Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Posts Tagged ‘BPA-free’

Good Onya

H2 Onya stainless steel bottlesDid you know :

- bottled water generates 600 times more CO2 than tap water? For Australia that’s 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
- Australians spend more than half a billion dollars a year on bottled water.
- 70% of plastic bottles end up in landfill, and they take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

There are many more staggering statistics on the subject, but suffice it to say, bottled water is something we seem to spend a lot of money on, and usually without thinking about the environmental impacts of that choice. In Australia we are lucky enough to have quality, accessible drinking water, and with so many great reusable water bottles on the market, there really is no excuse to be wasting away with plastic.

Add to this the fact that most plastic bottles contain hormone-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, and you should have even more motivation to make the switch.

Onya is an Australian company that has created some stylish and reusable stainless steel water bottles in sizes suitable for anyone, no matter what their age. H2 Onya bottles are especially great for children, because their ergonomic design means they don’t easily slip out of little hands, and they have interchangeable lids, so they can start off using a teat and drink milk from these, and then progress to a sippy lid and eventually one of the sportier lids. Made from food-grade stainless steel, these are built to last a long time – even if they are knocked around a bit (as they most likely will be when used by kids).

Even if you’ve already bought those popular Avent bottles, the teats and sippy attachments are compatible with the Onya lids too. Click here to check out our 350ml range for younger children. We have also tried out the Onya Reusable Sandwich Wraps and find they are a brilliant solution for keeping sandwiches and lunch nicely packed and ready to go!

And, for more interesting facts on bottled water and it’s affect on our environment, visit the cool australia.org

For the mouths of babes

If you can survive the teething phase, there’s nothing quite as adorable as when your baby cuts their first tooth. But caring for those pearly whites can be a little tricky when you’re starting out, and if you’ve ever read the ingredient list of most commercial brands of toothpaste you’d be wise to exercise some caution when putting these chemicals into the mouths of babes.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover Jack N’ Jill organic toothpaste for kids. It’s made in five fruity flavours (oh yay!) and it’s also hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain any mint, sugar, colour, preservatives, or chemicals (big yay!). The fact that it’s also made in Melbourne, Australia, had me rapt!

The back story is this: Jack N’ Jill toothpaste is a family company that has been around since 1949, but when it was time for the next generation to take over (just recently), they reformulated it to be 100% safe for young children. Being eco-conscious parents themselves, Justin and his wife Rachel also designed new packaging that is minimal, recyclable and BPA free.

Alongside the toothpaste they have designed and manufactured the first children’s toothbrushes that are made of cornstarch, and are therefore biodegradable and recyclable. And did I mention cute? There are two designs – hippo and bunny – and they are also ergonomically designed.

For the very little ones, there’s a baby-friendly finger brush made from medical-grade silicone (which is, you guessed it, toxin free) and it has soft bristles on one side and little bumps on the other, to soothe those sensitive gums during teething. The toothpaste is also gentle and safe enough for teething babies.

Since my two-year-old is notoriously difficult to wrangle at tooth-brushing time, I decided to give these products a try – and am happy to report that he loves the toothpaste (especially the strawberry flavour) and this twice-a-day ritual is no longer a chore.

Jack n’ Jill organic toothpaste and biodegradable toothbrushes are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie. Click here for more on these products.

 

Making life a little less toxic

Dr. Tabitha McIntoshBy Tabitha McIntosh (Naturopathic Doctor – Awaken your Health)

Have you ever thought about the hundreds of chemicals we are exposed to each day – in products we use to clean our homes, the personal care products we use on our bodies, in the pesticides we spray in our homes, offices, gardens, and playgrounds and in our food, water and air?

Numerous industrial chemicals have been detected in human blood, urine, hair, breast milk, and even umbilical cord blood.

It’s an even scarier thought that the majority of chemicals that are in use have not been adequately tested for their impacts on human health or their particular impacts on children and developing babies – yet – it is now widely recognized that babies and young children are at greatest risk from these chemical exposures. Some can have life-long impacts on an infant’s health, immune function, and ability to learn.

As a mother, I want to do everything I can to keep my family safe from harmful chemicals, and no doubt you feel the same way. Parents can do a lot to protect their children from chemical hazards simply by changing their own personal behaviours and consumption patterns.

