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House to Home: Catchy cribs for your kids

May 11, 2013
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A child's room is truly his or her castle.

In this space, the beginnings of learning evolve; what is experienced through all the senses most likely will be seen, smelled and felt here. Parents think long and hard about what furniture to buy, how to decorate, what toys, books, puzzles and stuffed playmates will enhance this environment and enrich their child's first years.

These choices will differ according to culture, how many children are in the family, available space and budget. Today's eco-conscious parents have even more to consider. Much has been learned about the impact of manufacturing on our lives, and the business of producing safe, practical, well-designed furnishings and toys for children tops the list.

When it is time for you to prepare a room for your child, there's lots of information to guide you. In your own neighborhood, seek out stores that are eco-responsible. Find out what they know about how the products are made and how the design meets with safety standards. Visit home shows and search online.

At a recent design show, I discovered Simply Green Baby, a company that specializes in thoughtful, practical products (simplygreenbaby.com). The Sparrow Crib by Oeuf caught my eye. The slim side rails and spindles give the crib a light, airy feeling; it is made with solid birch and Baltic birch plywood, and the finishes are nontoxic, water-based and VOC-free. There is also a changing station that fits securely across the top of the crib. The crib can be transformed to a toddler bed. Simply Green Baby's classic wood push toys are made from sustainable wood products and are nontoxic.

Another innovative company, Three Pears, has created the Bobbin Triple Play Centre. It grows with your child from a baby play center to a toddler activity table with chalk top, to a table and chair set. The first stage is for babies who can hold their head up but are not sitting or walking yet. The leather seat swivels 360 degrees, encouraging baby to move and explore within the Bobbin. Three Pears offers toys specifically designed for developing skills, and all meet environmental and safety standards.

What's underfoot, or under baby, is another interesting story. Tiptoe Rugs is the creation of textile designer Alyssa McMurter, who wanted a simple, inviting, natural floor covering that was durable enough to withstand the rigors of childhood use. Made from industrial-strength felted wool, these rugs are flat, don't pill or pull and are naturally stain-resistant and easy to maintain. Tiptoe Rugs are custom made in a full range of bright colors, including fuchsia, lime green and purple, and are designed with three distinctive edges - scallop, castle and zigzag. Visit alistar.ca to see the whimsical selection and contact the designer.

These are only a few of the amazing companies and products that are taking care to pull together an inviting, happy and safe space for your child. What a special gift they all are.

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House to Home is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.

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