Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) And Radiation: What You Need To Know And How To Minimise Exposure

EMFs and radiation

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity isn’t a recognised medical diagnosis. But don’t we all know (or have heard of) at least one person who gets a headache every time he takes a call on his mobile? Or someone who swears she gets dizzy when she walks into a room where there’s WiFi? Are EMFs and radiation really affecting your health? 

EMFs and radiation

Mobile phones, laptops, WiFi – these are all just parts of our way of life now. We rely on them for a lot of things – work, communication, entertainment, staying organised, staying fit, and so much more.

But while they do make our lives easier, there’s some fear about the potential risks these technologies pose. Could they lead to health issues later on? And why do some people claim to experience debilitating electromagnetic hypersensitivity while others don’t?

There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s dive in.

What are EMFs and radiation?

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are areas of energy (aka radiation) around objects that use power. Power lines, electrical equipment, electrical wiring, railway lines, microwave ovens, TVs, computers, and mobile phones are common sources of EMFs.

We’re constantly swimming in a sea of radiation. But mobile phones are, by far, the closest source. We hold them up to our ears (near the brain), keep them in our pockets, sleep with them beside our heads, and so forth.

Should we be concerned about EMFs and radiation?

Given how we’ve come to rely on WiFi and wireless devices, it can be very uncomfortable to entertain the notion that they’re bad for our health. And yet we have to ask the tough questions. After all, things like mobile phones and WiFi are new(ish) technologies and not enough time has passed to determine their long term effects on human health.

Scientists still need to do more research to establish the links between EMFs and disease. But so far, human health studies and lab experiments have linked EMFs and radiation with:

On 28 March 2018, a scientific peer review showed that there was ‘clear evidence’ that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer.

Children may be more at risk

Babies and children are more vulnerable to EMFs and radiation because their nervous systems are still developing, their skulls are thinner, and their brain tissue is ‘more conductive.’

And compared to us adults, children will have much longer exposure over their lifetime. While our generation didn’t have iPhones, iPads or even WiFi growing up, today’s preschoolers watch Peppa Pig from their parent’s tablets and play with WiFi enabled toys on a regular basis.

Then there’s the phone radiation testing, which only takes into account how adults are affected — not children or babies in the womb. In 2013, this prompted the American Academy of Paediatrics to remind the US Federal Communications Commission (which does the tests) that “children are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation.”

Another issue with radiation testing is it’s assumed that phones will be held a certain distance from the body. For the iPhone 7, for example, it’s 5 mm. Unfortunately, smartphone users tend to hold their devices much closer to their bodies than that. For instance, if you keep your phone in your pocket (like most men) or prop your tablet up on your tummy while you stream Netflix (like lots of kids).

What expert agencies say

The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists radio frequency electromagnetic fields as Group 2B or “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The decision was based on a link between wireless phone use and an increased risk for a malignant type of brain cancer called glioma.

That might sound terribly alarming, but most public health institutions say the levels of radiation we’re exposed to are actually within the safety limits. But, as with most things, moderation is key.

In 2011, the Council of Europe urged member states to choose wired connection over WiFi in schools, regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren, and set thresholds for levels of long term exposure to microwave radiation in all indoor areas.

Some countries have already acknowledged that WiFi can be harmful to young children and have proposed or enacted policies to ban or reduce WiFi use in schools. These include Cyprus, Israel, Germany, Finland, and Russia.

In 2015, France enacted a law banning the use of WiFi in daycare centres and nursery schools. It prohibited wireless Internet in spaces “dedicated to the reception, rest, and activities of children under 3 years old” and was the first French law to take a precautionary approach to the potential health risks from electromagnetic fields.

Managing risk

So here’s what we know:

  1. Scientists haven’t ruled out the possibility that EMFs have detrimental effects to human health.
  2. Children, infants, and foetuses are more susceptible.
  3. Long term effects are hard to predict.
  4. Current standards for mobile phones and other wireless devices are based on how adults — not the youngest and most vulnerable members of the population — are affected.

There’s still a lot of research to be done. But as the Council of Europe pointed out in 2011, perhaps we need to learn from our mistakes.

“Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”

In short: better to play it safe.

While we can’t completely shield our families from EMFs and radiation, there are ways to reduce exposure.

Small changes can make a great impact. I always remind my family to text instead of call, keep calls short, and use hands free devices whenever possible. And for added protection from EMFs and radiation, both my children and my husband and I use anti radiation phone covers and headphones.

 

If you want to further minimise your family’s exposure to EMFs, you might also consider radiation shields for major sources like your laptop and microwave.

 

Anti radiation armbands let you safely use your phone while jogging or working out (remember that 5 mm safe distance?).

Do you worry about EMFs and radiation? What do you do to keep your family safe? Share below!

