Putting plants in young children's rooms can be a divisive subject if you want to bring in health and safety hence why I have resisted writing this blog post for a while. So to be clear – I am talking about babies and very young children and I am assuming that they are supervised (or left in their cot) in their nurseries/ bedrooms and unable to gain access to the plants to be able to do themselves any harm!
So – why plants in babies rooms?
1. Plants are natural air filters.
I have previously written about the air purification benefits of house plants and how they can absorb some toxic chemicals. Babies and young children are even more susceptible to chemical exposure. They are still developing their brains and nervous systems. You only have to google “household chemical exposure babies” to see so many news reports and articles on the many types of chemicals that are found in everyday items around the house and what the effects are.
There is a natural nesting tendency to create a newly decorated, welcoming room for baby, complete with new paint/ paper, new furnishings and bedding - all of these products will have their fair share of VOCs (Volitile organic compounds) . One of the things that I did – before my baby was born was to have the room full of spider plants and mother in laws tongues to try and reduce the chemicals.
We are bombarded with toxic chemicals in almost every aspect of our lives from the fragrances in cleaning products to the plastic wrapping that covers our fruit and veg. Anything that reduces this exposure can only be a good thing! Most houseplants will absorb various chemicals (see my previous post on fresh air plants for specific details). Some of these, such as the Sanseveria family (commonly known as mother in laws tongues) are great as they actively release oxygen at night as well as absorbing their share of chemical nasties.
Sanseverias come in over 70 different forms and are a very easy plant to grow. They are a very striking plant in all of their forms and provide a great focal point.
2. Visual Stimulation is important for little ones.
There has been a tendency in recent years to have all white or very light pastel coloured nurseries. These are calming and pleasing to the design eye in us all but can sometimes be lacking in stimulation for your little one. Ever wondered why your baby makes a beeline for the most garish, brightly coloured plastic toy? The colours are very exciting and catch his eye! The human eye can actually see more shades of green than any other colour so what is more appropriate than having some greenery for those developing their sight?
Plants don’t just have to be green – there are plenty of houseplants that produce beautiful flowers as well as those that have different coloured foliage. At Stupid Egg HQ we love the Wandering Jew (tradescantia zebrina); it has beautiful purple and white stripes on the leaves and babies love contrast. These wandering plants suit a hanging basket to grow downwards.
Plants grow in different shapes - which again provides a little bit of sensory stimulation. We may not give it a lot of thought but if you had never seen plants before then you would be fascinated by their shapes and forms as well as colour. Spider plants are great for this – their long reaching and bouncy leaves are a great contrast to the spiky and still Sanseveria.
Where to put them?
We love hanging planters anyway but when you think that a baby spends a lot of time looking up then it makes perfect sense to have one or two where they can see the plants from their cot. A little bit like a mobile but slightly further away. ..... There are no hard and fast rules about where is best for plants other than out of reach of baby!
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Photos by Coral Atkinson