Melanie Warner / Houston Chronicle

With asthma and allergies on the rise, many parents are opting to create green nurseries for their children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 7 million children have asthma, which can be triggered by environmental factors.

“Children are going to spend more time outside of the nursery in places that aren’t green,” says Sheneq Aranda, consultant and owner of Premier Baby Planning, a baby-consulting service based in Houston. “You want to focus on the nursery; it’s like a haven for the baby. You want them to be able to rest their immune system. It’s the one place you really can control.”

Aranda shared her tips for creating a green nursery.

Q: What is a green nursery?

A: Going green in your nursery simply means making a best effort to protect your baby from toxins and harmful chemicals. It also means choosing products that protect the environment, providing you and your baby with cleaner air to breathe.

Q: What chemicals should parents avoid or limit in the nursery?

A: Vinyl, PVC, phthalates, bleach, formaldehyde, lead and pesticides.

Q: What are your top “must-haves” for creating a green and healthy nursery?

A: Mattress: Choose organic. Baby sleeps for 12 or more hours per day on it. Look for options free of vinyl, PVC, phthalates, pesticides and bleach.

Paint: Choose Non-VOC. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds often found in paints and cleaning solutions that release emissions and off-gasses into the air for years.

Air purification: An air purifier can help clean out the air in a room, which is more toxic than outdoor air. Open windows as often as possible. Avoid toxic cleaning products such as bleach.

Flooring: If you must have carpet, look for wool, hemp or organic cotton options. Better options include cork, hardwood, bamboo and natural linoleum. Flooring must be free of formaldehyde and VOC finishes.

Toys: Go organic or wooden. Buy washable stuffed toys. If toys cannot be washed, clean them by tossing them in the dryer on high for 20 minutes.