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This is The Worst Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Received

When I was pregnant with my children, I think I read just about every single pregnancy and baby book out there. I had a plan for everything, and probably even plans for making those plans. I had opinions on everything, and I knew exactly how it was all going to work.

And then I actually went into labour, brought home a baby and everything changed! That’s when the learning really started.

My gorgeous sister in law had a baby recently, and of course she’s been asking for advice. So I couldn’t resist giving her the best of the worst parenting advice that I’d ever heard.

worst parenting advice

You’ll need to toughen up your nipples for breastfeeding.

Sorry, what? How exactly do you go about doing that? Sandpaper? A gentle 10 minute squeeze with a nutcracker? The mind boggles.

If your baby bites you while you’re breastfeeding, bite him back.

Awesome advice. And if the little bugger happens to pee on you while you’re changing his nappy, well, just pee on him right back!

Sleep as much as you can while you’re pregnant because you won’t get any once the baby arrives.

Yep, start socking away some hours in the sleep bank. Because that’s going to help.

You shouldn’t swim while you’re pregnant because your baby could drown.

Somebody actually said this to a friend of mine while she was in the pool. Good thing they didn’t see her heading for the showers. Apparently, you also shouldn’t stretch your arms above your head while you’re pregnant, either, because the cord will wrap around the baby’s neck. Not even sure how to react to that one!

Get all your household chores done while the baby’s sleeping.

Because your number one priority with a new baby is a tidy house. Don’t shower, or even have a cup of coffee while it’s still hot. Get those chores done.

Never let that baby cry.

Not once, not ever, right? Because you’ll ruin him for life if you ever let him cry.

You should be doing controlled crying.

Because you’ll ruin that baby if you pick him up every time he cries.

(See how those two work? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, right?)

Put some vodka in that baby’s bottle. He’ll sleep.

I’m sure he will. But I need that alcohol waaaay more than the baby does.

Keep that baby awake during the day, and he’ll sleep at night.

Yes, that definitely works. The baby will never get so goddamn tired that he Won’t. Sleep. At. All. and is completely hysterical and so are you.

If you really wanted the best education for your child, you’d homeschool.

That’s right. I should keep him at home with me, away from people with actual educational qualifications, without any companions of his own age, and give up the work that I love. My mum planned to homeschool for a year while on a round the world trip with my brothers, and managed a whole week of it before she packed it in.

If it’s your thing, though, I take my hat off to you. You’ve got way more patience than I do!

If I were you, I’d …

Stop right there! Whatever it is, smacking; no TV, ever; force feeding broccoli. Thanks but no thanks. We’re the experts here, we’re his mum and dad. We know this kid, we know what works for him and what works for us. That look you see on my face? That’s my polite STFU face because I don’t want your unsolicited advice while I’m standing in line at the post office.

Best parenting advice ever?

Go home and have a glass of wine. (From my very lovely obstetrician.) Now there’s some parenting advice I can listen to!

Go on, we’d love to know. What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever heard?

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Image credit: BigStock

19 Creative Indoor Play Ideas For Toddlers and Preschoolers

It’s raining and cold again outside. You don’t want to go to the park or an indoor play centre, but how do you keep your toddler engaged and entertained? Well, you’ve come to the right place!  We’ve collected 19 creative play ideas for toddlers and older children. They’re easy to set up, and will keep little ones entertained for hours!

indoor play activities toddlers and preschoolers

19 Indoor Play Ideas for Kids

Painting Pasta to Thread

 

Painting Pasta to Thread
Painting Pasta to Thread

Got some tubular pasta in the kitchen? You can turn them into a fun activity for the kids. All you need for this pasta painting activity are watercolour paints, any tubular pasta, and brushes. Simply let your kids paint the pasta in different patterns, dry, thread, and you have yourself a DIY accessory.

Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

play ideas for kids- colour sorting activity
Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

For this activity, you will need contact paper (sticky side up) and some coloured paper or tissue. This window colour sorting activity is a great way to introduce your kids to colours. Plus, matching and sorting the colours can provide hours of learning and fun.

Colour Toss

Colour Toss
Colour Toss

Ball games are always a big hit with children! This colour toss ball game is great for indoor play and helps develop your child’s gross motor skills and colour recognition. It will be fun to see who can shoot more balls in the basket and who gets to match all the colours right.

Alphabet Bingo Game

Alphabet Bingo Game
Alphabet Bingo Game

This activity can help kids learn their letters while having fun. Besides that, it’s a game that can amuse not just the children but the whole family. Alphabet Bingo Game is great for family night, or during cold weather.

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge

play ideas for kids - marshmallow toothpick building challenge

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge is an awesome game that inspires creativity and encourages your children to develop their focus. You will need only two materials for this activity, marshmallows and toothpicks. And that’s it!

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers
Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Here’s a creative way to upcycle cardboard boxes and cups. Create a moving colour targets game for your children. As well as upcycling, it’s a fun target activity that can help your children practice their motor skills and improve their aim.

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box
DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

Do you have unused shoe boxes around the house? You can turn them into a toy. Recycle your shoe boxes at home by making a DIY Baby Toy Slot Box for your children. It’s simple and easy to make and it’s perfect for your toddlers or preschoolers.

DIY Colour Sorting Toy

play ideas for kids - colour sorting activity

DIY Colour Sorting Toy is fun indoor activity that helps your child develop their fine motor skills. This indoor activity is great for preschoolers and toddlers. They’ll love pulling the velcro squares off, dropping them in the container, dumping them out, and sorting the blocks based on colour.

Baby Ball Drop

Baby Ball Drop
Baby Ball Drop

Keep your one year old busy with this simple indoor activity. The Baby Ball Drop involves only 2 items; an empty wipes container and coloured balls. Hand them over to your baby and then watch their hand-eye coordination improve.

Sticker Sorting Activity

Sticker Sorting Activity
Sticker Sorting Activity

If you need a quick and easy activity for your toddlers, this Sticker Sorting Activity is perfect. It’s an engaging activity that teaches colour recognition and helps enhance motor skills. Plus, this activity will keep your child entertained for ages.

Colour Sorting Cups

Colour Sorting Cups
Colour Sorting Cups

Another sorting activity that incorporates learning through fun is this colour sorting cups activity. It’s a great game, inexpensive, and easy to set up. Perfect for helping to teach toddlers to recognise colours.

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity
Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Grab your children’s favourite stuffed animals and set up a grooming station for them in one part of the house.  Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play encourages creativity and imagination. Additionally it is a great activity to keep your kids busy for hours (and let’s face it, isn’t that the whole point?).

Colour Skee Ball Game

play ideas for kids - colour skee ball game
Colour Skee Ball Game

The Colour Skee Ball Game is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Setting up this game is quick and easy.  The items you’ll need for this fun activity are; baskets, boxes, and coloured balls. Your children will love the challenge of throwing the balls and trying to get them into the baskets.

Window Art

Window Art
Window Art

This window art activity will give your children a new surface to play with. This activity came from Adventures And Play and it’s an engaging way to encourage your child’s creativity and imagination.

Rainbow Rice

play ideas for kids - rainbow rice
Rainbow Rice

This Rainbow Rice activity will be a huge hit with your children. The colourful rice is super fun to make and very pretty to look at. Your children will love mixing the different colours and it will keep them busy for quite a long time. Vacuuming it all up might keep you busy for a while, too, so make sure to pop a tablecloth or something underneath for easy collection.

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculpture

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures
Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures

Instead of throwing away that styrofoam that came in with your package, why not use it to build sculptures? Promote creativity and imagination by letting your children make sculptures out of styrofoam and bamboo skewers.

Cereal Box Puzzles

Cereal Box Puzzles
Cereal Box Puzzles

Another fun indoor activity that makes use of things at home that you would usually throw in the garbage. Recycling can creative, too, with Cereal Box Puzzles. Reuse your cereal boxes, cut them up into different shapes and put some tape at the back and they’re ready.

Homemade Button Snake

Homemade Button Snake
Homemade Button Snake

Making a homemade button snake is an inexpensive activity for fine motor skills development. This activity needs a few basic materials and it teaches your children how to do up buttons.

Masking Tape Speedway

Masking Tape Speedway
Masking Tape Speedway

If you have boys who love race cars, then this masking tape speedway activity could be right up their alley! Give your children some masking tape and get their creativity working by creating tracks for their cars and toys. Encourages imagination and creative thinking.

Want to see more fun indoor play ideas for kids? See our blog on 11 Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers.

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Main image credit: BigStock

Hello Sunshine! 123 Nourish Me Sunscreen Review

I get asked for natural sunscreen sticks all the time. And until now, I’ve had to say that I didn’t know of any.

So when one of my customers asked me to check out 123 Nourish Me’s Facestick, I got a little excited. Lots of kindies ask for parents to provide roll on or stick sunscreens, because they’re easier to apply. So I’m super happy to say that I’ve finally found a good one!

This zinc-based mineral sunscreen has an SPF 30, and it’s safe for children six months old and above. Zinc is the most soothing of the natural sunscreen ingredients, so it won’t irritate your little one’s skin.

Sunscreen for toddlers

Applying sunscreen to young children can be challenging – chasing them down and smearing them with cream while they scream and squirm. Honestly, who can blame them? Sunscreen creams can feel sticky and greasy, smell odd and taste terrible. And once kids hit the “I can do it myself!” stage you’ll have to contend with them trying to apply it on their own (and the subsequent mess).

