How to Choose Safe Rain Gear for Your Child

Do you hate the rain as much as I do?  Like it or not, we in the province of British Columbia have to face the music – the winter rain is coming.  So why not make those dreary days brighter with some adorable, shiny, waterproof rain wear for our little ones?  I see so many fun and fabulous shiny raincoats and boots – so much to choose from. Hmmm… what to choose!!

It didn’t take long to end my shopping fun when I suddenly realized that all those fashionably fun slickers were made of PVC.  UGH! PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride (#3 recycling designation) and the material is used in everything from pacifiers and water bottles to toys, back packs, shower curtains, vinyl flooring and, you guessed it, that kiddie rain coat you’ve been eyeing.  This beloved material is a known carcinogen (cancer causing) that releases vapors (off-gassing) that can be inhaled by your sweetie.  Another reason for concern with PVC is that toys made of it may also contain lead (sometimes used to stabilize the plastic).  When your baby puts that toy in his mouth or when baby licks his/her hands after playing with it, they can be exposed to lead.  Goodness, can we catch a break here?  As if we parents didn’t have enough to worry about.

So what can you do?  How can you avoid PVC?  Here’s our list of what to watch out for:

  • Look for the #3 recycling logo or the letters PVC on packaging
  • Look for Phthalate Free on packaging
  • Back away from the toy that has that funky new shower curtain smell
  • Choose clear silicone pacifiers (over the yellow rubber ones)
  • Avoid giving baby your keys.  Most brass keys contain lead.  Ask your kids to wash their hands after handling your keys
  • As beautiful as vintage toys are, they are likely to contain lead so better to avoid them
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission site for toy recalls at www.cpsc.gov and sign up to receive the Health Canada toy recall notices
  • Buy a home lead testing kit if you have concerns about anything in your home that may contain lead
  • Choose rain gear that is PVC Free.  Checkout www.Puddlegear.com for environmentally friendly and kid safe rain gear.  It’s PVC Free Abeko rain gear, sold by Puddlegear, is polyurethane coated stretch fabric and it meets the Okeo-Tex standard (a process and standard that tests for over one hundred harmful substances).

 A few other things you might want know.  There are over 80,000 of these chemicals widely used in North America and only a few hundred have been tested for toxicity.  According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “we and our loved ones are part of a human experiment.  These dangerous and untested chemicals, like flame retardants are used in furniture, textiles and even electronics.  ONLY 5 have BEEN BANNED.  Known cancer-causing chemicals are still allowed to be used in items we use everyday.  European countries restrict many of these chemicals because they are linked to serious health issues like asthma, allergies, hormone disruption and migraines.  The toxic chemicals are dangerous to you and your family, and to our plants and wildlife.”  So what else can you do to help remove these chemicals from our household and personal health products?  What can we do to keep dangerous chemicals out of our water, soil and air?   Today I made a donation to The David Suzuki Foundation to help them put pressure on our government to make it safer for all of us.  I invite you to join me and do the same, if you can.  Even a few dollars makes a difference to their cause – a cause that affects us all.  www.davidsuzuki.org.