Babies and toxins. Never the twain shall meet. But they do. Daily. From the airborne chemicals in heating systems, from sealants on carpeting, from poisons in cleaning products and building materials, even from mom’s perfume. Babies are born sponges. Their supple, delicate skin — the largest organ in their body and five times thinner than an adult’s — absorbs the harsh effects of what most of us take for granted.
So why expose your infant to further toxicity by using baby care products that are not natural and organic?
Canadian Allyson Johnson has been in the natural health industry for 17 years as practitioner, therapist, and educator, focusing on the pollutants in children’s body care products.
“The key thing about babies is that they’re exposed to all the toxins we are, but they don’t have the immunity we have,” says Johnson. “They just aren’t as resilient.”
Anything put on a baby’s skin — from body wash to diaper cream — will penetrate directly into their bloodstream, with dramatic consequences.
“I don’t think parents realize, but in a body wash there are chemicals equivalent to paint thinners and carcinogenic colouring and even weed killers — used to keep the funguses and bacteria down.”
Johnson reminds parents to be strict with what baby gets. Natural and organic products work in harmony with the body. “Your skin is an organ. It’s not a piece of Saran Wrap that holds the organs in there.”
Johnson has a rule of thumb when she selects baby products: avoid synthetic chemicals. “I always tell people if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it on you.”
Select Stores has Green People Organic Babies line, including a mild shampoo with herbal extracts, an organic body wash, and a baby lotion with calendula and shea butter.
Calendula has both healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It will reduce the inflammation of diaper rash and heal soreness, at the same time absorbing moisture.
“Babies don’t sweat, so when you put creams and lotions on them it can be smothering and the body can’t absorb them. Calendula is able to keep the skin moist longer.”
Shea butter, from an African-grown nut, is high in essential fatty acids and is actually edible (as a substitute for cocoa butter). A super moisturizer, it has great recovery abilities for the skin and is used medicinally to treat scars, rashes, burns, eczema, and psoriasis.
Select Stores’s Weleda line introduces zinc oxide in partnership with calendula in a diaper cream that allows the skin to breathe and push out toxins while calming an irritated bottom.
While it’s difficult to imagine returning to a time when every clothesline was decorated with pair after pair of freshly laundered cloth diapers, there are alternatives to both messy washing and to tossing disposable plastics into the landfill.
Just as plastic disposable diapers give off toxic gases that can cause not only skin irritation, but also urinary tract infections in young girls, toxins leaching from plastic baby bottles can do equal damage.
The Canadian government is banning polycarbonate baby bottles containing bisphenol A, making Canada the first country in the world to limit exposure to a chemical linked to cancer.