Nontoxic Rugs for Children's Rooms

Decorating and furnishing your child’s bedroom may involve selecting a rug for the floor. If you decide to buy a rug, you want to look for one that's nontoxic so you can minimize your child's exposure to harmful materials. In your search you need to know what to look for.

Organic Fibers

Good selections for nontoxic rugs for your child's bedroom (or any other rooms he frequents) include:

  • cotton
  • wool
  • jute
  • sisal
  • bamboo
  • hemp

Wool is a good choice because wool rugs are durable, repel liquids and resist flames. Hemp is also a good choice for rugs, as hemp is durable and resists mildew. Sisal is a natural, nontoxic choice and sisal rugs are available in different colors and textures.

Dyes and Additives

If a rug is colored, make sure the dye is vegetable-based instead of a synthetic dye, warns the U.S. Green Building Council Green Home Guide 2. Many carpets and rugs feature special stain repellent treatments, flame retardants and insect pesticides and these may contain toxic chemicals. It is important that you find out about potential additives that may have been sprayed on the rug or if the rug has been coated so that you can choose a rug without chemical additives.

Natural Backings

Foam backings can contain toxic chemicals, which can emit toxins into the room, according to the Healthy Child Healthy World website. Instead of choosing a rug that has a foam backing, choose one that has a backing made from natural latex. Synthetic latex is petroleum-based, but natural latex is made from the rubber plant, according to the Healthy Child Healthy World website. Also, check the rug to determine if the backing was stitched or if it was glued to the rug. Stitching is a better choice than glue. If the backing was glued to the rug, check the type of glue to insure the glue was made from a low- or no VOC (volatile organic compound.) Glues made from VOCs release chemicals, solvents and aerosols into the air, according to the National Library of Medicine Tox Town website.

Carpet Certification

If you’re seriously thinking of buying a specific rug, check to see that it has been certified. Carpets with the Green Label Plus Certification have passed extensive independent laboratory testing to make sure the carpets don’t emit common toxic chemicals into the environment, according to organic designer Dawn Michael, writing for the Green and Healthy Info website. Common chemicals include formaldehyde, acetone, benzene and styrene. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides information about indoor air pollution as a result of chemicals and VOCs 6.