Parenting the Safer Way

I had a hard time deciding how to categorize these posts on my blog. I knew I wanted to write something about child safety issues because they’re very important to us, but I didn’t want to imply that I think other parents aren’t making safe choices. I think we all have to decide individually what we’re comfortable with safety-wise and different people have different perceptions of what’s safe and what’s not.

For instance, we co-slept with our son at various times during his infancy and we never had him sleep in a crib. I know a lot of people consider co-sleeping unsafe, but it’s what worked for our family (at least for a time) and we tried to do it in the safest way possible. Does that make me a better parent than someone who kept her son in a crib in a separate room since birth? Absolutely not. It just means we have different approaches to parenting.

I wanted to share some of our approaches to parenting on this blog because I know that we do things a little differently in our household from many other Americans at least and probably many people around the world. My hope is that by talking a little bit about some of these issues and explaining a little bit about why we do things the way we do, it will start a conservation about some of these issues and maybe even present some information that you haven’t seen before.

What kinds of topics will I be covering? Just about anything safety-related, but I wanted to give a quick rundown of some of what I consider to be my top health and safety issues:

  1. Most disposable diapers contain a chemical that is known to cause cancer, and disposables have been linked to higher rates of asthma and allergies, as well as male infertility. This was a major factor in our decision to cloth diaper our son.
  2. Keeping your child rear-facing in a car seat is five times safer than forward-facing. Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for children age 14 and under in the United States, and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible. In Sweden, where children are commonly kept rear-facing until they are 3 or 4 years old, auto-related death and injury rates for these children are much lower. I highly recommend watching this short video to see the difference between how a crash affects children in rear- and front-facing car seats. We plan to keep our son rear-facing as long as possible.
  3. We limit our son’s exposure to chemicals as much as possible. From the food we eat to the clothes he wears to the cleaning products we use in our home, we try to avoid chemicals as much as we can. This means choosing organic foods when it fits into our budget, buying organic clothes and toys for our son, and purchasing or making non-toxic cleaners.

Those are the three biggies that come to mind at the moment, although I’m sure there are others that I’m just not thinking of. I hope to do separate posts on some of these issues in the future, but I wanted to lay the groundwork for what I hope will be some provocative discussions.

What’s most important to you when it comes to your children’s safety?

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