Category Archives: Non toxic baby products

Closed Facebook Group

I’ve just created a closed Facebook group as a way the Natural Baby Mama community can discuss non-toxic items.  Whether you are wanting to know what car seat to buy, questioning non-toxic baby items or items for you or your home, this is will be a great resource and open line of communication.  Please like the Natural Baby Mama Facebook page and join the closed group at

I’m looking forward to interacting with you more in the closed group!



Be part of exposing toxic chemcials used in children’s car seats

So the folks at Healthy Stuff reached out to me to let me know that they are planning on testing current car seats this summer.  The last time they tested car seats was 2011 and they felt like it was time to do it again (and we were happy to hear that they would be testing again!).  The information they find out from these tests will be helpful for all of us when we need to buy our next car seat.  However, they are a non-profit and need to raise funds to do the testing.  From the monthly stats of people who read my blog, and my car seat post specifically, we should be able to help them complete their fundraising goal.  I realize that some can give more than others but I would ask that everyone contribute what they can – it’s for the health of our children.

The more these toxic chemicals are exposed, the more likelihood we will see change from these companies.  There are alternatives to the nasty chemicals they are using.  Enough pressure and we will force change to happen.  Companies literally could meet the flammability requirements in the car seat covers by using wool and cotton – preferably organic!  I would love to see the car seat industry use no flame retardants.  Is that a big dream, yes, but a doable one.  At the least, they should be using chemicals that aren’t as toxic as the ones they are using.  We, as parents, need to demand that there are changes.  The first step is exposing what they are using.

What’s new this time?  Healthy Stuff has told me in addition to the testing that they have always done (heavy metals including lead and brominated flame retardants) they are also going to do third party testing which will include the 7 most common flame retardants.  This is a HUGE development and will expose what is really going on in the car seat industry in the United States.

To make your donation to Healthy Stuff, please use this link.

Thank you!  Natural Baby Mama 🙂

A Safe BUT Non-Toxic Car Seat

UPDATE 4/8/14:  Recently Orbit has made some changes to their car seat and the Oeko-Tek certification.  They use to be the only car seat manufacturer to have both the fabric and foam Oeko-Tek certified.  They no longer use the same company for the foam.  I was told that the foam company went out of business.  Orbit will not disclose any information about what flame retardant is being used in their foam.  I read a report that a third party tested the foam and it contained brominated flame retardants.  Orbit still claims that they don’t use brominated flame retardants.  They will not give me any information about when this change was made.  I am sending a sample of the foam from my car seat away to get tested to find out what flame retardants they use.  Until we have more information I personally would not buy the Orbit.  I don’t have an answer about which one I would buy though.  I will update this as soon as I know more. 


4/30/14 –  I had the foam on my Orbit tested and the foam inside the fabric came back positive with TDCPP flame retardants.  The Stryofoam attached to the car seat came back showing no flame retardants.  I no longer recommend Orbit.  I will update more soon.

What is TDCPP?

TDCPP, or tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate, is an organophosphate flame retardant that is being used to replace PentaBDE. TDCPP, which is used as an additive flame retardant in resins, polymers, latexes, and foams, is most widely used in the US (annual estimations are 4,500-22,700 metric tons).1 There is evidence that TDCPP is a probable carcinogen and a developmental neurotoxicant2, as well as an endocrine disruptor in fish.


I have spent many of months agonizing over my son’s car seat.  I know that they have chemical flame retardants sprayed on the foam, the cover and the sun shade and it bugs the crap out of me each time I put him in the car seat.  It’s so, so bad for him.  Obviously, I’m aware that the car seat is keeping him safe and safety is my first priority which is why I keep using it.  I’ve gone back and forth and done tons of research trying to find the perfect car seat.  Here in the US there isn’t a car seat sold without the use of flame retardants (since it’s a federal law requiring it).  The thing I don’t understand is that wool and cotton are natural flame retardants – why don’t car seat manufacturers use those?

