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Baby Wipes: Nightmares For The Environment?

Baby Wipes
Baby Wipes

Baby Wipes: Nightmares For The Environment?

Did you know that more than 1000 baby wipes are used every year in a household with a single child? Yes, statistics show the same. However, some experts also believe this product has adverse effects on newborns, especially if they have sensitive skin. In fact, baby wipes have often invited controversy as some experts believe that they have negative effects on the skin of newborns. A number of brands have been under the radar for the harmful chemicals found in the formulations of these baby wipes. These chemical compounds often lead to rashes and red patches.

The Controversy Around Baby Wipes

Several pediatricians and child specialists around the world are of the opinion that wipes can irritate the baby’s skin by causing friction. This is even more dangerous if the child already has a condition such as diarrhea or an allergic rash. Some wipes may also contain preservatives, an ingredient that is responsible for causing skin irritation. When buying baby wipes, one has to be sure that none of the ingredients are toxic. Even the so-called hypoallergenic wipes can have toxic constituents. Parents have to keep an eye out for this as some brands avoid disclosing all the chemicals.

Some of these chemicals can have far-reaching effects on an infant’s skin. For example, fragrance mixes often consist of synthetic chemicals, including phthalates. These, also known as endocrine disruptors, mess with the endocrine system leading to low fertility, high risk of endometriosis. What’s worse, this can also lead to certain types of cancer. Do not be swayed by the catchy taglines and other advertising gimmicks that are often misleading.

Baby wipes that smell too good might be enticing, but that may also suggest the presence of allergens that are harmful to the sensitive skin of infants. Many baby wipes that claim to have only a natural aroma are not free from chemical perfumes. It is also interesting to note that not all baby wipes are water-based; some can be aloe-Vera based, and so on; you need to test it on your baby’s skin first to ensure that their skin doesn’t react adversely to it.

Multifarious Uses of Baby Wipes

If you think baby wipes are only used for keeping babies clean, well, think again. They actually have several applications, including washing hands and feet, taking paint off walls, wiping chairs in a restaurant, cleaning your car when you accidentally spill something, and so on. Working parents who are bringing up an infant amidst their busy professional lives often find baby wipes to be a savior.

However, since these wipes are often accompanied by certain potential risks, the older generation is not much in favor of using them. Old-generation parents mostly advise new moms to avoid baby wipes altogether and, instead, recommend washing their babies in the sink, whether while changing diapers or cleaning their hands/feet after a meal. Many parents actually heed this advice and have switched to soft towels or even cotton wool. They use baby wipes only on rare occasions, when they are traveling or if there’s an emergency.

The Convenience and Versatility of Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are a popular and convenient way to clean and care for a baby’s delicate skin, and are typically made of a soft, absorbent material that is infused with a gentle cleaning solution, such as water or a mild soap. Wipes are easy to use and can be found in most supermarkets and drugstores. Also available in different forms such as, scented or unscented, organic or non-organic, and can be used for a variety of purposes such as cleaning the face, hands, and bottom of a baby, as well as for cleaning up spills and messes, and are also useful for adults for cleaning up small spills or as makeup remover wipes. It’s important to use wipes that are made specifically for babies, as some wipes may contain harsh chemicals that can irritate a baby’s delicate skin.

Is The Environment At Stake?

Besides bodily consequences and skin reactions, baby wipes are supposed to have detrimental effects on the environment too. They are believed to add to the waste, especially in cities where trash is not recycled. Most baby wipes are formulated with microplastic fibers that are not biodegradable. What’s worse, most parents flush them down the toilet, whether unknowingly or by choice. Baby wipes should be thrown in the bin to avoid sewer blockages. You need to take into account the whole product journey, which means a brand’s raw material, production, consumption, disposal, as well as recycling.

Key Takeaway

There’s no doubting the fact that baby wipes are not at all conducive to the environment. The bottom line is if you must use baby wipes, make sure you buy them from a brand that follows stringent environmental certifications. Of course, as parents of a newborn baby, you need to take practicality and convenience into consideration, but we cannot ignore our ecological responsibility either. The need of the hour is to actively seek baby care products that are eco-friendly, and thankfully, many brands are working towards that.

Written by Emma will

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