All posts by Courtney Ilarraza

Johnson & Johnson Starts Removing Toxins From Baby Products

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Amid pressure from activists, Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that it is continuing efforts to remove two harmful chemicals from its iconic baby shampoo and other baby products in the U.S.

An international coalition of consumer and environmental groups has been pressing J&J since May 2009 to remove two potentially cancer-causing chemicals from products including its signature Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, long advertised under the slogan “No More Tears.”

Two weeks ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics was emboldened after finding the health care giant had removed the two chemicals – 1,4-dioxane, considered a likely carcinogen, and quaternium-15, a chemical that releases the preservative formaldehyde – from products in several other countries, including the U.K., Scandinavia and South Africa. But in the U.S., China and elsewhere, the products contain trace amounts of the potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

The company’s decision, very similar to its response to the coalition two weeks ago, comes as it faces scrutiny over its product quality. That’s after J&J has conducted more than two dozen product recalls over the past two years for problems ranging from glass and metal shards in liquid medicines and improper levels of active ingredients to nauseating odors in product bottles and painful, defective hip implants.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company still has a Teflon reputation for many of its products, but questions about the safety of its baby products led to a rebuke from the Chinese government earlier this month and thousands of consumers writing the company that they would no longer buy those products, according to the campaign.

“We think it’s an important step forward. We look forward to the day when all their products are free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern,” campaign spokeswoman Stacy Malkan said, referring to J&J’s response Wednesday.

Johnson & Johnson told The Associated Press that it expects to remove all quarternium-15 from its hundreds of baby products within about two years – sooner for baby shampoo. It’s already started providing some versions with alternative preservatives.

The company said it’s been working with global suppliers to require them to reduce traces of 1,4-dioxane to less than four parts per million and that most already meet that standard. The company’s “long-term goal” is to keep seeking new alternatives that don’t produce 1,4-dioxane in the manufacturing process, J&J said in a letter sent late Wednesday to the campaign’s director, Lisa Archer.

The company, which also makes Band-Aids, medical devices and biologic drugs, has repeatedly said formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are safe and legal. However, according to the campaign there are no U.S. standards for those chemicals in personal care products.

The campaign and outside experts say the chemicals irritate the sensitive, highly permeable skin of babies and, combined with all the other chemicals to which babies and toddlers are exposed, contribute to health risks.

Baby Bodyguards is Used and Recommended by NYC's Top Pediatricians!

I had to post our latest testimonial. I never do this, we don’t even have a testimonial page, but I am so proud of this latest one that I had to share.

 

We had am amazing experience with Baby Bodyguards.  As director of Pediatric
Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, I see what can happen as a
result of having your child in an unsafe environment.  My wife and I had a
baby 3 months ago, so we decided to see what Baby Bodyguards had to offer.
The results, I must say, were somewhat humbling.  I learned a lot about
home safety and I’m supposed to be the expert!  Fred was a wealth of
knowledge and made a variety of suggestions that were obviously no brainers
to protect our child.  In fact, he gave advice that went beyond our
immediate safety concerns in a non threatening and friendly way.  It was
also obvious that he wasn’t just trying to sell us things, but rather
letting us know what he thought was crucial vs what could wait until later.
All in all, we had a great experience and I would highly recommend Baby
Bodyguards to new parents.  My daughter Sloan is certainly safer as a
result.  Thanks Baby Bodyguards!!
Adam Vella, MD
Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Mount Sinai Medical Center

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Cleaning Products?

 

I recenly was contacted by Emily Johnston of Gracefully Green Baby. She is a natural/green product guru and offered to write a guest post for us. She was also kind enough to include a 10% off promo code for our readers. Thanks Emily!!!

 

Subject: Is it time to upgrade your cleaning products?

Infants and children naturally absorb more of their environment than adults; they
also spend much more time on the ground and putting objects in their mouths. We
lock away harsh cleaning products under the sink, but we may not realize that they
leave residue behind that could potentially be harmful to children. Did you know
that within 26 seconds after exposure to chemicals such as cleaning products, traces
of these chemicals can be found in every organ in the body? 1 Pretty scary huh!?!

Here’s a quick checklist to keep in mind the next time you’re shopping for cleaning
products:
– Full ingredient disclosure
– 100% natural ingredient sources
– Non-toxic formulations
– Biodegradable formulations
– No animal testing

Watch out for products that simply list “eco-friendly” or “green” because
they aren’t always what they claim. We here at GracefullyGreenBaby.com
really love Babyganics (http://babyganics.com/) and Rockin Green (http://
www.gracefullygreene.com/brands/Rockin%27-Green.html).

Drop by GracefullyGreenBaby.com anytime, and say hello! We carry natural choices
for happy homes and healthy babies. In fact, use the discount code “hello” and get
10% off your first purchase!