Before our son was born we went to a big box baby store and bought a car seat that rated well, and well frankly, we ended up buying the one with the fabric we liked the best.  We have the Chicco Keyfit 30 in Cubes.  As I was learning more about toxic items that my son was using when he was little I learned about how toxic a car seat can be.  I stumbled across the Environmental Work Group’s database and searched our car seat.  You can search your car seat here.  It ranked low for toxic chemicals which made me feel better.  Then of course I kept researching and realized that the EWG, while great, isn’t testing for everything.  Even though my car seat ranked “low” it actually just had a different chemical flame retardant used in it than what they were testing for.  When I looked up that chemical online I wanted to cry when reading the symptoms it can cause and the organs it affects.  So I began the search for the convertible car seat we would need to use since he was bigger.  I kept wanting to find one that didn’t use any chemicals which lead to many months of procrastinating.  This now makes me sad since my son continued to use his chemical filled car seat BUT we don’t even use the car seat daily (at least that is how I am rationalizing the continued use).  I also read that the sun shades are loaded with fire retardants so I took that off right away.  My search kept bringing me back to Orbit.  They are the ONLY car seat manufacturer to be Oeko-Tek 100 certified.  This means that they are the only car seat on the market in the US that tests for, and does not use, 100 toxic chemicals including most flame retardants and lead.  You can read more about Oeko-Tek 100 standards here.  You can also read more about Orbit’s safety here.

There has been a lot of talk about companies not using flame retardants in car seats anymore since so many parents are upset about it.  I’ve seen that Brittax is saying this (which from everything I’ve read is that they are using some of the worst chemical flame retardants still on their car seats).  From what I understand, they are NOT removing chemical flame retardants from their car seats but instead no longer will be using the chemicals they are currently using and will just be using new ones.  It’s a federal law to make sure the car seats are fire proof so the ONLY natural way around this is using wool and cotton.  There isn’t one company that is moving that direction, not even Orbit.

So what it comes down to is picking the least toxic car seat you can find with good safety ratings.  My choice for our convertible car seat is Orbit.  I know that they have to be tested according to Oeko-Tek and that makes me feel better.  I wish I had known all this information before our son was born and I would have started with the Orbit.  When you know better you do better.

If you want to go even a step further you can replace your car seat cover.  On Etsy The Sassy Stork makes some organic car seat covers.  She doesn’t have covers for every car seat brand.  This does remove the warranty on your car seat so if you are comfortable with that then go ahead.  Another option is Nollie Covers.  She has organic covers as well and does covers for most all brands of car seats.  They aren’t cheap but it may be worth it to you.  From what I understand using Nollie Covers doesn’t not void your warranty as she is the only car seat cover that is approved by the car seat companies.  I would verify this information before purchasing though.

A lot of people think that if they wash their car seat that will remove most of the chemicals which is not true.  The flame retardants are meant to stay in there and not be easily removed.  Using regular detergent will not remove the flame retardants.  I’ve read that using soap flakes can remove the flame retardants over time and many, many washes.  Using soap flakes is not recommended by car seat manufacturers and I believe it voids your warranty as well.  If you are trying to remove some of the chemicals that your baby is touching soap flakes may work.

UPDATE:  There are a lot of comments on this post related to Diono and if they use flame retardants in their car seats (fabric and foam).  They have told many commenters, and myself, repeatedly that they do not use flame retardants in the Radian car seat in several fabric colors.  I literally called Diono at least 10 times trying to get to the bottom of this but they kept saying that they didn’t use FR.  It came out today, months after they were telling us they didn’t, that they actually DO use flame retardants in their foam.  They won’t disclose which FR either.  So it is back to Orbit being the only non-toxic car seat on the market.

Good luck in finding a solution that works for you and your family!

PS – I decided I should have a disclaimer.  The disclaimer is this:  this is a decision you should make for  your family.  These opinions are my own.  I am not being paid to have these opinions.  You need to factor in the safety of any option that you choose.  I am not responsible for any decision you make with regards to which car seat you choose.

