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The Best Non-Toxic Crib

We scoured dozens of baby cribs and picked THIS one as the best non-toxic option.This crib, the SNIGLAR from IKEA, is my pick as the best non-toxic crib.

This wasn’t a decision made lightly either.  I spent hours upon hours researching cribs.  If I had to guess, I would say 40+ hours.  Who knew that muddling through all these baby products would be a full time job!?

After learning about the toxins prevalent in most cribs (which I summarize for you here), I was shocked.  Yes, baby will be exposed to toxins, but if there is a way I can minimize that exposure, why not?  Since babies sleep so much, you definitely want to be mindful of the toxins in their crib.

In The Modern Mindful Mom’s Guide for Buying Crib, I detail why a solid wood crib is best, and this one fits the bill.  The bed rail, base frame and spindles are made of solid beech.  Now, there is some misinformation floating around on the web stating that this crib does contain toxins.  That’s because the base of the crib used to be made of particleboard, but not anymore!  Two thumbs up for Ikea!  (I know this might come as a shocker, given that Ikea and particleboard go together like peanut butter and jelly, but hey, I’ll take it).

Another reason this crib is non-toxic is that is comes unfinished, so no harmful chemicals to worry about in the paint/stain/etc.  If the unfinished look isn’t your style, you can always stain it yourself using a food-grade oil.  Who doesn’t love a good DIY?

Now, a slight disclaimer on the word “non-toxic”.  First, don’t assume a crib is safe if it says non-toxic (more on that here).  Secondly, when I say this is a non-toxic crib, I’m not saying there are zero toxins.  Unfortunately, we can’t get away from them entirely.  Wood naturally emits toxins, but the amount is SO MUCH less than an engineered or pressed wood.  Therefore, this is about as “non-toxic” as it gets in terms of cribs.

So we’ve established that the SNIGLAR crib from Ikea is non-toxic (as non-toxic as it gets anyways), but surely it’s not the only crib on the market that meets the criteria, right?  It’s not, but frankly, there aren’t a lot of options.  And most of these options will cost you a pretty penny.  I’m all for paying more for better quality (i.e. safer), but $1,000+ for a crib…ouch!

The price is what made the the SNIGLAR crib from Ikea stand out from the rest of the non-toxic cribs on the market.  It will cost you….wait for it….$79.99!

I absolutely love that this non-toxic crib is so affordable.  Why spend an arm and a leg on a crib if you don’t have to?  Put the money saved towards a college fund (or your mortgage payment)!

 

Wipe Warmer: Baby Products You Don’t Need

Reasons to skip the wipe warmer

Don’t waste your money on a wipe warmer.  It’s another one of those baby products that big box stores have us thinking we need.  It’s not a necessity; it’s hardly even a luxury.

To me, it falls under “the more trouble than it’s worth” category.

1.  $$$

  • Wipe warmers can run you between 20 and 40 bucks.  Not only that, most require an electrical outlet.  As we all know, leaving anything plugged in, even when not in use, uses electricity and costs you money.  The wipe warmer is something that is meant to be left plugged in and turned on 24/7.  Prince Lionhart (a popular brand of wipe warmers,) claims that their products “consumes the same amount of electricity as a tiny Christmas tree lightbulb.”  However, it’s my philosophy that we need to be mindful of the things we consume, even in small amounts.  Same goes for my money.  Looking at my credit card statements really makes me realize how the little purchases really add up.  With a new child to support, the money you would spend on a wipe warmer is really better off being spent somewhere else.

2.  It eats up time

  • With a new baby, time becomes a hot commodity.  If you have older kids too, being efficient with your time is even more critical.  Wouldn’t you rather spend your time giving your baby extra cuddles and kisses, than filling, re-filling, and maintaining the wipe warmer?  It’s not as simple as just unpacking a pack of wipes and sticking them in the warmer.  With most wipe warmers, you have to also add water, to prevent wipes from drying out.

