Photo by: iStock

Safe and Stylish Nursery Décor

Photo by: iStock

Whether you’re having your first child or your third, keeping baby safe should always trump any other nursery décor factors. Carol Dawidowicz, MFT, of Positive Change Counseling Center, advises, “Building a secure attachment to primary caregiver(s) is critical for healthy child development. Most parents understand and enjoy the process of bonding with their baby by holding, rocking, singing, talking and making eye contact. The nursery can be a great place for this. Consider ways to set up the nursery to help you and baby feel comfortable and relaxed. Some suggestions include a rocking chair or glider, a device for playing soothing music, and a way to dim lighting.”

1. Keep that crib clear of anything but your baby! At least for the first 12 months, your baby should be alone in his crib on top of a secure mattress. No blankets, crib bumpers, toys or pillow allowed. If it’s chilly, bump up the heat a little or dress baby in layers. Anything else could prove a choking hazard or entrap your baby so he can’t breath properly. If you want to have a stylish crib, buy a secure, fitted sheet for the mattress and express your design taste that way.

2. Check furniture finishes. Make sure the crib and any furniture finished with food-based paint or other non-toxic paint options. Babies and children are notorious chewers, especially as they start to teethe and as they grow! If you really want to go all-natural, opt for a rubbed beeswax finish or tung oil.

3. Keep décor physically lightweight. Don’t hang anything heavy in the nursery, even mobiles above the crib. Mobiles are fine as long as they’re out of reach; otherwise, they present a choking hazard, even if they’re lightweight. Hang prints or photos in frames without glass. Another hanging option? Drill holes into the centers of wooden alphabet blocks. Screw the blocks into wall studs and use them as base support for hanging photos or mirrors in addition to the hooks these pieces normally hang from.

4. Stay away from windows. Window covering cords can pose a choking hazard, and inquisitive babies and children could get a nasty bump on the head if they can reach the coverings to pull on them. A stylish alternative? Non-toxic gel glue! Add food coloring to it and use a sponge or your fingers to add a design (and privacy covering) to your nursery window; or use a paintbrush to add a real stained glass design or baby-themed mural to the window. If you want to update a design, wait for the glue to dry and simply peel it off!

5. Don’t forget alarms. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the nursery. You can gussy them up with acrylic paints or permanent markers to match baby’s nursery décor. Remember to check them regularly.

Preparing for your newborn is not something you can do in a day. One thing you can do before baby grows into a curious toddler is to baby-proof the nursery while your little one is still in the crib and hasn’t started walking yet. Dawidowicz adds, “Planning to bring home a new baby can be both exciting and stressful. Managing your own stress effectively has a positive impact on everyone in the family. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or tired, take a break to do a relaxing activity or talk about your feelings with someone you trust.”

Shelley Moench-Kelly, MBA, is a New England-based writer and editor whose freelance clients include Google, L’Oreal Paris and

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