New moms and dads certainly have plenty to worry about especially with everything in the news about toxic bottles, bedding, and even toys. It might seem overwhelming for parents-to-be but there are several easy ways you to create a healthy home for your child while doing your part to leave a cleaner environment for their future.
Start with the basics - like the bottle. The best bottles are those that are BPA free. The chemical Bisphenol A is used to make certain hard plastics. But that chemical can actually leach out of the bottle when it's heated and BPA is linked to aggressive and hyperactive behavior, reproductive problems, and even certain types of cancer. Make sure to look for labels that indicate that the bottle is not made with BPA or opt for old-fashioned glass bottles that are quickly becoming trendy again. You can find updated lists of bottles and sippy cups that are BPA free at DoYourPart.com/columns.
When it comes to bottle nipples, silicon is a better choice over latex. Latex rubber can cause allergic reactions and can also be made with impurities that are actually linked to cancer.
If you decide to put formula rather than breast milk in your baby's bottles it's best to choose a powder. If you prefer liquid formula, opt for those packaged in glass or BPA-free plastic rather than metal cans that are typically lined with BPA-epoxy that has been shown to leach into the formula.
The baby's crib is another place to steer clear of potentially dangerous items. Among the many items to consider is the type of flame retardant found in the crib mattress. All mattresses are legally required to meet fire safety standards. But, many companies do so by using a chemical called polybrominated diphenyl ether or PBDE. Animal tests have shown it can impair memory and learning.
The effects on humans and children are largely untested, but forms of PBDE are thought to cause cancer too. When buying a new crib mattress, ask the retailer if they have PBDE-free options or look for mattresses made from natural materials like organic wool. Organic wool is naturally fire resistant and will absorb moisture while leaving a dry surface.
And then there are the toys. Parents will buy hundreds of toys through the years for their children and of course they should be safe and free of any toxic chemicals. We've all heard the horror stories of certain toys made in China that contain high amounts of lead. But, those toys aren't the only problem. Fortunately, there are more choices than ever when it comes to finding safe, non-toxic toys appropriate for any age. Plan Toys®, ImagiPLAY®, and Green Toys® are just a few of the companies that offer toys made using sustainable resources, non-toxic paints or recycled materials.
Becoming a parent should be an exciting time - not one loaded with angst. Do Your Part by making smarter choices for your little bundle and you'll be providing a healthier future in more ways than one.