What to Look for in Natural Pacifiers and Teethers
Finding Safe Pacifiers and Baby Teethers
Whether you’re in need of something to soothe your baby between meals, keep them occupied while running your errands, or looking for a toy on which a little one can chew, you’ll want to find natural pacifiers and teethers that are not only more environmentally friendly but also safer for your child’s health. Unfortunately, health isn’t always top priority for makers of these little devices, so you may have to get yourself educated before you go out to buy new pacifiers for your baby.
Concerns over regular pacifiers and teethers
There are various materials used to make conventional teethers and pacifiers that pose health concerns for your baby. The more time they chew and suck on these items, the greater their exposure. Avoiding such materials starts by knowing what they are:
- Latex nipples: Many babies have allergies to latex and this material can result in anaphylactic reactions, eczema, and hypersensitivity.
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC): PVC can be used to make a teethers and pacifiers, but it should be avoided if possible. Manufacturing and disposing of PVC creates dioxins which cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems. PVC plastic is highly flexible and can be identified by the #3 in the chasing recycling arrows.
- Phthalates: Phthalates are another class of chemicals used to make soft plastics like that used in pacifiers and teethers. They have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, endocrine disruption, development delays, and reproductive system damage.
Finding safer, natural pacifiers and teethers
There are now many types of materials that are now being used to create natural, safe pacifiers and teethers. From organic teethers made from cotton to natural rubber options, there’s bound to be a solution that will work for you and your baby.
- Natural rubber: Taken from a tree (without harming the tree), natural rubber is completely safe, totally biodegradable, and perfectly soft for use in pacifiers.
- Silicone: A good alternative to latex, this material is safer and won’t contribute to allergies or sensitivities. It is also less porous so will resist bacteria more readily. Just be sure to look for silicone pacifiers that are either clear or brightly colored and not brownish.
- Phthalate-free PVC: Look for soft plastic teethers and pacifiers made from PVC only if they are labeled as phthalate-free.
- Organic cotton: An alternative to traditional teethers are those made from organic cotton or other natural fabrics. These are soft and comfortable and can be washed easily.
Finding natural teethers and pacifiers has never been easier, and here’s a great list of reliable companies you can use to start your search:
1 Latex Allergy. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2010, from American Family Physician: http://www.aafp.org/afp/980101ap/reddy.html
2 PVC - THE POISON PLASTIC. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2010, from Greenpeace: http://archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/html/content/pvc1.html#dioxin
3 Chemical Encyclopedia - phthalates. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2010, from Healthy Child Healthy World: http://healthychild.org/issues/chemical-pop/phthalates/
4 Baby bottles and nipples: Features to consider. (2007, April). Retrieved May 18, 2010, from Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/babies-kids/baby-toddler/eating-and-sleeping/bottles-nipples/baby-bottles-and-nipples-1105/features/0704_baby-bottles-and-nipples_features.htm