The web is brimming with what parents should and shouldn't do and yet moms all over keep falling into the marketing traps set out by clever companies. It's easy to assume that walking into a store or shopping online means that products would have already been vetted for safety, but that's simply not the case.
As it turns out, many unacceptable products make it unto the shelves, which is enough to make any parent sick with worry. Worst still is the fact that online shopping is on the rise, which means that the safety guidelines are even less rigorously followed than in-stores.
So what do we do as parents? Well, most of us will turn to ask other well-meaning parents in mommy and parenting groups. "Is this product safe for my child?" is a question that gets asked relentlessly, but believe it or not, many of these products still continue to be recommended despite their complete and utter unacceptability. But you're not one of those moms who fall into the trap of following disapproved advice. So read on, and make sure to never get any of these products, which apply both to babies and older kids.
25 Arm Floaties
In the summer, parents don't question much. They just slap on those floaties on their kids and send them off to go swimming in an effort to make sure that they stay safe in the water. It makes sense since the floaties are designed to protect their littles from drowning, but turns out that there is a bigger issue to worry about.
"Many children's arm bands contain cancer-causing chemicals, a new study warns. Researchers found some of the most popular brands stocked in department stores contain isophorone, a category 2 carcinogen, phenol, which can mutate genes, and cyclohexanone, a toxic compound that can irritate the skin and organs," stated the Daily Mail.
According to them, all you need to do is use your smell to find the ones that smell the least like plastic, but that's not really all that reassuring, is it?
24 Expandable Water Beads
Aside from fidget spinners, expandable water beads have been all the rage lately. Ask any online baby group and at least one well-meaning mommy will pipe up about how much her kids love water beads. But no matter how desperate you are to occupy the kids long enough to browse Pinterest on your phone, don't succumb to the pressure of what everyone is doing.
As KidSpot revealed, a six-month-old baby didn’t survive after ingesting one of these water beads. As we know, even kids old enough to know better might still have the instinct to try to put one of these in their mouths, so don’t risk it!
23 Car Seat Canopy
A car seat canopy comes in all sorts of cute patterns, prints, and colors, but what the companies selling these don’t tell you is that they aren’t actually safe.
Just as stroller covers can be dangerous in the summer, so can a car seat canopy create a hot and difficult to breathe environment for the baby. Many users on online parenting forums have been raising the alarm for some time now, and yet these canopies continue to be sold. Many babies have already overheated and not survived, so it’s better not to risk it.
22 The Babykeeper
As ingenious as it may look, don’t waste your money on the BabyKeeper.
“Can you imagine using the baby keeper on your sleep-deprived days? Where's the baby? Oh yeah, I think I left her on the bathroom wall!” – hilariously joked a The Bump user.
But in all seriousness, despite having been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the BabyKeeper is an unacceptable product that should never have been made in the first place. Not only does it encourage lazy parenting, but it’s also dangerous for the baby.
21 Dollar Store Toys
Look, I know, I’m guilty of buying dollar store toys too, but turns out that we really should be making an effort not to.
BabyCenter explains: “It’s been reported that military action figures, ninja archery play sets and toy motorcycles made in China for Dollar Tree contained too much lead. Other toys have high levels of phthalates, which can affect hormones or cause birth defects.”
It just goes to show that anything cheap isn’t good for us, but it also brings up the question as to why these products are even being sold there in the first place.
20 Your Own Make-Up
As a mom, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that my daughter has pleaded with me to put mascara, foundation, eyeliner and all the other makeup products that I put on myself on her. It’s really cute up until the millionth time that they ask. At one point, they stop asking altogether and simply try to apply it themselves when you forget to put it away.
As cute as it may be, parents should never actually buy their kids any make-up. The fact of the matter is that most of the makeup sold in-stores and by popular brands actually contains toxic ingredients. Not only should we be providing our kids with vegan and safe alternatives, but so should we be seeking them out for ourselves.
19 Everyone's Fave Balloons
Balloons are one of the top things that fascinate babies and kids in general to no end. Give them a balloon and they can play with it seemingly for ages -- or at least until they apply too much pressure on it and it pops.
Quite unfortunately, balloons are another unacceptable product that parents are still bothering to buy. Luckily, they're not expensive at all, but the danger is still very real!
As Huffington Post points out: “Balloons should be used for decoration only — not for play," Health Canada said, adding that "uninflated balloons or broken pieces can easily be inhaled and block a child's airway.”
Balloons are also said to be as loud as the other similar shooting sound that they resemble, which is way too loud for a baby’s or child’s ears.
18 The Super Cute Jelly Sandals
Summer is filled with hidden dangers, but most would never think that a mere pair of sandals could cause any trouble and yet, they totally can! Turns out that those super cute jelly sandals that you can find pretty much in any store for rather cheaply are quite unsafe for our precious kids.
