Many businesses simply design products that they think new parents will want, but these things that were once extremely popular turn out to be unsafe for babies.
Every pregnant mother knows that what she is carrying is ‘precious cargo’ and from the first day, the baby is her sole purpose for living. No mother wants to imagine doing anything to hurt the baby she is carrying. Babies have so many things that can harm them in-vitro and even after they are born.
Babies require a lot to grow. From diapers to food supplements, to baby clothes, which they wear today and tomorrow they do not fit anymore. New parents are so apprehensive of the tiny human being that anything appearing on the market that gets a few likes makes us rush to buy it, hoping that it is going to be the magic gadget that will make our little angel sleep better or eat better or cry less.
Remember when there was a worldwide paranoia as far as plastic bottles are concerned? That was after it was discovered that bottles with BPA in them can potentially cause cancer and we were told that for as long as the feeding bottle was labeled BPA free it was safe. Even knowing that, we all panicked and for a while there, we started exploring other ways of feeding the baby.
This is how some of the things on this list of 15 baby products from the past that would never be allowed today came about.
15 Extra Padding
Newborns come with a very smooth, delicate looking skin and features and when one holds that tiny infant the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Oh my God! What if I break him?’
Even for those who do not believe in anything divine, seeing the sweet innocent look and the featherweight body that barely fits in the palms of our hands, we are instantly turned into believers.
We are advised against co-sleeping with our newborns and so most of us know that when we get home, the baby will be going into his crib. However, looking at the tiny human being and the hardwood that makes the crib, most parents get jitters and this is where we make the mistake of putting in some crib bumpers.
These are meant to protect the baby from hitting his head or getting stuck between the panels of the crib. While this is a worthwhile concern and the solution seems rather smart, crib bumpers do more harm than good. According to Healthy Way, there is evidence of babies who have rolled into the bumpers and suffocated. There are states like Maryland that have a ban on crib bumpers and the dangers posed by the crib bumpers is highlighted in many parenting classes. Parents are advised to keep the baby’s crib bare, apart from a sheet that is well-fitted.
14 Teething Tablets
Teething comes with a myriad of issues from fevers to diarrhea. Many babies have a hard time when they are teething and some even lose their appetite. Some mothers panic so much that they buy teething gels and teething creams and even tablets to help their little ones cope. According to CNN, in January 2017, parents were warned by the FDA to avoid Hyland's Homeopathic teething items.
This was occasioned by the discovery that the products contained diverse quantities of belladonna, which is a toxic substance that is known as nightshade and is potentially harmful to children. This is after there were reports of fatalities, vomiting, and seizures.
All of Hyland’s teething products were recalled by the FDA and the company and parents were warned to throw away any of the products in their possession. “We initiated this recall even after discontinuing production last fall because it is appropriate to do what our regulating agency has formally requested," said J.P. Borneman, Chairman, and CEO of Standard Homeopathic Company, in the announcement.
"We are committed to maintaining and earning the trust consumers have placed in Standard Homeopathic Company. We have worked for 114 years to build relationships with our consumers. We intend to preserve that tradition of trust," Borneman said.
13 Illegal Chinese Car Seats
Chinese products are notorious for being made with vibrant colors. A Chinese car seat is so appealing that seeing it one desires a baby. The most appealing thing is that these car seats come at even half price the normal car seats. Anyone who has Internet access can buy a car seat online at the push of a button. Many of the car seats marketed online on Amazon and many online shopping sites do not meet the US safety standards since the target customers are not just from the US.
Most of these Chinese companies do not adhere to safety standards and in most cases, it is not just the car seats that flaunt the rules. Most of the toys and baby products are not up to par. While it is not right to criminalize a whole demographic over some unscrupulous businessmen, it is the role of every government to protect its citizenry and any deaths that would occur from these products would be blamed squarely on the government that does not put measures to ban some of these products. It is a good thing the US has banned all car seats that do not conform to the safety standards it has put in place.
12 Some Baby Monitors
A new mother is filled with anxiety of what will and will not be as far as her child is concerned. Most new mothers are so green that all they know is that a baby should be full and should sleep. In the new mothers shopping list, she is told to ensure that she buys a baby monitor, as this will reduce the risk of SIDS.
The monitor, of course, does not offer that but it is marketed as such. All the baby monitors do is that it will alert you in case the child has stopped breathing or there is trouble. But then again, if one is asleep then the breathing or lack thereof of an infant will be hard to tell.
Baby monitors come with their unique problems and a study was done by PowerWatch that concluded that a wireless baby monitor that is placed less than 1 meter away from the baby's crib is almost equivalent to the microwave radiation coming from a cell phone tower which is 150 meters away.
The baby monitors can also be hacked and this is an additional risk that the new mom would wish to bypass. Baby monitors like the one manufactured by Angel Care were recalled after there were cases of infant strangulations.
