Peace of Mind BabyProofing

By: Carolyn Beale

The relatively serene days of your contented baby in the swing or playpen seem to end far too quickly, now that your little one is becoming more mobile. It’s time to ensure you’re providing a safe environment for active playing, growing and learning.

You’ve put up a baby gate to prevent falls, carefully covered your electrical outlets, padded the sharp corners on your coffee table, and buckled your tiny passenger into an approved infant carrier. You try to keep your home as bacteria and germ-free as possible, disinfecting thoroughly and then locking up household cleaners away from inquisitive hands and mouths.

Yet there are still an estimated 2.1 million accidental child poisonings each year, with dishwashing liquid the leading cause. Sadly, the damage caused by these products is often gruesome: burned mouth, scarred esophagus, repeated operations to rebuild the throat, sometimes even death. And no matter how diligent you are about keeping your cleaning products out of harm’s way, you may still be slowly and unwittingly poisoning your child, day after day. How?

If you use products with harsh and harmful chemicals that contain known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) the toxic residues left behind on your floors, furniture and in the air find their way into your child’s body through her skin, mouth, and nose. And even your personal care products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, styling aids, deodorants, etc.) can contain dangerous chemicals as well.

Your little one is like a sponge: developing cells in a child’s body are more susceptible than in adults, especially in his central nervous system.

Even small doses of neurotoxins that would be harmless to an adult can alter his nervous system development. And until your child turns 13, his growing body has virtually no ability to fight biological and neurological damage from toxic chemicals. As much as we tend to think of skin as a protective barrier, in fact it’s highly permeable, as evidenced by the successful use of skin patches to deliver prescription medication.

Your baby or toddler is most often down at floor level, crawling and exploring, and frequently sticking her hands into her mouth. And in fact, only 10% of health problems from chemicals are a result of ingestion, 90% are caused by inhalation and absorption.

Are you confused? How can your brand name household cleaning products and personal care products contain harmful toxins if they’re sold at grocery stores nationwide? The truth is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does NOT regulate personal use products. The workplace and the outdoors are considered legal environments, while your home is not.

Did you know that indoor air quality is 3 to 70 times more polluted than the outdoor air in the worst polluted U.S. cities, according to an EPA study? And that women who work from the home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than those who work outside the home, according to a 17-year EPA study?

Labeling laws simply don’t protect the consumer. The U.S. Federal Code of Regulations exempts manufacturers from full labeling of products if used for personal, family or household care! “Warning!" labels mean that as little as 1 teaspoon of product can harm or kill an adult, “Danger!" means that as little as 5 drops can harm or kill an adult. Go ahead and take a look at the products in your home, you may be shocked and surprised!

Many conditions such as the rising rate of childhood cancer, asthma, and ADD/ADHD are being linked to increased use of chemicals in our homes. So what can you do to protect your loved ones? Educate yourself on what’s really in the products you use to bathe, deodorize and beautify yourself and your family. Study the labels on your household cleaning products; anything that says “harmful to humans and domestic animals" isn’t something that’s good for you or your child.

Research your alternatives: responsible manufacturers don’t use formaldehyde, phenols, NTA, phosphates, ammonia, or chlorine (bleach) in their products, and trustworthy companies do exist. As a responsible adult and savvy consumer, you owe it to yourself and your child to make informed choices about the products you allow into your environment.

As a concerned parent, you want to provide the very best for your child...so start today to make saferScience Articles, healthier choices!

Baby and Toddler
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