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It’s very exciting to plan your baby’s room – and pregnancy is the right time to do it, too. When your baby arrives you’re likely to be way too busy or sleep-deprived to want to do much planning and decorating.
Don’t forget that your baby will go through many changes in the first two years, so try to make your plans with at least a two-year timeframe in mind, with safety and comfort for baby and parents guiding all the choices you will make.
In an ideal world, your budget will stretch to a separate room for your baby, which you can decorate and make very safe. But not all babies get their own rooms, particularly if they are second or subsequent children – so the main aim is to make baby’s “zone” as safe and comfortable as possible and make sure that other easily-accessible areas of the room can be made baby-proof as soon as your baby becomes mobile.
All those gorgeous fluffy toys, spinning mobiles, padded bumpers and colourful cot covers are very tempting in the shop, but when you are thinking about your baby’s room, think safety first.
See our baby equipment guide to help inform your decisions about baby furniture and equipment before you go shopping.
A sparse cot is safest – nothing to smother or overheat your baby, nothing to climb on or tangle with.
If you’re dying to decorate, put up lots of colourful toys on a shelf, decorate with murals and wall-hangings and pile some teddy-bears on the floor.
Any paint that you use should be non-toxic – some paint shops that specialise in low-allergy paint, too.
Watch out for windows. Arrange for a safety lock to be fitted to any windows in your baby’s room. If the window is close to the floor, consider getting bars fitted. Curtains and blinds can pose a hazard if they have long cords – remove cords or shorten them way out of a young child’s reach.
Mobiles are lovely but it’s amazing how quickly those tiny arms grow. By about four months, many babies seem to have magic extender-arms that can reach twice their body-length.
Baby bedding should be natural, flameproof fabric, without any ties or cords or buttons that can come loose and cause strangulation or choking. Check window coverings and furniture upholstery using the same criteria – safety first.
Any rugs or mats should also be slip-proof and flameproof.
If you’re on a limited budget, baby’s linen and toys should be bottom of the list; it’s better to spend money on installing a smoke alarm in your baby’s room and getting an electrician to check the safety of power-points and making sure there is no reason for a dangerous cord snaking across the room.
Childproof covers on powerpoints are a great idea.
If you need to use heating in your baby’s room, be very careful. One of the safest types of heating is ducted heating. Any electric or gas heater should have a flameproof, heatproof guard.
If you need help trying to visualise setting up your baby nursery and figuring out where everything should go before you buy, have a go at the Huggies Baby Room Decorator.