Think about all the time your child spends on the ground. Seriously, think about it - from crawling and learning to walk, to rolling around and roughhousing, to sprawling out and relaxing - kids love the floor! So, the first place to start when creating a safe space for your little one should be with the perfect rug. When choosing the right rug, you not only want it to be a warm, soft space for them to land, but you also need it to be safe for their health. An area rug should not only look and feel good, it should also be good for the planet, good for your home and, most importantly, good for your child. Here's what to look for when choosing a rug that's safe in every way for your little kiddo:
A non-toxic rug is created using natural materials, focusing on the health of the humans that come in contact with it. Your little human deserves to be safe from these toxic substances:
- Pesticides - found in natural fiber rugs if not properly sourced
- Flame-retardants - toxic chemicals used mainly on synthetic rugs
- Formaldehyde - found in adhesives used for rug backing or pads
- PFC's - per-fluorinated compounds are chemicals used in stain and water repellent treatments
Rugs made with synthetic fibers contain volatile organic compounds (VOC's). VOC's are human-made chemicals found within the fibers, backing and pad. These VOC's emit toxic gasses that may be carcinogenic and cause a number of health-related issues.
Look for 100% Wool
Natural wool is an excellent option when choosing a non-toxic area rug. Not only is wool non-toxic, but it can also improve indoor air quality. By quickly absorbing certain VOC's that linger in your household (from cleaners, air fresheners, and furnishings), wool neutralizes these contaminants and does not re-emit them into the air. Another bonus, wool is naturally fire-resistant.
When looking for a 100% wool rug that is sourced properly, make sure to look for the Woolmark logo. This symbol promises that the product has been rigorously tested for the highest quality, durability and performance.
Look for 100% Organic and Harmful Chemical Free Cotton
Natural cotton-fiber rugs are a good non-toxic choice, as well. Make sure you look for rugs that are made only from pesticide-free cotton. look for the OEKO- TEX Standard 100 or the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE/FAIR TRADE
It's important to know where your little one's rug came from and whether it was ethically sourced also known as Fair traded. Organizations like Care & Fair are making sure that unfair child labor isn't creating your child's carpet. They have made an enormous stride in changing the poor conditions in the carpet-producing areas of India and Pakistan. In fact, C & S has increased parental awareness, allowing these children to go to school. They also provide support to the schools, as well as to clinics and educational programs. They are committed to abolishing illegal child labor, creating better living conditions and promoting socially acceptable production of carpets. Look for the Care & Fair logo when finding the right rug for your child's room.
Renewable, biodegradable and 100% natural, a wool rug is one of the best choices you can make as a conscious consumer. It is the most reused and recyclable fibers on the planet. As it is 100% biodegradable, wool doesn't contribute to microplastic pollution (like synthetic materials that are made from plastics derived from crude oil) on our land and in our oceans.
When it comes to the durability, comfort, look and quality of a rug, the manufacturing process matters. Rugs are either handmade or machine produced, with the three main techniques described below:
This process takes the longest to finish (typically one month for one rug) and uses natural fibers like wool and cotton. These rugs are more expensive, as they are high-quality and the design on the back will be the same as on the front. The method, dating back thousands of years, involves a special wooden frame known as a loom. Vertical threads (warp) are intertwined with horizontal threads (weft) and knotted together, creating patterns. An average weaver can tie about 10,000 knots a day.
A tufting gun is used for this process. It's a hand-operated tool with a needle that is used to punch wool in and out of fabric (typically canvas) that is stretched on a frame. When the rug is finished, it is removed from the canvas and an adhesive is used on the backside to prevent the yarn from unraveling. This method is quicker than hand-knotting, with the design only apparent on one side. This process give usually a soft kids rug finish.
The least amount of skill is needed with machine-made rugs. A 'power loom' is run by electricity and synthetic fibers are used to create the rug. This is the quickest method and produces a less expensive product.
THE PERFECT PLACE TO PURCHASE A RUG
At Nico and Yeye, we are committed to providing quality products for your favorite little humans, and that includes area rugs for them to crawl, walk, roll, relax and roughhouse on! We use only Woolmark-tested wool and work solely with companies who are Care & Fair certified. Our rugs are sustainable and manufactured responsibly. Not to mention, they're pretty darn cute!