When you think of the messiest room in the house, the kitchen or bathroom is most likely the first that comes to mind. From mustard stains, raw chicken with salmonella, hair dye or paint brush cleaning in the sink, those rooms take some of the hardest hits. Luckily, they are designed for easy maintenance with smooth, non- porous surfaces.
Now picture that same house with the American average of 2.4 children. Bedrooms or other play areas are most likely the danger zones when it comes time to clean.
When it comes time to select floor covering for children’s play areas, carpet may not seem like the best option, but new technology has made it the ultimate choice. Whether it’s for health and development needs or for performance and durability, carpet has the ability to scientifically improve the environment in which it is installed.
With the population spending upwards of 90% of its time indoors, indoor air quality (IAQ) is of growing concern to consumers, especially those with children whose respiratory systems are still developing. Carpet is a great answer to those concerns as research continues to extol the benefits of carpet as it relates to IAQ, especially for children. “According to the CRI, carpeting has been shown to function like a giant air filter for the home, capturing and holding allergens out of the breathable air until routine vacuuming and professional cleaning properly remove them,” said James Beach, director of market issues, CRI. “That’s the key: the correct care, cleaning and maintenance of carpet.”
Manufacturers are doing their part. To enhance the inherent filtration properties of carpet, three years ago Beaulieu introduced Bliss by Beaulieu. “Bliss Healthy Home and subsequently Healthy Home II are prime examples of a family-friendly Beaulieu approach,” said Patricia Flavin, senior vice president of marketing, Beaulieu of America. “This collection has two popular features developed by Beaulieu: Magic Fresh and Silver Release. These features address two of the most important indoor environment concerns: household odors and germs.”
Magic Fresh uses built-in treatments that reduce odors by converting odor molecules into harmless and odorless CO2, Flavin said. The same gas expelled by humans when breathing, that trees convert into oxygen, is a neutral and safe alternative to chemical air fresheners and potentially hazardous candles. It is a safe way to keep the home clean.
Silver Release antimicrobial treatment uses silver, copper and zinc ions to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew, Flavin explained. “Even the slightest humidity in the air acts with the ions to deactivate the microbes with which they come into contact.” She added that mothers have reported a healthier, cleaner, fresher feeling from their newly carpeted rooms.
Engaging with the child’s environment
In addition to meeting a mother’s needs for a healthy environment, children also need to feel comfortable. From birth to age 3, children are developmental sponges, absorbing their surroundings. According to Italian educator Dr. Maria Montessori, when physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs are met, children develop a desire to teach, help and care for others and for their environment. Providing a place that brings children in touch with their surroundings is then essential to their developmental health.
To that end, carpet is a great floor covering material for children to literally get in touch. From a child’s earliest stages of development, tactile sensations are one of a baby’s earliest learning tools and carpet provides a soft, giving return to her hand. As she grows older, it provides a softer landing pad as she develops mobility and graduates from crawling to walking.
Color is also an important factor in a child’s growth as one of the earliest identifying factors in her environment. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, by age 2 a child has the ability to classify his surroundings by color so building a colorful environment is an important way to promote a child’s progress.
With that, parents are interested in creating a safe, stimulating environment for their children they can own, Flavin said. “Bold, kid-oriented colors, inspired in large part by kids’ entertainment, led our designers to create a color palette radically different from what grown-ups like.”
Bliss Alacazaaam, from Beaulieu’s Bliss for Kids collection, comes in 20 colors with names like Plum Fabulous, Fairy Princess and Super Hero, Flavin said. A 37-ounce textured frieze, made with 100% PET filament polyester fiber, provides both a soft and visually engaging product. “These are colors that kids love to make a space their very own.”
The collection also features PermaShield advanced stain treatment with a 7-year warranty as well as built-in soil resistance, a 10-year wear and durability warranty and a 5-year texture retention warranty.
Also part of the Bliss for Kids Collection is Abracadabra, a lighter weight PET filament polyester at 25.5 ounces. It has PermaShield advanced stain treatment and similar warranty features.
To help retailers sell, Flavin said they should install kids’ carpet in their stores’ play areas and remind parents about the play-friendly advantages of carpet. It could also be a living example of durability with a few drinks, watercolors or other recreational materials strategically spilled during a store visit.
PermaSoft Plus BCF solution-dyed nylon is Beaulieu’s kid-friendly answer. “The color is locked-into the fiber and won’t fade,” Flavin attested. “When those really yucky accidents happen, the carpet can even be safely cleaned with a 50/50 solution of water and bleach. It’s that durable.”
Flavin doesn’t just talk the talk. As a mother of four she has selected it for her own home. “My twins are 7 years old and into everything. I selected Ultimate Home in a shade of green that they think turns their room into an Army command post. They love to play on it and I love it because it’s easy to clean and virtually indestructible. As a mom, that’s pretty important.”