After two years of our marriage, we decided to shift to a bigger house with a better community when I got pregnant. We were pondering over various ideas we had for the quick renovation of the new house.
As we were surfing over the internet, we were going through options for different types of flooring. There were various options, including laminate flooring, carpeted flooring, tiles, and hardwood flooring.
Out of all these, we weren’t sure which one would be the safest for the baby. But I was at least sure of something I didn’t want, and that was the carpet flooring.
Our last house had carpeting across the hall, and every weekend, we had the same trouble of cleaning it and removing the stains. Even then, I found it a bit unhygienic.
Time To Switch To Safer Options
But now was the time to make every decision carefully. We had to look for non-toxic and chemical-free options, as the baby’s well-being and safety were our top priority.
Thus, like everyone, we thought to go for laminate flooring, but after reading several articles and blogs, I changed my mind.
Laminate flooring did fit into our budget very well, but the fact that it contains formaldehyde, which can be dangerous, made us look for better options.
That’s when we came to know about the natural wood flooring and decided to install it in our new house.
Today, when we have twins, I feel it was the right decision to go with the choice of Hardwood. My babies are eight months old, and I see them crawling all around the house.
I hope to inspire and equip other parents to do the same as we all are well aware of how necessary it is to pay attention to kids’ safety in their formative years.
Here are some of the options we shortlisted for our flooring, with Hardwood being our final choice:
Undoubtedly carpeting can be regarded as the softest floor choices out there, not only for babies but also for adults. One naturally feels like spending more time on the floor. Also, it fits in the budget well.
But for us, the drawbacks of carpeting outweighed it’s brighter side. As I told you, our old house had carpeting in the living room.
It always felt comfortable sitting on the floor leaning back to the wall. But the struggle was real on the weekends. Even after cleaning the carpet twice longer, it always had some dirt and stains left on it.
Plush Flecked Carpeted Flooring
Plush flecked carpet claimed to be softer and camouflaged the dirt and stains better.
Apart from its expensive nature, there were few other reasons behind not going with this carpet.
One of our close friends had used plush flecked carpet and was not satisfied with its quality. She was upset as she had to change it in just a few months with her baby around.
Also, the problem of dirt and dust getting trapped remained the same. Thus, we ruled out this option too.
Now, this was something any parent would avoid with their newborns. Tiles can be pretty hard for the babies to crawl and walk on.
Also, if you look at it for a longer run, it can be dangerous for toddlers as they can slip over, fall, and might hurt themselves.
Firstly I would like to clear the people’s misconceptions that bamboo and Hardwood are the same.
They are not!
Bamboo is softer than Hardwood, but at the same time, it is not water-resistant. If you spill some water, then you are calling for trouble. One can’t rely on any such flooring with babies, which can easily rip-off at the edges and hurt them.
The only plus point with the bamboo flooring is it’s cheaper cost. But this doesn’t make sense if you want to floor for the long run.
Laminate flooring was in our first three choices when we were deciding the floorings.
No doubt, laminate flooring has been very popular for the past few years, but harmful emissions of VOCs from the adhesives was our prime concern.
The component of formaldehyde also worried me as a mother. Although many products we use in our household contain formaldehyde in some proportion, I would never want my baby to sit near to something like that.
But if you are keen on and adamant about using the laminate flooring, I would advise you to check it’s CARB2 rating.
CARB2 stands for California’s Air Resources Board’s Phase 2, and this is standard to check the amount of formaldehyde in wooden products. This way, you can be sure about the safety of your loved ones.
Initially, Hardwood flooring was towards the end of our list, but we chose it after going through many informative articles and reviews.
Apart from Hardwood being stylish, classy, and timeless, it has high durability and tends to remain chemical-free and safe for the kids. No doubt it makes the floor surface hard, but we found it to be risk-free and easy to clean flooring in the long run.
We decided to buy a couple of area rugs to cover some parts of our house, including the living room and the baby’s room. These area rugs eliminate the problem of creaking, especially at night. Also, they make things safer and comfortable not only for the kids but also for the parents.
Apart from Hardwood, there were many wooden-based floorings such as natural solid Hardwood, Unfinished Hardwood, and prefinished Hardwood. Out of these, the natural solid Hardwood is the purest and safest for flooring.
We have always been chemically sensitive and thus wanted non-toxic flooring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people asked us questions regarding our new house at my baby shower and it’s flooring. Please have a look at some of those questions as they might clear your doubts as well.
Is Laminate Flooring Toxic?
Laminate flooring has never been our first choice, especially when we knew we were expecting a baby. Laminate floorings primarily contain formaldehyde in the composite layer of wood below the upper-finished surface. The harmful VOC emissions from the formaldehyde as well as from the adhesives can be very dangerous.
