What does air quality consist of? Indoor air quality refers to the temperature, humidity level and the level of allergens and toxins in the air. In general, most products that contain toxins and VOCs off-gas at a MUCH higher rate in warm, humid air. And in general, most nurseries are kept fairly warm and have a lot of moisture in the air due to the amount of time babies are in their cribs sleeping.
And while you don’t want to have an extremely humid bedroom for baby, you also can’t have the air too dry. Air that is too dry for a baby will play a huge role in congestion and dry skin. Babies come to us with sensitive skin and accustomed to a warm, humid environment.
Let’s talk about how to attain the perfect amount of moisture in your home or nursery’s air. First, we recommend investing in an Indoor Air Quality Monitor. There are SEVERAL that you can choose from. Some will work with an app on your phone, and others are inexpensive battery operated devices you can check yourself.
If you’re unsure of where to start, I recommend getting a basic, inexpensive, battery operated unit to help you determine the indoor humidity in each room.
Ideally, we want indoor relative humidity levels to sit somewhere between 35% - 45%. Any lower and you will feel the effects of dry indoor air (dry skin, respiratory problems and dry eyes). Any higher than that range and you will start to create an environment that harbors dust mites, mold and other toxins that thrive in moisture-rich environments. Dustmites stop reproducing when the indoor humidity is around 40% and while mold can grow with ANY amount of moisture, the lower end of the spectrum will not promote mold growth.
If you’ve tested your nursery and you’re finding the room is much too humid, there are steps you can take to reverse your problem.
Poor indoor air quality for pregnant mothers also has an impact on the behavior and development of their children. A Columbia University study connected exposure to some air pollutants to a predisposition different behavior problems in children. This included problems regulating their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. This is why from pregnancy all throughout your child’s life the quality of the air they breathe is of the utmost importance. Our bodies are wonderfully complex and take in so much of what we exposed to. By creating a healthy environment to surround our children with, we are offering them a jump start on a healthy life.