Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Scoop on Phthalates

Phthalates are a class of chemicals that are produced at extremely high volumes. Manufacturers typically use phthalates to increase the flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity of plastics. They are also used in personal care products such as hair spray and shampoo as a solvent.

According to the EPA
, phthalates “are used in medical applications and have been detected in food. A number of phthalates appear in bio-monitoring surveys of human tissues, evidencing widespread human exposure (CDC 2009).” This is just one example of how widespread phthalate exposure is in our environments.

There is a lot of discussion about the adverse effects of phthalates. The most common reason for avoiding phthalates is because exposure to phthalates has the potential to adversely affect the human reproductive system.

According to the EPA, “the reproductive developmental effects observed in humans include shortened anogenital distance observed in newborn boys; and shortened pregnancy, lower sex and thyroid hormones, and reduced sperm quality observed in adults.”It should be noted that exposure to Phthalates doesn’t just begin after birth, it begins in utero and continues throughout the course of your life. (EPA)

There has also recently been some press linking phthalates to a rise in autism among children.

What does that mean for Baby?

Babies can have direct exposure to phthalates via toys, teethers, or other children’s products made of flexible PVC (plastic).

Luckily for us parents, a law was passed in 2008 that prohibits the sale of any children’s toy that contains 0.1 percent of" DEHP, DBP, or BBP (types of phtalates) as well as prohibits the sale of any children’s toy that can be placed in a child’s mouth or child care article that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of" DINP, DIDP, DnOP (other phthalates).

How can you determine whether a product contains phthalates or not?

  • · As always, read the label! If a label contains any of the following abbreviations or chemical names, according to Pollution in People and The Daily Green, the product certainly contains phthalates.

  • “DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in personal care products, including nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP, see below, is also in some personal care products.
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.
  • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics.
  • The ingredient “Fragrance” might also be reason for concern as it is used to “denote a combination of compounds, possibly including phthalates.”
  • Always choose plastics with the recycling code 1,2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are more likely to contain bisphenol A or phtalates.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dapple's Favorite Children's Books!

Green Eggs and Ham, Goodnight Moon, Madeline, these are all classics that we enjoyed as children and that our kids today still love. These books might be great for children who are a little older and can understand the words, or at least the pictures, but should we be reading books to our babies too?

The medical advisory board at Baby Center says a very enthusiastic, YES!!

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud daily to your baby starting at 6 months of age — about the time when he'll really begin to enjoy looking at books with you. But Jim Trelease, longtime read-aloud expert and author of the Read Aloud Handbook, says that you can start when your child's a newborn. No matter what your baby's age, of course, reading provides a great opportunity for cuddling and bonding."

Not only is reading to your baby a great bonding experience, it also helps with their growth and development! According to Baby Center "Studies have shown that language skills — and even intelligence — are related to how many words an infant hears each day!"

Growth and development and cuddling and bonding time gives us the perfect reason to read to our kids. The Dapple Moms have a few favorites (really their kid's favorites) that we would love to share with you!

Baby Books!
  • The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  • We're Going on a Bearhunt by Michael Rosen
  • Too Many Toys by David Shannon
  • Jamberry by Bruce Degen
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Toddler Books!
  • The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marla Frazee
  • The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
  • Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore and LeUyen Pham
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Thing-Thing by Cary Fagan and Nicolas Debon
  • Little Movers - Crane by Arlene Blanchard and Tony Wells
  • The Bears Picnic by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
What are your favorites? We want to hear from you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paul McCartney!

Yesterday, Dapple user Miel K. was strolling the streets of London when she happened upon a singing knight. A singing knight? Yes.... Sir Paul McCartney!

Paul McCartney stopped walking and said:

"Wow, that is one cute baby!"

Miel gave Paul a huge smile.

"Babies always give me good vibrations!"

One of the most famous musicians in the world then proceeded to sing Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys to our little cutie.

All it takes is a smile!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pollen and Baby

With Spring right around the corner (March 20th) and warmer weather starting to creep in, the yearly ritual of runny noses and watery eyes more commonly known as allergies is almost upon us. We might run away from floating dandelion seeds but what about baby? Do babies get allergies? Should we check the pollen counts before taking them for a stroll?

According to Fit Pregnancy magazine, "allergies are relatively rare in children and even more so in infants. In fact, it takes several years of exposure for a child to develop a reaction to an allergen like pollen."

If you notice your baby with nasal symptoms that appear to be allergy-like, according to Fit Pregnancy, it is possibly a lingering cold.

"Nasal symptoms are very noticeable in infants because young babies are lying down most of the time, causing mucus to accumulate in the back of the nose. And even when awake, they don't clear their breathing passages by coughing, sneezing or swallowing, as someone who's older would. Finally, the tininess of a baby's nasal passages ensures that even a little blockage is clearly audible."

As a member of the Hay-Fever club myself, I am extremely happy that babies can enjoy spring time like it should be, without the tissues!

Read the whole article here:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baby Time!

If you missed our newsletter, we had some great tips for helping your baby adjust to the clock change. But need not fret, you could help baby transition smoothly and you can get more sleep by reading those same tips below!

Spring is almost here! Dapple has spring cleaning covered, but there are other baby matters that even our Toy Cleaner just won't fix. We might gain an hour of sunlight come March 14, but some babies have a hard time adjusting to the clock change. As moms we have encountered this problem every spring. So we here at Dapple turned to the experts for advice.

Dream Team Baby was founded by two sleep-deprived moms who worked with sleep specialists to create a proven approach, and now help parents and children everywhere get a good night’s rest! We knew these ladies would have some great insight for us about this topic. Here’s what they had to say...

If you have a more flexible sleeper:
  • On Saturday night, simply put your child to bed at their normal bedtime. No pregame adjustments necessary.
  • On Sunday morning, your child will likely wake up at the normal time - though the clock will read 1 hour later. In this case, use naptimes to help your child adjust to the new time. Put your little one down at his or her normal nap time(s). This may be a challenge the first day or two since it will feel an hour earlier to their little bodies. Help get them ready for this “new” nap time by getting plenty of fresh air during the day and introducing some fun, novel activities so your child is nice and tired by the end of the day.
  • If your child happens to wake a little earlier than usual on Sunday, allow them to get up and start the day - as long as it isn't more than an hour early. But expect that he or she may be a little overtired by naptime. Again, try to put your child down at the normal naptime(s) (according to the new clock) - but let him or her sleep a little extra if needed. 15-30 minutes is fine - just make sure to wake them up no more than 30 minutes late or they will not be ready to sleep at bedtime.
  • At the end of the first day (Sunday), try to help your child be dressed and ready for bed at the normal bedtime. If your child is not showing signs of being tired, it’s okay to make bedtime 15-30 minutes later (according to the new clock) and continue to refine the schedule the next day.
If you have a more “sensitive” or challenged sleeper:
  • On Saturday, use your child’s nap and bedtimes to help him or her pre-adjust to the new schedule in 15 or 30 minute increments. For instance, a 1-3 PM nap and 7 PM bedtime would turn into a 12:30-2:30 PM nap and a 6 or 6:15 PM bedtime. Doing this homework ahead of time will give your child a head start on Sunday’s change, and you will have a whole extra day of the weekend to perfect the schedule before going back to work on Monday.
Please remember that all children are different. Some may make the jump in time change seamlessly, and others may take a few days to fully adjust. Just be patient and it will all “spring” in to place!