This stick is so easy to use that my friend’s five-year-old son takes it to kindergarten and applies it all by himself. It’s a good way to get kids into the sun-protection habit early. Regular use of a natural sunscreen is a must, what with our bright Australian sunshine.

Mineral sunscreens offer safe and effective broad spectrum sun protection, but they can leave you looking like you’re wearing clown makeup. The 123 Nourish Me Sunscreen goes on clear, thanks to the micronised (non nano) zinc, and it’s easy to rub in (even on my husband’s unshaven face).

The stick does have a fairly firm texture, especially when it’s cold. You could try rubbing it between your palms for a couple of minutes before application to warm it up. We found that the best way was to rub it back and forth on your skin and it soon warms up and glides on.

I’m absolutely loving this for the kids. The stick has a firm lid that’s not going to pop off in the bottom of a bag, but kids can still open it easily. Throw it into the bottom of their beach or swimming bag and they’re covered. It’s water resistant, but still needs reapplication every two hours if you’re swimming or sweating a lot.

I’m completely happy with the Hello Sunshine ingredients, too. The mineral sunscreen formulation and natural ingredients mean you don’t have to worry about what your children are being exposed to. It’s gentle and doesn’t cause adverse reactions, even on sensitive skin. My kids break out in rashes with chemical sunscreen (we had an incident at school camp recently where my son decided to try his friend’s sunscreen instead of his own), but not with this one.

And I have to mention the smell. Hello Sunshine uses food grade vanilla, and I swear this smells like vanilla ice cream. My youngest loves this just because of the divine scent.

123 Nourish Me sunscreen ingredients

You can see this reviewed in our Biggest Ever Natural Sunscreen Cheat Sheet, too!

  • 100% preservative, oxybenzone and paraben free
  • Active ingredient is zinc oxide for UVA and UVB protection
  • Micronised particles reduce the white cast you get from some natural sunscreens
  • Scented with food-grade vanilla, so it has a delicious smell that my kids and I love
  • Castor, jojoba and coconut oils offer natural skin protection
  • Beeswax and carnauba wax for water resistance
  • Silica is a mineral that helps give the 123 Nourish Me stick its spreadability and silky texture
  • Vitamin E protects the skin from pollutants and acts as a natural preservative
  • Never tested on animals (only people)
  • Listed on ARTG (Australian Register Therapeutic Goods)
  • Reef friendly

Ingredients: Active: Zinc oxide 245mg/g, Inactive: Castor oil, beeswax, coconut oil, medium chain triglycerides (fractionated coconut oil), carnauba wax, shea butter, simmondsia chinensis oil (jojoba), silica, di-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), natural vanilla flavour.

Want to grab yourself a bit of Hello Sunshine? Shop them right here!

 

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8 Tips For Feeding Baby In The First Year

breastfeeding-baby-first-year.jpg

Breastfeeding, starting solids, introducing your family’s favourite dishes. These are all magical feeding moments new parents look forward to with excitement — and also some trepidation. Feeding your little one is an adventure that’s both exciting and unpredictable. So today we’ve got 8 tips to help you navigate the whats, whens, whys, and hows of baby feeding in the first year.

1. Aim to breastfeed for at least 6 months

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusively breastfeeding infants for at least the first 6 months. That may not sound all that long. But for some mums, it will be an incredible challenge to make it to even just the 1-week mark. For this reason, we encourage you to prepare for breastfeeding before baby arrives.

Consult with a lactation specialist, read all you can about breastfeeding, and build a support system. Most importantly, take it one day at a time. If breastfeeding doesn’t go as well as you had hoped, remember that even just a few days nursing will do your baby a world of good.

Tips for feeding baby in the first year

2. Be picky about feeding gear

Babies are particularly vulnerable to hormone disrupting chemicals, so now is when you really have to be scrupulous with feeding gear. Many baby bottle makers have stopped using BPA, but there are concerns that it is being replaced by even more harmful chemicals.

For bottles and dishes, your safest bets are glass, stainless steel, and silicone. For breast pumps and breastmilk storage containers, look for safer plastics like polyethylene (#2 and #4) and polypropylene (#5).

3. Go for homemade

If you have 15 minutes and a few simple foods like apples, peas, and carrots in your pantry, you can whip up a nutritious meal for your little one. But why go homemade when the jarred stuff is so convenient, you ask?

First, when you prepare baby’s food yourself, you know exactly what’s in it. It also allows you to use the freshest ingredients and leave out artificial flavours, preservatives, and sweeteners. What’s more, research has found that babies who eat homemade food have significantly more variety in their diet than those who eat store bought baby food. This is important because studies have also shown that babies who are introduced to a broader range of tastes and textures early in life tend to become less picky eaters later on.

