There are a lot of things to keep in mind when one is about to get or already have children. Here we have gathered some advice and facts for sustainable and healthy child hygiene.
- For the baby’s first time, all you need is water and some oil. You do not need to buy special oils for children, regular oils such as rapeseed oil or olive oil work really well. Swedish rapeseed oil is among the smartest choices you can make for the environment.
- Soap, shampoo and bubble baths contain surfactants which are chemical substances that dissolve the dirt, but at the same time dry out the skin. Often the products also contain dyes, perfumes, and preservatives that can be allergenic. You do not need soap or shampoo for small children. Clean water and a washcloth or a little bath oil in the bathwater are often enough.
- Avoid perfumes as they can cause allergies. Even essential oils of natural origin can cause reactions. When it comes to hazardous chemicals, the risk of continuous exposure increases. Since we tend to carry small children very close to our upper body, it would be good to stop using perfume during their infancy.
- Choose mild, unscented, and preferably eco-labeled products for slightly older children.
- Young children often have fairly oily skin that does not need to be moisturized. If the child has dry skin, pure edible oils also would work well on older children as well as adults. If you moisturize immediately after the bath before the skin is completely dry, you often get a sufficient result.
- Choose a toothpaste that is suitable for children. Some toothpaste contain antimicrobial agents such as triclosan, but children generally do not need antimicrobial toothpaste.
- Use a small amount of toothpaste and help with the toothbrushing so that the child does not swallow too much toothpaste and get in unnecessary amounts of fluoride.
- Wet wipes can be practical to use for changing diapers when traveling, but they often contain perfume and preservatives that can be harmful to the baby’s sensitive skin. If needed, you can use water from a water bottle to moisten a washcloth or paper towel.
- If you use wet wipes, choose fragrance-free.
- Protect your skin with clothing and keep small children in the shade.
- Sunscreen does not provide complete protection and also contains chemicals that can irritate the skin, as well as substances that are harmful to the environment. Sun protection with a physical layer is more healthy if compared to chemical sun protection. This is because they offer a protective layer on the skin’s surface, whereas the latter is absorbed by the skin. Sunscreens with physical barriers are those that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as an active ingredient.
- Avoid sunscreens that contain aluminum for children. Products that contain aluminum should not be consumed, which can be the case when you use it for small children who often put their hands in their mouths. For older children, there is a risk that aluminum will enter into the body if they have or get open wounds.
- Preferably choose an eco-labeled sunscreen, or alternatively an organic sunscreen where you can understand all the ingredients. Look for relevant labels in our labeling guide.
- Approximately 4000–5000 diapers are used during a child’s entire diaper usage period. Reusable diapers result in a big saving both in the amount of garbage and financially.
- Most reusable diapers from ordinary stores usually contain some form of plastic material, such as polyester, PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) or TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). When you wash plastic materials – which for obvious reasons is done with reusable diapers – microplastics are released into the watercourse. These can not be filtered out by sewage treatment plants and usually end up in lakes, seas, and streams. Once they have ended up in nature, there is no way to remove them. They break down very slowly and then become microplastics, which potentially are dangerous for living organisms. If you choose reusable diapers, the best option is to choose cloth diapers made of natural materials, such as wool.
- Use an eco-labeled detergent when you wash the diapers, and consider air-drying them – then they also last longer.
- If you use disposable diapers, choose eco-labeled, preferably organic. Try to find ones with less plastic and superabsorbents.