On This Episode of: Dear SafeMama

By Kristie Turck •  Published 07/09/08 •  4 min read

Q: What is the safest way to sanitize my baby’s toys? Is bleach safe?

I’ll fully admit (again) to being toxophobic. But when it comes to germs, I’m not really “for” germs, so much as I feel that people are too germphobic. All of my friends carry around their little things of Purell or other anti-bacterial, but I feel that they have their place. When “sanitizing” your baby’s toys, plain old soap and water is the best way to go. Unless the toys are being shared with other kids or being dragged through the dirt, a quick rinse with some mild soap and warm water will get them as clean as anything else. I realize that toys get grimy and gross after awhile and need to be de-drooled, but if your baby is the only one playing with them, there should be no need to sanitize. Stay away from anti-bacterial soaps as they tend to make bacteria stronger and more resistant to being killed.

Q: I have a 4 year old and some of her friends are starting to get into wearing nail polish. She really wants me to paint her nails. With small kids putting their hands in their mouths I am nervous because of the chemicals. Do you know of some safe nail polish brands for kids??

Ahh, the joys of being (and having) a little girl. I remember the days fondly of wanting my mom to paint my nails. I’m sure that there’s all sorts of leftover toxins in my system from chewing chips of nail polish off my hands. It’s a tough age for them and for you. You don’t want to be the big bad meanie Mama and say no, when all of her other friends are getting to do it too (and let’s face it, you’ll hear “It’s not fair!!” enough in your lifetime). Thankfully, there are “safer” alternatives out there, and one whose name escapes me at the moment. However, I did find a more natural brand by Honeybee Gardens, that is free of FD&C colors, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, xylene, or formaldehyde. That said there’s still technically chemicals in it, so it really depends on whether or not you think she’s mature enough (i.e. can you get her to keep her hands out of her mouth) and also whether or not you feel comfortable putting nail polish on her. This option is probably your better choice over those icky “kid” nail polishes out there or conventional brands.

Q: We have a 4 month old little girl and we moved into our house about 5 months ago. Needless to say that as the weather gets warmer more and more spiders and bugs are making their way into our home. Do you have any suggestions on how to get rid of them naturally?? Please help!

I would say that unless you have the big fat hairy tarantula type spiders (or poisonous ones) roaming through your living room, to just leave them be or if necessary, use a tried and true method, which would be a shoe. Spiders are great for helping you keep other bugs away. I know it’s easier said than done, because there’s nothing worse than coming face to face with a spider hanging from your hallway ceiling, but most spiders are benign (When did I become such a damn hippie?). As far as other bugs, one of my favorite sites for repelling bugs naturally is Earth Easy. I came across this site when we found some ants setting up home right outside our garage. And I have to say, the methods work well. They closed up shop and moved elsewhere. Use this along with Kathy’s Bug Repellent guide, which also has tips on keeping common household plants around to repel bugs, such as eucalyptus and rosemary. Thai Lemongrass is also a good one for repelling mosquitoes.

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