For baby’s first solids, start with something relatively bland, like sweet potatoes or squash or avocado. Don’t add any salt or sugar. If you’re using canned fruits or veg, check the label. Some brands contain loads of salt, sugar, and nitrates, which aren’t good for baby. Once bub has learned to enjoy food plain, introduce herbs and spices like basil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Tips for feeding baby in the first year - homemade baby food

4. Watch out for unnecessary sugars

Babies don’t need juice. It’s no substitute for actual fruit in a baby’s diet and can ruin his appetite for breastmilk or formula. It may even spoil his enjoyment of plain fruit. Similarly, avoid giving sweetened treats like custards and sweetened yoghurts, which are full of concentrated sugars.

Honey can cause infant botulism, so it shouldn’t be a part of baby’s diet until after his first birthday.

5. Timing is everything

Feeding time can be stressful, especially when you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen and baby refuses to eat anything you prepare. Nonetheless, it’s very important for babies to associate mealtime with happiness and pleasant feelings. If baby refuses to eat, it’s often not that he doesn’t like the food, but that he isn’t in the mood.

Try to schedule mealtimes for when baby is wide awake and cheerful, and hungry but not starving. In the morning and right after nap time is ideal. Make sure that baby isn’t distracted. Ask older siblings to tone it down and turn off any screens in the room.

6. Don’t force

All babies are different. Some will eat anything you put on the tray. Others will be picky eaters all the way to puberty. While feeding charts can be helpful, expect erratic feeding habits and don’t worry if bub is eating more or less. And definitely don’t compare his feeding habits to other babies.

Keep nutritional needs in mind, but respect baby’s preferences. Never force your child to clean his plate. This only teaches him to eat not because he’s hungry, but because there’s food to be eaten. This is a bad habit that can lead to overeating and obesity later in life. Let bub learn to recognise and follow his own hunger cues.

7. Know what to do if baby chokes

Do you know how to perform first aid on a choking baby? While no one wants to think that this life saving skill will be needed, it’s still best to be prepared. With a baby in the house, so many things and foods pose choking hazards. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to take an infant CPR class.

8. Set an example

The good eating habits baby learns in the first year of life will help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. Now is a great time to start teaching her about good nutrition.

Don’t limit baby’s menu to just the types of food you like.  Even if you hate broccoli, show baby that you enjoy it. Your enthusiasm may just rub off on her. Eat healthily, sit down to eat as a family, and try to not make mealtimes feel like a chore for you or your child.

What feeding tips helped you most in the first year of baby’s life? Experienced mamas and papas, share below!

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Images: BigStock

Toxic Living: Bubble Bath

toxic living bubble bath and the toxic tub

toxic living bubble bath and the toxic tub

Bubble bath isn’t an essential skincare product in the way that say, toothpaste is. But it makes bathtime fun for little ones, and feels luxurious and relaxing for adults.

But before you pour a capful of bubble bath into the bath, think about this.

A bubble bath is not a ‘wash off’ product like shampoo is. You sit in the bath for a long time (depending on how good your book is, or how quickly the bathwater cools!), then you get out and dry yourself off. You don’t have a shower after you have a bath, so whatever you put in the bath stays on your skin.

How safe is your bubble bath?

Although we don’t have any such requirements in Australia, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says that:

“It is very important to follow the directions on the label of the product and to not stay in Bubble Baths for prolonged periods of time.”

The FDA requires that a warning should be put on all ‘foaming detergent bath products’: “Excessive use or prolonged exposure may cause irritation to skin and urinary tract”.

Why is that? Well, let’s have a look at the ingredients commonly found in kids’ bubble baths.

Common ingredients in bubble baths

A few common ingredients make up bubble bath products.

There’s surfactants to make the bubbles. You may find emulsifiers, which stop the ingredients from separating in the  bottle. And there may be emollients (or skin conditioners), which make your skin feel soft after you get out of the bath. Fragrance makes the bubbles smell good. Colours give the bath water a pretty tint. And finally, there are preservatives, which stop everything going off.

Like all skincare products, there are safe and not-so-safe alternatives for all the ingredients.

As I was researching baby and kids bubble baths, I found quite a few common ingredients that I would choose to avoid.

Ingredients to avoid in bubble bath

1. Fragrance – unless it’s essential oil based, I avoid fragrance. Manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s in perfumes. And so fragrances can contain suspected allergens and sensitisers, phthalates, neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters.

2. Phthalates – often found in perfume ingredients, and you won’t know because manufacturers don’t have to tell you. Read more about why I avoid phthalates.

