We live in a world of advanced technology, and many feel that the world is safer than it has ever been, but not all products that are portrayed as safe are all that they seem to be. It is a common practice for manufacturers to imply or state outright that a product is good, healthy, essential or any number of other positive things that will improve everyone’s lives.
The harsh truth is that a lot of popular products designed for mom and baby are not as safe as manufacturers imply.
It is more important now more than ever before to examine the claims manufacturers make. Other problems arise for moms who may misuse a product either intentionally or because they don’t understand how to use it properly.
Not using a product for its intended purpose can have dire consequences for a mother or her baby. Parents may be using some products totally correctly, but the product hasn’t been properly evaluated for safety.
Sometimes technology in the form of synthetic chemicals enters our lives in everyday products that we may use daily thinking they are completely safe, only to find that their effects impact us over time in seemingly unrelated ways.
20 Avee- NO!
Aveeno is marketed as a naturally derived line of skin care products, but the “Active Naturals” phrase can be misleading, according to the Integrative Health Institute.
Amongst the listed ingredients in their Daily Moisturizing Lotion are dimethicone—which makes a lotion feel smooth but can create an impermeable barrier on the skin—and petrolatum, classified by the European Union as a carcinogen.
A carcinogen is any substance with the potential to cause cancer, as per the ACS. The word ‘natural’ is not formally defined, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products frequently marketed as ‘natural’ often contain chemicals that are potentially dangerous to consumers.
19 Moisturizers Miss The Mark
There are tons of moisturizers that are marketed towards women especially that claim to get rid of stretch marks. Stretch marks are tears in the elastin and collagen beneath the tops layers of the skin that are bright when they first occur but often fade with time, according to the Mayo Clinic.
These tears occur beneath the layers of skin that are affected by moisturizers and occur for a number of reasons, including rapid weight change and a family history of stretch marks.
The presence of cortisol can also contribute to the formation of stretch marks. No skincare products can repair the tears, according to The Cosmetic Cop.
18 Baby Bumbo Booboo
The Bumbo Seat is a perennial favorite on many moms’ baby registries, but physical therapists are definitely not as excited by it, as per the Chicago Tribune. The Bumbo seat can prop a baby up into a sitting position maybe before he is able to sit up on his own.
The trouble is that it places the baby into an unnatural or strained sitting position. Bumbo claims that the chair can even assist with reflux in baby, but studies have shown that the correct prone position has a better effect on reflux.
The chair can also tip over with the baby in it if he reaches or twists to see or touch something.
17 Talcum Powder Could Cause Cancer
Although companies like Johnson & Johnson were required by law to refine the naturally occurring talcum used in their baby powder products in the 1970s to remove asbestos, some samples tested since then have been shown to still contain trace amounts of the cancer-causing substance, according to Consumer Reports.
Johnson & Johnson has recently been sued in several states, and a verdict recently fined the company almost $4.7 billion, despite the company’s claims that there is no clear scientific link between its powder products and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in women.
Johnson & Johnson based its conclusions on privately funded studies.
16 Ax The Acetaminophen While Gestating
Adult mothers are frequently told by their healthcare providers that over the counter acetaminophen can be safely used for aches and pains without harming their unborn baby.
A recent study, however, highlighted disturbing links between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the presence of ADHD symptoms later on in their children, according to Thompson et al. in PLOS Journal.
The findings in this particular study not only confirm the findings in previous studies but the Thompson et al. study was peer-reviewed and indicated a clear, marked increase in behavioral difficulties controlled specifically for acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen is now considered an endocrine disruptor.
15 Folic Acid And Synthesized Subterfuge
Doctors do an excellent job of getting the message across to expectant mothers that consuming a form of folate is essential to healthy baby development, but what is not clear in the messaging is that the type of folate does matter significantly if the mother carries the MTHFR gene.
The presence of this gene will inhibit a mother’s ability to metabolize the synthetic form of folate—which is folic acid—according to MTHFR Living.
Doctors often prescribe a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, but consuming folic acid as an MTHFR carrier can prevent a mother from getting enough L-methylfolate, leading to neural tube or midline defects in her child.