Not too long ago, a mom shared heart-wrenching pictures of what jelly sandals did to her daughter’s feet. The pics are hard to look at. The mom told The Daily Mail described what the $12 pair of sandals had done to the poor girl on her birthday: “'There was so much blood and she wouldn't stop crying. Her dad had to spend an hour calming her down. It spoiled her birthday weekend really."
17 Cheap Metal Jewelry
Just a couple of years ago, the Daily Mail ran an article stating, "Lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury and arsenic among other highly toxic chemicals, were detected in over half the 99 items taken from branches of Claire's, Forever 21 and H&M and other retailers across the United States."
Not much has changed, with cheap jewelry still containing high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals. It's just as bad at the dollar store, so rather than stocking up on boatloads of cheap stuff that breaks anyways, save your money for more useful things for your kids.
16 The Controversial Baby Leash
To this day, the debate as to whether parents should use toddler leashes continues to rage on in mommy boards across the web.
But as TODAY points out, the practice can lead to humiliation as a result of others laughing and taking pictures of the kid on the leash.
“To me, it’s like treating a child like a dog or an animal when in fact as a parent your job is to make the rules,” said Susan Newman, a New York social psychologist and parenting expert, also adding, “The perception is, this is a parent who can’t control her toddler.”
There is also the concern that the child might get dragged in the even of a tantrum.
15 Inappropriate Kids Products
Unacceptable kid toys are a dime a dozen, but it doesn’t make it any less OK. Not every parent is super savvy when it comes to recognizing these kinds of products, but the marketing team for these products would sure be able to spot the wrong things associated with them! Heavy connotations of the suggestive kind have 100% no business being incorporated into baby's and kids’ products and it’s not just a matter of having a dirty mind. Some of these are just way too obvious.
14 Johnson's Baby Products
Up there with Johnson & Johnson baby powder, there is also shampoo and other baby products by the same company. We have all grown up seeing the cute baby ads for this brand on TV, but the fact of the matter is that you should be 100% avoiding all baby products by this company – and for yourself too. Yes, they’re cheap, but there’s a reason for that.
After parents realized in 2011 that Johnson’s baby products contained two cancer-causing ingredients, the company only then finally changed their recipes. But would you trust any company that knowingly put them there in the first place?
Not only that, but the current “new” formulation still contains fragrance. Like phthalates, and many other toxins, a fragrance is another one best left avoided.
13 Those Cute Lil' Earrings
Piercing a baby's ears is another highly controversial issue but beyond the fact that babies simply can’t consent to have their ears pierced, there is a larger issue. Many parents pierce their little ones’ ears at around the two-week mark and some wait a little longer, but the threat remains the same: if the little earrings were to fall, the baby could put the pieces in their mouth and choke.
This is exactly what ended up happening to Marcus Brotherton’s daughter. On his own blog, he shared that after his daughter made choking noises, “We probed around with our fingers in her mouth and didn’t find anything. We got a flashlight and shined it down Amie’s tiny esophagus, hoping to discover the culprit. Still nothing.”
Turns out she ended up swallowing a little gold hoop earring and after three days, she still hadn’t pooped it out. Eventually, she did, but this story could have ended with an entirely different outcome.
12 The Upcycled Toy Chest
A couple of years ago, a major warning was broadcast to parents with regards to toy chests, especially antique and very heavy ones. By then, 34 fatal accidents had already been recorded by the CPSC and that number is undoubtedly higher now. Despite the warnings, we still hear about yet another accident at least a couple of times per year.
But the fact remains that many parents are still buying antique toy chests, thinking that they will look great in the room. The danger simply isn’t worth it, no matter how good of a deal it may seem at a garage sale. Opt instead for the toy chests that have been proven to be safe and that are specifically marketed for kids.
11 Those Super Fun Magnetic Balls
If you need any convincing as to why you shouldn't let your kids play with magnetic balls, then I dare you to Google "magnetic balls kid hospital".
Too many kids have ended up int he hospital as a result of these seemingly fun little things and the risk simply isn't worth it. And if you think that by 10 years old, a kid should know better, then consider the story of 12-year-old Freddie Webster, who according to Mirror, swallowed four 3mm magnetic ball bearings. He wasn't actually trying to swallow them, but merely "trying to hold them in place with another on his cheek".
As you can imagine, disaster ensued and surgeons had to remove 4 inches of his bowel.
10 Toys With Long Cords
You may look at that picture, as I did, and think to yourself that your child has something similar. Turns out that there is a major concern with regards to the cord length of such toys, but there is a major loophole in the guideline.
ToySafety.org explains: “Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are still permitted to market “pull toys” such as the “Pull Along Pony” with a cord measuring approximately 19 inches. No warnings are provided.”
So don’t risk it!
9 Fidget Spinners - Yep, They're Still Around
You may think to yourself that the danger has passed as the fidget spinner craze has died down, but that’s actually a major reason why there is still a heavy concern. Whereas initially, it was hard to find some as they flew off the shelves, now they are sold absolutely everywhere. They’re by the cash of nearly any store, ready for parents to impulsively buy for their temper tantrum throwing kids. But don’t give in because these are 100% unsafe for kids.
