When I was in university I was invited to a home party for some fancy organic makeup company. This particular organization was proud to share that they held themselves up to the standards of the European Union when it came to their ingredients instead of the American standard.
The difference being, in the EU companies need to register their cosmetic products and conduct safety assessments of the included chemicals before they can be marketed and as of 2013 the EU had banned 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics because research has shown or suggested that there is a link between them and cancer, genetic mutation or birth defects.
The States on the other hand does not require the pre-market safety assessment and they had only banned 11 chemicals.
But once my super pricey bottle of face wash ran out I went back to my old products because I was a broke university student who barely ever wore makeup. Then I became impregnated, and suddenly I cared. I didn’t want to slather my newborn with toxins right after he was born, so I started to pay attention again and I did some research to find safe products to use.
I’m glad I did, because what I found was shocking.
I naively assumed that companies would care about whether or not they were poisoning my baby, or that at the very least, the government would, but they don’t. A lot of products that are touted as safe for babies to use, are not, but they still show up on store shelves and in gift baskets or grocery baskets of new parents.
15 Natural Teething Gels
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One of these products are natural teething gels. My oldest has been through teething, so trust me, I understand how difficult it is to see our children hurting and want to find them something, anything that will take their pain away.
But, you need to be very careful if you choose to use natural teething gels since their major natural ingredient is Night Shade, otherwise known as Bella Donna. In fact, it’s probably best to use other natural methods instead.
Last September the FDA issued a warning against using natural teething gels and tablets because they were looking into the connections between the deaths of 10 infants, over 400 reports of seizures, fevers and vomiting, and teething gels. The cases in question all happened within the past six years.
Instead of using these gels, simply use a clean finger and press on their gums, let them chew on a cold washcloth, allow them to chomp on a teething toy, or give them safe pain medication.
14 Baby Powder
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Another dangerous product is baby powder. Though, you wouldn’t know that by walking through the baby section of large retailers, because baby powder is prolific.
The reason it’s so common is that it’s supposed to help prevent rashes by absorbing any extra moisture on the baby’s body. However, it can cause more harm to a baby than it’s worth, especially since you can also dry a baby with a towel or let them go diaper-free for a while to air out.
One problem with some baby powders is that they contain talc. While talc is much safer now that it no longer contains asbestos, there isn’t enough research to conclusively say that asbestos-free talc is any safer, and there is some indications that it’s still harmful.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is a part of the World Health Organization, has classified talc as a possible carcinogen for humans when it’s applied to the genital area.
The other problem with baby powder—even talc-free ones—is that they are dangerous to inhale. Breathing in baby powder can damage a baby’s lungs and create breathing problems for them.
13 Diaper Rash Cream
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If baby powder failed to keep your child from getting a rash, then the next product parents’ grab is bum cream. This product helps protect your young one’s tush while it heals. But, like so many other products out there for your baby, you need to pay attention to which ones you grab or else you might be accidentally poisoning your precious child.
One problem is the ingredient “fragrance” listed on some creams. While the exact chemical composition of this is unknown to you, it can be an immune toxicant and allergen, which means your child could have an allergic reaction to the cream that’s supposed to help her heal.
12 Baby Soap
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Baby soap is also an item that parents trust. It says “baby” in the name, and the company implies that the soap is specially designed to handle babies’ super sensitive skin. Obviously this product should be safe to use on them. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case.
First of all, many baby washes are scented. If they are scented with something natural like actual lavender, that wouldn’t be so bad, but they’re not. The product contains some secret chemical recipe hidden behind the simple label “fragrance.” Often these secret chemical are skin irritants or allergenic, which is the exact opposite of what you want to use on your baby’s sensitive skin.
Secondly, many soaps contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. The latter is supposed to be better than sodium lauryl sulfate, but the only difference is the addition of ethylene oxide.
One problem with sodium lauryl sulfate is that it is a skin irritant, which is why ethylene oxide is added to make it less annoying to our skin. Another problem is that the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List classifies sodium lauryl sulfate as toxic. So why would you want that on your baby’s skin?
11 Baby Oil
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Another baby product that should be safe to use on them, but that isn’t, is baby oil. Mineral oil, which is what many baby oils are made of, prevents babies’ skin from breathing properly, which means they can’t get rid of toxins.
Furthermore, if it’s accidentally inhaled, baby oil can be fatal. In 1991 a 15-month-old boy suffered from irreversible brain damage after accidentally inhaling some baby oil, because the oil coated his lungs which meant that they couldn’t give his blood the oxygen it needed.
That wasn’t the only time baby oil seriously harmed a baby. Ten years later, in 2001, a 16-month-old boy got a hold of a bottle of baby oil and inhaled some of it and it killed him.
10 Toddler And Adult Toothpastes
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Once your baby is old enough to have teeth, it’s important to take care of those teeth. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which is good for your child’s teeth. However, in large amounts it can be toxic so you want to make sure you’re with your child when they’re brushing their teeth so that they don’t swallow a lot of it.
Another problem with swallowing fluoride in smaller amounts is that it causes a spike in the amount of fluoride in your child’s body, which can actually harm the growth of their teeth.
Some parents want to start brushing those precious teeth as soon as they sprout, and that's a good thing, but it's always best to consult with your physician about the safest and best products to use on your baby. You can even ask your dentist about safe toothpastes for babies as well.
9 Bottles Full OF Water
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Another thing parents give their babies that can harm them is water. Water is bad for young babies for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn’t contain any of the nutrients they would normally get from breastmilk or formula, which means they can stop gaining weight and lose some of the weight they have.
