As I mentioned in a previous blog, Healthy Child Healthy World is a fantastic organization that has been teaching me so much about how to create a safer environment for my family and myself. Some of the most interesting information I’ve learned involves children, especially babies, and precautions I can take to ensure their health and safety.
I think as new parents we get excited about filling the nursery with toys and stuffed animals and things for our little ones to play with. It’s also common for friends to give us toys as gifts for the baby. But did you know how important it is for toys to be PVC (polyvinyl chloride) free? It can release potentially harmful fumes into the air, which can be especially dangerous for babies who like to chew on everything. To avoid PVC, you can look for the #3 or the letters PVC next to the recycling symbol on a product, or simply opt for phthalate free toys. Luckily for us, many companies like Ikea, Lego and Gerber are making efforts to remove PVC’s from their products. Green Toys Inc. is also a fantastic company.
It’s also important to avoid toys that contain lead. It’s more common nowadays to find lead-free products, but many vintage toys like antique trucks or trains may very likely contain lead, so be careful! Your parents may want their grandchild to have that doll they’ve been saving in their closet since you were an infant, but it may not be worth it to give to your new baby. You should also be aware of arts & crafts supplies that your children are playing with. Paint and glue play a huge role in playtime for kids! Companies aren’t required to list ingredients that may be toxic, so it’s best to look for supplies that have an AP label on it from ACMI (Art and Creative Materials Institute) to ensure it has no harmful ingredients. For lists of recalled toys you can visit cpsc.gov.
Not only can you make improvements when it comes to products your baby uses, but there are tons of items in your house that can be changed as well. For starters, use the least amount of plastic as possible.
- Opt for stainless steels bowls, cups, etc.
- Installing a filtering system instead of going through cases of water bottles is also a great way to limit waste.
- Instead of filling your home with artificial scents and air-fresheners, try just opening some windows. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make.
- When it comes to cleaning products, instead of using cleaners filled with carcinogens, try to find plant-based products, like Seventh Generation. You can even have a DIY moment and use things like lemon, baking soda and vinegar to clean.
- Carpets can also contain fumes from glues and chemicals, as well as hold on to bacteria, mildew and mold. The safest option is to stick with a hard surface floor, but there are tons of natural-fiber rugs made from pesticide free fabrics that are much safer.
- You can even make a change when it comes to your clothes. TROA is an eco-friendly denim line made of Hanji, a naturally anti-microbial (which in somewhat simpler terms means it is capable of destroying disease causing micro-organisms) fabric from Korea. The jeans are completely free of chemicals and are made from natural dye, herbs, and plants.
I’ve found a lot of this information in the book Healthy Child Healthy World, Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan. Another fantastic book is Generation Green. I’m continuing to learn every day, and you should absolutely check out the book and website for more advice on creating a safer home for your family.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.