My quest to find a sippy cup that wasn’t made of plastic

I’m trying to not buy anything plastic for my son.  So far it’s going good.  When I went to store to look for sippy cups all I found were plastic ones.  They were BPA free (and all of that stuff) but I really didn’t want to buy plastic.  Some of it comes from me not liking to eat or drink out of plastic so why should I have my son use plastic.  The other is there are reports out there that even though the plastic is BPA free is still leaches harmful chemicals.  I decided to error on the side of caution and started looking for glass or stainless sippy cups.  I was pleasantly surprised that there were several options.   These are the two that I went with:

  • Lifefactory bottle with sippy cup lid.  This is a glass bottle with a silicone sleeve around the bottle and a plastic #5 sippy lid (I wish the sippy lid wasn’t plastic but it is.  It is supposedly one of the safest plastics even thought I think plastic in general isn’t safe for kids).  We ended up using the sippy lid part very infrequently.  I do love this bottle since it is multipurpose.  You can use the bottle and switch the lid to a sippy lid when you are ready for them to start water.  When you move past the sippy lid phase you can just add a regular lid to use as a water bottle.  As an added bonus I love all the fun colors that the sleeves come in!  I bought this bottle and this sippy cup lid.  You can also just buy a sippy cup bottle and not buy them separately if you don’t have a need for a bottle nipple.  The bottle and parts are made in the USA and Europe UPDATE(6/2013):  Between the two I purchased, I personally like the Lifefactory better.  It doesn’t leak at all and it hasn’t broken (even when dropped from the highchair on our hardwood floors).
  • Pure Kiki sippy.  This is a 18/8 stainless steel (food grade quality) bottle with a silicone sippy lid.  This is the ONLY sippy cup on the market that doesn’t have a plastic lid.  This is also multipurpose since it can be used as a bottle and as a sippy cup.  I would think that this would be more durable if your kiddo dropped it from their high chair but I haven’t tested out having the Lifefactory sippy drop yet (thankfully!).  I bought this bottle and this sippy spoutUPDATE (6/2013):  Pure Kiki claims to not leak ever.  Well my leaks all the time!  It doesn’t actually leak if you hold it upside down.  However, it is really easy to push the spout in and then all the water comes right out.  My son is really good at doing that! 🙂
  • UPDATE (6/2013):  Another great option is just letting them use a small, durable cup.  I just bought some 4 oz mason jars.  They seriously don’t break ever.  We have dropped them pretty much everywhere and hasn’t even chipped.  At about a year my son was able to hold the mason jar and drink from it (no sippy lid just drinking like a regular cup).  The challenge is now he thinks it’s fun to dump the water out while eat.  My solution to that are these Eco Jars (not just to be used for kids).  They are stainless drinking tops for mason jars.  I love these!  They don’t fit on the 4oz mason jars though – just the bigger mason jars.  If you want to use a straw you can or you can just use them as they are.  If you are looking for a re-usable straw check out the Glass Dharma glass straw.  If you think using a glass straw is just crazy with a toddler I totally understand that!  I haven’t used this straw but I know someone who has.  They claim that their toddler uses it and drops it from his high chair and it never breaks.  It’s made from the same glass that Pyrex uses so it’s pretty strong.

I don’t own this one but I think that this would be another good option:

  • Klean Kanteen.  They have a 18/8 food grade stainless steel sippy cup with plastic sippy lid.

I think it’s great that there are several companies out there making sippy cups that aren’t made of plastic.  I was excited to find several options in my quest to find a sippy cup not made of plastic.  Happy sipping to your littles ones!

Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

After all my research it came down to two companies.  Naturepedic and LifeKind.  We decided to go with the Naturepedic quilted (non waterproof) mattress.  We have a Naturepedic waterproof crib cover, and I am also thinking about adding a wool puddle pad (or crib pad).  The little man isn’t sleeping in his crib too much right now though… so I’m not as worried about adding the wool right now.

After doing all my research, we decided on the Naturepedic quilted mattress.  Initially I kinda wish I went with LifeKind.  LifeKind uses natural materials, like wool, to make it flame resistant.  I’m a big fan of wool and keeping things simple and easily understandable.  However, Naturepedic’s mattresses are GOTS certified.  I always feel 100% comfortable when I see this  certification.  It’s the certification I always look for, the most stringent certification out there for textiles.  Naturepedic doesn’t use wool to make their mattresses flame resistant.  According to Naturepedic’s website “At Naturepedic, we take a different approach.  Organic cotton is a far superior filling material and is significantly less flammable to begin with,  allowing for more creative solutions. Our exclusive fire protection system is based on the unique fire-retardant properties of baking soda and hydrated silica permanently bonded to cellulose.”

