With ever increasing air pollution levels around the world and things like the airborne coronavirus epidemic that’s ongoing as I write this post, improving and maintaining good air quality in a baby’s room is fast becoming a priority for many parents. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to improve air quality in your child’s nursery.
However, before we get into the details, in short, how can you improve air quality in a baby’s room? In summary, air quality in a baby’s room can be improved by taking four basic steps. The first step is to test the air in the room to identify what’s causing the poor air quality, the next is to eliminate the identified causes, then thereafter it's regular room cleaning and making use of air remediation appliances.
Air remediation appliances include things like air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers. Another essential step in improving and maintaining good baby nursery air quality is monitoring your air quality.
I touch on all these things in more detail in the rest of this post starting with a reminder of why it’s important to make sure you provide your child with clean air. Read this entire post and you will know exactly what to do to for good air quality in your baby’s room and to ensure your child does not fall victim to the effects of poor air quality.
Why Should You Improve Air Quality In Baby’s Room?
To better appreciate the importance of knowing how to improve air quality in your baby’s room and to encourage you to take action on this knowledge, I believe it's important to remind ourselves of the dangers that poor air quality poses to baby’s. The video below really hit home on this issue for me.
Watch This Video
There are so many reasons why you should improve air quality in your baby’s room but all the reasons are centered on the health of your child. The scariest of these I came across was that if your baby is exposed to polluted air today, they may only ever start to feel the adverse effects on their health years later when they are much older.
So, you never even know or see what's happening. Poor air quality is like a silent killer. By the time you know what's going on it's a little too late. What’s more, evidence now shows acute exposure to toxic gases and pollution in the home is a serious cause of infant mortality that largely goes unnoticed.
Based on scientific research, not doing anything to improve poor air quality in your baby’s room is a life and death matter. Should your baby survive extended periods of exposure to bad air, the next risk they face is having neurodevelopmental issues. This means they could get cognitive issues like attention deficit disorder or autism among others.
Next, exposure to traffic pollution has been shown to have negative effects in terms of insulin resistance in babies resulting in higher chances of obesity in the later years of a child. Then you have childhood cancers and a whole host of respiratory issues your child could get, ranging from pneumonia down to asthma.
I have also learned that with enough exposure to poor air quality, your child can get otitis media, which is a painful ear infection that could have your baby crying non-stop and potentially impair your child’s hearing. Besides the long term negative effects as your child matures into an adult, polluted air also has some more immediate effects on your baby.
Immediate effects your baby could experience include, fatigue, headaches, sinusitis, nausea, allergic reactions, and dizziness. What sucks is that many times you cannot even tell it's your air that's causing all this.
Babies are especially susceptible to poor indoor air quality because their lungs are still developing, their bodies are not developed enough to metabolize and get rid of toxins they ingest from the air, and they inhale much more air per unit of their body weight than adults. To sum it up, they are still softies.
Unlike adults, if their room is polluted, they cannot say anything about it or simply get up and go to a better environment. Meanwhile, as I have just shown you, they are highly vulnerable to a whole host of risks presented to them through poor air quality and you are pretty much their only line of defense.
Considering all the dangers and vulnerability of your baby against polluted air, the next thing you should be asking yourself is where is my child likely to be most exposed? For most people, the answer is, in their bedroom.
Your baby will spend most of its time in its nursery and that’s where poor air quality is likely the most damage if you fail to address it. Accordingly, you have to do everything you can to improve the air quality in your baby’s room because it is one of the most critical places where your child is likely to succumb to the negative effects of poor air quality.
What Causes Poor Air Quality In Your Baby’s Room
One other thing I felt important to consider before getting into the details about how to improve air quality in your baby’s nursery is how that air gets polluted in the first place. Understanding this will help you easily improvise and tweak things when you implement the various air quality improvement measures.
The primary pollutants that mess up the air in your baby’s room include PM10 particles, ultrafine particles, PM2.5 particles, biological agents, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most of these cannot be seen with the naked eye.
All of these travel through the air and enter your home through windows, vents, and other holes around your house and through various objects you carry in and out of your home. As for VOCs, they largely off-gas from certain building materials, furniture, home cleaning products, paints, certain personal care products, and carpets among others.
Another source for VOCs you cannot ignore is household combustion processes like cigarette smoking and cooking. Then for biological agents, you have things like airborne bacteria, germs, mold spores, and viruses.
