As parents, it’s natural to always want the best for your children. Despite our best intentions, there are a number of harmful products on store shelves like poisonous toys and dinnerware that commonly make it past screenings. This leaves us in a quandary: we can’t possibly keep an eye on everything we buy our children, but we also can’t afford the price of permanent health consequences.
What can we do in this situation? How do we minimize the chances of coming into contact with harmful or toxic items and handing them off to our children? Luckily, there are a number of effective ways to significantly reduce the chances that your children will come into contact with contaminated products.
Evaluate the Product’s Origin
You don’t have to know the name of every company for this to work, you just need a general sense of the product’s origin and a brief knowledge of the history of violations a company might have. For instance, there were a number of scandals that involved Chinese companies selling the United States toys and other goods laced with lead.
The information and historical reports of products with the greatest risk of lead poisoning can be easily found with a search engine. From the results, lead poisoning is more likely to occur in products with paint that are Chinese exports. You might decide to take precautions by avoiding toys or products that use a lot of paint in their coloring process and by avoiding the companies listed in the scandals.
You can come up with a basic list of companies and product descriptions (paint) to avoid with this process. If you want to be able to apply these results in a more general way, it’s possible to look to the resources provided by the U.S. government. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps an active list of major recalls on their site so you can easily access the latest information on products to avoid.
See What Other People Are Saying
This is a common strategy that most people use at Amazon’s online checkout to check whether or not they’re making a sound purchase that’s worth their money. But such an intuitive and basic method to determine a product’s safety actually produces better results than you might believe. For instance, did you know that close to 80% of tour reviews are positive and clients tend to trust online reviews as much as they might a personal recommender in some cases.
When it comes to products, negative reviews coupled with purchasing data will reliably show you a number of relevant shortcomings for a product. If you’re looking to buy or order any products for your children from online, checking the product website or vendor site for reviews will help inform you about the safety of the product and the quality that the company provides. A little social proof can go a long way.
Check the Labels
This is essentially the same as checking the reviews of a product that you don’t purchase online but instead through a retail store of some sort. The first thing you’ll want to do for any food and personal care products is to check out the list of ingredients. Information from both active and inactive ingredients in personal care products can help you decide the safety of that product.
Most food products in the United States are under a fair amount of scrutiny, so you will rarely have to worry about them. You should take advantage of the FDA major recalls site listed above to help you make decisions about the food brands and products you should avoid. Otherwise you’ll want to consult a doctor about how to balance your child’s nutritional intake and read the nutrition facts when buying products.
Inactive ingredients play a big role in what you should look out for in cosmetic products and drugs. Makeup, nail polish, shampoos, and over-the-counter drugs all specify a full range of inactive ingredients because companies want you to be aware of potential allergic reactions you or your child might have to those ingredients. Some products may be harmful in themselves like nail polish remover which is just acetone most of the time - a highly flammable and toxic substance if swallowed.
You can make fast, informed decisions about the safety of a product simply by practicing a bit of common sense. Check credible sources for dangerous reports, look at a product’s history, and make sure that there is a social consensus about a product before purchasing it. The health and safety of your children depends on your discretion.