Monthly Archives: February 2012

Arsenic in Baby Formula?

Arsenic rice syrup baby formulaFirst there were concerns about BPA in baby bottles. Then, worries shifted to fire retardant chemicals and other potential carcinogens in baby products. Now the focus has moved toward arsenic in baby formula.

Discussed in the Huffington Post, a Dartmouth College study found increased levels of arsenic in foods sweetened with rice syrup, baby formula being one of them. Rice syrup, in these instances, originates domestically. Rice is presently grown on land once reserved for cotton. As environmentally-conscious parents know, conventional cotton is sprayed with a laundry list of pesticides, with arsenic included. Although the cotton is since gone, the arsenic remains in the topsoil, allowing the rice crop to absorb it.

The USDA is presently conducting research for reducing levels of arsenic in domestic rice crops.

In response, the USA Rice Federation issued a statement, declaring the arsenic in their product contributes only a small amount to the total from a human’s diet. They go onto explain that arsenic is a naturally-occurring substance that has been in foods for years and that the type in rice is organic. Arsenic, they add, is in water meeting FDA standards but is inorganic – more harmful than the naturally-occurring compound.

When it comes to your baby, whose argument do you buy? The USA Rice Federation, who possibly is downplaying the effects of arsenic to save their product, or the Dartmouth College study, which could be creating unnecessary hysteria?

In terms of baby formula, the Huffington Post points out, most brands are not made with rice syrup. Baby’s Only Organic Dairy Toddler Formula and Baby’s Only Organic Soy Toddler Formula do, however. Nevertheless, a baby’s health shouldn’t be put at risk, and to avoid any products with rice syrup, organic or otherwise, read all ingredients before purchasing.


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Should the Bumbo Seat Be Recalled Again?

Bumbo Baby Seat RecallThe Bumbo baby seat has already been through two recalls: one in 2007 and another in November 2011. Recently, multiple consumer groups addressed the Consumer Product Safety Commission, requesting the South Africa-based company to recall the baby seat again, as it has been linked to 45 total injuries, 33 of which were skull fractures.

4 million seats have been sold in the United States. A significant amount of the related injuries, on the other hand, result from parents not using it properly. Before the 2007 recall, parents often placed the plastic seat on top a raised surface, such as a chair or table. As a result, a child who moves too much in the seat can fall out and hit floor, where he or she can experience a head injury. While not in the same category as a car seat, however, similar precautions should be taken, such as not placing a Bumbo on a raised surface.

The 2007 recall addressed this concern. Bumbo International added the following note to their products: “WARNING – Prevent Falls; Never use on any elevated surface.” Nevertheless, parents continue to pass over this warning, and the November 2011 recall addressed this issue: the product, when used correctly, poses no risk of injuries, claims the company.

Children, on the other hand, can still injure themselves when they fall out of the correctly-placed seat. Because of this notion and the fact that a product still shouldn’t be injurious when not used fully correctly, multiple consumer groups want the product recalled again.

Bumbos are designed to assist a baby with sitting up. Nevertheless, other baby seats with fewer recalls are out there. Do you think the Bumbo should be recalled again and go through a redesign? Or, by stating that parents must use it correctly to prevent injuries, is the company in the right?

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Do Name-Brand Baby Products Induce Guilt in Mothers?

Brand Name Baby ProductsThere’s no question about whether a mother feels guilt; it’s, instead, how much she feels. Motherhood, if you believe mommyblogs and advertising, is all about sacrifice. In this case, how much is too much?

A recent survey conducted by Kelton Research indicates that many mothers feel a strong amount of guilt in regards to baby products, particularly about purchasing more expensive brands. In response, many purchases are based on guilt rather than need. The survey found that:

• 58 percent of new mothers compulsively think about what they need to buy their baby.
• 37 percent feel guilty about not being able to buy the more expensive brand.
• 59 percent are stressed about their general finances.
• 53 percent daily think about baby product budgets.
• 75 percent cut back expenses on themselves

Anxiety from parenting- or baby-focused advertisements, the study claims, fuels the guilt. About the findings, Sandra Gordon, national baby products expert and author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 10th edition, mentioned:

“This study sheds light on what moms are going through from both an emotional and economic standpoint. Moms are so intent on absorbing as much baby-related information as possible, and making the right purchasing decisions, that it can be easy to overlook inexpensive options that are just as safe and effective for their baby.”

The extra expense, in general, is considered foolish, especially as brand-name baby products are not considerably better than their store brand counterparts. Mothers, rather than striving after the supposed best, simply need to be aware of the benefits and make decisions from there. Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, stated to the press about the study’s results:

“According to the Infant Formula Act, all infant formulas manufactured in the United States must contain the same key nutrients and adhere to the same quality and safety guidelines. This survey found that less than a quarter of the moms were willing to buy store brand formulas, which indicates that there is a significant knowledge gap. Far too many families are spending twice as much as they need to for infant formula, just to get a brand that is advertised.”