3. Propylene glycol – used as a humectant (to lock moisture into your skin), an emulsifier and as a preservative. It can cause skin irritation and is associated with allergic contact dermatitis. Not an ingredient that I want to be soaking in!

4. Synthetic colours – FD&C or D&C colours are just in a product to make it look pretty. They’re coal tar derivatives, which is a petroleum by product, and has contamination concerns.

Surfactants (the stuff that makes it bubbly):

5. Sulphates – these are common surfactants. SLS used to be very common, but manufacturers aren’t using it as much because it’s an irritant. But SLES is common, and I found it in a number of Australian kids bubble bath products. It’s also an irritant. There’s more about sulphates and why you should avoid them here.

6. Cocamidopropyl betaine – there are contamination concerns (nitrosamines being the main concern). That’s why it’s suspected of being an irritant. Lots of companies say it’s ‘derived from coconut’ and so it’s natural. However, it’s so far derived from coconut that it’s basically synthetic. Besides contamination concerns, cocamidopropyl betaine is also a penetration enhancer. It means that other chemicals can get into your skin more easily. And that’s concern if the other ingredients you’re exposed to are toxic.

7. PEG’s – can cause skin irritations, and shouldn’t be used on broken skin. Also, there are concerns that PEGs can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. Avoid whenever you can!

8. Cocamide DEA – surfactant and emulsifier which scores a 7 in EWG. It’s a skin toxicant and allergen. And it’s linked to organ system toxicity. Plus it’s considered to be a carcinogen, and there are concerns that it can be contaminated with nitrosamines. That makes for one toxic tub!

9. Polysorbate 20 – another surfactant and emulsifier. This one is problematic because it can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane.

Preservatives:

10. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) – widely associated with contact dermatitis, especially in leave on products (like bubble bath).

11. Phenoxyethanol – can cause skin and lung irritation, and there is evidence of organ toxicity.

12. Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate – scores a 6 in the EWG database, because it may release formaldehyde. Although it is derived from a natural source, it’s synthetic, not natural.

How to avoid the toxic tub:

There are safe bubble baths available! Check out the range at Hello Charlie or find one on our Safer Baby Bubble Bath Cheat Sheet.

Or skip the bubbles, and choose a few drops of sweet almond oil. Do be aware that this can make both baby and the tub slippy, so be careful.

A handful of oats in a water permeable bag will soften the water and your skin, too!

Image: BigStock

toxic living bubble bath pinterest

Numidan: The Eco Way to Buy (And Recycle) Baby Clothes

numidan subscription service for baby clothes

Babies seem to outgrow clothes before they’ve even worn them. And before you know it, you’re looking at piles of baby clothes that your baby has outgrown, but has barely worn.

Unless you’re from a big family that passes around hand-me-downs, what do you do with them?

I’ll bet you’re asking yourself some of these questions:

“What do I do with the clothes my baby can’t wear anymore?”

“Where do I store the old ones?”

“There’s no room to store these old baby clothes”

“Do I just throw away clothes my baby has outgrown?”

Well, a new subscription service called Numidan just might have come up with the answer.

numidan baby clothes subscription service
The Baby Clothes Subscription Service – Numidan

Numidan – The Baby Clothes Subscription Service

Numidan is an eco-friendly way to use and return outgrown baby clothes for each growth stage. It’s a baby clothes subscription service!

Instead of constantly buying new baby clothes for the next size, Numidan sends you a full set of baby clothes. When your baby has outgrown them, you simply order the next size up. And you send the smaller size back in the prepaid satchel, ready to be used again.

Reduce your eco footprint by reusing baby clothes

By subscribing to baby clothes, you’re doing your bit to protect the environment from damage. Think about this:

  • Only about 15% of donated clothing is actually sold again locally in opportunity or charity shops
  • The average Australian buys 27kgs of new textiles each year and then discards 23kgs into landfill
  • In Australia alone each year, more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather end up in landfill
  • If the average life of clothing was extended by just three months, it would the carbon and water footprints of that clothing by 5-10%, as well as reducing waste

This ‘circular’ model of clothing distribution means that you can help reduce tons of waste going to landfill. Numidan disposes of clothes when they have to, and not sooner. They carry out regular quality checks and inspections, and when the baby clothes can’t be used any longer, they’re handed over to charitable organisations.

Quality and Convenience

Each package contains an essential capsule wardrobe of 11 pieces. All of the items are of the best quality, and made from pure cotton. They have to be great quality, so that they’ll have a long lifespan and can be reused as long as possible. And the designs are super cute, too.

numidan baby clothes subscription sets
Numidan baby clothes sets

Numidan pricing

A subscription costs $29 per month and can be moved to the next size at any time. When you want the next size up, just let them know. You’ll receive the next size up within a few days, and a pre-paid satchel for returning the smaller size.

