Creating a Green Playroom: Non-toxic Play Tents

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Green Products, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS, TODDLER

I have been slowly but surely designing and adding to Lexi’s playroom over the past year making it into a comfortable space that is also non-toxic. As always, the last part has proven itself to be pretty difficult.

I keep struggling deciding whether I want to go for what looks cute, is cheaper and easier to get OR making sure that it’s as non-toxic as possible, even if that means sacrificing looks and price. Of course I want the first one. I want Lexi’s playroom to look really cute, but in the end I always end up doing the right thing, even if that means getting natural wood bookshelves instead of gleaming white ones.

At this point the playroom is virtually complete minus the art work and some lighting that is coming in soon, so I thought it was time to start highlighting the choices, items, toys, products and ideas for it with the final post being a “reveal” of the playroom itself.

You can see the earlier stages of it starting with rug, monitor, gates, etc here:
Playroom In Progress: Set Up

I’d like to start with tents, since there is a bit of a back story here.

PLAYTENTS

One of the biggest issue with play tents when it comes safety is they are almost ALWAYS sprayed with fire-retardants. It seems ridiculous that a tent would need to be fire-retardant especially in our day and age, but that’s how it is in the juvenile business. So knowing that, I actually looked for a tent that could be inherently fire-retardant, meaning FRs weren’t specifically sprayed onto the fabric but the fabric is by itself not very flammable.

If some of you might remember, we got Lexi a Pacific Play tent for Christmas and she absolutely loved it. I was pretty sure that the fabric they use is “inherently fire retardant“. When we received it and I looked at the label, I wasn’t so sure anymore. So I emailed the company. The answer I got was soooo dodgy that I got suspicious and emailed back asking for specifics. In the end, what I found out is that there ARE fire retardants in the tent. They wouldn’t tell me specifically how they are applied and seemed quite frankly uninterested in helping me.

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{playroom in progress}

Since fire retardants are everywhere (even TVs and umbilical cords of newborns, as well as in the ice of Antarctica) as it is, I try to avoid them where I can. I thought this was a case of “I can’t get away from them” which I often have to resort to ( hello, golf course living?). I had a big problem taking the tent away from Lexi, since she loved it, but also a bigger problem thinking that she is playing in an enclosed space that is probably giving off gases. I wasn’t sure what to do. And then I discovered the one and only company that I know of that specifically DOES NOT USE any fire-retardants.

HABA!

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I was talking with the president of HABA USA and she told me how years ago everyone in the business thought they were crazy by insisting that they will not spray their products with fire retardants. Look, who’s laughing now?

They figured that  “the likelihood of a child putting the fabrics in their mouth was higher than the fire risk so they didn’t want to apply those hazardous materials” and I agree.

So needless to say, the old tent went, the new tent moved in. HABA has several different styles, some more house-like, but this one has always been my favorite.

HABA Room Tent Marrakesh

Or Moroccan Princess tent is what I call it. It’s suspended from the ceiling, hanging rather than sitting which allows for easier set up and also better looks, in my opinion, since it’s more flowy and it is certainly the focal piece of the playroom.

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Lexi has taken to it as her personal space to read books and play with musical instruments (not sure why that one). She often runs into it, closes the shades and sits there paging through books. I love to hide out there with her. I also see it grow with Alexis, as she gets older, this will be her favorite spot, I can tell. At some point it will probably get moved to her bedroom for quiet time.

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Some beautiful details of the tent:

It comes with a thick and comfortable mat that has Velcro all around it to keep the tent sides all secure. You can get the cushion separately. I don’t find it necessary, but it’s a nice decorative piece that goes so well with the tent.

Little heart shaped strings close up the tent’s entrance for more privacy. The inside of the tent has three big pockets for msc items like books. Lexi kept putting our glasses in there and I had two occasions where I would spend hours searching for her or my glasses only to remember the next day that she had hid them in the pockets (remember that if you ever get this tent. haha!)

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Aside from this luxurious Marrakesh tent, HABA has several different designs perfect for any playroom.  Click on the pictures below to see them.

Oh and just a note, if you’re considering buying one: They look SIGNIFICANTLY better, nicer and more high end in real life than they do on marketing photos.

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This is a review of the tent, all opinions are my own, I was in no way influenced by the company in my review. The tent was provided free off charge to facilitate this post.

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