Dangerous Nursery Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Nautical baby room
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Many a mom-to-be dreams of bringing their perfect new baby home to an equally perfect nursery. Undeterred by swollen ankles, sore backs, and the inability to see our own feet, we nest our hearts out. Yet in our rush to make everything look flawless in time for the big day, we sometimes end up sacrificing a safe nursery for a stylish one. 

Designing a nursery? Make nursery safety your top priority by avoiding these five potentially dangerous decorating mistakes.

  • 01 of 05

    Exposing Baby to Dangerous Chemicals

    Pink paint can with brush on pink background
    Isabel Pavia / Getty Images

    While most expectant mothers have a healthy fear of paint fumes, many are unaware that their beautiful new crib or stylish accent rug could also expose their baby to potentially dangerous chemicals.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, new furniture, carpet, mattresses, and even rugs and window dressings can contain many of the same volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, found in paint. These chemicals evaporate over time but, in the process, create fumes that could make your little one sick. 

    While the potential effects of VOCs are frightening, exposure is relatively easy to prevent. Be sure to get your nursery underway early, so there will be plenty of time for any new and chemical-laden furniture or accessories to air out before you introduce them to baby. Choose low-odor interior paint for your baby's nursery, and consider passing on the new carpet and installing wood flooring instead. Leave cabinets and drawers open and empty of any clothing, and resist the urge to set up baby bedding until your baby's mattress has had sufficient time to air out.

    Still concerned about the dangers associated with chemical off-gassing? Consider going organic!

  • 02 of 05

    Improperly Installing Curtains

    Friendly baby room decor in white and blue
    KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

    You've probably already taken the time to childproof your windows, but have you considered the safety of your window dressings?

    Curtains that are improperly installed or insufficiently fixed can fall on your child. To prevent head injuries, ensure that all curtain hardware is either fixed directly to a wall stud or secured with the appropriate drywall anchors. Never use tension rods. One good tug on the curtain fabric is all it takes to send them hurtling toward your toddler's head.

  • 03 of 05

    Choosing Dangerous Accessories

    Brown wooden mountain shelf
    Brett Taylor / Getty Images

    Heavy wall hangings also pose a threat, even if they are installed properly. Consider using lightweight canvas art or vinyl wall decals instead, and never hang anything directly over your baby's crib that could fall and injure them.

    When choosing other accessories, try to think like a toddler. Your little bundle will be bouncing all over the room before you know it, making baby-proofing a must. Beads from a decorative pillow could easily end up in your kiddo's mouth. That lovely lace tablecloth on the end table? Chances are, it's coming off—along with everything on it.

    Remember: if it could happen, it probably will.

  • 04 of 05

    Choosing Unsafe Furniture

    Pink blanket on white cradle in grey baby's bedroom interior with poster and ladder. Real photo
    KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

    When choosing furniture for your baby's room, it is important to ensure that every piece is as safe as it is beautiful.

    While you may love the idea of using a family heirloom or incorporating a vintage find, many of these antique items, especially cribs and bassinets, do not meet modern safety standards and should be avoided.

    If you have your heart set on an antique, or if a brand new crib is simply not in the budget, be sure to visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website to learn more about what to look for when considering an older crib.

    Rocking chairs and even modern gliders also tend to cause injury. To protect little toes and fingers, choose a glider, preferably one with a stop-lock mechanism that prevents the chair from gliding when not in use, and be sure that all gears are encased and out of reach.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Choosing Fashion Over Function

    A stylish kid's room
    JR-stock / Getty Images

    In a battle between what looks good and what works best, common sense sometimes abandons us. The crib might look amazing in front of the window, but is that really the safest place for it? Your nursery curtains may match your bedding set, but will they block out enough light and protect your baby from overheating during afternoon naps? Have you stored the items you will need to change and dress your baby within arm's reach of the changing table?

    Before calling your masterpiece complete, take a few moments to sit and think about the functionality of your baby's new home. It may be disappointing to make changes, but planning ahead can prevent accidents and save you a lot of money and effort in the long run.