Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Healthy Baby

As I mentioned in my post A Green Nursery, we have been passionate about creating the most healthy environment for our babies that we can. This includes everything from what they eat, to the toys that they play with. 

However, we've found that despite our dedication, it can be quite challenging to navigate through all of the research on what is safe for baby in order to make sound decisions. From the beginning, for example, I made a point to avoid products that have chemical flame retardants applied to them. I had heard how the PBDEs used as flame retardants were found on everything from mattresses, to furniture, to pajamas, and even toys. 

So my search began and I heard about the non-profit web resource Healthy Stuff. They are an advocacy group that conducts testing on various toxins like lead, bromine (chemical flame retardant), arsenic, mercury and chlorine - yes, all of these chemicals are readily found on children's products. On their website, you can search products by brand or type of toy to obtain the corresponding test results. 

It was a relief to finally have found some guidance on baby products. But is was also a sobering reminder that we have to work really hard to make sure that the baby products we bring into our home are indeed safe. 

The Healthy Stuff web site helped me pick out our car seats and to help determine which toys I could buy with peace of mind. It was reassuring, because everything (and I mean everything!) seems to find it's way into the babies mouths. 

I was recently introduced to another wonderful online resource when I asked our local toy store if a fabric book was free of flame retardants. The owner told me about the SafBaby web site which I've found it to be an invaluable resource. This article on clean toy manufacturers was particularly helpful. 

I wanted to pass along these resources because I wish I had known about them from the start, but also because I think the best resources are often found through word of mouth. I would love to from you about your favorite sources for healthy baby products. 

By using resources such as these and also by shopping at stores that have green toys readily available, we've managed to find a nice selection of toys for the babies. But it is a challenge and it takes effort to seek out alternatives that we're comfortable with. Sometimes that feels like enough, and sometimes it doesn't completely. For instance, plastics are a major component of the toys that are available. As a result of the well-documented concerns regarding plastics and health, we have shifted to be a primarily plastic-free household. 

Even so, there are many toys in our home that are made from BPA-, PVC- and Phthalate-free plastics. Because these targeted culprits have been removed from these toys we've decided to use them, balancing our concerns with the fact that they provide a great play and learning resource for the kids. But at the end of the day they're still plastic which always leaves me with some small lingering concern (that seems unavoidable).

So you do the best that you can. I hope that these resources are useful and help 
give you peace of mind. 


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