Probably no parent would like to compromise with the safety of their child. But if you are keen on choosing the laminate flooring, here’s a piece of advice, go for a mid-grade one, which might be a bit expensive, but they are at least safer. Also, one should always check the CARB2 ratings as well before finalizing the laminate flooring.
What Flooring Is Best For The Babies?
There is a wide range of options available for selecting the floorings for houses with babies. Some people might recommend using carpeted flooring to reduce the risk of falling and getting hurt from the soft surface. But from a hygiene point of view, I would never recommend carpeting as it is hard to clean and remove the trapped dirt.
There has always been a debate between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring. Many people opt for laminate flooring as it tends to be scratch-resistant and cheaper as compared to Hardwood. But the risk of chemical sensitivity and the chances of the baby catching an allergy is always higher with the laminate flooring as its adhesives emit harmful VOCs.
I would recommend opting for hardwood flooring and covering some areas with small rugs depending on the room’s layout. Hardwood is non-toxic and durable and has a low VOC finish.
What Is Safe To Use On Laminate Flooring?
If you have laminate flooring, you should clean it regularly using damp mops or microfiber mops. You should squeeze the mops well to make them completely dry. Also, don’t let any spill settle for too long on the laminate floor.
What Flooring Is Least Toxic?
We opted for hardwood flooring just due to its non-toxic nature. But there can be many other options as well. Some of them include carpeting, tiles, and linoleum.
Carpeting is the least toxic flooring option, and it is made of wool, Berber, and microfiber. These materials are chemical-free, but it becomes hard to clean them and remove the stains.
What Is The Healthiest Flooring For Homes?
The FSC certified solid wood is regarded as the top choice among people in healthy flooring options. These wood floorings have the least risk of catching allergies as they have low-VOC finishes. Natural solid Hardwood is one of the purest and safest options for flooring homes.
How Can Flooring Affect The Baby’s Health?
A research study by UFZ suggests that the Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs found in the floorings and their adhesives can adversely affect newborns and toddlers. The harmful emissions aggravate problems associated with breathing and asthma. Also, since babies have susceptible skin, VOCs’ harmful emissions can boost the chances of developing allergies and skin reactions.
Is It Ok To Let A Baby Crawl On The Floor?
In general, babies start crawling between the age of 6 to 8 months. My twin babies started crawling at the end of the 6th month. Since then, I have observed a drastic change in their motor skills and grip.
It is always great to let your babies crawl not only on soft surfaces but also on hard and uneven surfaces as it helps develop their immune system and enhances their motor skills.
I can understand people’s various doubts and insecurities, especially when they are having their first child. Still, it is never advisable to keep the child protected in a shell for a long time as it hinders their natural development process.
Can Laminate Floors Make You Sick?
Laminate floors emit VOCs, which can degrade the air quality of your house. The laminate floors consist of the formaldehyde in the composite layer, and different adhesives glue up all the thin layers. The harmful chemicals involved leach from the product in the form of gas and can be inhaled by kids and adults.
This can cause various skin problems, allergies, irritation in the eyes and throat, and even boost cancer chances.
Thus, it is advised to look for less toxic alternatives for flooring your house.
Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring
When you are a parent, your priorities change a lot. You might want to look for options that may or may not look good, but they should feel good and safe.
The flooring options can be overwhelming. Laminate flooring and hardwood flooring are the most preferred choices by the people for their homes.
I would like to brief you with some points we considered while choosing between them.
- Durability: The house with kids and pets is a high traffic area. Thus, if you are not planning to change your flooring every other year, you should look for a more durable option. Hardwood floorings tend to last longer than laminated ones. Hardwood floors can withstand damage with spills and scratches better than laminated floors.
- Nature: Hardwood floors don’t contain formaldehyde and are supposed to have low-VOC finishes. On the contrary, the laminated floors’ adhesives can emit harmful VOCs, which can cause allergic reactions to the kids.
- Design: Both laminates and hardwood floors have a classy appearance and come in a variety of hues and colors.
- Cost: Hardwood flooring is slightly more expensive than the laminate one as the former purely comprises wood and has no added chemicals.
The market today offers several budget-friendly and practical flooring options. But when you are going to have a baby, your prime concern becomes the baby’s safety.
Thus, it is better to look for non-toxic, durable, and safe options for the little munchkins. Laminate flooring is not a good option to have, because it contains formaldehyde. I would strongly suggest you choose natural hardwood flooring.
It might add a bit of strain on your wallet, but hardwood is the safest, natural, trouble-free, and elegant flooring you can get, especially with babies in the house.
I hope I was able to clear all your doubts in the article! Do leave your comments and suggestions below.