3.  Bacteria Growth?!

  • I searched high and low for scientific studies on wipe warmers.  I’m no scientist, but common sense dictates that moisture and heat are a winning combination for bacteria growth.  Prince Lionhart must have read my mind, and to ease this concern, they state that their wipe warmer is made with an “EPA approved anti microbial additive to inhibit the growth of bacteria and microorganisms.” However, when I reached out to the company to inquire more details about this additive (EPA approved doesn’t mean diddly squat in my book), I got the following response:  “Due to proprietary blend, we cannot disclose the exact name of the antimicrobial additive.”  Well, that doesn’t exactly give me the warm and fuzzies that this product is safe.  I’m trying to reduce my child’s exposure to harmful chemicals, so bringing an unknown chemical in my home (for something that isn’t a necessity and that will come in direct contact with my child’s skin), just isn’t worth it!
  • Further, the wipes of my choice (due to lack of chemicals and preservatives), are recommend to NOT be placed in wipe warmers.  The majority of the baby wipes on the market are laden with chemicals and preservatives to prevent bacteria growth.  However, if wipes are stored in a cool dry place, you can ditch these harmful ingredients.  Even though warm wipes may provide temporary comfort to a baby, it’s the responsibility of parents to look out for their overall well-being.

 

Diaper Pail: Baby Products You Don’t Need

Diaper Pail: Baby Products You Don't NeedAhh the diaper pail.  It makes it on practically every “must-have” list, but I’m here to tell you, you don’t need it!  Those contraptions that hold dirty diapers and promise to keep your nursery smelling fresh…well frankly they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Here are 5 reasons to skip the diaper pail:

1. Save Your Time

If you are only thinking short-term, then yes, a diaper pail will save you time.  Just pop the dirty diaper in, and done.

But, not so easy.  The diaper pail is a ticking time bomb.  Like letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink.  It’s super quick to just toss them in there, but when you do go to rinse them, it’s much more difficult and time consuming than had you just washed them from the get-go.  Same goes for the diaper pail.

Those contraptions are a hassle to change, especially when you’re sleep deprived (and you will be sleep deprived).  Depending on the number of diapers it holds (or your tolerance for stink…see # 2), emptying the diaper pail will be a task you have to perform every couple of days.

Long story short, it will take more time emptying the diaper pail than just taking each individual diaper out to the trash.

2. Save Your Nose

When you do go to empty the diaper pail, it will be stinky!  And I mean, stinky!  A smell I can’t even begin to describe.  Changing one diaper can cause a grown man to gag.  Now imagine a stench that is multiplied and magnified.

Why would anyone want to smell a dirty diaper twice?  For the convenience of a quick initial disposal, that’s essentially what you’re doing.

Not only will changing the diaper pail be gag worthy, but there’s a good chance that won’t be the only time you smell the contents.  These things aren’t magic.  Every time you use it, you will likely get a whiff.  Or the thing may wreak 24/7.  I’ve heard multiple stories where the stench soaked into the plastic and remained even after being emptied.

The thought of dirty diapers stewing in my house for days does not settle well with me.  I get antsy when my kitchen trash piles up or my recycle bin is overflowing with junk mail.

3. Save Your Planet

Obviously using disposable diapers aren’t that great for the planet.  And there’s controversy on whether using cloth is any better.  The goal here to do what you can to help save the planet.

By buying one less product (the diaper pail), you are reducing your carbon footprint.  Think of all the resources that go into making, shipping and selling the diaper pail.

Then think of the life cycle of the diaper pail.  Yes, you will get a couple years out of it (depending on how soon your child potty-trains). Skip the Diaper Genie refills! If you use it for multiple children, even better!  Even more power to anyone who goes the second-hand route!  At the end of the day, it’s just one more thing in our landfills.

In most cases, the diaper pail also requires specific bags.  By skipping the diaper pail, you can skip these bags and reduce the impact to the environment.

4. Save Your Money

Depending on the brand, a diaper pail can set you back anywhere from 20 to 90 dollars.  And don’t forget about the special refill bags.  You’re looking at a lifetime cost of hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

5. Save Your Space

Whether you live in an apartment or McMansion, save your space and skip the diaper pail!  Most people buy into the myth that babies require a lot of “stuff”.  It’s simply not true.  Be mindful of everything you bring into your home.  The diaper pail is just one more unnecessary “thing” that takes up space.

5 Reasons to Skip the Diaper Genie

 

 

Guide for Buying Crib

Guide to Buying Crib (& Other Nursery Furniture): A must-read for any parent-to-be! The majority of the cribs on the market contain toxins.