So if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, are breastfeeding or have young children, it is advisable to pay particular attention to reducing chemical exposures as much as possible. Here’s a ‘starter-list’ of some practical measures you can take to protect yourself and your children from common chemicals: making yours and your family’s life just a little less toxic.

  • — Store your food in glass containers whenever possible, as it is the most inert container you can use. Don’t microwave in plastic or with plastic wrap: use glass or ceramic instead. It is especially important to look for BPA-free bottles for your infants (these will have a golden tint); and BPA-free water bottles for your children and yourself. Ask your health care provider for some options of suppliers.
  • — Buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic foods where possible, to reduce your exposure to pesticides, GMOs and fertilizers. This especially applies to animal produce (meat, chicken, eggs) and full-cream dairy products, as these may contain higher levels of some pollutants. If you don’t have access to Organic produce, consider eating fewer meat and high-fat dairy products. In addition, ask your Naturopath or Health care provider about the EWG’s ‘Clean Fifteen’ Vegetable and Fruits List.
  • — Avoid the use of insecticides / pesticides in the home or garden, or on your family pets. Examples of common things to avoid: Mortein, Baygone, garden sprays, flea treatments, mosquito repellants that contain DEET etc. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.
  • — Throw out your Teflon pots and pans and instead use safer cooking materials like ceramic, stainless steel, and glass.
  • — Avoid processed foods, and become a food label detective. Avoid artificial food additives of all kinds, including MSG and artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are found in most chewing gums, diet foods and drinks, and some children’s medications.
  • — Run your tap water through a home-filter, or drink spring water. Filters can reduce levels of common tap water pollutants.
  • — Avoid artificial fragrances: in air fresheners, fabric softeners, perfumes, cheap candles, and other synthetic fragrances. Use fresh flowers, essential oils and natural alternatives instead.
  • — Reduce the number of cosmetics and other personal care products you use, which can contain harmful chemicals and can be sold with no safety testing. Aim to switch to Natural brands of personal care items: including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Skin care products are notorious for containing a slew of dangerous chemicals. See the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database or ONE Groups’ Chemical Directory for more info.
  • — Avoid Nail polishes and Nail polish removers; aerosols like hairspray, conventional hair dyes and bleaches while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • — Carefully consider what you put on your baby’s skin: be cautious of Ingredients such as preservatives, parabens, foaming agents (SLS), fragrances and petroleum-based ointments. Speak to your Health Care provider about some alternative brands and products.
  • — Carefully consider the toys you choose for your children, as children like to ‘mouth’ things. Avoid toys that have been painted overseas, plastics, adhesives, lip-glosses, nail polishes, etc.
  • When renovating your home, look for “green”, toxin-free alternatives in lieu of regular paints, varnishes and floor coverings. Use low VOC paints, varnishes and sealants (available from your hardware) and avoid formaldehyde resins. Ideally, aim to finish the renos, polish the floor boards, and paint the baby room well before you conceive.
  • — Eat low-mercury fish and avoid seafood that may be high in other environmental contaminants such as PCB levels. Locally caught fish, prawns and crustaceans from inlets, lakes, rivers, and harbours may be contaminated with PCB’s, so always check with your local fishing authority before eating.
  • — Reduce the number of household cleaners you use; and only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them. For more information, visit the Safer Solutions website for keeping your home healthy and green.

 
* Tabitha McIntosh is a Naturopathic Doctor at Awaken Your Health Clinic in Woolhara, NSW. She will be giving a lecture with Dr. Sarah Lantz (author of Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World) on how to reduce chemical exposures at Bondi Beach Public School in August this year. Click here for more information.

Happy Birthday Sophie!

Oh Sophie, you don’t look a day over … wait a second. You’re 50? Wow, what’s your secret?

For those of us who know and love this little giraffe there’s no secret to her lasting appeal. Born in 1961 in France, Sophie the Giraffe has made parents (and SO many drooling babies) smile for half a century now with that soft little squeak, cute contrasting spots, and super-soft texture that is just the best for teething relief.

