Guest Author - Aimee Wood
Having a baby can push people to rethink everything. New parents only want what is best for their babies. Babies are just developing and are extra sensitive. They absorb more chemicals and are not able to filter them as well as adults. There are many areas to consider when greening a child's space. Do not get overwhelmed and try to do them all. Take one or two points and go from there.
Diapers: Cloth diapers have made quite the come back in recent years. People are more environmentally conscious. Most disposables are derived from petroleum. Using cloth diapers is better for the environment and a baby's skin. Even though cloth diapers use lots of water to launder them, all in all, it is better for both Mother Earth and baby. If disposables need to be used, search for an earth conscious company such as Earth's Best or Seventh Generation. Also, the great thing about cloth diapers is that they can be used for the next baby.
Clothing: Organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool are best for babies skin. These fibers are natural and do not cause irritation in babies. If the cost is prohibitive, seek out clothes from the thrift store or consignment shop. Second hand clothes from friends and relatives are great, too. Purchasing clothes this way is more gentle to the earth.
Paint: If you are painting your baby's space, chose a company that has low or no VOC's in their paint. VOC's are volatile organic compounds. When released into the air, they can have adverse health effects. For more information, see the EPA's website.
Laundry: Using a gentle recipe is important to not irritate a baby's delicate skin. Eco-conscious companies make non-toxic laundry detergent for babies, or you can simply make your own. Using two parts washing soda to one part castile soap has proven to be a durable but safe recipe for baby's clothes.
Toys: Generally speaking, sourcing quality wooden toys is the best investment for your family and Mother Earth. Plastic toys contain chemicals that you may want to avoid. Phthalates and BPA are two chemicals in plastic toys you should avoid. More and more companies are making wooden toys, so they are much easier to find and are getting more affordable. Keep in mind, if you plan on having more than one child, these wooden toys will last.
Furniture: Just as paint off-gasses, so does furniture. Solid wooden furniture is better than particle board and plywood. Plywood and particle board contain formaldehyde which has been added to the "known carcinogens" list. If you do buy something with plywood or particle board, make sure it has time to off-gas.
Having a baby is a special time in one's life. There are so many choices and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Simplifying the baby's nursery by using products that are chemical free is best for baby and Mother Earth.