Choose a Nontoxic Glider Chair—for Your Nursery or Your Family Room

baby family interior design nursery Aug 27, 2018

by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée


Are you looking for a glider chair—whether for a baby on the way, or for just a comfy chair to relax in? 

A glider chair can be a lovely addition to a nursery as parents and caregivers feed, read, and sing to the baby. Even if you're not expecting a baby, a glider chair can be an embraced presence in a family room or bedroom for watching TV or reading.

Regardless, when shopping for a glider chair, you should look for a nontoxic one.

Health risks from conventional glider chairs

Conventional glider chairs are made of polyester fabric, polyurethane foam cushions, flame retardants, frames that can be created from toxic glues and finishes, and fabric treatments that can also have chemical hazards. These chemical hazards include volatile organic compounds (VOC), benzene, chlorine, and formaldehyde. And they can off-gas VOC and other hazardous substances into the air and dust of your nursery or elsewhere in your home.

Health risks associated with hazardous substances found in the materials of glider chairs include asthma, headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. (1)

How to identify a nontoxic glider chair?

  1. Evaluate the fabric used to cover the glider chair. Healthier fabrics include:
    1. A fabric covering that is certified by the GOTS or Oeko-Tex.
    2. Fabrics made of 100% organic cotton/wool/hemp/linen
    3. Whether hazardous chemicals were used in the dyes and finish. Choose non-toxic dyes and fabrics that are free of finishes (or has the least amount you can find).
  2. Consider what type of padding is in the chair or chair cushions.
    1. Cushions and padding made of 100% organic cotton, wool, or natural rubber are healthier alternatives to polyurethane foam cushions.
    2. Depending on the model of glider chair, the cushion may be removable (tied on to the chair base) or tacked to the chair itself. Some chairs are completely padded.
  3. Glider chair frames made of wood deserve evaluation as well.
    1. Consider choosing a solid hardwood frame secured with zero-VOC glues or no glues.
    2. If solid hardwood is not an option, then get to know what adhesives were used to manufacture the wood particles into a wood frame.
    3. Opt for stains, paints, and finishes that are water-based, zero-VOC and free of as many chemicals as possible.
  4. Beware that a glider chair that contains flame retardants, and/or says “stain resistant,” "water resistant," and/or "antibacterial or antimicrobial" can contain toxic chemicals. 
  5. Prop 65 is a label that discloses toxic chemicals listed by the State of California as ones that are risky for human health. Look for this label, and consider it thoughtfully.


Consider buying a nontoxic glider chair made of GOTS or Oeko-Tex certified fabric, 100% organic cotton, 100% organic wool, or 100% natural rubber. Also look for wood frames made of solid hardwood and finished with water-based, zero-VOC stains, paints, and finishes for your nontoxic glider chair frame. Other signs of potentially hazardous substances include a glider chair that contains flame retardants, and/or says “stain resistant,” "water resistant," and/or "antibacterial or antimicrobial." 



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