If you’ve started thinking about cribs or even stepped foot in one of the big-box baby stores, you know there’s a ton of options on the market.  This guide is meant to inform you and empower you so you can muddle through all the choices and make the best decision.

A lot of soon-to-be parents focus on style and color when picking a crib.  However, I’m here to tell you that there something more important to consider, and that is safety.

You may be asking yourself, “Safety? But, I’m getting a new crib, aren’t there Government regulations, making all of them safe?”

Or,

“I’m getting a used crib, if there are no recalls, isn’t it safe?”

Shockingly, and sadly, the answer is no.

There is a US Government agency that regulates standards for cribs (the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)), however parents can’t blindly entrust this agency for ensuring the safety of their child.  Case in point, prior to 2008, the federal crib standards had not changed for 30 years.  The updated standards ban the sale of drop-side cribs and mandate the spacing of the crib slats (both of which caused numerous injuries and deaths). The updated CPSC standards also incorporate international crib safety standards (ASTM International Standards).

The updated standards are definitely a step in the right direction, however, there are still many dangers lurking in most cribs.  These dangers come in the form of toxins.
Toxins in Baby Cribs?! Sadly, Yes. Read this guide BEFORE making that big purchase
These toxins are formally referred to as “Volatile Organic Compounds” or “VOCs” for short.  VOCs are a group of chemicals that vaporize easily, or “off-gas,” and pollute our air.  According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air.

Exposure to VOCs can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment.  Possible long-term effects include asthma, cancer, infertility, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.  Children are even more susceptible to the dangers of VOCs.  VOCs are all around us, unfortunately, but there are steps we can take to take to minimize our exposure.  This is especially important when it comes to a baby crib (and other nursery furniture), given how dangerous VOCs are and how susceptible newborns are.

When researching and buying a crib, you need to be mindful of VOCs in two of its components, the material of the crib itself, and the finish of the crib (if applicable).

Cribs are typically made out of solid wood or a type of engineered (or pressed) wood.  Engineered (or pressed) wood is when wood veneers, wood shavings, wood particles, sawdust or wood fibers are bonded together with an adhesive under heat and pressure. Both solid wood and engineered wood emit VOCs, but engineered wood emits much higher levels.  Therefore, it is recommended that you buy a solid wood crib.  Engineered wood also referred to as fiberboard, plywood, laminated lumber/timber, veneer, composite, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and oriented strand board (OSB), so steer-clear of any cribs made of these materials.

The finish of the crib is also a likely source for toxins.  Standard paints, stains, sealants and other finishes contain large amounts of VOCs.  The best thing to look when buying a crib is “low-VOC” (typically 50 grams per liter (g/l) or less), or even better, “no-VOC” (typically 5 g/l or less).  (Sidenote: The Federal VOC limits are 250 g/l for flat paints and 380 g/l for others.)  Another danger often found in finishes is that many are petroleum based and contain lead, a known carcinogen, and other potentially dangerous heavy metals.  When looking at cribs, you can look for lead-free claims, or finishes using food-grade oil.  You may have to call the manufacturer directly and inquire specifically about lead.  You can also avoid finishes all-together and get an unfinished crib.  If you don’t want to leave the crib unfinished, you can stain the crib yourself using a food-grade oil.

In summary, to reduce the amount of toxins exposed to your child, when buying a crib (and other nursery furniture), look for:

  1. Solid Wood, and
  2. Unfinished or “low-VOC” or “no-VOC finish,”  and
  3. Unfinished or “lead-free” or “food-grade oil” finish

Some terms you need to be cautious of are:

  • “Meets All Federal Safety Regulations”:  There are very few Federal Safety Regulations when it comes to VOCs.  This does not mean that products are VOC-free or lead-free.
  • “Non-toxic”:  This simply means that Federal Safety Regulations were met.  See above.
  • “Water-based finish”:  Can still emit VOCs and contain lead.
  • “CARB Phase 2 Compliant”:  This was a law enacted in 2013 which set limits the levels of formaldehyde emissions, a type of VOC, allowed from pressed wood products.  However, pressed wood still contains other dangerous VOCs, including carcinogens.

Hopefully this guide will be helpful when choosing a crib (and other nursery furniture).