A Leap of Faith

For years I have lived a double life, NYC prosecutor (Deputy Bureau Chief) by day, wife, mom and Baby Bodyguards Founder by night, weekends and every spare moment in between. It became very difficult for me to balance everything and nurture both lives to the full extent they both deserved, so I did what needed to be done. After 6 years working for the city I quit. When I share this information with people they look horrified. They can’t understand how in the worst economy in decades, I left a stable, comfortable job with amazing benefits for the wacky, topsy turvy, roller coaster of being an entrepreneur (full time).

I took a leap of faith and am happier than I have been in years. I am so proud of what Baby Bodyguards has been able to accomplish over the past 4 years. We have baby proofed over 1000 homes in the NYC area, and met some of the most fascinating people whom we are now lucky enough to call friends.I now spend my days visiting doctors offices, holding lectures, installing car seats, testing products, consulting with architects, it’s bliss. Best of all, I can cook breakfast and dinner for my family and work from home when I need to.

I guess I’m sharing this because it was a very scary decision to make. So many of you have let me into your homes, and your lives and so many of the moms I meet on a daily basis are faced with the dilemma of trading in their corporate identity and 80 hour work weeks for the unknown. I still have over $100,000 of law school loans to pay back, but at the end of the day I call my own shots. I put all my eggs in MY basket, and I think it is the safest bet. In these crazy times the only thing I can bank on is my determination, and passion for what I’m doing, keeping babies safe and being around for my own kids.

I’d love to hear about other moms that threw caution to the wind and the outcome. Email me at Courtney@babybodyguards.com

Our Hearts go out to Kletzky Family of Brooklyn

I woke up this morning to read the tragic news. 8 year old Leibby Kletzky was found dead in Brooklyn after being abducted on his way home from Summer camp. I couldn’t finish my breakfast and I hugged my children tight. What a nightmare! I can’t even imagine what the Kletzky family is going through or how it is possible to go on after something so horrible happening to your child.

I started thinking about my 4 year old son and what he knows about strangers. I asked him a few weeks ago, what he would do if a someone he didn’t know asked him for help finding a dog, or offered him some candy. He got very upset with my question, probably because they covered this in his preschool. He said he wouldn’t talk to someone he doesn’t know. I felt relieved that he answered that way.

Today I thought of another scenario. I’m not sure what my son would do if he was approached by someone who told him that his parents asked him to pick him up. I think this is what might have happened to Leibby Kleztky. I am going to be sure to have this discussion with my son tonight, not that I ever let him walk around by himself at 4. Here are some great tips to talk to children about.

When I was a child we had the McGruff Crime Dog commercials. I was petrified of them and didn’t watch channel 4 for a whole year after seeing one of the commercials, but I still remember it. It was effective!

It’s a crazy time, and as parents we want to do everything in our power to protect our children. Please sit down tonight with your kids and make sure they know how to handle strangers.

Kletzky family, our hearts and prayers go out to you

Rental Car Companies With Car Seats

It’s travel season!!! I am in the middle of planning a trip to Puerto Rico with the family. We are not resort staying people. We like to explore a location and really get the local feel and experience. The car seat situation is the only thing that had me thinking that we may have to just lounge on the beach and dine at a resort during our stay because the thought of schlepping 2 car seats and 2 children had me nauseas. That’s when I remembered reading about  car rental companies that have child safety seats available.

This Is from Thrifty FAQ: Should I bring a child seat with me or will the rental location furnish one?

The decision is yours. All states and several countries require children under a certain age to be secured in child seats. You can save time at check-in by placing a request for your child seat when you make an advance reservation. A few new vehicles, like the Chrysler minivan available through Thrifty, have child seats built in. You should know that we cannot guarantee the availability of child seats, so please make your decision accordingly.

 

Here is what Avis says:
Child safety seats are available for infants and toddlers at most U.S. Avis locations. The usual cost is $13.00/day or $65.00/week (5-7 days) with a maximum of $65.00/rental for the use of an Avis child safety seat. Seats must be returned to the original renting location or an additional $15 fee will apply to the rental. Failure to return the seat in the same condition as received (minus normal wear and tear) may result in a $50 additional charge.Types and brands of cars seats vary by location.Our child safety seats can be reserved only when renting a car with Avis. If you’re not renting with Avis and need a safety seat, a local rent-all center that carries tables, chairs, cribs, etc., is recommended.Child safety seats can be reserved online, but the price is not included in the Estimated Total. If you need to modify the number or type of seat reserved, please contact customer service.

 

Dollar Rent A Car offers child safety seats, both toddler and infant, for rent at all locations. In addition, certain models of the Dodge Caravan come with built-in child safety seats, and back-door child safety locks come standard on most Chrysler vehicles. For details, call the Dollar location at which you have reserved your car.

