Sunday, April 22, 2012
Green Products Nannies and Au Pairs Love
It's Earth Day and the perfect time to make simple changes that can positively effect the children in your care.
Nature has provided us with all the food and cleaning products we need. By using organic and natural products, nannies help teach the children in their care to make healthy decisions for their bodies and the Earth.
Choosing organic and natural products greatly reduces the amount of toxins and chemicals that come in contact with children in your care. The products listed below are some of our favorite green products to use to use when working with children to promote a healthier, greener lifestyle.
1. Stainless Steel Sippy Cups
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends Americans avoid soft plastics with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). But, unfortunately studies have found that BPA is found in baby bottles and even in bottles that claim to be "BPA-Free." Here are some ways nannies and au pairs can reduce BPA exposure. We reviewed BPA-Free baby bottles on this blog. Stainless steel sippy cups are your best bet for avoiding the chemicals, like BPA, that are found in many plastic sippy cups and can leach into children's drinks. Try Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Sippy Cups or any BPA-Free, stainless steel water bottle you prefer.
2. Non-Toxic Bath Products
Our skin is a living, breathing tissue that covers and protects our body, but also absorbs things that come into contact with it. According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), kids are exposed to an average of 60 chemicals every day, through breathing them in or absorbing them through their skin, from bath and personal care products. Although I love the smell of Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo studies have shown that the popular cleanser has the carcinogens formaldehyde and 1, 4-dioxane in it. Instead of Johnson and Johnson we recommend using California Baby Shampoo/ Body Wash. California Baby has a large line of great products for kids including those with super sensitive skin. They make our favorite suntan lotion for kids too.
See more information on The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics web site. Click here for a list of the best sunscreens. Another great resource for cleansers is the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database which scores health and beauty products on a scale of zero to ten, based on the safety of their ingredients. You can use it to look up products that you currently use and see how they score, and you can also search for products with a low score for when you’re ready to make a change.
3. Cloth Snack Bags
I must admit I love Ziploc plastic sandwich and snack bags. But just by replacing my plastic bag usage with re-usable alternatives has eliminated hundreds of plastic bags in landfills. In the United States alone, an estimated 8 billion pounds of plastic sacks is found in the annual waste. If other nannies and au pairs use as many Ziplocs as I did I can only imagine how much less plastic garbage there would be if all nannies and au pairs tried replacing their use of plastic storage, sandwich, and snack bags with organic alternatives!
4. Wooden Toys
Babies and toddlers always put toys (and everything else) in their mouths. I don't want plastic chemicals going into the mouths of the kids left in my care. Melissa & Doug Wood Toysare the most well known classic wood toys.
5. Safe Art Supplies
Look for a label that reads "Non-Toxic" on any art and craft supplies to ensure they are safe for children to use.
6. Green Cleaning
Non-toxic cleaners are safer for children, pets and those with a compromised immune system. We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day, so if toxins are contained in that air, we inhale them along with the air. Conventional cleaning products are often major contributors to toxins in the home. People who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems will also likely benefit from natural cleaning products. There are dozens of non-toxic cleaning products available today. I like Seventh Generation, Method, Simple Green, and Green Footsteps are all great non-toxic brands.
It couldn't be easier to use vinegar and baking soda to clean the house. You will need white vinegar, baking soda, an empty spray bottle, empty Parmesan cheese container, and optional essential oil.
Mix 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water in the spray bottle. You can add essential oils to help it smell better if you want. Then fill up your Parmesan cheese container with baking soda. You could add essentials oils to the baking soda too, but it makes it a little bit clumpy. You’re all set to start cleaning.
Sprinkle the baking soda on any hard surface that you want to scrub – the toilet bowl, sink, bathtub, counter tops, and cook tops. Use a rag, microfiber cloth, or one of those green scouring pads or toilet bowl brush. You may need to get a second rag wet to wipe away the residue on the counter top or cook top, but in the bathroom you can just rinse it away.
Spray the vinegar and water mixture anywhere that needs to be wiped down – sink, bathtub, mirror, counters, tables, and floors. Don’t use vinegar on porous surfaces like granite or marble. Just use a rag or microfiber cloth.