Useful Tips to Choose Safe Baby Bath Products

With concerns about potentially harmful chemicals in baby products, parents are looking for safer bath products which not only provide a squeaky clean bath, but also protect against rashes and other allergic reactions. This Buzzle article provides some invaluable tips that will help parents choose the right bath products for their baby.
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Tip to choose safe baby bath product
Quick Tip
Along with bath products, watch out for bath toys with PVC―a toxic type of plastic that can be harmful for babies.
As a concerned parent who wants the best for his/her little one, it is very easy to go overboard and shop for more products than the baby actually needs. This includes a whole lot of baby bath products such as baby soaps, body washes, shampoo, and body lotion that makes the baby smell so good. Unfortunately, there have been concerns about the safety of baby bath products.

But aren't all baby care products safe and gentle on the skin? Well, they might make those claims, but there are many bath products that are far from being safe for a child. They contain ingredients, such as parabens and phthalates, which can harm a child's soft, sensitive skin. Moreover, unlike adults, babies who undergo prolonged exposure to contaminants in personal care products develop weak organs and immune systems. This is why parents need to be careful and understand what to look for when buying baby bath products. Take a look.

Check the Ingredients
It may come as a shock for parents to read recent media reports regarding the presence of harmful chemicals in baby care products. In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a non-profit agency whose goal is to bring attention to harmful chemicals in our skincare products, found certain chemicals linked to cancer, 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, in a number of bath products. This included baby shampoos, body lotions, and body washes.

When choosing a bath product for babies and infants, watch out for harmful ingredients including:

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, such as quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, bronopol, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

Ingredients that contain 1,4-dioxane, such as PEG compounds and sodium myreth sulfate

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl-parabens)

Phthalates which are linked to birth defects, reproductive problems, hormonal changes, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

Beware of Fragrances
Most parents love the lovely scent of their babies after a bath. What they don't know is the ingredients in the fragrances are unlisted, and have the potential of being harmful to the child. Some fragrances contain hormone disruptors, and it can also cause allergies.

Avoid Bubble Baths
Bubble baths and body washes have detergents and other harmful ingredients such as sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine. Moreover, they are highly fragrant, which only increases their risk of being a potential irritant. They can cause skin irritation, rashes, and allergic reactions. These bubble baths are also known to cause urinary tract infections. Soaking in these bubble baths for a long time increases the risk of the chemicals being absorbed into the skin.

Limit the use of bubble baths (even if they are fun for your kids), instead use vegetable or glycerin soaps that not just lather well, but are also safe for your baby. A great choice would be Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Bar Soap, which is a pure Castile soap made with natural oils and devoid of any fragrances.

Say No to Too Many Bath Products
When it comes to babies or infants, the less the better. You do not need a tub full of bath products for the child. Actually, babies hardly need strong body washes or soaps. The chemicals in these products strip away the natural protective layer of oil that the skin should definitely retain to remain smooth and supple. Instead, use selected few products which are safe for the baby.

Check if the Product Has Unsafe Track Record

Check online for product recalls. It is also a good idea to check the Consumer Reports website to find out the track record of the product. Some seemingly "safe and gentle" baby products have some shocking amounts of chemicals in them.

You can also check the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for information about the ingredients in baby bath products. Since there is an absence of health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, EWG provides an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products. It lists the ingredients which are deemed safe or harmful, thus, allowing parents to make informed decisions. The best part is that they have a comprehensive list of some of the best products in the market.

Choose the Right Products for Sensitive Skin
If your child has sensitive skin that is prone to frequent rashes and allergies, then you need to select products accordingly. For example, if your baby suffers from eczema and other skin allergies, then a gentle bath product such as California Baby Therapeutic Relief Eczema Shampoo & Bodywash can be great for him/her. Similarly, for newborns affected with cradle cap, the Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns should work quite well for resolving the problem.

Look for Natural Bath Products
If you are averse to all the chemicals used in baby bath products, then look for natural bath products. There are a number of companies that have natural products which are best for your child. They contain natural and organic cleansing ingredients that are tear-free, non-drying, and leaves the skin smooth and soft.

Some excellent natural bath products in the market include:

Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
Aveeno Baby Gentle Conditioning Shampoo
California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash
Nurture my Body Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
Butt Naked baby Soothing Bath Soak
Opas Soap Baby & Me

With consumers demanding safe baby products, there are a number of manufacturers who are committed to producing safer bath products. To protect the baby from nasty contaminants, do check the ingredients. Do not fall for labels and marketing gimmicks like "all natural" and "safe for baby". Instead, check the label and make intelligent decisions when buying baby care products.
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Published: February 13, 2014
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