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Nursery School - Floors and windows, light and heat

A look at some important things to keep in mind when getting your baby's nursery ready.

Flooring

Wall-to-wall carpeting is a popular choice for its look, warmth and comfort. Choose a carpet made with nylon fibers or another synthetic that has been treated with stain protectors. The most common alternative to carpeting is a wooden floor, though wood-based laminates like Pergo, ceramic tile, vinyl tile or linoleum are also used. If you use a rug over any of these finishes, make sure it is secured with a non-slip backing.

Window coverings

The right window covering can "make" the room -- choose something that will allow sunlight but avoid glare, give you privacy but will allow your baby to see the world outside. Consider curtains, mini blinds (do not allow your child to pull at gnaw on the blinds, as some miniblind coatings may contain lead), roller blinds (you can make your own with any fabric and a kit available at most craft stores), a variety of fabric shades or and shutters.

TIP: Whatever you put on the windows, be tremendously careful with any pull-cords. Cut the knots off the of multiple strand pulls, and securely loop up the slack far out of your baby's reach.

Lighting

The baby's room should have at least one overhead light, or possibly a few recessed lights. There are also a great variety of low-voltage (12v) halogen lights now available for homeowners. They tend to be more expensive than incandescent lights, but there are a far greater variety of creative styles -- as the bulbs are so small, you can find animal shapes, planes, flowers, and tiny brightly-colored shades. While halogen lights use less power, they do give off more heat: visit with a lighting consultant about what would work best for you. Find a lighting showrooms that specialize in halogen lighting, as they can be a good resource for both design and installation.

TIP: A dimmer switch is preferable to vary the intensity of the lighting at night, though a small desk lamp with a shade and a 10- to 15-watt bulb will also serve you well when placed out of baby's reach and positioned to avoid glare.

Floor lamps and torchieres - especially halogen uplights - should never be used in a baby's room. The risk of them being knocked or pulled over, together with the fact that they have trailing cords, easily outweigh any benefits.

TIP: Space heaters can be very hazardous, and should be kept away from drapes and other furnishings, and only be used when you are present.

Heating and cooling

To help keep the baby at a comfortable temperature, move the baby's crib away from the window and out of the direct path of any heating or air conditioning vents. If you have an exposed radiator, build a grille over it to protect your baby from burns and to improve its appearance. A ceiling fan is an inexpensive way to circulate air in the baby's room, and is especially nice for hot summer nights. Choose a good model of a quality brand, as some cheaper fans are noisy, more difficult to install and balance, and won't last as long.

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