Since babies like to gnaw on just about everything, a crib with non-toxic finishes is a must. Although the government has very strict regulations on the structural safety of cribs, they have not yet issued equally strict regulations on the amount of off-gassing of chemicals or on the amount of toxic chemicals found in the fiberboard base of most cribs. Without high enough government standards, it is our job as parents to ask questions when you see a crib labeled “non-toxic”. So before you invest in a crib, consider our 5 tips below for choosing the best eco-friendly crib. Bonus points for finding a sustainably produced crib.
1. Choose a crib made of solid wood.
Opt for unfinished solid wood from sustainable sources like FSC. Although all wood has a small amount of formaldehyde, press-wood (a.k.a. composite, fiberboard, MDF, veneer, OSB, and some types of plywood) is known to release much higher levels of VOCs than natural, solid wood. This is because manufactured wood is largely composed of resins and glues that are teaming with VOCs.
2. Make sure the base of the crib is also made of solid wood.
Even if labeled “solid wood,” many cribs have a fiberboard base that is filled with formaldehyde. For this reason, you should ask about the exact contents in the base of the crib.
3. Finishes should be non-toxic, water-based and free of VOC health hazards.
You do want a crib that was stained with water-based tung or linseed oil. You DO NOT want a crib that was stained with harsh chemicals that release highly toxic airborne chemicals. Paints, varnishes, and stains applied to wood furniture can emit large amounts of VOCs. Because lower VOC coatings are more expensive, most cribs are full of VOCs unless otherwise noted. If all else fails, opt for a crib made of unfinished wood. You can always paint the crib yourself with a food-grade paint.
4. Choose a Greenguard certified crib.
The GREENGUARD certification is a very high European standard that certifies materials that have low chemical emissions, improving the quality of the air in which the products are used.
5. Choose a convertible crib.
Opt for a crib that can grow with your baby. From a sustainability point of view, a crib that lasts longer uses less raw materials. This will allow you to spend more on your favorite crib because it will last you a long time. Cribs like the Oeuf Crib will take your newborn through their toddler years with the Toddler Bed Conversion Kit, turning the super cute crib into a modern bed for your growing little one. Since you will be turning your crib into a bed, years from now, it makes sense to purchase the conversion kit at the same time as your baby crib.
So let’s recap… experts believe the federal government does not have high enough standards to regulate the amount of harmful chemicals found in children’s furniture. VOCs are associated with both short and long-term health problems, and the concentrations of VOCs in the air we breath are usually higher indoors than it is outdoors. Thus, in our opinion, it is our job as parents to make sure we’ve checked off all of the boxes above to keep our nurseries free of harmful chemicals. Don't have the time to research the bagillion cribs on the market?
No worries, we've done all of the research for you, so you can be sure the furniture at Noble Carriage have been sustainably produced and have low-VOCs to zero-VOCs.