Sunday, December 15, 2013

Make Room For Baby!

My husband and I are becoming parents this coming year through the miracle of adoption, and as a mommy-to-be, I am beginning to call into question the safety of my home! (I'm told this is normal.) Redoing a  nursery is a joy for any prospective parent, and Mike Holmes is more than qualified to give tips and advice on how to make a baby's space safe and sound -- after all, he does have two little grandbabies and three grown kids of his own who work with him on his shows.  From internal mini-blinds, to less-toxic paint, there are abundant ways to make home healthier for little ones and big ones alike. One of the first things Mike warns about is so-called low or zero VOC paint. The base might be low or zero VOC, but the pigment may not be. For baby's room, prospective parents might want to choose a lighter color to avoid exposing baby's lungs to toxic off-gasses, because darker pigments usually contain more VOC's. Whatever paint you choose, Mike offers these helpful common sense suggestions: "Properly ventilate the room, keeping the windows open (if there are any) and using fans; seal the area from the rest of the house; wear a disposable respirator if you are painting the room yourself, and let the paint dry for at least a week before moving the baby in. The longer you wait the lower the VOCs will be."
From the Montreal Gazette:

Mike Holmes: Making room for baby

From window and paint safety to purifying the air

After a decade, Mike Holmes still cares because he knows the work he, his crew and others do makes a real difference to the people they help.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt/The Holmes Group, Postmedia News

Spring is the high season for babies, so a lot of parents are starting to prepare the baby’s room now. We usually remember the regular stuff, like covering electrical outlets and installing safety gates around the house. But here are a few extra points to keep in mind.
Windows are a bigger job than just a fresh coat of paint. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, in the middle of the city or if there’s construction happening on your street, noise reduction is worth looking into.
Most new parents want to cut down the noise in nursery rooms so baby — and parents — can sleep more soundly. Different glass packages — such as thicker glass and triple glazing — can make windows more soundproof.
Another concern is safety. You can get internal mini blinds — windows with blinds built into them — so they won’t get dusty. Because they’re cordless — they work on magnets — there’s no choking hazard. There are also doors that have built-in mini blinds.
More homeowners are pushing for no-VOC or VOC-free paint. VOC stands for volatile organic compound. But we have to be careful about these kinds of labels because sometimes it’s just clever marketing.
Just because a paint has no VOCs doesn’t necessarily make it safe. For example, acetone has no VOCs but you wouldn’t want your kids sniffing it. Some homeowners think because the label indicates there are no VOCs that they can paint with kids in the room, or with the windows closed, or without wearing safety gear. Not the case.
And even if the label on the paint indicates it’s VOC free, the pigment added to the paint can contain VOCs. Usually the darker the pigment the more VOCs there are, so lighter colours — especially white — are safer. If you’re set on getting a no-VOC paint, make sure any pigment added is also VOC free.
Also, keep in mind that no-VOC paints are fairly new, so their quality — including durability — isn’t at the same level as regular or even low-VOC paint. However, since we are talking about baby rooms, durability might not be a big issue as parents will likely want to change the room colour within a few years.
Bottom line: when it comes to paint use your common sense. I don’t care if the label indicates no-VOC, low VOC or 100 per cent VOC free — follow the same precautions you would with any other paint product:
Properly ventilate the room, keeping the windows open (if there are any) and using fans; seal the area from the rest of the house; wear a disposable respirator if you are painting the room yourself, and let the paint dry for at least a week before moving the baby in. The longer you wait the lower the VOCs will be.
Indoor air
Everyone worries about the air outside, but the air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted — sometimes even 100 times more polluted!
Babies and small children are especially vulnerable to indoor pollutants, such as dust, mould and bacteria.
In addition to a regular furnace filter — which you should be changing every month during winter — I also recommend installing a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. This is a separate unit that’s installed next to your furnace. It can capture more particles than the average furnace air filter can and it’s also washable in most cases. So every month you wash it, clean it and put it back in.
You can also get a separate air purifier to plug into your baby’s room. But stay away from ionizing air purifiers. Parents like them because they’re silent, but some models emit ozone, which is a lung irritant. Besides, most babies like some background noise, so the sound of the purifier’s fan can actually help them sleep.
When it comes to safety, there are no short cuts. And when it comes to our kids we can never be too careful. Make your baby’s room right by making it safe.
Catch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit


  1. Congratulations!!!
    I'm so happy for you!!!
    Being a parent is a wonderful, exciting, scary, amazing thing!!!! Your going to love it!! I have two daughters & I will share with you the most useful advise given to me. Don't listen to everyone's unrequested advise! Go with your instincts & a few people you trust!! Enjoy every minute, it goes by fast!!!!!!

  2. What wonderful news! Ditto what Sherrie said. And bless you for adopting. It truly will be a match made in heaven. Merry Christmas.

  3. Thanks Sherrie and Anonymous! We've got a long road ahead of us, and we appreciate all the support and well wishes we can get! :)