Designing your baby’s nursery can be one of the most exciting things you’ll get to do during pregnancy! The soft little rugs, the pretty stuffed animals, the cute little printables on Etsy. I spent so much time pinning photos on Pinterest and gathering ideas for the perfect nursery design. Ahhh, nesting! Looking past the design, however, what truly matters is safety. It’s important that the nursery furniture and other items in the baby’s room won’t off-gas harmful and toxic VOCs and chemicals. This is one important way you can truly create a Gentle Nursery for your baby. That’s why I’ve compiled this guide to buying non-toxic baby furniture.
What to Look for When Buying Non-Toxic Baby Furniture:
- Solid wood. It’s important to select nursery furniture manufactured from solid wood because you don’t want furniture that’s made with glues, formaldehyde, and veneers. Look for real wood (not engineered wood, MDF, composite board, or particle board) without smelly, toxic glues and chemicals.
- Low-VOC paints. VOC stands for volatile organic compound, which are essentially toxic chemicals. When furniture is painted, it can give off toxic fumes, so to avoid this, look for unfinished furniture or find products painted with low-VOC finishes (or no-VOC if available, although the standards for “no-VOC” really mean that the item is just “low-VOC” below a certain threshold — but it’s still better!).
- GREENGUARD certification. This is so important! Whenever possible, find Greenguard approved products to ensure clean indoor air quality in baby’s room. Manufacturers that obtain the Greenguard certification meet the strictest standards for indoor air quality and chemical composition.
- Manufactured outside of Asia, preferably. Because there are cases where furniture made in Asia has been found to contain lead, it’s best to select a manufacturer outside of Asia – preferably one that makes their furniture in the US, Canada, or Europe.
Non-Toxic Baby Furniture Manufacturers:
Even though getting your little one to sleep in there will probably be an uphill battle at first, you’ll eventually need a crib. You’ll also want to have a dresser or changing table and possibly some bookshelves. No matter what you need, here are some great no- or low-VOC nursery furniture options.
Romina Furniture (Made in Romania): While pricey, Romina Furniture is among the best of the best when it comes to non-toxic baby furniture. This is the brand we went with, which is why it’s listed first. We love our Romina Furniture! Not only are the designs incredibly stylish and elegant, they are GREENGUARD Certified and are extremely well made – from 100% solid beechwood – and are non-toxic, with no formaldehyde emissions. Their furniture also includes additional safety features, such as anti-tilting hardware, baby-proof gliding drawers, and plastic-safety triggers for removing drawers. We purchased the Karisma crib and 6-drawer dresser, although they have several lines of furniture that you can choose from. Truly top-notch!
Natart Juvenile (Made in Canada): Also a wonderful choice, Natart Juvenile manufactures beautiful, high-quality, non-toxic baby furniture that is GREENGUARD Certified. Their furniture is made from 100% solid wood, uses solid wood mattress supports (this is actually great – I wish we bought one of their cribs!), and has safety drawer glides. Overall, a wonderful choice for your baby’s nursery furniture.
Oeuf Sparrow Crib (Made in Europe): With a GREENGUARD Certification, the Oeuf Sparrow is a well-made and non-toxic crib. With a beautiful modern look, this crib is also pretty popular among celebrities – not that it matters, right?
Stokke Sleepi (Made in The Netherlands): Made from cultivated beechwood, the Stokke Sleepi is an amazing convertible crib. It truly grows with your baby from newborn to toddler and beyond. At first, it can be used as a bassinet and can be converted to a crib and toddler bed with additional equipment. It’s a great value, and is made exceptionally well. The sides allow for maximum air circulation, which is very important for safe sleep. The paint used on the Stokke Sleepi is free of formaldehyde, but the glue used does contain small amounts. The mattress is designed in such a way that helps it minimize excess body heat, although I prefer replacing it with the Naturepedic Organic Oval Cotton Crib Mattress. All Stokke fabrics are Oeko-Tex certified, including their crib sheets, which ensures they are free from harmful substances. Given that the glue does contain some minor amounts of formaldehyde, I would recommend purchasing this 4-5 months early and letting it air out. Also check out the matching changing table.
Green Cradle (Made in USA): A wonderful little store located in Los Angeles, Green Cradle manufactures solid wood nursery furniture that is 100% VOC-free and chemical-free. They deliver to anywhere in the United States.
