Stuff We Like: Safe & Sound
From a mom-invented way to gently clean your child’s favorite teddy bear (our new motto: stuffed animals should be snuggly and sanitary) to a product that protects your family against the hazards of lead-based paint, the “Stuff We Like” from our May issue features great finds to help keep your family safe and healthy.
1. Bath Time for Teddy: You’ve scrubbed and laundered, disinfected, child-proofed, shopped BPA-free, and you keep careful watch on toy recalls…but we bet you’ve forgotten that sometimes your kids’ loveys need some extra-clean attention, too. Exposure to dust mites, which can build up quickly in stuffed animals, can lead to the onset of asthma, and the National Allergy Association thus recommends washing those plush toys once a month in hot water and then drying in hot air to kill harmful bacteria and dust mites. Try the 100 percent cotton Teddy Needs a Bath, a convenient washer and dryer bag for toys, which makes the process simple and is mom-invented and pediatrician-recommended ($14.99; toysrus.com).
2. Beach-Proofing Your iPhone: Where don’t our Smart phones accompany us these days (when our kids haven’t grabbed them for their own personal use, that is)? Surely they’ll be in your beach bag in the coming months. Protect your pricey gadget with the water-resistant and crushproof i1015 case from Pelican—designed specifically for iPhone and iPod Touch, it features a clear lid that allows you to check messages, has an external headphone jack for listening even while the case is closed, and comes with an active sports carabiner to secure your phone to your bag ($36.95; amazon.com and select Dick’s Sporting Goods stores)—so you stay plugged in while watching your children along the shoreline.
3. For Their Health: Lead-based paints that chip or crumble into dust can cause serious health problems, and renovations to older homes with lead can be costly and hazardous. And because lead paint has a sweet flavor, tots can be drawn to eating the peeling chips. Robert Weitz, a principal of RTK Environmental Group, says a safe and affordable alternative to protect your family from the effects of lead-based paint in your home is to use a liquid encapsulant—a thick, paint-like coating that seals in the older lead-based paint. Fiberlock ChildGuard, recommended by Homeguard Environmental of Stamford, CT, meets or exceeds all projected federal, state, and local standards. For use on walls and other non-impact surfaces (not for moveable window frames, for instance), the coating also contains a bitter-tasting, nontoxic ingredient to discourage kids from licking surfaces. It can be mixed to any color at your local hardware store, or painted over like a primer. To learn more about environmental testing for your home, visit rtkenvironmental.com; to purchase ChildGuard ($54.95 per gallon), go to fiberlockstore.com.
4. Listen Up!: Don’t want to miss a gurgle or hiccup from your baby? Want to make sure you’re within arm’s reach when your climbing toddler starts to scale the crib? With a dizzying array of monitors on the store shelves, it can be tough to decide which to buy. We like the VTech Safe and Sound Digital Audio Monitor ($39.95; babymonitors.vtech.com)—it’s affordably priced, offers high-quality sound (we tested it), and its Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) 6.0 technology prevents interference from other wireless electronic devices and security from digital snooping. The unit provides up to 1,000 feet of range, and the set pictured includes two parent units ($59.95), perfect for times when one just (somehow!) can’t be found.