I love the fact this toy is still hand made using the same traditional rotational molding process, from eco-friendly, all-natural and sustainable rubber derived from the Havea tree. The fact that it’s natural rubber means it’s also completely safe and free from BPA, phthalates or other harmful additives commonly found in teething toys.

To celebrate Sophie’s birthday, Itty Bitty Greenie is offering 25% off any Sophie sold in May. We’ll gift wrap her for free, too!

Here’s a fun little video that tells more about Sophie’s heritage and journey through the years:

From milk jugs to pure joy

I love seeing people discover the classic and colourful Green Toys range for the first time. The reaction is generally the same: “Hey, look! That’s so cool!” Then when I tell them they are made from 100% recycled plastic sourced from thrown away milk jugs, their eyebrows raise, and I get a surprised: “Really?”

Yes, really! Green Toys is one of the most innovative eco-friendly companies on the planet, committed to using environmentally friendly materials in everything they produce, from their unique line of recycled plastic toys, right down to their 100% recycled cardboard packaging that comes without the usual mess of twist-ties and glue to cause frustration for anyone having to open them and delaying the joy of a child waiting to play.

The recycling truck is a perennial favourite, not only for its unique design with no metal axles and slots for sorting recyclables, but because it also fits so perfectly with the “green” message we can pass on to our children in a fun way. It’s also important to note that these toys contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings. They’re food-safe and are also safe for babies to teethe on.

And just when I thought this company couldn’t top itself, after winning accolades and multiple toy and child development awards the world over, they release a new line of toys that are now available for the first time in Australia at Itty Bitty Greenie. Check it out:

1)   The Green Toys Fire Truck
Put out 3-alarm blazes. Rescue kittens from treetops. Protect the environment from harm. This is just a typical day in the life of the Green Toys Fire Truck, the world’s greenest emergency vehicle. Watch how this truck (and all it’s features) work in action with this YouTube video.

2)   The Green Toys Tugboat
There’s no end to the good green fun young sailors can have with the Green Toys Tugboat. This colorful craft floats and has a wide spout to scoop and pour water. It comes in 3 colour combinations too. Watch kids playing with it here.

3)   The Green Toys Racecars
Available in blue or pink, this cool hot rod is better than any hybrid, and proudly displays the #2 recycled plastic symbol from which it is made on its hood.

4)   The Green Toys flatbed truck and racecar
This sturdy blue truck hauls our sleek red hot rod on its back, and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off.

5)   The Green Toys Blocks
All 18 boldly coloured blocks are oversized and lightweight, making it super easy for tiny hands to stack and unstack. This unique block set includes a variety of shapes for building castles, towers, or any imaginative structure budding architects can dream up. Watch the YouTube video of kids in action with these blocks.

6)   The Green Toys Stacker
The eight whimsically coloured nesting pieces stack easily from large to small, while also allowing little builders to use their imagination and stack in any order. This toy has won multiple parenting awards – see how real kids use it here.

7)   The Green Toys Pizza Parlour
Pizza lovers can pretend and play chef and server by taking orders, creating custom pizzas, and serving guests. This colourful 27-piece set features four slices that can be stacked with toppings galore to dish up any personal pie.

8)  The Green Toys Sandwich Shop
Young chefs can open their own imaginary cafe and take orders, create sandwiches and serve guests. This 15-piece, stackable, mix-and-match play food set comes with all the fixings to create two complete sandwiches.

For more information on Green Toys, visit their website, where there’s lots more information about how the brand started, what others are saying about them, and they even keep a running tally of the number of milk jugs that have been recycled to date.

To celebrate the release of Green Toys’ new line in Australia, Itty Bitty Greenie is offering the complete range at 20% off until the end of May, and as always, we gift wrap for free!

Weaning, made easy

Wean MeisterFor new parents, anything that can make life easier and more convenient becomes more than a necessity – you can’t live without it. And when your child is starting solid foods it’s a messy business, so having the right equipment can make all the difference.

I wish the Wean Meister Freezer Pods were around when I was cooking, mashing and freezing my son’s first foods. I was using individual plastic containers back then, which were BPA free, but who knows what other toxins might have been leaching into his food. And when it came to feeding time, I had to run the container under warm water to loosen the block of food, which was time consuming, wasteful and frustrating indeed.