14 At-Home Fetal Doppler And Undisclosed Risks
Many companies offer fetal Doppler ultrasound images or sell at home fetal Doppler machines but do not disclose potential risks, according to the FDA. While the FDA states that the current risks are unknown, there are several studies that indicate that Doppler imaging may have an adverse effect.
One study by Rao et al. linked low birth weight in pregnant mice to fetal Doppler imaging, as per NCBI PubMed.
A 2016 study indicated that children born with Autism Spectrum disorder to mothers who had undergone an ultrasound early in pregnancy were more likely to experience more severe symptoms, according to Webb et al. and published on Wiley Online Library.
13 Phthalate Failure
Phthalates are synthetic chemicals commonly found in plastics, vinyl, and even cosmetics. Recent studies have indicated that phthalates can be linked to increased risk of miscarriage as well as an increased risk of gestational diabetes, according to Harvard.
One type of phthalate in particular called DEHP was found to leach out easily from plastics and vinyl and women with high concentrations of DEHP were 60 percent more likely to miscarriage before 20 weeks than women with the lowest concentrations.
Gestational diabetes is also on the rise and another phthalate—MEP—was linked to the development of gestational diabetes, which in turn can lead to the development of type-2 diabetes later.
12 Hand Sanitizer Helps Germs
Expectant and new mothers are often eager to ensure that they and their babies are not exposed to harmful viruses and bacteria, and hand sanitizer is commonly used to disinfect hands or surfaces.
Researchers have found that the use of hand sanitizer can not only potentially increase the likelihood of bacterial resistance but can also increase the absorption through the skin of bisphenol A (BPA) which is commonly found on things like thermal receipt paper, according to CBS Atlanta.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor and has also been linked to some cancers, infertility and other disorders. Children who use hand sanitizer are also at risk for increased BPA absorption.
11 Drop-Side Cribs Drop Safety
Drop-side cribs allow one side of the crib to be lowered or raised to make it easier to get baby out were once very common but are now illegal as of 2010, according to WebMD.
Between 2000 and 2010, over 100 incidents were reported with at least one fatality. While it is unlikely that an expectant mom will find a drop side crib for sale in a retailer due to the risk of heavy fines, moms should be careful taking a secondhand crib either from a well-meaning friend or a garage sale.
Millions of the cribs had been recalled in recent years due to safety concerns.
10 Adult Acne Treatments - No Thanks
Both natural and synthetic retinol and its derivatives are common ingredients in anti-aging skin creams and acne treatments. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which not only impacts vision and skin but also plays a role in reproduction.
Some forms of all-trans retinoic acid have been found to be potentially cancer-causing when combined with direct sunlight, according to Safe Cosmetics. The European Union has banned the use of all-trans retinoic acid in products, and the California EPA recognizes it as a developmental toxicant.
Excessively high doses of retinol can also be considered a developmental toxicant. Safe Cosmetics suggests also avoiding the derivative retinyl palmitate.
9 Rock N’ Play, Don’t Sleep Away
It’s so hard to soothe baby sometimes, but some places are just too dangerous to let sleeping babies lie.
The Rock n’ Play is often touted as a must-have baby registry item because it is so convenient and seems to soothe newborns, but occupational therapists are warning against allowing baby to sleep for extended periods in it, according to Can Do Kiddo.
Some babies have developed head and neck deformities. Of even greater concern is the potential for the increased risk of SIDS because the Rock n’ Play places the baby in a semi-reclined position which could impede her airway.
8 Bath Time Blues
Infant bath seats seem like a great way to help keep a slippery baby sitting in one place for bath time, but bath time could turn dangerous if babies flip over and their heads become submerged underwater, according to Consumer Reports.
Over 170 babies—often unattended by parents—drowned between 1983 and 2009. Parents may feel it is okay to walk away momentarily because the child appears securely upright.
It only takes a few short minutes for a child who is submerged to suffer irreparable brain damage or loss of life in just a few inches of water, according to the YMCA Of Greater St. Louis.
7 Crib Tent Trouble
Crib tents are supposed to help parents keep a toddler from climbing out of the crib or to keep pets from getting into the crib, but the AAP has repeatedly warned that babies can be seriously hurt, according to Very Well Family.