DaVinci (Made in China and Taiwan): I struggled with including DaVinci on this list of non-toxic baby furniture manufacturers. Their products are Greenguard certified, and free of formaldehyde, but they are manufactured in Asia. For a cost-effective option, consider DaVinci, although it would be so much better if they chose another manufacturing site for better quality control.
Babyletto (Made in China and Taiwan): Similarly, Babyletto makes their nursery furniture in Asia, but they use 100% solid New Zealand Pine wood (with some exceptions). Some of their products may contain MDF, which I don’t love. Babyletto makes an effort to reduce VOCs in their furniture, so this is another more cost-effective option than some of the brands I’ve listed above.
Organic Crib Mattresses:
Cribs are a funny thing. Almost everyone buys one, but most parents seem to struggle to get their little one to sleep in there. We definitely did, and it got to the point where I wondered if I should have even bought one to begin with! Alas, it all worked out and our little guy now sleeps in his crib.
So, with all that said, if you are buying a crib, you’ll need a crib mattress. This is one of the most important purchases you’ll make, since it’s critical that you get a healthy mattress option. If you’re on a tight budget, this is not where you should cut corners. You don’t want your baby sleeping on a mattress that off-gasses toxic fumes. Baby sleeps there all night (well, sort of), so healthy and organic is truly the only way to go. Here’s what to look for:
- Naturally derived flame retardants to help prevent off-gassing of dangerous fumes
- Chemical-free, organic materials that won’t off-gas dangerous fumes while baby sleeps (avoid waterproof mattresses for this reason and just get an organic waterproof mattress pad)
- Firm mattress (coils are the way to go; avoid polyurethane foam!) to help keep baby safe while sleeping
- Hypoallergenic materials; avoid wool, latex, or other allergenic materials because you just don’t know whether baby will be sensitive to these materials
- GREENGUARD certification that the mattress has low chemical emissions
The good news is that this does exist! Naturepedic makes organic crib mattresses that have gotten rave reviews from parents. We chose the Naturepedic Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe Crib Mattress. With 252 coils, this is the ultimate baby mattress, and I think it’s worth every penny.
There are other brands of organic crib mattresses, including LA Baby, Sealy, and Colgate. Because we knew we wanted coils (which is considered more durable, and safer than foam), our options were limited. We had also read great reviews about the Naturepedic brand, and poor reviews on the others, especially LA Baby. We love our Naturepedic. I wouldn’t even bother with another mattress brand.
Don’t forget: If you’re buying an organic, non-waterproof mattress such as the Naturepedic, make sure to get a Waterproof Fitted Crib Mattress Pad (partially organic).
Organic Baby Bedding:
In addition to purchasing non-toxic baby furniture, and an organic crib mattress, another important purchase is your baby’s bedding. Newborns can sleep for a total of up to 20 hours a day, so it’s important to have pure, organic bedding available for them to rest their little heads on. Here are some of the healthiest and most cost-effective options:
- Bassinet Sheets: Naturepedic makes an Organic Cotton Bassinet Fitted Sheet that is made in the United States. This fits many bassinets, including oval bassinets and the BABYBJORN.
- Cotton Crib Sheets: Burt’s Bees Baby makes wonderful and affordable oh-so-soft organic sheets that are made in India. With these sheets, you’re getting high-quality organic bedding at a great price. You may also find their sheets on Zulily from time to time. YourEcoFamily makes nice organic sheets as well. American Baby also makes organic sheets, although they are manufactured in China.
- Flannel Crib Sheets: For those in a colder climate, you may want to consider flannel sheets to keep baby warmer. Please just make sure that baby won’t be too warm and bundled up. Naturepedic makes an organic flannel sheet with un-dyed cotton. These are made in the USA. SwaddleDesigns makes a flannel crib sheet, that is manufactured in the USA. It’s not organic, but it does the job.
- Crib Mattress Pads: Two good options are the Hello Baby Waterproof Mattress Crib Cover and Naturepedic Waterproof Fitted Crib Mattress Pad (partially organic).
Some families don’t get much use out of a rocking chair, while others (like us) use a glider multiple times a day. To me, having a glider is essential but I’ve heard from some moms that they never use theirs. It really depends on the setup of your house, but the gliding/rocking motion is extremely soothing to babies.
Because gliders contain foam, it’s important to choose a manufacturer that does not use chemical flame retardants in their cushions. Additionally, you’ll want your glider to have low emissions, and be made with fabrics that are Oeko-Tex certified. Both of these manufacturers below fit the bill, and I think you can’t go wrong with either one. I definitely think it’s worth the investment given that you’ll spend hours sitting on your glider with your little one. Oh, and you can skip the ottoman because you won’t have much need for one.