As far as why I didn’t go with one of the waterproof mattresses – it’s made with 100% polyethylene which they also state meets food contact standards.  That doesn’t make me feel any better.  I don’t feel we have the best standards in our food industry (GMOs anyone?).  So I decided to do the waterproofing with wool (which I haven’t gotten to yet).  We already have the Naturepedic waterproof crib cover.  When we bought it I was less educated about this stuff and trusted the sales person when they said it was all organic cotton.  Turns out there is a plastic liner between the two layers of organic cotton but for me, for now, that’s ok.   The nice thing about Naturepedic though is that has the GreenGuard, GOTS and other certifications on all of their products.  Like I said above, I always feel 100% comfortable when I see the GOTS certification.

Don’t be misled by the many different choices of organic crib mattresses out there.  They can have some organic material and be labeled organic.  They can also have organic cotton in them then be covered in a nasty plastic.  To be labeled organic is one thing and to truly be organic and non-toxic is another.  Basically, it only comes down to these two companies on a large-scale.  There are smaller scale companies that focus on natural bedding who sell crib  mattress.  We have a small, local company that does this in our area – Soaring Heart and Holy Lamb Organics.  Both sell adult and crib mattresses along with sheets and mattress protectors.  We purchased our mattress (and mattress protector) from Soaring Heart and our comforter and sheets from Holy Lamb Organics.  Both are great companies!

Here a flame retardant, there a flame retardant, everywhere a flame retardant!

My poor baby!  I realized that I have exposed him to way too many flame retardants in his little life.  I was buying products that I thought were good and little did I know that pretty much everything he was touching had flame retardants in it.

Some might say what is the big deal?  Well, studies have shown in animals that flame retardants cause those animals to be more anxious, have reproductive issues, gain more weight, and enter puberty early.   Other studies have shown that chemical flame retardants interfere with thyroid and sex hormones and in children can cause abnormal brain development, lower IQ and learning problems, behavior changes.  In adults, it has been linked to difficulties getting pregnant.  On a side note, I know quite a few people who are having to use fertility treatments to get pregnant.  Is this the environmental link we have all been wondering about??

Fire retardants are not only absorbed through your skin but inhaled.  They also accumulate in the dust on your floors then when you sweep or vacuum they can get in the air again.  Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is important.  Also mopping is a good alternative to sweeping.

Baby items I found in my home that have flame retardants:

– Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper.  I reached out to the company and they said the newer models do not contain flame retardants.  You will have to check the tags under the mattress to find out for sure.

– Beco Gemini Organic Baby Carrier.  This made me really sad.  My first carrier smelled really toxic.  I let it air out for 4 months in our basement and it still smelled.  They exchanged it for me and I got a new one.  It still kinda smelled but not as bad.  I washed it and aired it out.  Finally I emailed the company and they confirmed that they use flame retardants in their carriers.  There is NO reason to do this.

– My Breastfriend Nursing Pillow

– Graco Pack N Play

– Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat.  I will blog about car seats later but most have flame retardants.  There are a few companies that don’t.

– Mattresses.  I will also blog about this later.  The most important purchase you can make based on the amount of time your baby spends sleeping.  You need to buy either Natropedic or LifeKind.

– My glider / rocker.  I bought a Dutailier glider / rocker.  The cushions have flame retardants.  I sold my glider and am borrowing a wood rocker from my dad that was my grandma’s.  I love the sentimental value of this rocker and I love that it doesn’t have any toxic chemicals.

– PJ’s.  CHECK the tags of your children’s PJ’s.  They should say that they must be tight-fitting since they are not flame resistant.  This only applies to PJ from 9 months to 14 years old.  Under 9 months it is not required that flame retardants be added to PJs.

– Your furniture.  Most likely all of it unless you have a couch or chair that was made before the mid 70’s.  Or if you have a wood piece of furniture.  It doesn’t matter if you bought a piece that said it was made with eco fibers, like soy, it still has fire retardants it in.