11 Rattles With Accessories
Babies get bored easily and it is hard to find something that will make the baby settle down enough to let you at least take a breather. Most of us are so tired by the end of the day that all we want to do is lie down and rest, but of course baby won't let you do that. Fortunately for us, some smart entrepreneurs figured out a way to keep the baby occupied in the form of baby rattles.
The Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute has made baby rattles that are considered mechanized hazards illegal.
These are the rattles that come with small sized objects that produce noise and are detachable and they also include sharp objects. Overseas toys tend to come with so many hazards, mainly because rules in this countries are a bit lax when it comes to baby items.
This is where any imported toy should strictly adhere to these standards to help prevent some infant deaths. For the notorious countries that flaunt these rules, banning the toys that come from such countries will prevent the clueless parents from buying the risky toys. Not all parents are truly aware of the damage that can be done by what appears to be “just” a toy.
10 Baby Walkers & Jumpers
New age mothers are busy people with many obligations and they find that in most cases, the traditional way of helping a baby learn how stand or walk is time-consuming. In days of old, a parent would patiently help her child stand using tables and chairs until his legs got strong enough. When the time came to learn how to walk, the parents would hold the toddler's hand as he learned how to take that first step.
The outlawed walkers are mainly those that come with frames that are X-shaped and are prone to pinching the baby, as well as rotational parts and holes and exposed coil springs. There are even walkers that collapse under the weight of a child and all these are risks no mother should be expected to accept.
The best day in a parents life is watching the first step of the child and in most families, there is a photo of the baby taking his first step. Well, this nostalgic moment has been put on the back burner. The first item every new mother buys is a baby walker/jumper.
Unfortunately, jumper products and baby walkers come with numerous risks and there is now a rule that every baby walker or jumper has to adhere to strict design rules.
Phthalates have been associated with bouts of asthma, as well as breast cancer, ADHD, low IQ, obesity, type II diabetes, behavioral and developmental issues, fertility and reproduction problems and autism disorders.
Phthalates are chemicals that are normally used to soften plastics to make them less brittle and bend easily without cracking from as early as the 1950s. According to BabyCenter, the phthalates are not bound chemically to the plastics and so are released to the air or food or even water. These phthalates are in everything and especially in personal care products.
It is the phthalates that make it easy for penetration of lotions in order to soften the skin and longer stay of fragrances. It is these same phthalates that are used in baby toys amongst other things. A bill that was passed in 2008 is meant to ensure that all baby items are free of phthalates, but with the number of items that come with this chemical, it is almost impossible to keep the child away from phthalate exposure. The good news is that at least manufacturers ensure those baby items come free of phthalates, thus reducing the exposure to this harmful chemical albeit by a small margin.
Bisphenol A or BPA, a product found in a lot of plastic bottles and resins seeps into the fluids that are inside any container, leading to complications. BPA has been known to cause baby birth defects and it is the reason that pregnant women are warned to avoid bottled water. Even after the baby is born, there are numerous risks associated with BPA, which include issues with the brain, developmental behaviors, as well as prostate gland issues. No baby items should contain BPA as they can lead to serious complications for the baby.
BPA-free bottles are now a requirement for any baby bottle in the country. This rule has eradicated a lot of the feeding bottles from the market as most of them did not meet the new standards.
This rule has made all the manufacturers go back to the drawing board and remodel feeding bottles to meet the requirements.
With this ban, all the baby products that contain BPA should be eradicated from every department store and even in the homes. Infants are especially vulnerable and they should be protected at all cost and the ban is one step that is commendable.
7 Key Flame Retardant
The minute a child starts to toddle around, there are so many accidents that can happen and it is not uncommon to find an overprotective parent burdening a child with items meant to prevent accidents that the child's movement is curtailed and he really does not enjoy his life as he is required to do.
All our purchases and precautionary measures are meant to make life a little easier as we try to raise that child into the best that he can be. There are clothes that were made with these paranoid parents in mind that were meant to minimize risks of catching fire.
Chlorinated Tris, which was banned when it was discovered to be carcinogenic, is still used in many baby products today despite the ban.
Even when a product is banned, most manufacturers go ahead and use a product with a different name, but from the same chemical family. A fact which is truly disturbing.
This fact is truly scary and what is left now is for the parents to take it upon themselves to read the labels and choose safe products for their baby and hope that at least the manufactures will make these baby products with a little integrity.
6 Drop Side Cribs
There has been a lot of bad press on co-sleeping and any new mom knows that what she needs to do is come up with a way to put her baby to sleep safely and without any risks. No mother has ever thought that the crib she has been told is safer can turn out to be quite dangerous.
Before the safer versions of cribs that are easy to assemble came onto the market, there were drop-side cribs. Drop-side cribs are made with one or both sides that slide up and down to make it easier to pick up the baby when it is time to feed or sooth.
There were different styles, but the basic premise was that the side would slide and when in the upwards position, it would lock into place. However, many sliding or locking mechanisms malfunctioned, leading to trapping and sometimes suffocating a baby.
