Making Bathtime Healthy
by Erika Parker Price
Bathtime for babies and toddlers can be fun for both the child and the parent, but it also needs to be safe. Most parents know to never leave a young child unattended and to only put a few inches of water in the tub, but a frequently overlooked danger is the potential for toxic chemicals from soaps and toys. Here are some green ideas to keep babies and toddlers healthy and happy in the tub.
1. Get the bad plastics out of the tub.
Even though they are referred to as rubber duckies, most of those old-fashioned yellow floating birds are made of plastic. As cute as they are, they are not something you want toddlers to chew on because of the potential to leach toxic chemicals into their mouths. Plastics with PVC, BpA, and phthalates should all be avoided and, unfortunately, that includes most bath toys on the market today. Alternatives include fabric, wooden or tin toys (think finger puppets, sailboats and pouring cups). There are also manufacturers including Boon, Spielstabil, and Sassy that make BPA-free, PVC-free, and phthalate-free bath toys. Make sure you read the label on each product, as chemical content can vary. If your current toys weren’t specifically labeled as free of these chemicals, chances are they are not safe.
2. Keep the toys clean.
Kids love rubber toys that squirt water, but any experienced parent can tell you that after a few baths, those toys are squirting disgusting black gunk. It is filled with mold and not something you want your child bathing in or swallowing. The best bet is to avoid toys that have this structural problem. If they have a squirt hole, they also need to come apart to allow for proper cleaning. Bath toys can be washed in a 5% vinegar solution to keep them clean.
3. Don’t overdo it.
Babies don’t need baths everyday (it can be very drying to their skin) and toddlers only need them more frequently if they are really getting into the dirt. Even after messy meals, sometimes a warm washcloth on the hands and face are all you need. Less frequent baths means less energy and water consumption for your home.
4. Use natural soaps and shampoos.
Babies don’t need much soap or shampoo, but toddlers will need more as they explore and discover the world. For green ideas for soap, think natural ingredients. Manufacturers like Weleda, California Baby and Burt’s Bees all have baby lines that are made from natural ingredients, rather than toxic chemicals. Natural adult personal care products can be considered as well, as most are designed to be gentle on the skin.
Green ideas for bathtime allow your children to have just as much fun in the tub, but give you the peace of mind that they are safe and healthy. For more green ideas, visit Going Green Today for a 90-day customized action plan that can help you protect your health, save money, and reduce your impact on the Earth.