Five Simple Steps for Healthier Living: New Parent Edition

Five Simple Steps for Healthier Living: New Parent Edition

January 5, 2023

By Megan Boyle, Editorial Director

If you’re a new parent, these resolutions may top your New Year’s list:

  • Get more sleep.
  • Protect your child’s health.

The first may be an impossible dream. The second is easier than you think. Here’s our list of simple steps you can take to limit your child’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

Go natural. Surround your children with products made of natural ingredients: wooden toys and furniture (not plastic or particle board) and cotton blankets and clothes (not synthetic fibers). Body care products such as lotion or bubble bath contain an array of harmful ingredients that can trigger allergies or disrupt hormones. Use them only when necessary.

Stay safe in the sun. Just a few blistering sunburns can double the chance a child will develop skin cancer in her lifetime. To protect your little one’s precious skin, stay in the shade, cover up with hats and clothing and extend the hood on your stroller and car seat. Choose a sunscreen that lists zinc or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient and apply liberally. Is your baby under six months old? Click here for extra tips.

Avoid rice cereal. Infant rice cereal – a popular choice for baby’s first food – contains a shocking ingredient: arsenic. It’s never too late to reduce your child’s exposure to this hazardous substance. Click here to learn how and read our top tips for making healthy baby food at home.

Be fire-retardant free. Many of your child’s favorite pillows, pads and mats – even her car seat – likely contain fire retardant chemicals. Thankfully, these harmful chemicals are becoming easier to avoid. Check products in your home that contain padding or polyurethane foam. Acceptable products have labels that say they meet “Technical Bulletin 117-2023” and an “X” next to the line that reads: “The upholstery materials in this product contain NO added flame retardant chemicals.” Don’t see this on the label? It’s time to replace the item.

Take care of yourself. A healthy child thrives in a healthy environment. Eat well, exercise and sleep. Take time for your own health to help your kids benefit as well.

Here are some tools to help: