Making sure the baby products you purchase are kind is a hard challenge for a parent. For the sake of convenience, many mainstream products use chemicals that pose a threat to your baby's health. This is because chemicals like phthalates, parabens, talc, and sulfates are often more affordable and efficient for the company to use in manufacturing. So while it is the best option for these companies, it is often not the best option for your infant.
A great number of these products also aren't designed with responsibility in mind. The good news is, as more developers evolve into environmentally responsible manufacturers, you'll find that many of the items on this list have kind alternatives.
If you are a parent looking for guidance on which common baby products may be harming your child or the environment, keep reading to learn what should be swapped out for more kind options.
Why it's Important to Make Sure Your Baby Products Are Kind
In general, it is a good idea to ensure all of the products you use on your skin and hair are as clean as possible, even for adults. This is far more important for infants, however. Everything from their endocrine system and digestive system to their neurological system is in a fragile state of development. Their small bodies simply don't have the same resistance that full-grown adults do.
You might also notice that your baby loves to get its hands on everything. This crawling around on the ground, grabbing and putting nearly everything in their mouths, and general curiosity puts them at greater risk of exposure.
So what do these chemicals do to your child? Recent studies have shown that exposure to certain chemicals during this crucial phase of development can lead to future learning disabilities and other serious health issues. Some result in an annoying rash, while others can cause your child to develop skin conditions like eczema.
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure we protect our little ones as much as possible, and that duty is growing to include researching what products are and aren't kind for your baby and the environment.
8 Baby Products that Could be Harming Your Child
Now that we know why it is so important to make sure your baby products are kind, let's take a look at what items you should consider swapping out for kind and responsible alternatives.
1. Plastic Baby Bottles
BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical that is used in many plastics. While the FDA banned the use of BPAs in baby products in 2012, it did okay the use of various BPA alternatives that are also dangerous to your baby's health. (You will find the alternatives labeled as BPS, BPF, and BPE.) This means that plastic baby bottles labeled as "BPA free" might still be harming your child.
In regards to responsibility, BPA functions as an environmental contaminant, especially for aquatic life. Recent studies have shown that this chemical has a negative impact on the reproductive health of fish and other infected animals.
So how do you avoid this contaminant for your baby and the environment? Stick to using stainless steel or glass product alternatives. Not only are they kind for your baby, but they are easier to recycle. The Phillips glass baby bottle is a popular option, but if you want a stainless steel alternative, this Pura Kiki brand is rated well.
2. Avoid Baby Powder with Talc
Baby powder is great for making sure your little one doesn't chafe or develop an annoying diaper rash. Nearly every company uses talc as an ingredient in its powder, but it was recently discovered that this chemical was especially good at picking up asbestos particles during the manufacturing process.
Talc baby powder doesn't often have asbestos particles present, but it does happen. So it is advised you find a baby powder that is talc-free to make sure you are keeping your young one protected from this risk of asbestos exposure.
3. Baby Wipes
There are a lot of potentially dangerous chemicals used in your mainstream baby wipe. Things like formaldehyde, benzene derivatives, toluene, and lauryl/laureth sulfate, are unfortunately commonplace on labels.
One of the more common and more notable chemicals to look out for is parabens. These are generally used to extend the shelf life of products. Exposure to this toxin as an infant has been proven to lead to fertility issues and weight issues later on in life.
Look for products with "Paraben Free" on the label to find kind alternatives, or take a look at our own gentle and soft baby wipes that are responsibly made and responsibly sourced.
4. Car Seats and Infant Mattresses with Flame Retardants
Adding flame retardants to infant car seats, mattresses, and mattress covers used to be very commonplace. More research into the health risks of flame retardants reveals that once these chemicals escape from the products and into the air, they are quick to enter the bloodstream and urine. This exposure leaves babies at higher risk of developing health issues.
Don't worry so much about getting flame retardant baby products. It isn't really effective against fires, and there are organic, natural, cotton alternatives that are kind for your baby. Nuna is a well-rated brand that has started phasing in flame retardant-free car seats. There are a few models they still sell that are made with flame retardants, so double-check the product label before purchasing.
5. Baby Soap and Baby Shampoo with "Synthetic Fragrances"
Any baby shampoo or soap labeled with "Synthetic Fragrances" involves the use of something called phthalates. These chemicals have garnered scrutiny due to recent studies pinning allergy development on exposure as an infant. While conclusive evidence hasn't been found, many experts still strongly suggest against using any product with phthalates to protect your little one.
Swap your current baby soap and shampoo with our Hair & Body Wash to avoid phthalate exposure.
6. Baby Soap with Sulfates
Sulfates are used to make soap bubbles and foam. Officially called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), these chemicals are used in most shampoos and bath washes for that wonderful, lathery feel. Because a baby's skin is so sensitive, SLS in high concentrations can irritate the skin, leading to a rash or a serious case of eczema.
Try and look for baby products with kind lathery alternatives. Our DYPER body wash uses natural oils to recreate the bubbles and foams your little ones enjoy. We do this using an organic compound called sodium lauryl sulfoacetate to create a product that is both kind and fun.
7. Baby food
A recent study from the U.S. House of Representatives by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform revealed that commercially produced baby food contains dangerous levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. These heavy metals function as a neurotoxin, inhibiting long-term brain function amongst other things.
Serenity Kids is a reputable baby food company that uses pasture-raised meats and organic vegetables, which dramatically reduces the risk of toxic heavy metal exposure.
8. Disposable Diapers with Tributyltin
As you already know, we are experts in the diaper department and kind baby products arena. The reason DYPER was created was because the founder, Sergio Radovcic, couldn't buy kind diapers for his babies. Not only are mainstream disposable diapers not responsible, but they are also made with chemicals that can be harmful to your baby.
Tributyltin, also known as TBT, can be found in the adhesive liner or top sheet of disposable diapers. It is labeled as a fetotoxic compound, meaning it can cause serious harm to a developing fetus.
In addition to the potential danger to your baby, it is a strong environmental contaminant. Much like BPAs, TBT waste byproducts end up in landfills where they can contaminate groundwater, and end up in local marine ecosystems, resulting in reproductive damage for aquatic life populations.
Swap your diapers for DYPER diapers . DYPER diapers are independently tested and certified Standard 100 by OEKO TEX®, a leading Swiss certification body, and achieved the coveted 5-star rating by DermaTest®.
How to Keep Your Baby and the Environment Responsible
While it may seem that there are a lot of basic chemicals and baby products you need to look out for, the good news is the market is full of innovative companies designing kind alternatives. The other good news is that by simply choosing products that are kind for your baby, you are taking steps to live more responsibly.
For future purchases, check the ingredient or product labels to make sure the items you are buying are kind. Stay away from a long list of un-identifiable chemicals - if you are able - and try to purchase items that are made with as many recognizable ingredients as possible.
At the same, avoid products that are inconspicuously labeled "natural." These are generic marketing terms that don't truly prove responsibility, and many companies are still using dangerous and environmentally damaging chemicals in spite of these terms. Look instead for terms like B-corp, non-GMO, and green bunny, while also making sure to review the product label carefully.
This can seem overwhelming, but don't worry! We are here to help you make kind and environmentally responsible choices when it comes to buying for your baby.