When you are planning your baby’s nursery, the crib, paint color and decor are some of the first things that come to mind. But do you ever consider the flooring? It can actually make a big impact on their development. 

A few things to consider when considering the different flooring options. First and foremost, you want to put the health of your child above all else. Things like dirt and allergens can get trapped in certain types of flooring, which can become a big problem down the road. The flooring can be especially important when you consider the safety of your little ones. You might want to go with an option that will help prevent the inevitable small bumps and bruises.

Kids make messes in any room of any house. So make sure that the flooring in the nursery is easy to clean. Toys and other items your kids play with will put wear and tear on the floor. There is nothing worse than when you finally get your baby to sleep only to step on a loud, squeaky floorboard that disrupts your light sleeper. Chances are your nursery won’t be a nursery forever. It will change as your baby gets older. Since flooring can be expensive, make sure that you think long term and what the future might bring before you finalize your decision. 

Carpet is soft, comfortable, durable and forgiving. It can help protect a wobbly baby who is beginning to walk from bumps and bruises, making it seem like an obvious choice. But before you buy, beware that it can become a perfect home for dust mites, mold and mildew making it less than ideal for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Carpets that are made from synthetic fibers can contain VOCs and other toxic chemicals that could potentially make your little one sick. If you are set on carpet for your choice in the nursery, look for carpet made from natural, VOC-free materials like wool, cotton or jute which will help keep your child from exposure to the chemicals found in the synthetic carpets. No matter the material, make sure new carpet is installed in the nursery well before the little ones arrival so that the room can air out.

Wood is long-lasting and easy to clean. It gives a classic look to any room that never goes out of style. While it is durable, all wood floors are subject to wear and tear. A big downfall is the price. Depending on the type of wood and finish you choose, the cost per square foot can be in the double digits. A large area rug would help protect your investment and provide a comfortable playing surface to help soften the hard wood floors. 

Bamboo has become a popular choice and eco-friendly. It provides a strong, durable surface that is much less expensive than hardwood. With a cost of $5-7 per square foot, bamboo is one of the cheaper green flooring options. Bamboo is naturally pest-resistant so doesn’t require dangerous pesticides, ensuring a completely organic product. Bamboo is harder than hardwood and scratch-resistant and less prone to warping than its hardwood counterpart. So it can handle anything a baby or toddler throws at it, literally!

Cork is another excellent flooring choice with anti-allergenic and anti-microbial properties. It is warmer and softer than wood floors and provides a comfortable, safe surface for your baby, cushioning their falls. Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark is harvested without harming the tree and only takes a few years to grow back which makes this another eco-friendly flooring option. It does not emit harmful VOCs and is energy-efficient, providing excellent home insulation. While cork seems like a softer material than others, it is susceptible to scuffing but actually quite resilient, lasting up to 15 years and with a price point of $5-8 per square foot, very cost effective.

Laminate offers an inexpensive option that is easy to install and cost effective at $1-3 per square foot. It is fairly durable, scratch-resistant and easy to clean so a good option for parents and even has zero-emission laminate products available. It is made from pressed fiber or wood particles and is typically treated with formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. If you can’t find a zero-emissions laminate product, you can consider a natural laminate flooring option as well. They are sustainable, biodegradable and VOC free. 

As you can see, there are several safe, comfortable and practical flooring options for both newborns and toddlers. Your choice can differ based on where you live, what is currently on your floors and your budget. You can always soften your hard surface with an area rug or soft foam tile for extra protection.