Alamo also offers seats. They claim to have child safety seats at airport-serving locations in the United States and Canada for an additional charge.Child booster seats are featured in some locations but in limited quantities. Remember, you can inquire with your airline about bringing your personal child booster seat or child safety seat from home. They state it is the renter’s responsibility to properly install and fasten a child safety or child booster seat.

It seems the majority of car rental companies are now supplying child safety seats in limited supply. The best thing to do is reserve the seat in advance, make sure you are requesting the appropriate seat for your child (infant, convertible, booster), and are well versed in how to install the seat properly.

Puerto Rico here we come!!!!

 

 

Review of Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air Infant Car Seat

My best friend just had a baby girl and honored me by making me God Mother. I couldn’t be more thrilled!!! As God Mother and a CPST, It was my duty and pleasure to make sure the baby was traveling safely and I installed the car seat 2 weeks prior to her arrival.

We have installed hundreds of car seats over the years. Baby Bodyguards is known to be big fans of Britax and the Graco Snugride. My friend had received the Safety 1st OnBoard Air Infant Seat as a gift and it was my first time installing one of those bad boys. I have to admit I had my doubts about liking the seat. I have never really been a big fan of Safety 1st products and was skeptic of the new “air protect” technology. Needless to say I am a big girl and can admit when I am wrong. I happened to really like the seat. It’s good quality, easy to install and lightweight.

Other awesome features include:
Rear-facing 4-35 pounds and up to 32″ in height
Featuring Air Protect®™ revolutionary side impact technology which immediately reduces side impact forces through the precise release of air – LEARN MORE
Extended use from a tiny 4 to a full 35 pounds
17% more leg room than most infant car seats
Customizable insert and low harness slots make the seat ideal for preemies and adjustable for growing babies
Carry Curve™ Handle features ergonomic design
Base Belt Lock easily secures your vehicle seat belt during installation
One Click LATCH installation system

Toxic Chemicals in Common Baby Products, Yuck!!!

After the whole BPA fiasco, I was feeling pretty good that government was on its way to ensuring safer products for our babies. Now a study published in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal found toxic chemical flame retardants in 80% of 101 tested baby products. The products included car seats, strollers and even a local woman’s baby Boppy, a popular nursing pillow. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems.

Here are the facts of the study: It found four products that contained pentaBDE, a toxic substance already banned in 172 countries. 29 products had chlorinated Tris, a possible human carcinogen banned from children’s sleepwear in the 1970s.

Here is more info on the study as well as a list of products deemed unsafe http://www.healthystuff.org/press.releases.php

Brooklyn Baby Expo

Last Sunday Baby Bodyguards was at the first ever Brooklyn Baby Expo and it was amazing. Karen from A Child Grows in Brooklyn, put it together so we knew it would be.

Britax was kind enough to bring us a demo rig so Fred, who is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, could demonstrate the proper way to install a car seat. They even gave us a Britax Boulevard 70 to raffle off! It’s an awesome seat, very safe and comfy, but BIG!

It was wonderful seeing a lot of our past clients and meeting lots of expecting couples and answering their baby safety questions.

For those of you that missed it this year, it’s a must for next!

 

Cosco, Maxi-Cosi and Safety First, The Dorel Car Seat Recall

The seats were made by Dorel Consumer Group between May 1, 2008 and April 30, 2009, according to the agency’s website. They include infant, convertible, and booster child restraint systems marketed under brand names including Cosco, Maxi-Cosi, and Safety First. The concern is that the harness might loosen as a child moves around, raising the risk of injury in a crash.

The company said it would provide consumers with a tube of non-toxic lubricant that can be applied to the locking mechanism to ensure that it works properly, along with a label to indicate that the repair has been made.

Until the repair is made, consumers can continue to use the seats – but should make sure the lock/release button is in the locked position. A pull on the shoulder harness can help make sure it is secure and will not loosen.

For more information, contact the company at 866-623-3139 or harnessadustment@djusa.com.

Here are the model numbers of the recalled seats:

DJG / 17439 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22077 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22078 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22148 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22149 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22150 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22152 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22154 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22155 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22158 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22159 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22172 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22177 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22178 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22185 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22188 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22195 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22346 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22356 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22371 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22372 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22412 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22439 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22449 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22452 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22453 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22456 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22458 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22459 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22462 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22465 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22469 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22475 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22476 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22486 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22546 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22547 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22553 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22554 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22560 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22561 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22564 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22567 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22574 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22580 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22657 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22740 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22741 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22755 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22758 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22759 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22790 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22799 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / 22880 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009

DJG / IC072 MAY 01, 2008 – APR 30, 2009