|Healthy Child, Healthy World|
Ever since becoming a mom to Harlow and Sparrow, Nicole Richie has been making an effort to make her home as eco-friendly and baby safe as possible — and she’s using Hollywood-approved Healthy Child, Healthy World as her guide.
Written by eco-expert Christopher Gavigan (and husband of Grey’s Anatomy Jessica Capshaw), the book boasts loads of A-list fans including Kate Hudson, Brooke Shields and Michelle Obama. Plus, it’s chock full of easy-to-follow steps and solutions to create a safe, eco-friendly home. Added bonus: Meryl Streep wrote the forward.
CBB had the opportunity to chat with Gavigan about his book and his non-profit organization, Healthy Child, and he had lots to share. Committed to helping parents raise healthy kids in this increasingly toxic world, the author shared his top ten tips for raising your baby green.
Check them out below!
1. Eat healthy. Opt for organic whenever possible and avoid the most contaminated conventionally grown produce: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears. Children can learn to love fruits and vegetables early but make sure they’re safe choices.
2. Drink plenty of pure water. Plastic bottled water is totally passé. It’s over-priced, over packaged, and not necessarily cleaner than tap. Invest in a water filter and reusable stainless steel water bottles for when you’re out and about with thirsty kids.
3. Take care without chemicals. Personal care products like bubble bath and lotions are filled with questionable chemicals. Eliminate or reduce as many products as you can — especially those with strong fragrances or perfume. You can also reduce your exposure by using natural ingredients: either purchase organic body care products or make your own (plain olive oil makes a great skin moisturizer). Babies skin is particularly sensitve so choose wisely.
4. Keep your nest the greenest clean. Look for natural cleaners (read labels to make sure) or save a few bucks by making your own. Baking soda is great for scouring. Vinegar diluted with water cleans windows and countertops (killing bacteria and odors, as well). These small and inexpensive changes will keep your kids safer at home.
5. Breathe clean air. In the winter children are in the house more so make sure your air is fresh. According to the US EPA, indoor air is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. In addition, to using safer products, open your windows for a few minutes every day to let in some fresh air. Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filtered vacuum. Growing plants can also help clean your air.
6. Take playtime back to the basics. Simplicity is better for your child’s imagination, intellect, and health — and, yes, much better for the planet. Stick to toys made from natural materials like solid wood and organic textiles. Use items you already own as play things — cookware drums, sock puppets, and homemade play dough.
7. Ban bugs and whack weeds using common sense instead of chemicals. Find safer alternatives like keeping your house clean to prevent indoor bug and rodent problems. Too late for prevention? Visit BeyondPesticides.org for safer methods to address almost any pest issue. Floors and lawns are natural habitats for kids so make sure they’re chemical free.
8. Buy less stuff. If you buy less stuff you are reducing your exposure to chemicals that off-gas from most new products. Consider buying the things you need from second hand sources. Give something old a new look with organic textiles or no-VOC paint. Just be sure that you don’t buy things that may have lead paint or may be molding (give it a good whiff). Also, for children’s items, look into the latest safety standards and recalls at CPSC.gov.
9. Don’t eat your dust. Take off your shoes before entering your home. Dust and wet mop regularly. And, wash hands regularly (no need for antibacterials, soap and water work just fine). Think about all the time that toddlers and infants spend on your floors.
10. Be happy. Emotional health is just as important as physical health, so remember to laugh and smile – a lot. Don’t get neurotic because it will only weaken your system and make it less capable of fighting off the toxic assault of modern living. Do your best and at the end of the day (or anytime you feel like it) to cuddle, play, tickle, laugh, love, and breathe with your kids. They’ll be healthier and happier if you are too.