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3 Chemicals To Avoid If You Have Children (And What To Use Instead)

Tata Harper
Written by Tata Harper

As a mom of three young kids, ensuring that the products we have in our house are safe, pure and healthy is more than a priority — it's a necessity!

Unfortunately, this is no simple task. Children's bath and body products often contain synthetic chemicals that have been linked to harmful health effects.

Unfortunately, children are much more vulnerable to the potentially harmful effects of synthetic chemical exposure than adults are.

Their brain, organ systems and central nervous system are still developing, making them more susceptible to damages through exposure.

That's why it's important to know we can trust what we're using with them. I know to avoid many of these synthetic ingredients because I work in the skincare industry, but this isn't the case for many parents.

Below are the top synthetic ingredients to avoid, plus two easy DIY kids' bath-product recipes to make bath-time as healthy as possible!

3 Chemicals To Avoid If You Have Children

1. Endocrine disruptors

Known as EDCs, these chemicals that can interfere with our hormones, which can in turn disrupt or harm our developmental, neurological, immune and reproductive systems, and have been linked to hyperactivity, ADHD and behavioral issues in children.

Common EDC ingredients include:

  • BPA
  • Dioxin
  • Phthalates (found in many plastics, or usually found under "fragrance" in body products)

2. Synthetic dyes and colors

These are derived from coal tar, and have been linked to health problems like migraines and cancer. Look to avoid ingredients with names like FD&C Yellow 6, or DC Orange 17, or products that are bright blue or purple, as that's a tell-tale sign of synthetic dyes.

3. Synthetic scents

The term “fragrance” can sometimes be a mask for up to 200 undisclosed synthetic ingredients that are trade-secret. If you see “fragrance” on the label, without a 100% natural promise on the packaging, it’s likely that these are mostly synthetics. Synthetic fragrance has been linked to health problems like dizziness, asthma, headaches and allergic reactions.

The Good News: You Can Make Better Products For Your Kids!

Making your own bath products for the kids may sound like a major commitment, but it can actually be very fun and simple. Here are my two favorite at-home kids' bath products.

DIY Vanilla Oatmeal Body-wash

What you'll need

  • 4 cups water
  • 5 sprigs of dried lavender
  • 1/3 cup rolled oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 2 tsp avocado or coconut oil
  • 10 drops of vanilla essential oil


First, bring the water to a boil. Put the oatmeal and dried lavender in a bowl, and pour in the hot water.

Let this sit for an hour or more, to fully infuse the benefits of the oatmeal and lavender into the water, and then pour through a strainer.

Keep the water and set it to the side. Mix the soap, oils and essential oils; then pour into a soap-dispensing container.

Last, add the water left over from the oatmeal soak, and you're done!

Homemade Gentle Baby Shampoo

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 2 tablespoon organic avocado, sweet almond, or coconut oil
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil (I like chamomile for this shampoo) for a light scent


Simply combine all ingredients in a bottle, add water until the bottle is full (this will dilute it nicely so it’s super-gentle), and you're finished! (Be sure to shake before every use as it separates easily.)

Last but not least, I must recommend regular aromatherapy baths with children. My own three little ones do these every night with me, and it is a wonderful way to relax everyone and wind down before bed. I simply run a bath for them like normal, and drop 5 drops of my three favorite essential oils for relaxation into the water. Right now, I'm fond of lavender, chamomile and clary sage.

By actively avoiding potentially harmful ingredients, and turning to simple, home-made natural recipes, you'll be making a big difference in creating a pure, healthy bath place for your children.

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