Shipping and returns are always free.

Each subscription comes with a 10-day free trial. And you can pre-order your subscription package so it arrives just before your baby does.

Currently, the service is available in newborn, 0-3 months and 3-6 month sizes.

Find out more on the Numidan website: www.numidan.com.au

numidan subscription service for baby clothes

About the Author:

Daniel Harvey is a marketing specialist from Sydney and the founder of Numidan. He’s a young entrepreneur interested in solving problems in an eco-friendly way. Don’t forget to have a look at Numidan’s website for more info.

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Images: Numidan

Calendula: How Many Ways Can This Miracle Herb Help You?

calendula the miracle herb

Because of its cheerful yellow and orange flowers, calendula is a popular addition to home gardens and lawns. But did you know that this gorgeous herb is also a valuable medicinal plant?

For centuries, people have been using calendula (Calendula officinalis) not only ornamentally, but also for ceremonial, culinary, and medicinal purposes. You can toss calendula petals in your salads and use it to dye fabrics. It can also help regulate your period, reduce fever, treat nappy rash, and may even discourage cancer.

What is calendula?

Calendula is also known as pot marigold. This isn’t the same as the annual marigold plant (genus Tagetes) usually found in vegetable and herb gardens, though they do look very similar. Calendula is native to the Mediterranean, western Europe, and some parts of Asia, but is now grown all over the world.

Calendula contains powerful flavonoids that protect cells from free radical damage. It also has anti inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti tumor properties. Studies have found that  calendula helps wounds and exposed ulcers heal faster, possibly by promoting new tissue growth.

calendula the miracle herb

What is calendula good for?

Ancient cultures used calendula to cure stomach issues and ease menstrual cramps. Today, it is used mainly to treat and speed up the healing of skin conditions. It also:

  • Heals minor burns, wounds, cuts, and sores
  • Treats skin irritations, acne, eczema, and insect bites
  • Heals nappy rash
  • Fights gum inflammation, cavities, and mouth bacteria
  • Stops nosebleeds
  • Treats conjunctivitis, sore throat, and ear infections
  • Reduces fever
  • Calms muscle spasms
  • Reduces varicose veins and haemorrhoids
  • Heals stomach ulcers
  • Reduces skin inflammation in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy

How to use calendula

Nowadays, calendula is usually applied to skin instead of taken by mouth. The exceptions are calendula teas and the small amounts of calendula in homeopathic remedies.

Calendula is also available in creams, salves, oils, ointments, and other skincare products. Teas, tinctures, and infusions can be made from dried or fresh calendula flowers. 

Safety precautions

Calendula is considered safe to use on skin. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should first consult with your healthcare practitioner.

If you are allergic to other members of the daisy family (such as chamomile and ragweed), you might also be sensitive to calendula. If so, use calendula with caution.

Before taking calendula by mouth, consult with your doctor. Calendula may interact with sedatives and with medications for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Product suggestions

Weleda harnesses the skin calming and healing powers of calendula in its Calendula range for delicate baby skin.

The Weleda Calendula Baby Care line includes Cream Bath, Lotion, Nappy Change Cream, Baby Oil, Face Cream, and Shampoo and Body Wash. The entire range is 100% natural, organic and biodynamic and contains organic calendula extract from Weleda’s own Biodynamic gardens.

Weleda also has a Calendula Toothpaste perfect for soothing sensitive gums.

Care to try calendula in tea? The Tea Tonic Well Being Tea is a refreshing blend of calendula, spearmint, and alfalfa. Great for digestion, it also helps enhance health and restores your natural balance.

Hello Charlie stocks Weleda’s Calendula range and other calendula based products. Shop them here.

 

 

Have you used calendula products or taken calendula tea? What are your favourites?

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Shopping Guide: Safe Soft Toys And Comforters For Baby

shopping guide baby safe soft toys and comforters

shopping guide baby safe soft toys and comfortersToys serve an important role in child development. Through play, they make children happy, keep them engaged, and teach them about themselves and the world around. Soft toys also serve as comfort objects and sleep buddies.

In a perfect world, all toys would be safe and parents wouldn’t have to worry about toy recalls and toy related injuries. Sadly, that isn’t the world we live in. Many children are hurt each year by dangerous toys. So it’s up to us mums and dads to make sure we’re purchasing safe, age appropriate ones for our children.

If you’re looking for soft toys and comforters for your little one, here are some of the things you need to check.

What to look for when buying soft toys and comforters

  • Well made and sturdy

Look for quality workmanship and thoughtful design. Toys must be able to withstand constant twisting, pulling, and squeezing. All parts must be stitched on, not glued. Seams must be securely sewn. Soft toys and comforters get dragged around and dribbled on, so they must be machine washable, too.