How to tell which pieces have flame retardants:

– Check ALL the tags.  If it says it complies with Technical Bulletin 117 then most likely it has flame retardants (especially if it is made with polyurethane).  I say most likely because most of the time it does.  There are a few exceptions though.  For example, Bobby does not use flame retardants but does have the complies with Technical Bulletin 117 tag.  I will do a post on baby products that are safe / don’t use fire retardants soon.

– PJ’s contain flame retardants unless it says otherwise.  If the PJ’s say, must be worn tight-fitting then you know that there are no flame retardants.

Why are flame retardants added to everything?

You can thank California.  Back in the 70’s they passed a bill to add flame retardants to furniture.  They also have a bill that requires baby items to have flame retardants for children under 3 years old.  Since California is so big most companies are not going to make two different products.  So they just make all their products with flame retardants.  There are many types of flame retardants.  Most of which have not been studied before being used on products.  Some have been banned and new ones have been developed.  One type of fire retardants (tris) was banned in children’s pj’s in the 70’s because it was realized how toxic it was.  However, this type of fire retardants is still used in furniture when spraying the foam.  Our children sit on our couches.  We sit on our couches.

Natural flame retardants:

Wool is a natural flame retardant.  Studies have shown that wool or cotton burns just as slowly, if not slower, than foam that is sprayed with chemical flame retardants.  It would be so nice if more furniture makers would make naturally flame retardant couches and chairs!

What to do?

I’ve slowly started changing out things I bought that had flame retardants in them.  I get to really know the products I am about to buy.  I email or call the companies directly to ask them about the chemicals they use.  I specifically ask about flame retardants before I buy.  I will always mention which products I have found that have chemicals in them so you don’t have to go through those steps.  If you use a product I haven’t mentioned I would give the company a call or send them an email.  I would love to hear about any other products you have found that have flame retardants.


Cloth Diapers & My Wool Cover Obsession

When I was pregnant I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers.  I didn’t know much about the options that were available.  I was leaning towards doing diaper service and we received a gift to a local diaper service – so that decision was solved!  We used the service and they were fine.  At first we really liked the convenience of having someone drop off and pick up our dirty diapers.  We struggled from the beginning with leaks.  We would take our son on a walk, or he would wake up in the morning, and be soaking wet.  Like SOAKING wet.  Poor guy.  We used many different types of covers.   We had some that were made for us, we used Thirsties, Imse Vimsy organic covers, Bum Genius, and several others.  Basically you name it, we tried it.  We were told to make sure all the cloth was tucked in.  We were obsessive about each little piece of cloth being tucked in and we still leaked.  I knew we needed to make a change but I didn’t know what we wanted to do.  I did want to continue using cloth but washing my own.  I also wanted to use organic cloth and organic covers.  So I started doing research.  When I do research, I do an obsessive amount of research.

I found that even if you are buying organic covers (or not) most are waterproof with PUL.  What is PUL?  PUL is Polyurethane Laminate.  What is Polyurethane Laminate?  Well, I had to look that up but before I even looked it up I knew that I didn’t want my baby wearing PUL all day long.  If I didn’t know really what it was made up of without doing research it I decided he didn’t need to wear it.  Basically, PUL is a highly toxic carcinogen.  Besides  PUL, several covers use polyester or a polyester fleece on the outside of a waterproof barrier (PUL) in the middle.  I prefer natural fibers over synthetic so I was also not interested in these diapers.  There is a lot of information out there on polyester but for a baby to be wearing polyester literally all day long with their diapers I think it’s worth doing research on that.  What I have found that is most concerning is that polyester can slowly emit phytoestrogens, which is an endocrine disruptor, which can promote certain types of cancer (this from the diaper pin web site).  There is a good article on the Diaper Pin that goes into detail of PUL and polyester that is worth reading if you are considering any diaper cover that uses polyester or PUL.

