Tweenie’s Greenies

Week 4:  Take Good Care of My Baby

My little ones are my biggest pride and joy.  They are also my biggest dirt balls around the home.  Although I don’t bathe them everyday (I probably should), I still am obsessed with maintaining their baby soft skin.  I love to lather them up in the tub with bubbles and sweet smelling shampoos.  Afterwards, I slab on the baby lotion and “Whala!” they are freshly fragrant and cuddly once again.  I love to smell the tops of their heads as I read to them after taking bathtime.  It’s one of my favorite things of all times.  Clean smelling kids!  It’s such a treat! (Usually the boys smell like sweaty kids with a touch of sticky jam or syrup and Gret will smell like rice cereal laced with spit up.)

What I tend to forget about when bathing my children, is what exactly is making them smell so fresh and delicious.  There are many products that contain ingredients that may be toxic over the long term, especially when you have new baby skin soaking in it several times out of the week.  The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics estimates that on average people use about 9 different personal care products a day, introducing 126 different chemicals onto their body.  That is for an adult but a child’s skin is thinner and much more sensitive than a grown-ups.  This makes their growing bodies more susceptable to toxins that may not be as harmful to adults.

Baby bath/wash products may contain a known carcinogen called 1,4-Dioxane.  It is actually a by-product of the foaming agents that is in the baby wash.  In large doses, dioxane is known to cause cancer, in particular skin tumors.  Thankfully, any washes we would use have low doses.  However, it is unknown as to what these low doses will do over time especially when it’s a babies sensitive skin that is soaking in warm water (which may increase exposure).  There also other known cancer causing agents lurking in bath and body products that have similar concerns.  These are formaldehyde and phthalates.  I will skip the science talk for these as it is the same as dioxane.

So what do you do??  First of all just read the labels before purchasing (57% of baby products contain dioxane) here’s the list of the naughty ingredients that you don’t want:

Anything that has these terms in whole or in part of the name:  “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-” (such as sodium laureth sulfate), “oxynol” “ceteareth,” or “oleth.”

OR go to this site to easily look up a baby product to see if it has any ingredient that causes concern.  It has an AWESOME breakdown of ingredients/what they do and then you can look up alternatives to go “greener” and less toxic.

Baby Products

All of my products pictured had moderate hazards (including 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde).

If you want to go all out green, make your own!!  Here’s one recipe for homemade bubble bath:

1 quart water, 1 bar castille soap (4 oz), 1/2 cup glycerin, 5-10 drops an essential oil for fragrance.

Mix glycerine and water.  Dissolve soap (heating the water/glycerin mixture or shaving the soap will help dissolve it).  Then add the oil.  Shake well when mixing and again just before use.  Note: castille soap is very mild and made from olive oil.  Glycerine is a natural, non-oily moisturizer. 

For more info on baby product safety and info on 1, 4-Dioxane check out the following sites:

The EcologistCampaign for Safe Cosmetics, Guide to Less Toxic Products

Other Blogs Addressing the topic:

Mom 4 Life

Remember, your skin is your largest organ and your bodies first defense.  Take care of it and take good care of your baby!