  • No small parts

For babies and preschoolers, avoid toys with eyes and noses made from buttons, small bits of plastic, glass, or wood. Even if these are securely fastened when you buy the toy, constant use can eventually loosen them. Facial features that are embroidered on are safer.

Hair, tails, “jewellery,” and other accessories can also pose a choking hazard if they’re not properly attached to the toy. Always make sure that toys don’t have parts so small they can fit into a toilet paper tube or a 35 mm film canister. The ACCC provides a free DIY “Choke Check” tool that lets you see if a toy or any detachable part is too small for young children.

  • Safe, nontoxic materials

Choose cloth toys made from natural fibres like cotton, hemp, and wool. Organic materials are best as they haven’t been exposed to synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, dyes, and finishes.

Babies love to suck and chew on things, so avoid fake fur or fake hair, which can pose a choking hazard, and flame resistant materials, which contain toxic chemicals.

Avoid toys that are stuffed with tiny beads. Polystyrene beads are especially dangerous as they can be inhaled.

Check for sharp objects like wires, especially in the ears and tails of stuffed animals. Even if these are initially covered in fabric, they can eventually poke through and cause injuries.

safe soft toys and comforters for baby
Safe soft toys for baby should be well made and sturdy, with no small parts, dangly bits, magnets or batteries.
  • No dangly bits

Babies can strangle on ribbons, elastic, and string longer than 22 cm. Either avoid toys with dangly parts or remove them after purchasing. Check toys and comforters for bows or thread that may have unraveled.

  • Safety and quality symbols

The CE mark tells you that a product complies with the strict health, safety, and environmental protection requirements of the European Economic Area. OEKO-TEX means that a textile product has been tested for harmful substances like formaldehyde, heavy metals, and phthalates. In the UK, the Lion Mark symbolises quality and safety, and assures customers that a toy is ethically and sustainably made.

  • No batteries or magnets

Some soft toys produce sounds or vibrate. These may contain button batteries, which are a serious hazard if swallowed. With babies, avoid toys containing batteries or at least make sure that battery cases are secure and can’t be pried open by little fingers. Similarly, avoid toys with small magnets, which can also be swallowed.

  • Not chemically scented

Toys scented with synthetic fragrances are a no-no. “Fragrance” can include nasties like hormone disrupting phthalates, VOCs, and neurotoxicants.

  • No foam

Toys made from foam are not recommended for children under the age of 3. These toys can pose a choking risk if a little one bites off a piece.

  • Not too loud

If a toy seems too loud to you, it’s definitely too loud for baby and may harm her sensitive ears. Soft toys that squeak when pressed are gentler on baby ears than battery operated ones that produce high pitched sounds.

  • Breathable fabric

Choose comforters made from lightweight breathable fabrics like cotton, muslin, or bamboo. Make sure there are no loose ribbons, strings, or thread anywhere on the comforter.

Here at Hello Charlie, we aim to take the guesswork out of toy shopping. Hop on over to the store for our selection of safer, age appropriate, nontoxic and eco friendly toys.

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Image: BigStock

Tron Potty: Foldable, Biodegradable and Disposable

Tron Potty: Foldable, Biodegradable and Disposable

tron potty disposable and biodegradableToilet training. The very phrase strikes fear into the heart of parents everywhere. Your toddler refuses to wear a nappy any more. So you go through the ritual before you go out, making sure everyone’s been to the toilet. And you’re 20 minutes down the road, when a little voice pipes up from the back seat. “Mummy, I want to go potty!”.

So you pull over, and can’t find a toilet anywhere (or you do, and it’s so gross that you can’t bring yourself, much less your toddler, to use it). So then what do you do?

Well, now you can whip out the Tron potty! They’re foldable, disposable and fully biodegradable.

Cleverly designed (by an architect, no less) to support up to 30kgs, even the largest toddler can use one of these. In fact, you’ll be able to use these up until your toddler is around 6 years old.

Inside is a biodegradable pad that absorbs up to 250ml within 30 seconds, as well as all the smells. When you’re done, just use the clever little catch to fold it away (no touching required!) and the handle to pop it in the bin.

It’s small enough to fit into your nappy bag, under the pram, or in the car so it’s handy for emergencies.

Watch how easy it is to use:


How handy is that?

And the best part about it is that it’s fully biodegradable. From the cardboard, to the bag inside, and the absorbent pad.

And if your toddler decides that no, she actually doesn’t want to go now, you can just fold it up again and pop it back into your bag for next time.

It’s lightweight, portable, comfortable and hygenic. Toilet training genius, in our opinion!

Shop the Tron Potty here at Hello Charlie.

Image: Tron
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