Baby the floor­ing in your in­fant’s room

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Leanne Brownoff

DEAR Leanne: What is your ad­vice about floor­ing for a baby’s room? I un­der­stand that car­pets can af­fect the air qual­ity, and yet the thought of a hard sur­face doesn’t seem safe. We would ap­pre­ci­ate your com­ments on this.

AN­SWER: Pro­vid­ing a soft foot­ing in a baby’s room not only of­fers com­fort, but also pro­vides some de­gree of safety. When the child is out of the crib, he or she will likely be play­ing on the floor. The soft feel of a car­pet is much more com­fort­able com­pared to a hard­wood or tile sur­face.

There are safety as­pects to con­sider, as well, if you have a hard sur­face. Chil­dren can fall down at all stages of their devel­op­ment, and land­ing on a soft sur­face is usu­ally less trau­matic. If a baby drops some­thing on a hard sur­face, the item may break and be­come a haz­ard. If the child at­tempts to es­cape the crib, there is com­fort in know­ing a soft land­ing will await him.

Find­ing a true hy­poal­ler­genic or ecofriendly car­pet can be dif­fi­cult, how­ever. Many car­pets are cre­ated from syn­thetic fi­bres, backed with a la­tex prod­uct for sta­bil­ity and dyed with chem­i­cals. All to­gether these el­e­ments have the po­ten­tial of emit­ting volatile or­ganic com­pounds (VOC) into the air, which af­fect the air qual­ity. Hard­wood floor­ing also emits VOC.

An al­ter­na­tive to syn­thetic fi­bres is nat­u­ral car­pets made from wool, bam­boo or sisal. Sisal is a re­silient fi­bre, but not very com­fort­able. Bam­boo is be­ing man­u­fac­tured into fi­bres and used in a va­ri­ety of ap­pli­ca­tions for home decor, from tow­els to area car­pets. This process is still very new and so its ap­pli­ca­tion re­mains quite limited.

Al­though more com­fort­able than sisal, the un­treated-wool car­pet of­fers com­fort with many great op­tions in­clud­ing a nat­u­ral jute back­ing and nat­u­ral dyes — dras­ti­cally re­duc­ing VOC lev­els. Al­though the wool car­pet is more costly than syn­thetic car­pet, it tends to last longer and feel more lux­u­ri­ous, mak­ing it a long-term op­tion.

Dear Leanne: Last week, I went to my lake cabin and re­moved all the cur­tains to have them cleaned. I loved the open feel­ing so much that I hes­i­tate to put them back up.

My hus­band wants them back on for pri­vacy, but we are se­cluded and I don’t think that is a prob­lem.

What is your thought on win­dow cov­er­ings? I re­ally want to keep the open view.

AN­SWER:

There is no ques­tion that the rea­son you have your cot­tage is to en­joy the view of the lake. Op­ti­miz­ing this is some­thing I am sure both you and your hus­band wish to ex­pe­ri­ence.

You don’t have to go with the all-ornoth­ing ap­proach, how­ever. There are a num­ber of win­dow-cov­er­ing op­tions that pro­vide a va­ri­ety of ben­e­fits.

Draperies and cur­tains are con­sid­ered soft win­dow treat­ments. They typ­i­cally of­fer heat and light con­trol. This is im­por­tant on those hot sum­mer days if you don’t have proper ven­ti­la­tion and air­flow.

With­out some form of de­flec­tion, your cot­tage can be­come an un­com­fort­able hothouse. With the day­light hours start­ing early in the morn­ing, you need to con­sider how happy ev­ery­one will be when they get up with the birds. This may also be a chal­lenge if you are at­tempt­ing to set­tle down young chil­dren in the evening.

An­other fea­ture that win­dow cov­er­ings of­fer is the pri­vacy fac­tor, as your hus­band men­tioned. Re­gard­less of the seclu­sion you feel, I am sure you would want the prop­erty to be as se­cure as pos­si­ble when you are away. Bare, open win­dows are far too invit­ing.

Along with their prac­ti­cal func­tions, draperies add to the style of the room. An­other fea­ture that soft cov­er­ings of­fer is the abil­ity to soften echo­ing sounds. If your cot­tage is filled with hard sur­faces such as wood, tile or stone, there is no place for sound waves to land and be ab­sorbed, thus cre­at­ing echoes. This is not a ter­ri­bly com­fort­ing en­vi­ron­ment, and can be eas­ily reme­died with some well-placed fabrics or car­pets.

Draperies are only one op­tion when it comes to win­dow cov­er­ings. Blinds and shut­ters should also be con­sid­ered. Due to their struc­tured char­ac­ter­is­tics, these cov­er­ings are con­sid­ered hard win­dow treat­ments.

There are many op­tions that are per­fect for lake cot­tages, in­clud­ing bam­boo or grass blinds, cheer­ful fab­ric blinds (roller or Ro­man are very pop­u­lar), metal or vinyl vene­tian blinds, as well as fab­ric shades such as Hunter Dou­glas’ Sil­hou­ette and Trio sys­tems.

When you are de­cid­ing what would pro­vide you with the best op­tions, you need to con­sider the fol­low­ing: the abil­ity to con­trol your view, pri­vacy, tem­per­a­ture, light and sound.

Of­ten the hard treat­ment sys­tems can be raised into a cas­sette that keeps the win­dow, and there­fore the view, com­pletely un­ob­structed. The Vene­tian, Sil­hou­ette and Trio op­tions al­low the view while con­trol­ling heat, light and pri­vacy. This is not the case with draperies, which are ei­ther opened or closed.

I sug­gest you in­stall a shade that works with your decor rather than re­in­stalling the draperies. You will get the view and still be able to con­trol the tem­per­a­ture and light as needed, while your hus­band can main­tain his pri­vacy --not to men­tion se­cu­rity when you are not there.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Pro­vid­ing a soft foot­ing in a baby’s room not only of­fers com­fort, but also pro­vides

some de­gree of safety.

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