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A Floor-to-Ceiling Guide to Nursery Safety
A Floor-to-Ceiling Guide to Nursery Safety
When decorating your baby's nursery, there is more to consider than whether to choose animals or sailboats as the theme. You have to consider safety, too. 

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Preparing a Nursery for Baby

A Printable Checklist
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

You've cleared out your home office to make room for a nursery, and now you're standing in the doorway of the empty room with no idea where to begin. To create a soothing, peaceful, and comfortable nursery, here are a few things you'll need.
  • Rocking chair with a footstool: Babies like motion, and you'll like to put your feet up while you're rocking your little one. Select a comfortable chair with washable cushions.

  • CD player with bedtime and playtime CD's: A simple portable CD player will do the trick. Select soothing classical music to help your baby fall asleep, and fun music you can both sing along to during playtime.

  • Hamper: During the first few months, some experts recommend washing baby clothes separately from the family laundry in mild detergent, because harsh detergents may irritate baby's sensitive skin. A separate hamper for baby will save you some sorting time later. But if you're using gentle detergent for the whole family, you can throw it all in together.

  • Shelves: Select low shelves with a wipe-able surface to store books and toys within your child's reach. Young toddlers will appreciate the independence this provides them.

  • Crib: The centerpiece of the nursery, this may be the biggest investment you make for the room. If you're buying a new one, consider a model that converts to a toddler bed so you don't have to store outgrown furniture. If you're using a hand-me-down crib, make sure it wasn't painted with lead-based paint, and that the rails are less than 2-3/8 inches apart. Place it away from lamps, windows, shelving, curtains and cords.

  • Changing Table: Place the changing table on a carpeted or padded surface, with shelves to store diapers, wipes and pins within arms' reach so you never leave baby, even for a second.

  • Diaper Pail: Any container with a tight fitting lid will do the trick.

  • Curtains or Blinds: During the early weeks, baby will sleep soundly no matter how bright or dim the nursery is. But as she gets older, shutting out the sunlight will be helpful for cueing naptime or bedtime. Make sure cords and tiebacks are far from baby's reach.
After you've filled the nursery with furniture, you'll need to stock those shelves and drawers. Here are some ideas to consider.
  • Toys and books: To foster a love of reading, start early. Select sturdy board books for the young baby-she'll enjoy being able to handle the books herself. Keep the books with paper pages up on a high shelf, reserved for reading sessions with you. Ignite your child's imagination by stocking the nursery with simple toys that don't do all of the work for them. To make sure they're safe, check out the National Network for Child Care website:

  • Clothing and blankets: Choose soft fabrics that will feel good against baby's delicate skin.

  • Crib Sheets Choose sheets with a soft feel and buy at least three sets. Consider buying a waterproof mattress pad to protect the mattress from leaks.
  • Bulb syringe
  • Baby monitor
  • Nail clipper
  • Emery boards (for filing nails in those early weeks)
  • Baby soap
  • Diaper rash cream
  • LOTS of bibs and burp cloths
  • Something to read during late night rocking sessions
After the nursery is stocked with all of the essentials, you'll just need one more item, which will be delivered on your due date. Enjoy!

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Member Comments About this Article
"This is a good guide for a conventional nursery but if you want to think outside the box, consider this: a child-centric room.

Placing a mattress on the floor instead of using a crib offers several advantages.
1. It is easier to place a sleeping baby on than trying to lower them in a crib.
2. You can lay down with your baby to put them to sleep or soothe them if they wake
3. Many children get to be good climbers very quickly and are safer out of the crib.
4. After baby-proofing the room..." -- ARTEMISMAMA
"I'm on my second child and this time it's a girl so going from blue to pink I am buying a lot of new items because at 44, I thought he would be my last and gave away a lot of it all, surprise surprise, good news is I learned so many things weren't necessary from having my Son I am definitely saving money this time around narrowing down the list. Also a lot of the things aren't so necessary you need them right when you bring baby home, start with the basics and buy as you go. If you are having yo..." -- MAIDENLANE
"Of course, nurseries are totally optional.

The AAP suggests having baby sleep in your room as a measure to reduce SIDS..
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About The Author
Liza Barnes
Liza received her bachelor's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati and is pursuing a master's degree in nurse midwifery. She is the proud mother of one daughter.
Liza Barnes Rothfuss


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