Keeping the Nursery Safe

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
David Stukus, M.D.

Q: I have a baby on the way and we are making the finishing touches on the nursery. Are there any details I should be particularly careful of related to the health and safety of my baby?

A:A nursery is a space for baby to rest, to play and to grow. While decorating, parents should keep their little one's health in mind, and be sure their choices don't increase the risk for allergies or asthma.

Our sense of smell can often be one of the most soothing senses, as various scents are meant to be calming. But many products meant for babies contain various chemical fragrances that can be harmful, especially to those who are predisposed to allergy or respiratory problems. It's best to avoid anything with fragrance in baby's room, as it can be irritating for their respiratory tracts or skin. This includes laundry detergents and powdered soaps - unscented is best.

There should be no stuffed animals or pillows inside a baby's crib - not only is that an environment prone to allergens, but it also is an unsafe sleeping environment for babies. Dust mites love stuffed animals, and they are one of the more common causes of indoor allergies.

To keep dust mite and other allergen levels to a minimum, opt for hard-surface flooring instead of carpet and keep pets out of the bedroom completely. It is important for parents to take simple steps to create a low-allergen environment for babies to thrive in.

-David Stukus, M.D., is a physician with the Section of Allergy/Immunology at Nationwide Children's Hospital.