flooring can be higher than any other flooring option.
3. Laminate Wood Flooring
If you like hardwood but find it too expensive, laminate is a great alternative. Apart from being budget friendly, laminate doesn’t need polishing or waxing to retain its aesthetic appeal. And just like hardwood, it doesn’t trap dust or chemicals. Cleaning it is easy: all you need is a vacuum and a damp mop. In case of food spills, a simple wipe should suffice. Since laminate flooring is scratch resistant, it’s great for toddlers playing with toys or running and jumping around.
Note: low-priced laminate floors are usually cheap for a reason. They often have adhesives that emit harmful VOCs, so be sure to choose a renowned flooring store that deals in high-quality laminate wood flooring.
4. Cork Flooring
For all environmentally-conscious parents, cork is a great flooring option because it is obtained from oak tree bark but the tree is not harmed in the process. Being softer than hardwood and laminate, cork makes a great surface for babies to crawl and play on. The best thing about cork is that it’s water-resistant, which means you don’t have to worry about damp and microorganisms like mould and fungi. Cork also repels dust and dirt because of its anti-static properties.
Note: make sure you choose organic cork made from 100% cork oak bark that doesn’t contain any formaldehyde binder and doesn’t emit any VOCs.
Flooring Options to Avoid
This is a super-dangerous flooring option for nurseries for the obvious fact that it’s so slippery and hard. Toddlers who have just learned to crawl or walk can easily fall and hurt themselves.
It easily develops scratches that become more apparent than regular hardwood. Moreover, it is not water resistant which means if you end up with spills and vomit (which you will), you’ll be in trouble.
Decorating your nursery is not just about wall accents, diaper stations, toys and colour schemes. It’s also important to make sure that your child’s room has the right kind of flooring, as it has a huge impact on their health. Now that you know about the safest flooring options, choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.