They can travel through the air from outside into your home or can get into your home’s air by a sick person sneezing or by dusting off dirty clothes and shoes. Biological agents also include dust mites, pet odors, and shedding of hair and dander from your pets.
Then 90% of your air pollutants both indoors and outdoors consist of your PM 10, PM 2.5, and Ultrafine Particles. These include vehicle exhaust fumes, smoke, pollen, dust, and factory emissions among others.
Just like in the rest of your home, all these pollutants somehow find their way into your baby’s nursery. More specifically in your baby's room, some stuff that emits pollutants that go unnoticed include flooring, mattresses, curtains, and toys.
I would likely never have known all this if I was not into this whole clean air stuff and I can only imagine for the unsuspecting new parents. Now that you are aware of all the key causes and potential sources of bad baby room air quality, the whole idea behind improving things is to simply minimize the volume of any of the identified pollutants across your home.
With this in mind, you are well on your way towards keeping your baby’s air at its best. We can now finally jump into the actual air quality improvement measures you can put in place for your baby’s nursery.
19 Steps To Improve Air Quality In Baby’s Room
1. Get Your Indoor Air Quality Checked
The first step to ensuring good indoor air quality in your baby’s room is getting the air in your home professionally tested for pollutants. You can run tests by yourself but the tests you are likely to run on your own are unlikely to provide you with the level of detail and thoroughness you will get from specialist air quality testers.
A great company I always refer people to for professional air quality tests is IndoorDoctor. They have state of the art gadgets and have access to a wide network of reputable laboratories to assess the state of your indoor air condition.
They also have what they call a New Baby Air Check, which is an air quality test aimed at detecting if your indoor air has any of the most threatening air pollutants for your baby.
Once you run your professional air check you will know exactly what to target and how to cut pollution and improve the air quality in your baby’s nursery.
2. Get An Air Quality Monitor
In addition to testing your air, it is wise to have a real time air quality monitoring system in your baby's room. There are many types of air quality monitoring devices to choose from. Of the many options, go for a system that will not only indicate your indoor pollution level by the second but will also alert you when your air quality is getting too low.
One cool air quality monitoring device that recently caught my eyes is the Microbot Alert. Check out the video below to learn more about it.
For some of my recommended air quality monitoring devices click here. When considering an air quality monitoring device, also try to go for a smart and connected device that can show you not just the quality of air it measures around your home but also the air quality outdoors and around your city based on information shared online from official sources.
Having an air quality monitoring device in your baby’s nursery is like having a security guard keeping watch for any intruders and ready to sound the alarm to help you keep your child out of harm's way.
3. Clean Your Home And Baby’s Room With Eco-friendly Cleaning Chemicals
When you have a baby in your home, keeping your entire home clean is a key part of making sure the air quality in your child’s nursery is as good as possible. You have to get rid of the clutter around your home. If you struggle with messiness and clutter, check out this guide to learn how to easily deal with clutter in your home.
You should have a cleaning routine in place that takes into account freshening up your air. A big part of all this is to use eco-friendly alternatives to your usual cleaning chemicals especially in your baby’s room and rooms near to or leading to there.
Simply replacing the cleaning chemicals you use with green detergents and cleaning solutions, over time, works wonders for your entire home and essentially your baby’s living space. For some eco-friendly and green home cleaning chemicals options worth considering, check out my post here.
4. Clean Your Window Sills
Baby’s are highly sensitive to mold, and one common way mold gets into the air in any room including a baby’s bedroom is through a room’s windowsill. Mold often grows on windowsills because windowsills are good at keeping excess moisture which mold thrives on.
Once any form of mold matures, eventually they produce spores which are easily dispersed into the air. Now if the mold spores are produced on the windowsill of your baby’s room, when they disperse into the air, they spread all over your baby’s room with the potential of messing with your baby’s health.
To avoid all this, you need to keep all windowsills around your child's nursery clean and dry. Mold sprouts where there is filth and moisture and the trick here is to regularly clean your window sills to keep both of these out.
5. Use HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
By using a HEPA filter based vacuum cleaner you can capture much smaller particles of filth lying around your home and subsequently reduce the volume of particulates that can get into your home and baby’s nursery air from surfaces. There are a couple of HEPA vacuum cleaners I found work really well. For more details on them click here.
