Mum’s iPhone, Dad’s reading glasses. The world is your infant’s tasting menu for the initial stages of their life. However, there’s no need to sterilise every dropped dummy as a little contact with germs helps develop their immunity.
But when it comes to baby skin and oral care, you want to make sure that the products you're using aren’t doing more harm to your baby than the slobber on dog’s toys they’ve been chewing on.
Alarmingly despite all the studies and news reports, many parents are STILL bathing, powdering, wiping, brushing teeth and moisturising their babies with products containing an alarming mix of harmful toxins! Parabens, Talc, Sulphates, Propylene, Glycol and DEA are just some of the known toxic ingredients commonly used in baby bath, skin, oral and hair care products and also in baby wipes and nappy change creams.
Thankfully these days, avoiding toxic ingredients is much easier with lots of safer alternatives on the market. Here, we help shed some light on how it is that toxic ingredients end up in baby care products and more importantly, show you how you can protect your babies by knowing what to avoid and what baby products are safe to use.
In Australia and many countries around the world, the baby product industry is grossly unregulated. Brands know busy mums don’t always have time to read all the ingredients. And let’s be real, who really understands what all the ingredients are anyway!
If you think those major household brand names have your back, well, they don’t necessarily. In fact, they’re some of the worst offenders.
Dangerous chemicals such as parabens are commonly used as a preservative because it’s cheap. But it’s also very nasty. Parabens may seem like a good idea as babies generally don’t suffer allergic reactions to it. But do you really want your baby’s delicate skin to be absorbing chemicals that mimic estrogen?
Excessive estrogen is linked to cancer and other medical concerns that can affect their development. That’s just one example of the many shocking ingredients used to make everyday products for both you and your bub.
Baby product manufacturers are allowed to use certain amounts of concerning ingredients in their products. These amounts are deemed by the authorities to be at low enough levels not to cause harm. But this is the amount allowed in each individual product; e.g. each nappy cream, baby shampoo etc. What happens when you go through a tub of nappy cream and baby lotion every couple of weeks?
What happens is that your baby is being exposed to accumulative amounts of certain toxic ingredients. When you think of the number of baby wipes or toothpaste swallowed on average over a 2-year period and the dangerous chemicals that your standard supermarket products contain, it is pretty frightening.
Due to their tiny body size, babies and especially newborns are much more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxins than we are.
If this is news to you then don’t worry, you’re not alone. So what can you do about it?
It can be overwhelming but also empowering to learn more about what ingredients both you and your baby should avoid. At a glance, here are three commonly featured offenders that you need to be aware of.
1. Parabens - as mentioned, any ingredient that ends in paraben, such as ethylparaben, methylparaben, or butylparaben, should be avoided.
2. Avoid products that have ingredients containing the letters eth - such as polyethylene glycols (also listed as PEG) or Phenoxyethanol as they contain 1,4-dioxane which is a known carcinogen.
3. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate - also labelled as SLS, SLES, sodium dodecyl sulfate or sodium PEG lauryl sulfate. This synthetic ingredient is used in a large range of products to make them nice and foamy but it can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs and also contains the harmful 1,4-dioxane.
At Grin, we only use natural ingredients sourced from around the world, leaving out nasty chemicals. Our toothpaste formulation uses the very best of what nature has to offer to safely and effectively care for your family’s oral hygiene. Grin Kids toothpaste range contains Grin kids natural toothpastes containing none of the above harmful ingredients and are also palm oil and preservatives free.
When it comes to looking at ingredients on packaging, it can be confusing to know what is safe. If it seems too hard to learn about every ingredient, then align yourself with brands you can trust and whose values match with your beliefs. This means you can buy with confidence.
Our friends from Wotnot share our philosophy on providing families with safe, effective, eco-friendly products. Their product range is ‘pure, gentle and nourishing’ and provides an all-important alternative in the market. Designed to heal, soothe and protect your baby's soft skin, every single ingredient used in their products is listed on the packaging – they don’t have anything to hide!
We hope we have helped equip you with the knowledge to shop safer, better products for your family.