Pick up any diaper bag, and you’re likely to find baby wipes inside. They’ve become a necessity for many parents, especially when they’re on the go. Baby wipes can be used to clean toys or to remedy diaper messes, sticky hands or a sticky face. They’re so common and widely used that most parents would have no reason to suspect that they’re unsafe. If parents only knew the harsh truth about baby wipes, they might think twice before using them.
Dangerous Chemicals in Baby Wipes
Research has shown that baby wipes are far from harmless when it comes to children’s skin. One study revealed that a key ingredient is mainly to blame. Dr. Mary Wu Chang, associate professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine helped conduct this study. In the study, an eight-year-old girl ended up with a severe rash on her buttocks and around her mouth. The girl’s mother had been cleaning these areas with baby wipes. Dr. Chang linked the rash to a chemical preservative in the baby wipes known as methylisothiazolinone.
Dr. Chang found similar reactions in several other children over the next year. In all cases, the children were allergic to the chemical preservative. Methylisothiazolinone has been found in many common brands including Johnson & Johnson, Cottonelle and Huggies.
Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Frankel advised parents to check the ingredients on their baby wipes. “To make sure this harmful chemical is not going to cause the same problem for your child, look at the ingredients on the side of the baby wipe box,” she cautioned. “If you see them chemical methylisothiazolinone, you may want to stop using those wipes and perhaps baby wipes altogether.”
Yes, baby wipes are convenient. But the risk to your children isn’t worth it. This chemical preservative is not the only concerning ingredient in baby wipes. Most baby wipes also contain fragrance, which is a term used to conceal ingredients that companies wish to hide. Fragrance is generally made of coal-and petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals. It can linger on the skin for hours, causing respiratory, neurological, skin and eye damage. Fragrance has been known to cause skin issues such as a rash. Evidence also shows that exposure to fragrance as a child may lead to asthma.
Natural Alternative To Baby Wipes
So what’s a parent to do? Try making your own baby wipes at home for a safe and natural alternative. Here’s how:
- 1 roll of heavy duty paper towels
- Rubbermaid #6 or #8 container
- 1 3/4 cups of boiled water, cooled but warm
- 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera
- 1 tablespoon of pure witch hazel extract
- 1 teaspoon of liquid castille soap
- 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil or almond oil
- Essential oils optional, if your child has extremely sensitive skin, leave them out!
- Cut the roll of paper towels in half
- Accordion fold the wipes into the container
- In a bowl, mix the water, aloe, witch hazel, castille soap, grapefruit extract and oil
- Stir, add essential oils if desired
- Pour over paper towels in container and let absorb for about 5-10 minutes
- Flip the container over to make sure wipes are soaked
- Use as regular wipes!