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  • Writer's pictureSheila Alston

Babies and Chemicals Don't Mix: How to Keep Your Home Safe and Non-Toxic for Your Little One

As a parent, creating a safe and healthy environment for your baby is a top priority. One of the most overlooked ways to achieve this is by keeping toxic materials out of the nursery the begin with. While no one would consciously bring anything potentially harmful home on purpose, often it's because we are unaware that there could be potentially dangerous chemicals off-gassing around baby from the clothes, toys and furnishings we bring into the home. Fortunately, there are many new products and great choices available that ensure you are giving your baby the best start.

Benefits of Natural and Non-Toxic Furnishings

There are several benefits to using natural and non-toxic furnishings in your baby's nursery. For starters, natural materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, and wool are free of harmful chemicals and synthetic materials. They are also hypoallergenic and breathable, which can help reduce the risk of skin irritation, allergies, and respiratory issues. In addition, using non-toxic furnishings can help reduce indoor air pollution and promote a healthier environment for your baby.

Products to Avoid

When choosing furnishings for your baby's nursery, there are certain products you should avoid. For example, avoid products made with synthetic materials, such as polyester, as they can contain harmful chemicals such as flame retardants and formaldehyde. You should also avoid products that are heavily treated with chemicals, such as mattresses treated with flame retardants or stain-resistant chemicals.

Here are some tips and ideas for finding non-toxic baby items and what to watch out for:

Research brands

Do your research on brands and their materials before making a purchase. Check out their websites and read up on their materials and manufacturing processes. Look for brands that prioritize natural and non-toxic materials and avoid using harmful chemicals.

Read Labels and Beware of Greenwashing:

Since organic is now big business, many companies are greenwashing their products and using marketing language and colors to make consumers believe they are healthy so it's important to read ingredients and if there are names you can't pronounce, it's best to avoid until you can do more research. Many toxins are neuro and hormone disrupters and DO NOT belong near your tiny baby.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be harmful when inhaled, and they are present in many household materials like paint, carpeting, and flooring. To minimize exposure to VOCs, look for products labeled as low-VOC or VOC-free.

Formaldehyde is another common organic compound found in everyday items. While it's true that formaldehyde may not be listed on an ingredients list or supply list, there are other terms that can indicate its presence. Look out for terms such as "urea formaldehyde," "phenol formaldehyde," and "melamine formaldehyde." These are all types of formaldehyde-based adhesives that are commonly used in furniture and other household items. Be sure to wash new items before bringing them into the nursery and ensure proper ventilation. According to “Chemicals cannot simply be “washed” out of pajamas. The law requires garments to remain flame retardant after 50 washes.” Instead, opt for clothing with the OEKO-TEX label.

Avoid plastic products that contain PFAS chemicals, and choose organic, natural materials instead. Flame retardants, often found in carpets and curtains, can also cause health problems. Opt for bedding and flooring without these chemicals. PVC and phthalates, used in plastics, can have detrimental effects on babies and children. Choose phthalate-free products and avoid vinyl.

Finally, check for lead and other heavy metals in toys and décor, and buy products made in the USA to reduce the risk of exposure.

Look for certifications

Look for certifications such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), Green Guard Gold Certified products and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 when purchasing baby items. These certifications ensure that the product has been tested and certified to be free from harmful chemicals and substances.

Choose Natural and Non-Toxic Furnishing Options

There are several natural and non-toxic furnishing options to choose from when designing your baby's nursery. For example, consider using organic cotton sheets, bamboo or wool rugs, and solid wood furniture finished with natural oils or waxes. These materials are generally free from harmful chemicals and are hypoallergenic and breathable. You can also choose a natural or organic crib mattress made with materials such as organic cotton or natural latex.

Several online stores specialize in eco-friendly and non-toxic baby products, and I've listed some of them below. Growing demand for safer baby products means that new products and companies are popping up every day. Do your own research and read labels carefully to ensure that the products you choose are truly non-toxic and safe for your baby.

Here are some great brands you should check out that will help get you started:

How do you know if your baby is being affected by toxins?

It can be difficult to determine if a baby is displaying allergy symptoms to something in the home, especially if they are too young to communicate their discomfort. Here are some common signs and symptoms of allergies in babies to look out for:

  1. Skin irritation: Allergies can often cause skin irritation such as rashes, hives, or eczema. These symptoms may appear as small red bumps or patches on the skin and can be itchy or uncomfortable for the baby.

  2. Respiratory issues: Allergies can also affect the respiratory system and cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or wheezing. If you notice your baby is having trouble breathing or is breathing rapidly, it's important to seek medical attention immediately.

  3. Digestive issues: Some babies may experience digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, or colic due to allergies. If you notice your baby has frequent bowel movements or seems to be in pain or discomfort after feeding, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider.

  4. Behavioral changes: Allergies can also cause changes in a baby's behavior. They may become fussy, irritable, or have trouble sleeping. If you notice any significant changes in your baby's behavior or mood, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider.

If you suspect your baby may be displaying allergy symptoms, it's important to consult a healthcare provider for guidance. They may recommend allergy testing or suggest changes to your home environment or baby's diet to help alleviate symptoms. Keeping a journal of your baby's symptoms and noting any potential triggers can also be helpful in determining the cause of their allergies. One thing is for sure, however, by making an effort to create a nearly toxin-free home environment, you are lightening the toxic load on your child's immune system, and giving your baby a better chance to overcome these issues. As you choose natural and non-toxic furnishings for your baby's nursery, feel good knowing you are creating a healthier and safer environment for your little one. Avoiding synthetic materials and products treated with harmful chemicals reduces the risk of skin irritation, allergies, and respiratory issues. Plus, using natural materials can help reduce indoor air pollution and promote a healthier living space and that's great for everyone in your family. Other similar articles to check out:

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