Archive for the ‘Babies and children’ Category

Transition Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule for Daylight Savings with Jenni June

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Baby Sleep Schedule for Daylight Savings

It’s almost time to “spring forward” an hour and gain some extra sunlight. For many it is a hopeful sign that spring is around the corner. But for parents, it can be a time of increased stress and decreased sleep due to the change in their children’s sleep routine. We asked Jenni June, a nationally-recognized certified child sleep consultant, for some tips on how parents can make this transition easier. June says not to worry, just do these three simple things and within about four days, your child should be fully adjusted:

1. Begin your bedtime routine immediately following a warm, relaxing candle lit bath in a darkened sleep environment.

2. Keep your post-bath bedtime routine to 15 minutes max! This safeguards your child from missing that powerful wave of sleep hormones that are often released after a quiet bath while settling down in a darkened room. Both of these things do a great job of kick-starting your child’s melatonin production. If you prolong this routine, your child will eventually catch their second wind and become overtired.

3. Wake your child between 6-7 a.m. and expose them to the early morning dawn and sunrise for at least 20 minutes in front of a window while feeding, and again outside for what I like to call “Naturewalk Time”, exposing them directly for another 20-30 minutes.

The blue light that emanates from the rising sun helps sync our bodies to the new time. Proceed with your child’s regular schedule for the rest of the day.

Good luck parents! We hope your transition goes smoothly. Don’t forget to adjust your clocks to “spring forward” Saturday night.

About Jenni June:

Jenni June Sleep Consultant Jennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June TM LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, Certified Lactation Counselor, Host and Mom of 4 teenagers! She is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! http://jennijune.com/

Making Decisions Monday: Action Items for a Safer Toy Holiday or Birthday

Monday, November 17th, 2014

When beginning your research for safer toys, start here to learn more about wood toys, and don’t forget my key questions to ask yourself before purchasing a plastic toy.

While we can’t replace everything in our house immediately (it’s too expensive for me, even if I could get my kids to give up many of the toys they love at once!), we can strive to make better choices going forward, and holidays and birthdays make a great opportunity to do so.

christmas-gifts

1) Tell your friends and family that you are looking to make more conscious decisions about the toys you’re bringing into your home. Recommend some brands you’re interested in (here and here are some suggestions), and offer key terms they should look for on packaging and websites.

Key terms: Organic, BPA-free, Phthalate-free or nonphthalate, type of plastic (food grade preferred)

Terms to avoid if they are unsubstantiated: Eco-friendly, Green, Natural, Non-Toxic. Ask yourself why they are Eco-friendly, Green, Natural or Non-Toxic. If the company explains that their toys are made with food-grade plastic, or use a certified non-toxic paint, etc, then Yes! Feel comfortable in making your judgment call based on that factual information rather than an unsubstantiated and unregulated claim.

2) If you have a particular brand or toy you’re interested in lacking details about how the toys are made, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer and ask their Quality Assurance team or Customer Service, but make them aware that you understand that though they may comply with federal standards, you are looking for toys which go above and beyond in chemical safety for children.

3) This is a great opportunity to ask for replacement toys that regularly go in the mouth with safer alternatives. This year, on my kids’ Christmas wish list (which I luckily still get to make for them), I am asking for replacement play food items and bath toys. You may also be interested in replacing things like tea sets, whistles, horns and recorders, and teethers.

Happy shopping!

Making Decisions Monday: Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Plastic Toys

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Thanks for joining me on our hunt for safer toys! Last week, we talked about wood toys for toddlers and preschoolers, like my own 19 month old daughter and nearly 4 year old son.

I was on a mission to find safer action figures and dinosaur toys my son might still be interested in playing with. The wood toys I found didn’t meet that criteria, though there are some available. We all need to find our own level of comfort with what we provide to our children, so I began to look for some safer plastic toy options.

plastic-baby-dolls

PLASTIC TOYS

Here are the questions I ask myself when looking at plastic toys, in order of what I personally consider to be the most important factors regarding safety.

1) Is it BPA free or non-detectable?

Generally, I only thought of Bisphenol A as it relates to baby cups and bottles, food storage containers, etc. However, BPA is a phthalate, and a report done by HealthyStuff.org revealed that BPA was reported in certain toys just a few years ago. This year, the EU has further regulated BPA in toys effective by the end of 2015.

Bottom line: If the manufacturer doesn’t state that they are BPA-free on their website or on the product packaging, then consider reaching out to their Customer Service or Quality Assurance team directly for confirmation, or visit HealthyStuff.org to see if they have a report on the product you’re interested in.
However, remember that BPA testing isn’t required currently for toys, and a manufacturer may state that they are compliant.

2) Is it phthalate-free or non-detectable?

bath-toys

There are plenty of concerns you may have about PVC and other types of plastic, but my bigger concern is the effects of the plasticizers which soften plastic, specifically phthalates. Only six types of phthalates are regulated in the US for toys. It’s not enough, for my personal peace of mind, to have the manufacturer state that they are complying with the CPSC/CPSIA phthalates requirement.

Bottom line: Look for a manufacturer or packaging to say phthalate-free or nonphthalate, though remember phthalates may also be in inks, so look carefully at the language used.

A manufacturer is also dependent on working in cooperation with their suppliers, and while no phthalates may intentionally be added, the term phthalate-free may be misleading. You can ask for test results of a toy to see what phthalates it has been tested for specifically. Or, you can also look for toys made of a hard plastic. It’s less likely (though not guaranteed) that a hard plastic toy would contain phthalates anyway.

3) Is it PVC-free?