Australian mum Sarah Marriott obviously experienced similar baby-feeding frustration, and seeing a gap in the market, created the Wean Meister.

What makes these trays unique (and so much better) is they are made from a high-grade silicone, which is flexible, so it won’t snap under pressure, and the food or breast milk you freeze in them will pop out with one easy push. The trays are also extremely durable and come with a lid to prevent freezer burn or contamination, while also making them sturdy and stackable.

With nine perfect baby-sized portions (75mls each), certification that these are completely free of BPA or phthalates, and endless ways to reuse them long after your baby is past the weaning stage, these freezer pods are an absolute must-have. Oh, and did I mention they’re also dishwasher and oven safe? Yes, you can bake mini muffins with them too – how’s that for a kiddie treat idea?

Check out this video demonstration of how they work, and be sure to also visit the “recycling” section of the Wean Meister website for lots of great ideas of how to reuse them – the possibilities are endless!

The Wean Meister Freezer Pods come in three colours (Blue, Turquoise and Pink) and are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie for $24.95

Don’t be a dummy when choosing a dummy…

Natursutten natural soother BPA free dummy

I remember being adamant that my baby would never use a pacifier – thinking they were just one of those devices to make up lazy or poor parenting. If MY baby had all the love and cuddles he needed, there would be no use for a nasty plastic soother … right?

Wrong. Two weeks after the birth of my son, and hours of cuddles and rocking and breast feeding and many many tears later (from both me and him), my mother gently suggested that I try a soother. I hated the idea of it, I hated the look of it and absolutely hated that it was called a “dummy” here in Australia, and I resisted further. One more week of sleep deprivation and tears and I gave in. To my surprise, slight disappointment and tremendous relief – it worked. Like magic.

But then I had to worry about the dangers of BPA, phthalates and other toxins, as well as keeping it sterilized. Thankfully, I discovered Natursutten pacifiers, made from natural, sustainable rubber (from the tree Hevea brasiliensi), which is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. They are softer than silicone, and extremely hygienic because they are moulded in one piece, so there are no joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate.

Natursutten packageAs the name suggests, Natursutten means “natural soother” in Danish, where the company is located. And since they are made from natural rubber, you avoid allergy-causing substances, artificial colours, cancer-causing substances, hormone-disturbing substances, chemical softeners, parabens, BPA, PVC and phthalates. Hooray!

For anyone who has seen them before, you’ll recognize Natursutten’s unique colour and shape – which I think looks kind of cute and reminiscent of those old cartoon character drawings of babies … or perhaps even Maggie Simpson?

Natursutten soothers come in two styles (round and orthodontic); and three sizes (small 0-6m; medium 6-12m and large 12m+) and are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie. RRP $9.95.

Gifts for the Itty Bitty Rockstar

Welcome to December and the start of the silly season! I know how challenging it can be to find that perfect Christmas gift for those little people in our lives who have big personalities – especially when there’s so much to choose from.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favourite eco-fabulous finds from Itty Bitty Greenie that are sure to suit all the littlies in your life – from the Itty Bitty Rockstar to the Itty Bitty Eco Warrior and the Itty Bittiest Newborns too.

First up, let’s shine a spotlight on some gift ideas for those about to rock…

1) Organic Cotton “Rock Guitars” T-shirt (RRP $34.95)

2) The Beatles “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” Organic Cotton T-shirt with Swarovski “diamonds” (RRP $34.95)

3) Eco Stars Recycled Crayons (RRP $19.95)

4) Plan Toys Xylophone (RRP $34.95) 

5) The Beatles “Pop” Organic Cotton T-shirt (RRP $34.95)

6) Groovy Interlocking Plate & Bowl Set in Orange from Boon Inc. (RRP $24.95)

7) Wooden Baby Maraca in Red & White (RRP $9.95)

8) Modware Toddler Utensils in Blue – BPA-free, Phthalate free and PVC-free (RRP $12.95)

9) SnackTAXI Groovy Guitars Reusable Food Wraps. Snack Sack (RRP $10.50) and Sandwich Sack (RRP $12.50)