With all the floor covering options available today, carpet remains the best choice for a baby’s room for a couple of reasons. Firstly – and obviously – carpet is soft. When the baby begins crawling around on the floor, you want something soft to protect little knees, and as the baby grows into toddler, carpet provides a nice cushion to break the inevitable falls. Secondly, carpet is one of the best floor covering materials for indoor air quality, despite many rumors to the contrary.
Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that carpet prevents dust and other allergens from becoming airborne, where they are easily inhaled. So carpet can help baby (and you) to breathe easier.
Even if you have hardwood or another type of hard-surface flooring in the room, consider making an area rug out of broadloom to cover the majority of the floor to provide the benefits outlined above.
So, the question becomes: what type of carpet is best for a baby’s room? Well, to answer that question, we first look at the key features that a carpet for a nursery should have.
As mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of carpet is that it’s softer than other floor covering materials. While all carpet is soft, some carpets are softer than others. In recent years, a huge trend in carpeting has been towards softer fibers, and there are many choices in every style of carpet. Ask your carpet retailer for a soft-fiber carpet, and they should know what you’re talking about.
Most home building materials contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are essentially chemicals that are released in the form of gas. These gasses, of course, then end up in your breathing air – something that doesn’t exactly put your mind at ease when your new baby is sleeping in the room.
To reduce exposure to these gasses, look for a carpet that has low VOCs. Carpets made from naturally sourced materials are typically lower in VOCs than traditional synthetic fibers. In addition, it is a good idea to have the carpet installed before the baby arrives (or at least before the baby will be sleeping in the room). For the first couple of days after installation, keep the door to the room closed and the window in the room open, if possible, to allow the carpet to “air out.”
It goes without saying: babies can be messy. Spilled bottles, diaper mishaps, and curious little ones using diaper cream as finger paint (or maybe that’s just my house?) can all cause worry about leaving stains on the carpet. So a carpet with a high level of stain resistance is a must for a nursery. Be sure to inquire about the soiling warranty as well, as there is a difference between staining and soiling, and the warranties that cover them.
Typically, durability isn’t as much of a concern in a bedroom as it is for higher-traffic areas of the home (such as stairs or the family room). However, you want to be sure that the carpet you choose will look good for a long time to come. After all, your carpet is an investment, and you deserve to get high performance out of it.
So, keeping all of these traits in mind, what is the best carpet for a baby’s room? Well, there are many carpets that check off all of the items listed above, and I encourage you to explore them all to find the best one for you. I will share with you, however, that I happen to have a personal favorite: the Mohawk SmartStrand collection. It easily meets all of the criteria outlined above: it is soft, durable, and carries a lifetime stain and soil warranty. In addition, it is made in part with naturally-derived ethanol instead of petroleum, so it carries a lower level of VOCs than other typical synthetics. If you are shopping for carpet for a nursery, I recommend taking a look at SmartStrand.