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Expectant parents derive much joy and pleasure in lovingly decorating the nursery while waiting for baby to be born. Nursery decorations can brighten up the room, stimulating a baby’s brain and elevating their mood.
Vinyl wall decals or stickers may contain phthalates, which come off and are breathed in by your baby. Phthalates can cause cancer, asthma, developmental and reproductive harm. Wall paint can contain solvents that are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and some can contain per- or polyfluoro alkyl substances (PFASs) (with a claim to be easier to clean), biocides (also known as antimicrobials), and irritants like ammonia.
Do not paint the room yourself while pregnant. Scraping or sanding the walls may expose you and your unborn baby to lead dust, which can be very dangerous to your baby, and toxic chemicals in the paint can be harmful as well. Have someone else–husband, family, friend, or hired hand– do the painting. Painting should be done at least a month before the baby is due, and should be aired out. You can speed up the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by heating the room above what you'd normally set it to as a living space, using a room space heater, and then increasing ventilation to pull the heated air out of the building.
Use water-based zero VOC paint for nursery walls instead of wallpaper with adhesives. Seek reusable, vinyl-free wall decals or stickers colored with lead-free ink. The fabric type is often made of nontoxic, phthalate-free material. A water-based adhesive also has its least-toxic merits. Painting a mural or framing a colorful tapestry or piece of fabric instead of decals is another great way to add color and style.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.