Thursday, 24 November 2011

The toxic truth about baby change pads

First off, I'd like to wish my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you've had a wonderful day full of great food and surrounded by family and friends at your table :)

If there is a baby in your life, this post is for you.  Whether you're a parent, an aunt or uncle, or a friend of someone with a baby, or perhaps you've got a baby on the way into your life (shout out to my sister who is growing me a niece or nephew right now!), you should know about the dangers of many widely available change pads.  You should also know that there are safe alternatives.

Many conventional changing pads contain some or all of the following toxins: 
  • PVC: The worst plastic from an environmental perspective.  The most toxic plastic for our health.  We know it as vinyl.  It releases and creates dioxin, the most potent carcinogenic known.  Can cause the following health problems:
    • Cancer
    • Endocrine disruption
    • Endometriosis
    • Neurological damage
    • Birth defects and impaired child development
    • Reproductive and immune system damage
  • Lead: Can be found in the plastic used for baby items.  Kids can take in lead by breathing or swallowing lead dust or by eating soil or paint chips that contain lead. Lead is not absorbed through the skin.  Elevated levels of lead in the blood can damage a developing child's brain and nervous system.
  • Phthalates: We've talked about them before, in this post.  In change pads they're used to soften the PVC.  They cause endocrine disruption.
  • Latex: Some children have allergies or sensitivities to latex.
  • BPA: We've talked about them before, in this post.  They cause endocrine disruption.
  • Formeldahyde: A known carcinogen
Luckily there are a lot of great products on the market now for health-minded parents.  One of these healthy alternatives to conventional change pads is Thula.  I am a little biased when it comes to Thula, because it was created by my step-sister, Karen, one of the best moms I know.  After having my nephew, Kai, she saw a real need for an environmentally friendly change pad that was healthy for baby, and kept the mess contained.  With her background in marketing, distribution, and production, she set out to create Thula.  Today, she is the mother of 3 kids, age 6 1/2, 4, and 6 mos, and I don't know how she balances it all!  Cheers to all the busy moms out there, you ROCK!!!

The Thula change pad consists of an Eco Mat and Puddle Pad:

The Eco Mat is made from non-toxic rubber.  It does not contain PVC, chlorides, phthalates, toluene or heavy metals.  It is also hypoallergenic because it is latex free, slip resistant and hygienic.  The mat is biodegradable (though not in the useful life of the mat) and recyclable.

The Puddle Pad is made from an absorbent and stain resistant poly/nylon microfibre.  Karen chose this fabrication because it will not readily stain or hold odours.  The microfibre fabric is milled in the USA and is sewn here in Canada.  Thula’s microfibre Puddle Pads are for placing under baby’s bottom while changing diapers on the Eco Mat. They are very soft next to baby’s skin and help to absorb/localize any messes.

The Puddle Pad is also available in organic sherpa cotton.  Many parents are looking for this sort of material: unbleached, undyed and contains no finishing chemicals.  This fabric is knit here in Canada using GOTS and/or SKAL certified organic yarns.  The fabric is also cut down and sewn in to the Puddle Pads here in Canada.

Organic Sherpa Puddle Pad
Microfibre Puddle Pads in blue, pink,
and green

The Eco Mat and Puddle Pad roll right up smaller than a yoga mat, and you can fit it in the diaper bag or under the stroller.  The mat is big enough to change diapers on your tot right up until they're ready for toilet training.  The Puddle Pads just go right in with the laundry, and hang to dry.

Thula’s Eco Mat is great for tummy time, baby massage or simply a dry spot to sit on during trips to the park. The only change mat you’ll ever need — use at home or when you’re away.  A friend of mine used hers at mom-baby yoga, as a mat for the baby!

You can order Thula Eco Mat sets here on their website, with free shipping in Canada.  The Eco Mat is $29.99.  The Eco Mat set with microfibre Puddle Pad is $39.99.  The Eco Mat set with organic sherpa cotton Puddle Pad is $42.99.  You can also order a 2-pack of puddle pads.  Thula is also available in lots of retail stores across Canada, and in Toronto, you can find it at Diaper-eez and Bellybean.

When you use your mat out in the public, it's not a bad idea to wipe the bottom surface. before rolling it back up.  Here's a great recipe for homemade baby wipes solution from Karen:

2 tbsp baby shampoo
2 tbsp olive oil
2 drops tea tree oil (*has anti-bacterial properties)
2 drops essential oil of your choice (*lavender is soothing, *orange is invigorating)
2 cups of water

Store in spray bottle for use on baby's bottom when changing diapers or spray directly on surfaces to disinfect.  Keep a small spray bottle in the diaper bag.
Soak wash cloths or paper towels in the solution and use to freshen baby's bottom or clean surfaces.

My beautiful niece, Rosalind

Thula is pretty amazing, and I'm so proud to tell you about it.  If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Karen.  She would be pleased to hear from you.


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