Moreover, giving a baby water can lead to water intoxication. This is when there isn’t enough electrolytes, such as sodium or potassium, in your child’s body. Not having enough electrolytes is dangerous for babies, because it can cause them to have seizures.
While using water on hot days is ok, make sure water is not being used as a supplement for feedings. Especially for young babies who still need their formula and breastmilk as meals. If you feel your baby is too hot, give them a sponge bath or dress them in light clothing or let them go in a diaper.
8 High Salt Diet
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If you have given your baby water and are worried about their electrolyte levels being too low, bring them to a hospital, don’t give them salt to try and up their sodium levels. Your baby gets more than enough salt from her diet, even if she’s still nursing or only drinking formula.
The problem with giving your baby salt is that her kidneys aren’t able to handle it, because they haven’t had enough time to develop fully. And having too much salt in their system can cause all sorts of problems like high blood pressure, an increased risk of osteoporosis later on in life, and in extreme cases death.
In 2016 a South Carolina mother was charged with murder after giving her 17-month-old daughter a teaspoon of salt. One teaspoon contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is well over the recommended 0.8 milligrams for toddlers and 0.4 milligrams for babies under the age of one.
7 Giving Honey Too Young
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Another seemingly innocuous food item that parents may give their babies once they’re starting to eat solids is honey. However, honey can be very dangerous to children under the age of one.
This is because honey can contain the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, and their digestive system isn’t developed enough to prevent it from growing and producing a toxin. Clostridium botulinum can cause infant botulism, which causes muscle weakness, feeding problems, and breathing problems. It can also be fatal if not caught quickly.
The bacteria is very difficult to kill, so you will want to make sure that you aren’t giving your baby anything that was made with honey in it, because chances are it wasn’t baked at a high enough temperature to kill all the spores.
6 Giving Babies Spirits
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Some people actually believe that if your toddler is cranky and not sleeping well or teething, then it’s fine to give them a little bit of brandy or other alcoholic beverage to help sooth their pain and let them sleep better. This is a terrible idea.
First of all, it wouldn’t take much for a baby or toddler to reach a dangerously high blood-alcohol level. Furthermore, alcohol can cause your child to become hypothermic since it lowers their body temperature more rapidly than an adults, because they have more skin surface compared to their weight.
It can also cause them to have seizures or be highly confused due to a low blood sugar level. Finally, drinking alcohol can impact their brain development. Alcohol is not ok during pregnancy, and definitely not ok until the baby has grown up, a lot!
5 Face Paints
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It might not be close to Halloween right now, but country fairs are right around the corner and with both of those events comes the temptation to get your child’s face painted.
Some face painters are aware of the dangers associated with face paints and only purchase safe ones, but others might not be so concerned and many of the face paints that are sold around Halloween are definitely not safe.
In 2016 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released their report Pretty Scary 2: Unmasking Toxic Chemicals in Kids’ Makeup where they looked at the heavy metal content of children’s face paints.
All of the paints they tested came back positive for lead and other heavy metals. Heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium are known carcinogens, and lead can cause learning disabilities, attention deficits, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, and impulsive behavior.
4 Giving Aspirin Too Often Or Too High Of A Dose
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When your child is sick or hurting you might want to give them some pain medication. One that you should avoid is aspirin. Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome. This disorder can cause your child to suffer damage to their liver and brain. While Reye’s syndrome is generally not fatal, the damage that it causes to your child’s brain will likely be permanent.
So if your child has the flu and you intend to give them medication to help them feel better, make sure that it does not contain aspirin.
Also, if you are nursing your baby and you get a headache or end up with the flu, make sure you choose medicine that doesn’t contain aspirin. Unfortunately, aspirin is one of the medications that can pass through your breastmilk, so if you take it and then let your baby drink your milk you can cause them to get Reye’s syndrome.
3 Giving Babies Acetaminophen
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Acetaminophen, or Tylenol as you might call it, is one of the most common ways parents accidentally poison their babies. Some of these poisonings happened because the baby started to explore their world and happened upon a stray pill that they sucked on and ate, others happened because one parent didn’t realize that the other parent had already given their baby a dose.
Sometimes parents accidentally overdosed their baby because their parents gave them the wrong dosage based on the child’s weight. One way that might happen is if you use a teaspoon or regular spoon instead of the syringe or cup that came with the medication.
Some of the dangers of giving your child too much acetaminophen are that it can cause liver damage, liver failure, or death.
2 Hand Sanitizer
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Right after you bring your baby home you might be tempted to tell anyone who comes to visit to use hand sanitizer before they come anywhere near your child, because it really sucks when newborns get sick.
However, one problem with preventing your child from being exposed to any germs is that their immune system isn’t able to learn about it and learn how to fight off illnesses.
Also, you may have noticed that babies love to put things in their mouths. So, if you put hand sanitizer on their fingers or toys, it’s going to end up in their mouths, which can cause stomach problems.
Overusing hand sanitizer may even cause your child to have allergies, because their body mistakenly thinks everything is dangerous since they’re not being exposed to anything unsterile.
1 Pesticides And Herbicides
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The last way that parents might unknowingly poison their baby is by letting them crawl around on grass that’s been sprayed with pesticides. This could be their own yard, a friend’s yard, or a park.
Other ways that children might accidentally come into contact with pesticides is if the fruits and vegetables they’re eating, or that their mothers are eating if they are breastfeeding, haven’t be washed thoroughly enough to remove the pesticides from them.
One reason that pesticides are so dangerous for young children is their size, which means that it will take less toxins to poison them than it would for an adult. Another reason that pesticides are dangerous is that children’s bodies have not fully developed so they are more susceptible to the damaging effects of pesticides, such as brain damage.
Sources: Parenting, BabyCentre, What to Expect, Parents