Dutailier: A Canadian company, Dutailier manufactures a variety of non-toxic wood gliders. Their chairs are of excellent quality and feature a beautiful design. You can purchase your Dutalier from a children’s furniture store, or even on Amazon.
Monte Design Group: Also based in Canada, Monte Design Group was formed by a husband and wife team wanting to furnish their own son’s nursery. The company uses safe, soy-based foam that is free of chemical flame retardants. The wood used in making their gliders is LEED certified and contains no formaldehyde; in fact, the only glue used is water-based and biodegradable. You’ll have more options when purchasing a Monte product directly from a children’s furniture store, but Monte also sells a couple of their chairs on Amazon.
Blackout Curtains and Shades:
Some babies will nap just fine in a bright room, but most will prefer a dark room to sleep in, even at naptime. For a baby to sleep their best, the room they sleep in should ideally be pitch black. That means no sunlight and no LED lights from electronics or other ambient light. Make sure to clear baby’s room of unnecessary electronics, and put electrical tape over anything that has an on light. (We had to cover the green glowing light on our baby monitor.) To block sunlight and external light, use blackout curtains or shades. Please note that these recommendations are not non-toxic.
- Pottery Barn Kids Blackout Curtains: Pottery Barn makes a high-quality, popular blackout curtain that blocks out light and reduces sound effectively. Many moms that I know have these curtains and say they’re worth the price. Some of PBK’s options are even made from a cotton/linen blend, which is preferable to synthetic materials used to make other curtains and shades. Just note that all curtains will allow some light to bleed in around the edges.
- Eclipse Blackout Curtains: The Eclipse curtains are also pretty popular, though I did see some mixed reviews on whether these actually do a good job of blocking out sunlight. The manufacturer states that the curtains block 98-99.9% of sunlight, and some reviewers on Amazon have raved about them. Made from polyester, they aren’t an ideal choice, but they are definitely a good, budget-friendly option. They measure 52″ x 84″ in size.
- Blackout EZ Shades: This company makes a blackout window cover in a heavy-duty vinyl material that completely blocks sunglight. I feel guilty recommending this because it’s made from vinyl, and therefore is not non-toxic, but it is very effective. It installs pretty easily, although we had a handyman handle our installation while he was repairing something else in our house. The Blackout EZ window covers are also great under plantation shutters and other window coverings where it doesn’t make much sense to use curtains. The company offers window coverings in black and white (both are equally effective), and in various sizes. You just need to trim the fabric to size and use Velcro straps to install.
Non-Toxic Nursery Paint:
Lullaby Paints is a wonderful UK-based company that makes non-toxic “organic” paints that are safe enough to be used in a nursery. I don’t think that painting a nursery is essential in the first place, and we did skip this step to avoid any unnecessary fumes, but I know that painting a nursery is something a lot of parents look forward to. Lullaby Paints is your go-to for safe materials. I would still recommend painting months in advance of your due date and airing out the nursery well. You can also look into Colorhouse Paint, but I know less about this company.
If the nursery isn’t carpeted, you’ll probably want to add a small area rug, though this isn’t necessary. Avoid synthetic rugs because many of them will contain petroleum products and chemical flame retardants, as well as other harmful chemicals that off-gas volatile compounds. Wool, organic cotton, silk, and other natural materials are your best bet for creating a safe and gentle nursery environment for your baby.
Truthfully, this is one area I struggled with a lot. It’s not easy to come across good non-toxic floor covering options, but you’ll find some options from Bambeco, Flor, Curran Floor, Safavieh (and another I like from Safavieh), and Dynasty Rugs.
Again, not all families even use their changing tables, but we love ours and have used it multiple times each day. My favorite changing pad is the Naturepedic Organic Contoured Changing Pad, but the Simmons Changing Pad is a lower-priced alternative that is also Greenguard Certified. We use the Naturepedic and are very happy with it.
You’ll need some changing pad covers, too. But this is one of those items you can definitely save on if you’re on a tight budget. We originally bought organic Aden + Anais changing pad covers and they didn’t last even four months, so we later switched to a more durable (but non-organic) option – the Summer Infant Change Pads – that I actually love! Now, Burt’s Bees Baby makes an organic changing pad cover too, so that’s a great – and affordable – option. I recommend having 3-4 changing pads on hand, because…you know.