There are a lot of types of plastics, but this one gets some of the worst press. If you’re interested in learning more about plastic from its chemical footprint during manufacturing to health hazards, I’d invite you to read the Plastics Score Card v. 1.0.

Bottom line: Brands using food-grade plastic like polyethylene are a better bet. However, I am more comfortable giving my son a phthalate-free plastic made of PVC than my daughter, who is still putting toys in her mouth.

Bonus Question: Is it recycled?

We can all feel better for the environment and our health buying a toy made of recycled plastic! Plastic doesn’t break down easily in the environment. Here are some brands I found using recycled plastic.

Bruder Trucks
Green Toys
Sprig Toys

The following brands as of this publication date have plastic toys which are BPA- and/or phthalate-free. Be sure to research and double check yourself for your own peace of mind. Remember that formulas and manufacturing processes may change over the years.

Disclaimer: By listing these brands, neither I nor Naturepedic are endorsing them over another brand with similar qualifications. Nor have we tested all of these products or contacted each brand individually. I used publicly available information, reached out as a consumer to a few customer service agents, and made decisions about what to include here based upon: the types of toys I am seeking for my kids, their ages, and the level of comfort I have personally with the safety and quality information provided by each company.

B. Toys/Terra (Owned by Battat)
Boon
Crocodile Creek
Infantino
Lego
Spielstabil
WOW Toys

Next week I’ll be discussing action items you can do to help your loved ones select safer toys for gift-giving, including key terms to look for on packaging.

Making Decisions Monday: Safer Toys for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

About 6 months ago, I came to work for Naturepedic just a few months after purchasing my own new mattress (sadly, non-Naturepedic). Imagine my surprise and disappointment as I began to learn the complexities of this industry and the chemicals that surround us on a daily basis. I quickly learned that organic is not just about food.

Working here, I’ve had the benefit of being exposed to a lot of knowledge about toxic chemicals, regulations, and above all, the impact chemicals can and do have on my children. I won’t pretend to be an expert: I’m a mom learning to reevaluate the world I live in day-to-day.

One of the most important lessons I learned early on was to pick one thing important to me to begin to change. Re-stocking and replacing an entire household is too overwhelming (and expensive). Since that time, I’ve changed a few things from cleaning products to my kids’ pajamas.

I’ve recently begun tackling my biggest challenge yet: my children’s toys.

weekend-playtime

I have a 19 month old daughter and my son is almost 4. I have his birthday and Christmas approaching. This year, I wanted to make more conscious decisions about what toys we bring into our home at holiday time.

Listen, I’m realistic. Kids love plastic toys. I’m not buying only toys made out of wood, or completely organic (though there are some great ones I’m considering!). I certainly can’t control everything that other family members purchase for our kids. They are, after all, the only grandchildren, niece or nephew, on either side of the family!

And so began my venture in finding safer toys to recommend for gift-giving to toddlers and preschoolers.

WOOD TOYS

blocksI assumed that wooden toys were inherently safe, but that’s not strictly true. Does a painted piece chip off? In my opinion, that’s unacceptable, even if we are confident that that paint is lead-free. While there are a lot of non-toxic paints (some are actually even certified), I also looked for wooden toys which have a natural stain or sealant.

Here are some brands I discovered in my search whose toys I would feel comfortable giving to my kids.

Disclaimer: This is not an all-inclusive list. There are a lot of great brands making safe wooden toys, brands using better plastics, as well as manufacturers of organic cotton plush toys and blankets. By listing these brands, neither I nor Naturepedic are endorsing them over another brand with similar qualifications. Nor have we tested all of these products or contacted each brand individually. I used publicly available information, reached out as a consumer to a few customer service agents, and made decisions about what to include here based upon: the types of toys I am seeking for my kids, their ages, and the level of comfort I have personally with the safety and quality information provided by each company. If you have a recommended addition, we’d be happy to hear about it!

anaMalz
Haba
Hape
Kid Kraft
NovaNatural
Plan Toys
Smart Gear/Wonderworld

Next week, I’ll be talking about safer plastic toys. There’s definitely some debate about whether any plastic can considered safer, but I feel like I can do my part to make more responsible choices as I’m able. Stay tuned for key questions you should ask yourself before buying a plastic toy.

Study Connects Phthalate Exposure in Moms, Asthma in Children

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

A study released by Columbia University has found a connection between mothers exposed during pregnancy to high levels of two commonly used phthalates, BBP and DBP (also referenced as BBzP and (more…)

New Government Report on Phthalates Sends Mixed Messages

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Phthalates are chemical plasticizers used to make plastics like vinyl pliable or soft, and they are in almost everyone’s blood.  These chemicals are used in all types of products including children’s items (more…)

First Candle Works to Help Babies Reach Their First Birthday

Monday, July 21st, 2014

First Candle Safe Sleep Media Star logoIn a perfect world, every baby arrives at his or her first birthday, giggling and happy. First Candle is working toward that world.

The organization is dedicated to researching and preventing sudden unexpected (more…)

Naturepedic Handmade Mattresses: Real People, Real Quality

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Our mattresses are handmade. Really.

A toy zipping down a conveyor belt, made from wooden pieces cut by a pre-programmed robotic machine then painted by an automated sprayer but in the end assembled (more…)

Busting Dust Mites

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
House_Dust_Mite

Not pretty things. Luckily, they can’t see each other. (c) Wikipedia, Creative Commons

I’m glad dust mites are too small (more…)

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik Discusses Chemicals in Crib Mattresses and University of Texas Study

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A recent study published February of this year by a team of environmental engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has found that infants are exposed to high (more…)