Furniture for use in the nursery and by children has to be strong, free from potentially toxic materials and inherently safe as specified in EN71 "Safety of Toys".
The smooth surfaces and well compacted edges of MDF, finished with high durability paint which should of course be free from lead or other potentially toxic ingredients, are easily cleaned and generally resistant to a high degree of wear and tear. Transfers and silk screen prints can be applied to the smooth surfaces of MDF to provide visual interest to door and drawer fronts and cot end panel exteriors.
One company has used MDF for the manufacture of a range of nursery storage units fitted with castors for easy movement. Units fitted with deep drawers can be used initially for towels, nappies and other baby requisites and later for clothes, toys and games.
MDF has been used successfully for the manufacture of an easily assembled, interlocking parts cradle for babies. The curved edges and slightly rounded base for easy rocking are features of this design. A MDF strip base could be used to support the mattress.
Following on from the cradle, MDF has been used for end panels and cross rails on cots. Again the easily rounded edges and smooth surfaces for painting are important attributes. These features have also been used to good effect in the shaping of panels for space rockets, double decker buses and Cinderella coaches.
Having regard for safety in use, any MDF parts likely to be climbed upon should have sufficient cross section to support impact loads. High density MDF can be used to provide a greater safety margin of strength for these specialised applications.
Using the same principles of safe design and construction, MDF can be used effectively for storage cupboards, desks, tables, small chairs and a wide range of play items for older children.
The use of low formaldehyde MDF is recommended for all childrens furniture applications.