Keeping chemicals to a minimum

Minimizing your baby's exposure to chemicals and artificially altered products

Q: Is it OK to light a scented candle in the bedroom I share with my baby — or is that a definite no-no?

A: A good general rule of thumb is to keep all artificial chemicals to a minimum, and use only products that are truly essential (that includes creams, lotions and soaps). Identify the items you want to avoid and minimize your exposure to everything else, as even things that are proven safe can be toxic if overused. These guidelines can help you decide for yourself if you should use air fresheners where your baby sleeps.

It seems every day we read about something some study has found to be harmful. So how can we make intelligent decisions about our personal use of these products? My advice is to pay attention to whether the study was conducted in a well-regarded scientific centre or if a major health organization supports its findings. Make sure the study was done independently and not sponsored by a company with something to sell, and keep watching the news to see if the findings are consistent over time.