According to Consumer Reports, the cribs were responsible for 32 deaths from the year 2000, including strangulation and suffocation of infants. The cribs were recalled and later banned by the CPSC in 2011. To ensure one gets the right crib that adheres to all the regulations and does not cause any fatalities, only purchase a crib made after June 2011.
5 Fluffy Pillows
Some of us cannot sleep without the use of a pillow because we just aren’t comfortable. Pillows are great and when that tiny baby has a reflux problem, some of us prop the pillow behind his back to keep him lying on the side to ease discomfort. Practical right? Wrong.
Currently, a lot of pillows targeting babies are banned in the US, with legal restrictions in place to prevent manufacturers from marketing cushy pillows meant for infants.
Any item that comes with the title infant pillow or infant cushion becomes an illegal sale if it falls within some specifications. This is also for those pillows that come with removable coverings and fillings that can be compressed and are aimed at children under the age of one year.
This is because the pillow is soft enough to conform to the baby’s face and body and can thus lead to suffocation. Babies can sleep anywhere and a baby sleeps better on a flat surface. He does not require a pillow and as much as we may think that he is uncomfortable, this feeling is wrong. The regulations put in place are meant to ensure that a parent’s happiness is not curtailed by something that can easily be prevented. A baby crib can be customized to cater for the babies who have reflux and who require an elevated position.
4 Sleep Positioners
According to Very Well Family in 2010, CPSC and the FDA gave a warning on infant sleep positioners after the death of 13 babies because they either pressed their faces on the sides or rolled and were trapped between the crib side and the positioner. There are reports of babies placed in a safe position in the positioners but were later found sleeping in an unsafe position.
Sleep positioners are not certified and even though people still continue to use them after buying them at garage sales or online, it is important that they stay aware to the fact that these sleep positioners are hazardous to the baby.
Most of these positioners can only be found online because most manufacturers no longer make them. The sale of positioners came with the assurance that they reduce the instances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) but the truth is, there is no known cause of SIDS, but it can be prevented by ensuring the bed is bare of clutter. However, one is allowed, to use a crib wedge that goes under the babies crib to elevate it at one end. This is especially useful for babies who suffer from reflux and even those who have specific breathing problems.
3 No Yard Sale for Baby Items
Babies are born and before you know it, all the cute pink or blue baby clothes you bought and received as gifts no longer fit. Babies seemingly grow overnight and even if one tries to buy clothes that are slightly larger they will still outgrow them and the more one buys, the faster the child outgrows them. This is the nature of babies. This whole cycle can be quite expensive for anyone and it is for this reason that people get this brilliant idea to hold a garage sale and sell some of the baby items.
Not only is this a good way to recoup your losses and give you some loose cash to buy new clothes, the child still requires more clothes, it is also a good way to de-clutter your house. Unfortunately, there is a rule that says that it is illegal to have a yard sale to sell your baby products.
This is because of the safety conditions that keep being reviewed, one may be selling older versions of products that are now recalled or outright banned. There will be no one to ensure that what you sell is certified and this could lead to you selling products that could be potentially harmful to the users.
2 Over-The-Counter Cough & Cold Meds
Babies and toddlers are prone to opportunistic infections and it is not uncommon to find a child with a cold. We all know that colds take seven days to go through the whole cycle and most of us are used to buying over the counter medications to alleviate some of the symptoms that come with colds.
When a toddler has a cold, we are so disturbed that we do our best to try to help the child. It is worse since the child cannot blow his own nose and so as the cold goes through the stages, the child gets stuffy and congested. Mucus is running all over their face and they look uncomfortable all around.
This is when we get the brilliant idea to buy him over the counter medication. According to Nursing Times, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) recently advised (MHRA, 2009) that if a child is under the age of six years, he should not use OTC cold or cough medicines. They also suggested some measures be put in place to make sure that children between the ages of 6 to 12 years can safely use these OTC Drugs. OTC drugs have a myriad of side effects and they have been known to cause allergic reactions in children, hallucinations, as well as sleep disturbances.
1 Car Seats From Overseas
Every country has its own safety rules when using the car and the standards of safety differ from one country to the other. Some countries are quite relaxed when it comes to safety standards. The car seats that come from the US come with a harness that is five –points, as well as chest clips. On the other hand, a three-point modified strap system with no chest clip is used in Europe. The car seats that are made overseas can be tempting, especially if the brand name is well known. But the standards of the car seat if made overseas may not be up to US regulations.
Every car seat is made to fit and be safe, no matter what kind of car it is placed in. As long as it is installed correctly, they are meant to withstand any situation that may arise from a crash or excess speed.
Not taking all this into consideration can be a very costly thing in the end and especially if the car seat does not offer enough protection for the baby.
It is a good thing that the US has rules prohibiting some of these car seats that bring about a lot of fatalities to newborns. The right car seat could be just a few dollars more than the fake one and this could be the difference between a fatality and a near miss.