Non-toxic Rugs for Children's Rooms

by Eliza Martinez

As your baby grows into her toddler and preschooler years, she likely spends a lot of time playing on the floor. As if you didn't have enough to worry about, you may be unaware that the rug on her floor may harbor harmful chemicals. You don't have to give up on having a rug, but finding a safe one lets you cover her floor with an attractive accessory without having to worry about what she's breathing in while she plays.


If you've ever walked into a room with brand new carpet, you know that is has a distinct smell. Part of the cause is the presence chemicals often used to make the synthetic materials that make up carpet. Many types of rugs are made in a similar way with these chemicals. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are one such chemical. Some rugs are sprayed with mothproofing chemicals, and the undersides of many rugs are treated with chemicals too. Even rugs that don't give off an odor can still be harmful. Over time these chemicals may cause health problems, including respiratory problems and cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Safe Rug Materials

You would probably much rather smell the sweet scent of your child when you go into her room, rather than be knocked out by the overwhelming smell of her rug. Certain materials are non-toxic and are effective options when it comes to finding a safe rug. Look for a natural fiber when shopping for a floor rug for your toddler or preschooler's room. Wool, sisal and coir are possibilities. Keep in mind, though, that some are sprayed with a chemical to prevent moths from eating the material. Avoid these items because this spray is highly toxic, according to the Healthy Home Plans website.

Safe Rug Backing

Many rugs are backed with synthetic materials that contain dangerous chemicals. However, you do have options that are non-toxic. Rubber and frothed polyurethane are two choices that are generally safe and make a potential choice for a child's bedroom. The House Logic website suggests natural fibers, such as felt, horsehair, jute and 100 percent sheep's wool are other ones to look for. Make you check to ensure that the backing materials haven't been treated with any chemicals to keep bugs away.

Where to Shop

Some home improvement stores sell non-toxic rugs, but a specialty store that sells natural materials is an alternative if you're having trouble finding what you're looking for. Don't be afraid to ask questions before making your choice, and read any information included with the rug before buying it. The Green and Healthy Info website suggests looking for a rug with the Green Label Plus certification.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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