To all the new moms and dads out there! Welcome to parenthood – a journey full of love, care, sighs, giggles, chaos, tantrums and contradictions. Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, hiring a babysitter vs hiring a nanny, co-sleeping vs crib sleeping – the debates involved with parenthood are lengthy and complex.
Regardless of all the emotional and intellectual challenges, parenthood has its own intrinsic pleasures. From setting up the crib to choosing the right wall paint and nursery flooring material, there is so much to do when a new baby is on the way. When it comes to your little one’s safety, providing the best (and most suitable) flooring material should be your top priority.
Safest Flooring Options for Newborns and Toddlers
Whether you’re expecting your first or your fourth, ensuring a safe and comfortable atmosphere for your baby is a must. Since each type of flooring has its pros and cons and there is no such thing as perfect nursery flooring, you need to weigh your options and decide what is best for your little one. Here are a few ideas to help you choose.
Babies grow up quickly, and soon your newborn will 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 also keeps you comfortable as you will inevitably spend more time on the floor than you would otherwise. It will also keep the nursery warm (due to its insulating properties) and cut out external noise – something that will help with night feedings. However, carpets can easily trap dust, mould and allergens that cause wheezing, rhinitis and severe allergic reactions in kids with weaker immune systems. The best option is to use carpets with high-quality natural fibres like jute, hemp, wool or sisal. It should also have no latex backing, be tacked down and supported by a wooden base.
Note: Make sure that the carpet you choose is free from toxic substances like adhesives, VOC (volatile organic compounds) and formaldehyde. Vacuum the entire carpet every other day to get rid of any trapped dust and dirt particles. Always ensure that the carpet is dry, as dampness can cause moulds and fungi to develop.
Known for being sturdy, durable and easy to clean, hardwood is an excellent flooring option for nurseries. Just make sure that it is nailed down and does not contain any toxic sealants with UV protection. Since hardwood doesn’t trap allergens or chemicals, it’s safe for your kids. Since hardwood is hard, it could potentially be a health hazard for toddlers who have just learnt to sit, crawl or pull themselves up to stand. The perfect solution is to use an area rug on top to make things safer and more comfortable, while the hardwood will ensure your child has a dust and chemical-free surface to play on.
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.
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 particles or chemicals. Cleaning it is easy: all you need is a vacuum cleaner and a damp mop to remove dirt and stains. In case of accidental food spills, a simple wipe should suffice. Since laminate flooring is scratch resistant, it’s great for toddlers with toys or kids who run and jump.
Note: Low-priced laminate floors are usually cheap for a reason. They often have adhesives that emit harmful VOCs. Be sure to choose a renowned flooring store that deals in high-quality laminate wood flooring.
For all environment-conscious parents out there, 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. It cushions falls (all too common among toddlers) and bounces back into shape. Moreover, it’s resistant to damp and doesn’t promote growth of mould or fungi.
Note: Make sure that you only choose organic cork made from 100% cork oak bark that 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 learnt 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.