From diapers to formula to bath products and beyond, there is no shortage of baby products marketed to parents worldwide. In fact, according to database company Statista the global market value for baby care products in 2020 was over $67 billion and continues to grow by billions each year! There are literally millions of baby products on the market for parents and caregivers to choose from when it comes to raising children, and with such a massive selection, it can be challenging to know which products are safe and of what dangers parents need to be aware. Here are a few things to keep in mind before nursery or playroom shopping for your little one:
Be aware of the most common dangers and toxins
When it comes to raising children, almost any accident could happen. But some happen more often than others. Falls downstairs, improper sleeping arrangements (not in a crib), and baby walkers are all common causes of injury in children and many of those accidents can be prevented with the proper baby product and usage. Before shopping, parents and caregivers should take time to study up on common childhood injuries and causes, so they can choose products that help avoid those accidents and steer clear of any baby products that contribute to those accidents. The American Academy of Pediatrics website, www.healthychildren.com, is a good resource for information on common childhood dangers and how to avoid them.
As parents and caregivers go about shopping for their children, it’s also helpful to have some working knowledge of which substances and materials are toxic or harmful to babies and young kids. Toxins can include everything from heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury to toxic chemicals like flame retardants and formaldehyde. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and offers a lot of helpful information on toxic substances via its online database. When in doubt about an ingredient or product material, parents can check it out on www.atsdr.cdc.gov.
Find reputable sources of information
When it comes to items like cribs and mattresses, car seats, strollers, changing tables, baby gates, bathtubs, playpens, infant carriers, toys and more, the first check should be whether the product met or exceeded the expectations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an independent agency of the U.S. government tasked with promoting the safety of consumer products. They work to reduce the risks of injuries and death and share information about certain product recalls. Their research and reports, as well as recall information, can be found online at www.cpsc.gov. Another helpful website for parents and caregivers to check for baby product recalls is www.recalls.gov, as the safety of baby products can and does change from time to time. A quick stop by this government site is important, especially when an item may be coming to parents secondhand or without a registration card.
Other baby products like commercial infant formula and bath and skincare products are regulated and/or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates all commercial infant formulas to ensure they meet the minimum nutritional and safety requirements babies need. When items like formula are recalled, www.fda.gov, is a good starting point to find out if your products are part of a food and drug recall. The FDA is also responsible for regulating baby skincare products, but they don’t have the authority to “approve” products before products are for sale to parents and caregivers. They do, however, share information about the safety of certain baby foods and products often, and they are considered a reputable source of medical information.
Lastly, another reputable source of information is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP has a few committees that form consensus and develop programs on a variety of child health and safety topics. They work closely with all aspects of the U.S. government when it comes to weighing in on issues affecting child health and safety. Their website, wwww.healthychildren.org, is a wealth of information for parents and caregivers on topics ranging from safe sleep practices to infant nutrition to common childhood illnesses and more.
Speak with your pediatrician
As a parent or caregiver, it’s important not to blindly follow medical advice found online, even when it’s a reputable website. While the internet can be a great starting point and provide helpful direction on general health and safety, no one knows your child and their needs better than their pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician should be the ultimate source of information concerning which products are safe and necessary for your child. Most pediatricians see tons of kids every day, and they are most likely up to date on different products from every corner of the baby product market. Never hesitate to ask your pediatrician for specific recommendations that may benefit your child.
The sheer amount of baby products on the market can leave parents and caregivers feeling dizzy. But thorough research on reputable websites and a chat with your pediatrician should help put your mind at ease and keep the children in your care safe. For more information on selecting safe baby products, visit www.healthychildren.org, www.kidshealth.org, or www.familydoctor.org.