Despite these warnings, many manufacturers continue to sell crib tents. Some models could become a strangulation hazard or could trap the baby if the tent is inverted.
Toddlers who are able to stand could easily pull the crib tent out of place even if it is fastened securely. Parents who are considering purchasing a crib tent might find a safer alternative in purchasing a toddler bed instead.
6 The Fever Furor
It can be frightening to see a small child ill—and warm with a fever—but a fever is a symptom resulting from the body’s immune system working to deal with the illness, according to the New York Times.
Parents and even doctors often treat even low-grade fevers with acetaminophen, but this practice could actually delay the body’s ability to fight off the infection causing the fever in the first place.
There is also a risk of overdosing. Brands, bottles and delivery methods can vary widely, and dosage is often based on weight, which a parent might not be able to pinpoint accurately. Babies over three months of age are perfectly fine to fight off a fever without medication.
5 Baby Carrier Call Out
It’s wonderful to hold baby close and free up the arms to allow a mom to multitask, but some baby carriers aren’t as safe as others. Carriers and harnesses are best for baby when they position the hips to fall to each side with bent knees, according to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Harnesses that cause the legs to dangle directly down or slings and carriers that press the thighs together can cause hip dysplasia—especially in infants younger than three months.
Parents should also look at how car seats position baby’s legs as they can also contribute to hip dysplasia.
4 Belly Wraps It Up
The belly band is just a modern name for the old fashioned abdominal binder and won’t make the postpartum body snap back to pre-pregnancy form like magic, according to WebMD.
Many moms swear that the belly band helps them get their abdomen back to normal more quickly, but doctors caution that good diet and appropriate exercise are really the keys.
Belly bands aren’t dangerous; many moms benefit from the gentle back support and posture guidance they can provide, but it’s important for new moms to understand what a belly band can and can’t do for her recovery after giving birth.
Bengkung belly binding is also a must better alternative to waist binders and wraps on the market today. The traditional method does a far better job at supporting new mothers' internal organs and pelvic floor.
3 Bump Off The Crib Bumper
Crib bumpers are often sold with baby crib sets that include a matching sheet and blanket and seem to be a good way to prevent a baby from injuring himself by bumping his head.
Far from being a safety device, crib bumpers are actually linked to injuries and fatalities in babies, according to NPR. Doctors continue to warn against the use of crib bumpers as they can lead to totally preventable loss of life.
Many parents still purchase crib bumpers because they feel that if most stores sell them, they must be safe. The AAP and the SIDS Institute both strongly recommend against their use.
2 Knock Off Nail Polish
A little nail polish never hurt anybody—except that experts warn that many polishes could be dangerous after all. The chemicals in nail polish—like triphenyl phosphate or TPP—can leach into the body and has been found in many pregnant women and in breast milk samples, according to the Huffington Post.
The body metabolizes TPP into diphenyl phosphate or DPHP. TPP has been linked in studies to hormone disruption, but further study is needed to understand exactly how TPP and DPHP interact. What is known is that they are easily absorbed through the nail and nail bed into the system.
1 Just Don’t Dock-A-Tot
If Kim Kardashian is using a baby product like the DockATot, then it’s a sure bet that many of her followers might consider using one for their baby as well.
The DockATot is hugely popular currently, but experts warn that it may not be safe for baby to sleep in it unattended, according to Today’s Parent. Babies could suffocate because of the soft padded sides. The DockATot is not promoted as a sleep device for infants, but many parents report using it in this way.
The company has stated that the product is breathable, but experts say that alone is no indication that the risk of SIDS is reduced.
References: Integrated Health Institute, ACS, Food And Drug Administration, Mayo Clinic, The Cosmetic Cop, Chicago Tribune, Consumer Reports, PLOS Journal, MTHFR Living, FDA, NCBI PubMed, Wiley Online Library, Harvard, CBS Atlanta, WebMD, Safe Cosmetics, Can Do Kiddo, Consumer Reports, YMCA Of Greater St. Louis, Verywell Family, New York Times, International Hip Dysplasia Institute, NPR, Huffington Post, Today’s Parent