FURNISHING/Nursery Furniture


There are a lot of things you can buy for a nursery: in addition to cribs, rocking chairs, and clothing storage, there are endless other storage units - shelves, bins, baskets - and stand-alone changing tables, side tables, and more. 

Hidden Hazards

Hidden Hazards: Wooden furniture coatings can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many of these solvents used in the coating agents are also used in the adhesives that hold pressed or laminated wood together. Changing tables pads are often made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coated pads made from polyurethane foam. These may release phthalates and flame retardants, if present, and may also be imbued with antimicrobial chemicals.

Other Considerations

It’s worth investing in solid wood furniture for baby’s bedroom, especially if pieces are chosen that can be refined slightly for use throughout childhood or beyond. For example, a solid wood changing table with drawers can remain a dresser once the top changing pad is removed. Some solid wood cribs can transform into a toddler bed using the same mattress.


When shopping for nontoxic baby furniture, 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. A used, solid wood dresser (as long as it does not have leaded paint) can be a great option on a budget - and can always be painted by someone other than the pregnant mom-to-be to match your room. Another option for baby is to skip the wooden dresser entirely and use square or rectangular baskets woven from natural fiber for baby’s clothes and other gear.

References & Resources

Seeking sustainbable wood? Look for FSC (Forestry Stewardship Certified) products. 

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