6. Use A Robot Vacuum Cleaner
If you are busy parents, or just can’t find the time to regularly keep floors around your home and in the baby's room clean, then you should really consider a robotic vacuum cleaner. Robot vacuum cleaners detect dirt on your floor and autonomously keep them spotless.
Not only are they a huge time saver, but they will also greatly help you curb the spread of pollutants from your floor into your air when incorporated into your cleaning routine. A good idea is to place one permanently in baby’s room.
7. Dust Jackets, Shoes And Other Things Outside The House
When you dust anything, be it clothes, furniture, curtains, you send all kinds of particles flying into your indoor air. In light of this, it’s wise to do any dusting outside your home. If you can carry something outside, then take it outside to dust it. This way you prevent unnecessarily spreading pollutants in your home and eventually into your baby’s nest.
8. Don’t Allow Smoking In Your Home
We all know the dangers of smoking. If you are serious about giving your baby the best air quality simply do not allow smoking in your home. There might not be much you can do to stop your inconsiderate neighbor from doing it but in your house, you can ban it.
You can even make people wash their hands and gargle some mouthwash for the baby’s sake if they have been smoking and would like to visit your baby in its bedroom.
9. Always Use A Kitchen Exhaust Hood When Cooking
Cooking releases a lot of VOCs into your home. These can spread across your home into your child's room. To minimize this, install an exhaust hood over your cooker if you haven’t already.
Make sure to use your kitchen hood whenever you cook, to suck up as much VOCs as possible before they spread across your home. Make sure to go for an activated carbon hood.
10. Don’t Burn Candles
I am not sure what it is with candles in a baby’s nursery and all the noise around status candles but what I know is that candles do not work to improve air quality in a baby’s bedroom.
Most candles release VOCs and some scents can be too much for the little one. You can try beeswax candles but better to keep out the candles if you are going for good air quality.
11. Keep Plants Out Of Baby’s Room
Certain plants will work in the baby's room. There is also a lot of craze out there about air purifying plants but from my knowledge plants are likely to do more harm than good in a baby’s room. Plants can hurt your indoor air quality.
This is contrary to popular belief. However, the reality is some plants attract insects into your and some are dust mite magnets as they collect dust on their leaves and these little critters through their excretions can introduce allergens into the air of your child’s nursery.
I have not even touched on plants that release pollen into the air. Ultimately, all I can say is you are better off without plants in a baby’s room. It’s much easier to control air quality there without plants but if you must have a plant in the nursery read this first to make sure you choose the right type.
12. Ventilate Your Baby’s Room
To get some new and fresh air into your baby’s room, open the room’s windows for at least 10 minutes a day. You should however only do this when your outdoor air quality is reportedly good.
In many parts of the world, you can check whether the air quality in your city is good or not online. If you have a smart and internet-connected air quality monitor it can also indicate this to you by tapping into official local weather service feeds.
There is just something about letting a sweet breeze of clean air from outside into a room that makes breathing easier. Ventilation from a fan, when windows are open also really helps. With ventilation, you can quickly blow pollutants out into the outdoors that would otherwise linger around in your indoor air for a while.
13. Use Green And Eco-Friendly Alternatives In Baby’s Room
Since studies started being released of how a lot of household products release VOCs and toxic chemicals into your air, in recent years a lot of companies that make safer green household products have started springing up.
These days you can now get green, eco-friendly, organic furniture, carpets, mattresses, toys and you name it that are non-toxic and do not off-gas any chemicals into your air. For a baby’s room, the first items you have to make sure you go green on are your child’s mattress, crib, and beddings.
For organic baby mattresses, without any doubt, my go-to place is NATUREPEDIC. For beddings and a lot of other organic baby stuff, check out Our Green House. Then for cribs, have a look at what Silva Furniture and Green Cradle have to offer. Besides sleep gear, I have also seen some neat organic toys on offer at Oompa.
Personally, I would rather go for a rug than a carpet in Baby’s room. Keeping your floor and consequently your air clean is much easier with a rug than a carpet in your baby’s room. However, if you prefer carpets please watch the video below or look through this guide for some awesome non-toxic carpet options.
14. Use Hypoallergenic Beddings
Hypoallergenic beddings are made from materials that are resistant to allergens. This is great for improving air quality in your baby’s room because it means things like dust mites have less breeding ground around the room.
