Is It Safe to Paint with a Toddler in the Home?

Updated on June 12, 2008
C.L. asks from San Francisco, CA
6 answers

I came across an article that talked about using either lo-voc (volatile organic compounds) or zero voc type paint. That if you were to use these types of paints (especially the zero voc) that it's okay to paint with at toddler in the home. What is your take on that?? Has anyone done this before?? Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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answers from Redding on

Hi C.,
We used no Voc paint in our daughter's room and it was more expensive, about $25 a gallon at Paint Mart. However, we found that it covered much better than regular paint and therefore took less. It was available in any color just like Benjamin Moore. It went on beautifully too. Lowes' Olympic brand is a low (but not no) Voc paint which is not as expensive. I felt better not having to worry about the air quality and therefore it was worth it for us. Happy painting!



answers from San Francisco on

I'm currently painting my house and couldn't afford the lo-voc paints. We only paint on days when the humidity is low (20% or lower). We open all the windows and run the fans. My dinning room (which we just did this last weekend) only took 2 hours to dry and get rid of that smell.

Good luck


answers from Fresno on

Hi C.,
I am a facilities manager, and I deal with over 300 restaurants across the country that need repairs including painting all the time. I have supervised more painting projects than I care to count. Low-voc paint is made from less toxic materials so in general it's better for the environment and those who live in it. You can definitely notice the lack of smell - there's no "fresh paint" smell and from what I've seen the quality seems comparable. I think it would be the better choice for a home with a toddler.

On the other hand, it is a lot more expensive and it's possible you may not be able to get the exact color you wanted. If you decide to go with traditional paint, go one room at a time and allow for plenty of fresh air to circulate through the room for several days. Another trick you can use is to mix vanilla extract into the paint, maybe a few teaspoons into a gallon. I have no idea why it works, but that cuts way down on the smell.

Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

first off nothing is safe with a toddler in the house second nothing in the world is safe not even the air we breath if you want to think into it so i leave you with this personaly i would just pain the house one room at a time making sure yours cant get in that room when painting open all windows and turn on the fan in that room let it air out for at least 2 days and make sure you have someone else to help watch the kid when you are painting good luck



answers from Sacramento on

I have used these low or no voc paints in two different houses. In one home we used Safecoat brand to repaint the entire house. Our painter said it was the easiest and nicest paint he has ever used. He noted that insects would just crawl over the painted wall..instead of dying like they would in regular paint. Our second house we painted while I was pregnant. These paints do not smell and are of high quality. There are more brands out there that offer low and no VOC now that people are becoming aware of the toxicity of paint. but in my opinion it is well worth the extra money per gallon and piece of mind. I am not an expert on the subject but i do know that these paints do not contain preservatives like formaldahyde and regular paint continues to out gas even after it is dry. If you are painting major square footage you can order 5 gallon buckets etc. In Sacramento we ordered our paint from Green Sacramento, and Environmetal Building Supply in Portland for our other home. I'm sure there are resources in or near San Fran. White paint can usually be NO Voc but colors do contain some VOC because of the tinting agent. I would encourage you to do your own research and I think you will decide that it is safer for your entire family to choose a Low VOC paint. Statistically we spend like %70 of our life in our home. All the best !



answers from San Francisco on

I don't know about those types of paint but I'm an insane decorating fanatic, and I've painted plenty with my kids around. Just don't use oil based paints and they'll be fine. You don't want to use oil based paint anyway because it takes forever to dry and smells nasty. Take them out of the house a lot for a couple of days and open the windows.

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