Decorating baby's room

These tips are to help you as you plan to decorate baby’s room and place the furniture where it will work best for you and be safe for baby.

We recommend that baby sleeps close to you at night time for the first six months. These tips are for getting babies room ready for day sleeps for newborn babies and when your child is older and sleeping in their own room.

Decorating tips

  • Try to include interesting colours and shapes in your décor. Bright colours and curtains with bright patterns on light background will stimulate baby’s interest and encourage them to look around. Babies find it easier to distinguish primary colours (red, yellow and blue) in the early days.
  • If using decals to decorate walls, make sure they are applied securely and are out of reach from baby.
  • Visit your local paint supplier and ask for paint that would be suitable for a baby’s room. They have lots of colours and paints to help reduce fumes and are eco-friendly.

Bassinet and cot

  • Cots are required by law to comply with a Product Safety Standard. These standards require safety features to help keep baby out of danger while in the cot. Second-hand cots, including those passed down through the family may not comply. Find our more about the safety regulations for cots here
  • In cots and bassinettes it is important to have a firm flat mattress that has no gaps between the bed frame and mattress.
  • When choosing blankets or duvets make sure they tuck in well; anything that doesn’t tuck in can be a danger as it can go over baby’s head. Natural fibres such as cotton and wool are good as they ‘breathe’ helping baby keep warm but not too hot.
  • If you are using a cot for a young baby make the cot up at the foot end so baby is less likely to wriggle under blankets.
  • Place baby equipment including bassinet/cot away from direct sunlight, heaters, opening windows and curtain or blind cords. Blind cords can be a strangulation hazard, getting caught around baby.
  • We do not recommend putting anything extra in baby’s bed – including pillows, toys, loose bedding or bumper pads. Baby doesn’t need a pillow, they must always be put to bed on their back, with their face clear.

Mobiles and toys

  • Mobiles should be out of reach where baby can see them but not grab them.
  • Keeping toys out of the cot takes away objects a baby could use to climb on and out of the cot.

Smoke alarms, windows, heating and other safety tips

  • Place a working smoke alarm in baby’s bedroom.
  • Fit all electric sockets with child resistant covers.
  • Windows that open wide are a danger as a curious toddler can climb or fall out. Using safety catches that prevent the window opening too wide are a good idea, installing them now as you decorate the bedroom gets the job done.
  • You may need a heater in baby’s bedroom. A heater with a thermostat is best to keep the temperature even. The room should feel comfortable for a lightly clad adult, not too hot or cold.
  • If you are positioning a change table, place drawers containing baby clothes close to it so you can access clothes while keeping a hand on baby.
  • Lead is poisonous and it takes only a small amount to harm a young child. Paint on older nursery furniture may contain lead. You can contact a Health Protection Officer at the local District Health Board for advice about testing for this.
  • Secure heavy items such as a chest of drawers and book case in baby’s room to the wall so they will not tip over if climbed on or there is an earthquake.
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