The less dust mites, the less of their excretions you will have floating around and deteriorating your air quality. Hypoallergenic beddings are also effective at keeping mold, bacteria, and all kinds of air polluting microorganisms you may find on your baby’s bedding at bay.
They are also a great way of protecting your child from airborne allergens landing around its bed and crib. You can get some nice hypoallergenic crib bedding from Clover & Sage on Amazon. Also, check out my other recommended places to get quality and affordable hypoallergenic beddings here.
15. Keep Your HVAC and AC Clean
HVACs and air conditioners can be a great way to ensure good ventilation and temperature across your home. However, if you have a dirty HVAC or AC, they can be a significant source of air pollutants across your living space.
To maintain good air quality in your baby’s room, you, therefore, have to make sure your HVAC and AC are clean. With a baby around, try to get these air systems maintained every quarter.
You have to ensure your air ducts are professionally cleaned and you change filters regularly to avoid mold growth and oversaturation of pollutants on your filters. This way you prevent your AC and HVAC from deteriorating the air in your home and ultimately your child’s nursery.
16. Keep Pets Out Of Baby’s Room
Pets are awesome but unfortunately, they can spread all kinds of pollutants into your air. When you allow pets indoors and into your baby’s bedroom, they spread stuff including pet dander, hair, mold, and even pollen and other air pollutants attached to their body after playing outdoors.
Don’t forget pets can also pee and poop around the home, which is definitely not good for your air quality. The drastic solution here is to not have pets at all in your home. However, if that's not an option, the next best thing is to declare your baby’s room a no go zone for pets.
You can go as far as keeping your pets away from the bedroom area of your home. This way you limit the level of pollutants that find their way into your nursery due to pets.
17. Don’t Remodel The Room When Baby Has Moved In
Unless it’s an emergency and something you cannot avoid, do not do any renovation work in your baby’s room when it is just about to be born or have already occupied its nursery. This will totally mess up your child’s air quality.
Remodeling always entails some form of dust and chemical pollutants getting into your air, and it can take a couple of days before whatever pollution you caused doing the renovations clear up. Especially if you are not using any air moving or filtration system.
So if you want to maintain good quality air in your baby’s room please avoid renovations. The only exception to this rule is if you are installing some system that actually helps improve your room’s air quality.
18. Maintain A Good Humidity Level
High humidity levels indoors are a strong invitation for air pollutants such as fungi, mold, yeast, and bacteria. To avoid such pollutants in baby’s room, you need to get your humidity level under control.
First, get a good hygrometer for accurate measurement of your humidity levels, then you will need a good dehumidifier to bring your humidity levels down if you have too much air moisture in your child’s bedroom.
To ensure good air quality, aim to bring your humidity level between 35% and 50%. If your humidity level is too low, you can also fix that by using a humidifier to add some moisture to your air.
19. Get An Air Purifier
Finally, once you have sorted out all the issues contributing to poor air quality in your baby’s room and addressed air pollutants at their source by actually getting rid of stuff that’s ruining your air, setting up an air purifier in the room will do wonders for your air quality there.
You however need to get the correct air purifier. For a baby’s nursery, avoid ionic air purifiers and ozone generators or anything that generates ozone. Go for air purifiers with smart features and with a True HEPA and Activated Carbon filter.
For an extra level of filtration, especially against microorganisms like mold and bacteria, get either an air purifier with a UV or PCO filter in addition to your True HEPA and Activated Carbon filter. Such types of air purifiers are really the only type you need to improve air quality in your baby’s room.
You have a lot of options but to save you time searching, click here to check out my recommended list of air purifiers. You can use these around your home and your baby’s room. To get the most out of your air purifier be sure to position it properly and get the correct size to cover the area of your room.
Other Measures To Protect Your Baby From Bad Air Quality
I have now shown you quite a number of steps on how you can improve the air quality in your baby’s room. The steps I have shown you are by no means everything you need but they are the main steps towards getting and maintaining good air quality in your baby’s room.
The story of providing your child with quality air however does not end in the bedroom. You also have to provide good air quality and protect your child from pollution outside its nursery. There is a host of things you can do to generally ensure your child is always breathing clean air.
To ensure your baby has access to good air quality all the time you can,