When I went to a local Seattle shop, Bootyland, looking for some eco-friendly baby toys, I found out that they sold diapers.  This is where everything changed for me.  They had organic cotton diapers & organic cotton / hemp blend diapers (more absorbent than just cotton).  There were prefolds and fitted.  Then the woman at Bootyland showed me wool covers.  WOOL covers.  I guess I had known about them but totally forgot.  A natural material that works well and no chemicals touching my baby.  I have found that you need less wool covers than you do PUL covers.   Wool covers are naturally antibacterial, absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture, and are breathable.  In cool weather it stays warm, in warm weather it keeps baby cool.  You only wash them when they start to smell of urine or if poop leaks onto the cover (we find that they can be washed about every week and a half to two weeks).  I came home with a sampling of different diapers and covers and tried them out.  Guess what?  No more leaks.  The running baby poo that would cause blow outs was now being absorbed by the diapers.  What a difference!  It made me realize how low of quality the diaper service diapers were.  My life was changed, and I was unreasonably excited about my new diaper find.  I went back and bought enough to get us started.

I feel good knowing that natural products are touching my baby’s skin all day and night.  I was so excited about this new diapering system that I literally was telling everyone about it.  I couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to use wool covers.  I had more than one person ask how much more expensive it is to buy wool than PUL.   I actually think the wool covers are about the same or cheaper than other covers since you needs less wool covers.  I haven’t actually run the numbers but just quickly thinking about it that is what I came up with.  If even it was the same or more, I think having a natural product over a synthetic is worth it!  We do fine with 4 to 5 wool covers.  We just air dry between changing.  When we were using the other diaper covers we needed easily 10 because of all the poo and leakage issues.

When you think of wool at lot of people think of scratchy, itchy wool.  Organic, untreated wool is so, so soft.  Most people who are allergic to wool are allergic to the chemicals that are put on the wool, not the wool itself.

These are the diapers and covers we use:

Organic Caboose wool covers.

Babee Greens wool covers.

Babee Greens also has wool covers with cute upsized wool on the outsides.

Disana Wool Pull-On Diaper Cover in natural (For night-time, no more leaks).

Bummis organic cotton prefolds (the premie size makes a great burp cloth!).

Growing Greens Organic Cotton / Hemp fitted diapers.

Growing Greens Organic Cotton fitted diapers.

Willow Sprout pre-fold.  I LOVE these pre-folds!

We use a mixture of all of these.  I have also found Green Mountain Diapers to be extremely helpful.  They have a large selection of wool covers and cloth diapers.  They also have a cloth diaper FAQ.  I’ve ordered several things from them and they are extremely helpful.

To wash the wool I use Sudz N Dudz organic wool wash.  I use both the bar and the liquid.  Cleaning the covers doesn’t take much time at all.

I now want everything to be wool.  I’m obsessed with it!

My Intro into Non-Toxic, Organic Baby Products

After my son was born in early 2012, and after the haze of having a new baby wore off, I started to really pay attention to the products we were using and purchasing for our newborn.  I already leaned towards buying organic and non-toxic products for our baby while I was pregnant.  After he was born, and falling totally in love, I wanted nothing but the best for him – like most parents.  With that I started to realize how many chemicals and other nastiness were in baby products.  With him on the ground, putting things in his mouth, sitting in car seats, strollers, etc I started to realize how important all this non-toxic stuff was.  For awhile I thought I was going crazy but the more educated I became I realized it was nuts not to pay attention to this stuff.

I started out using cloth diapers, organic onesies, glass bottles, and exclusively breastfed.  I realized that there was so much more to it than that.  I now kick myself for not doing more research about this before he was born but I didn’t realize how important it would be for me.  Their skin is one fifth of the thickness of ours… all these chemicals, plastics and flame retardants is not good for them!  I had an epiphany when searching for new cloth diaper options – which I’ll blog about.  My cloth diaper search is what propelled me to start looking into the products we were using (and the products we were about to buy).  I feel fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest where being crunchy is totally acceptable! 🙂  I have some awesome local stores that I am able to shop at that actually care about the products they carry.

I will blog about all the products I have found that I love that are non-toxic.  I hope this helps you find things for your family.  Please let me know if you have any products you love that I haven’t mentioned here.

Disclaimer: I use affiliate links at times. It doesn’t cost you any more but does help support my time running my blog and this page. Other affiliate links might get you a discount which is a win, win! I appreciate you supporting my links as a way to help me offset my time by bringing info to you. I will never be swayed financially, and I will only post products and companies that I would, and do, personally use for my family.