Whether it’s a toy or a bath product, make sure you get non-toxic baby products so you can protect your baby from possible harm. We’ve singled out some of the common ingredients and chemicals that you should avoid!
Pampering our little ones is second nature to being a mama. As such, it’s no surprise that we ensure our babies enjoy the best toys, have the best clothes, and are treated to the best skin care products.
While a toy is often scrutinized by how educational it is and clothes for how attractive they are, baby skincare products are inspected at a much more detailed level. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be wary of the toys, clothes, or even utensils found in the market.
That’s why in this article, we’ll help you understand the different ingredients hiding in plain sight that little do you know, may actually be potentially harmful to your baby.
What You Should Not Find in Non-Toxic Baby Products
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are types of sulfates. They are called surfactants because they are used to make a product foam. At the same time, sulfates are great for removing dirt and oil, which is why they’re found in many bath and cleaning products.
But despite these upsides, sulfates are irritants. According to a medical study, it can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. And if your little one has sensitive skin, it can be particularly harsh as well.
Known as plasticizers, phthalates are chemicals that are used to make plastics more durable. According to the CDC, phthalates can be found in products such as lubricating oils and personal care products like soaps and shampoos.
It can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Even prenatal exposure to these chemicals can impact a baby’s “neurodevelopment, including lower IQ, and problems with attention and hyperactivity, and poorer social communication,” Health Care Without Harm explains.
3. Synthetic fragrances
Many chemicals in fragrances come from petrochemicals (this means it’s derived from petroleum) that can be harmful to human health. Besides being unsustainable and having a negative environmental impact, petrochemicals—which may be absorbed through the skin—can accumulate in tissues and organs. In the long run, it can cause brain, nerve, and liver damage, and even cancer and asthma.
It’s one of the reasons you should avoid exposing your baby–especially if they are newborns–to synthetic fragrances. The Children’s Environmental Health Network highlighted that some fragrance compounds are linked with reproductive birth defects too. If you have an allergic and asthmatic child, they may have allergic or hypersensitivity reactions.
You often find the label “BPA-free” in plastic baby products like bottles, sippy cups, utensils, and even toys. But do you know why it can be bad for babies? This chemical, which is used in producing a type of hard plastic called polycarbonate, can leak into food and water–even more so if it’s heated!
Several studies have shown that BPA disrupts the hormone, causes nerve and behavioral disorders, reproductive health concerns, and even diabetes. With that, always go for BPA-free products and be wary of plastics that have the number “7” at the bottom. Such products usually contain BPA.
Most mamas have probably considered a baby powder to be an absolute must-have for newborns. But the truth is, the American Association of Pediatrics is actually against the use of baby powder since 1969. Besides having “no medically necessary use” for baby powder, talc can cause acute or chronic respiratory problems when inhaled.
Parabens are chemicals used as a preservative. They’re found in many personal care products because they’re affordable and effective. However, finding them in your baby’s products is a cause for concern because parabens are known to interfere with fetus development and even development during the first year of life.
It’s also especially crucial to avoid using products with parabens on newborns because their skin is still thin, making skin absorption of parabens highly plausible.
Babies, especially newborns, have delicate skin that can be prone to allergies and irritations. That’s why you should avoid skincare products that contain alcohol. Why is there alcohol in baby products, you ask? This is because alcohol helps the product dry quickly.
Unforunately, alcohol has a major downside when used on babies’ skin—it can be it xtremely drying and cause irritations.
Isn’t it annoying to see your little one with insect bites all over? While you may want to run over to the nearest drugstore and grab the first bug spray you find, consider the ones that do not contain DEET.
According to the Healthy Children Organization of the American Academy of Pediatrics, DEET is not recommended for babies below 2 months. Moreover, some studies revealed long-term use of DEET-based repellents can trigger allergic reactions, cause seizures in some cases, and can increase the likelihood of developing cancer.
DEET may be effective, but there are far safer options like natural repellents with ingredients such as citronella, peppermint, and more.
How does formaldehyde find its way in baby products? Well, it’s because this chemical extends the life of products and minimizes bacterial growth. Keep a lookout for this ingredient because exposure to formaldehyde may cause scratchy or watery eyes, irritated throat and skin, and runny nose. And even worse, it’s also carcinogenic if exposure is long-term.
In baby products, triclosan can be found in antibacterial soaps, disinfectants, and even toys and clothes. Although it is effective at eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, it’s linked to hormone disruption. Studies suggest that triclosan “may increase a child’s risk of allergy.”
As mamas, the health and safety of our children are important to us. That’s why as much as possible, we want to keep them in our arms for as long as possible, right?
As such, always choose non-toxic baby products that are free of these 10 harmful chemicals. Knowing that you have chosen not just the best but the safest for your baby is the most comforting feeling in the world.
Mama's Choice Team
A team of passionate writers, young mamas, and creative superheroes who help mamas face motherhood one educational article at a time!