Just last year, yet another kid swallowed part of the toy, according to WXYZ, an unfortunate situation that had happened right on the heels of a little girl gagging on her fidget spinner.
8 The Toys Everyone Plays With
This next one is sure to be a little touchy with some moms, but the fact remains that a wide range of popular toys are actually quite dangerous and unacceptable. There is a huge controversy in the U.S. right now with regards to the possession of certain personal items, but playing with toy variations of these are highly contentious as well.
Some of them are milder than others but the NERF Zombie Strike Deadbolt crossbow is likely the worst of all with ToySafety.org stating that, “The force of the arrow launch presents the potential for eye and facial injuries.”
But even water toys of this nature aren’t immune to causing injuries, so watch your kids carefully in the summer!
7 The Famous Bumbo
Join enough mommy and parenting groups and you will see that a vast majority of parents are still using the Bumbo. It doesn’t help that it’s still on the market, but the drawback of sitting your baby into one is very real.
After a 2012 recall, straps were added to the Bumbo, but it still hasn’t been enough to make this popular seat any safer. The bigger danger lies in kids fallen over if placed up high like tables, but most physical therapists also agree that there’s a bigger danger.
“If you actually observe a child seated in the Bumbo, there is no active control being achieved. The child is passively placed in position and then locked in. There is no room to build trunk control or pelvic stability because the Bumbo is fixing the child and thus not allowing any muscle activation or joint movement to occur. The child is basically wedged into the deep seat with his or her legs held at a higher angle than the pelvis. There is no natural weight-bearing occurring,” concisely explains Mama OT.
6 Not Helping Your Baby Sleep
Warnings about sleep positioners are everywhere and yet they continue to be sold. Finding one isn’t hard at all and is just a click away, but it’s one of those things that parents shouldn’t even bother throwing money at because the risk just isn’t worth it.
Nearly a decade ago, the CPSC and FDA both released a safety warning about the dangers of sleep positioners after 13 babies didn’t wake up again after pressing their faces again the side. Despite the warning, parents have continued to use these positioners and, as Very Well Family points out, CPSC has continued to receive “reports of babies who were placed on their backs or sides to sleep in an infant sleep positioner but were later found in an unsafe position.”
5 Not As Cute As They Look
Awh… doesn’t he look so cute? Not. While it may look like a safe little flotation device, enough to inspire parents of babies all over to run to the internet and buy one, it’s best not for obvious reasons and not just the one you might think.
Not only does Good Housekeeping refer to them as “potential death traps”, especially since “the air-filled floatie can potentially deflate, putting kids at risk of drowning,” but these nifty-looking things also have other dangers lurking. Let’s not forget that they’re primarily shipped from China, which means that they are probably made from questionable cancer-causing and toxic materials.
4 Anything To Soothe The Pain
While it might seem like the obvious recourse to giving a teething baby something to help ease their pain, it’s best not to do it. Some babies are more susceptible to the pain of teething than others, but under no circumstance should teething tablets even be given.
According to the FDA, "Hyland’s Teething Tablets that contained varying amounts of belladonna, a potentially toxic ingredient."
But the warning doesn’t only extend to those tablets. The FDA also extended its warning to all homeopathic teething tablets. It really is best to stick to hard teething toys designed specifically for this purpose.
3 Hours Of Fun
Look, I know you’re probably already rolling your eyes at this one, but trampolines are very huge and unacceptable products that parents are still wasting money on. We have all seen the cute videos of kids having the time of their lives on these contraptions. But if you have seen those, then you have undoubtedly also seen the countless videos of kids and adults alike getting injured on trampolines as well.
As stated by the Mayo Clinic: “The risk of injury is so high that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home.”
2 The Tempting To Use Set
Everyone knows not to use them and yet, they are still being sold. Not everyone is super proficient at Googling or isn’t the most in-tune with the latest news, so a crib bedding set is yet another unacceptable product that parents are still buying. Sometimes moms and dads-to-be may know of the dangers but will still be gifted a nice set by a well-intentioned mother-in-law or other family members. Not wanting to upset them, they might put them up, only to never take them down, creating a danger for the baby.
1 Baby powder
Please forget everything that you grew up with and just don’t even bother to stop at the store to contemplate if you should get baby powder. The answer is: no. While you can find talc-less baby powder, the one from Johnson & Johnson still isn’t safe.
As Express points out: “But even asbestos-free talc, used in Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder, has been linked with an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who apply it in the genital area - with three high profile cases against the company leading to payouts for cancer sufferers.”
Just look up the case of Stephen Lanzo II who was awarded $30 million this year after he got cancer from using Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
References: NY Daily News, KidSpot, BabyCenter, TODAY, Marcus Brotherton, CPSC, Mirror, Daily Mail, Very Well Family, ToySafety.org, WSYZ, Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Mayo Clinic, Daily Mail, and Mama OT.