Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.

Healthy Baby Gear

So what’s the big deal about eco-friendly baby gear? Is it worth all the hype? Can’t we just buy or get what we need anywhere or online? What does eco-friendly mean anyway?

You may be one of those parents who spends hours surfing the internet for the most trendy or best of everything for your little ones, but until you actually see it, touch it, experience it or understand its properties, will you know if it is safe and non-toxic?

Yes, it is a big deal and we should educate ourselves about the importance of exposing our children to more than or above the average amount of toxicity in the environment. Much of it is uncontrollable, but we can be responsible for what is controllable and the matter isn’t just about infants and children, but adults too.

“Extensive literature has already documented the deleterious effects of heavy metal toxins on the human brain and nervous system. These toxins, however, represent only a fraction of the environmental hazards that may pose harm to cognitive ability in humans.

“Lead and mercury exposure, air pollution, and organic compounds all have the potential to damage brain functioning, yet remain understudied. In order to provide comprehensive and effective public health and health care initiatives for prevention and treatment, we must first fully understand the potential risks, mechanisms of action, and outcomes surrounding exposure to these elements in the context of neurocognitive ability.”1

With that said, one of the baby products we may have some control over and that can have an immediate effect on the lives of our little ones is car seats. There is no way to avoid the use of a car seat, as it’s mandatory by law. This safety protection comes with some chemical exposure. We want our children to be in properly and safely-installed car seats.

There are a growing number of wool car seats on the market. Manufacturers such as Nuna, Uppababy and Clek have designed car seats absent of such chemicals. They are free of chemical fire retardants in favor of a wool blend car seats to meet regulations and flammability standards.

Leading environmental Scientists at the Ecology Center have been studying this for years. They have found there are improvements from year to year, however there are still toxic chemicals found in the textile fabric of car seats. Most car seats still contain brominated flame retardants (BRFs).

“Flame retardants (FRs) continue to be used despite there being no data showing they provide a fire safety benefit to children. Rather, they put babies and young children in close contact with chemical additives known to be carcinogens, hormone disruptors and developmental toxicants.”2

In terms of population, babies are the most vulnerable in terms of exposure to chemicals. Their systems are still developing and they often spend a lot of time sitting or sleeping in car seats, either in the car or attached to a stroller.

Some very important certification and endorsements for eco-friendly baby products include GreenGuard, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) JPMA certification.

Reading labels and avoiding certain products is a start.

There is an explosion of new baby products on the market everyday. Another recommendation is to carefully examine crib mattresses, furniture, bedding, clothing toys and anything that goes into a baby’s mouth.

Bringing a new being into the world should inspire us to be a good stewards for that person. What we do today will have a direct impact on our planet later on. We hold our children in our hands now but someday they will be holding ours, so let’s get it right.

Diana Moore, MS, LMT, CIMI, Infant Toddler Mental Health, Owner, EcoBabyGear, 7980 SE Stark St., ecobabygear.com 503.233.4167

1Environmental Toxicity and Poor Cognitive Outcomes in Children and Adults, Jianghong Liu, PhD and Gary LewisJ Environ Health.

2 Healthy Child