Babies' skin is ~30% thinner than adults' and they have a greater ratio of body surface area to body weight. This allows their skin to absorb proportionately greater quantities of chemicals, which it comes in contact with, more easily than our adult skin.
Chemicals found in conventional and synthetic clothing can cause skin irritations and allergies, they can cause or worsen eczema and they are linked to even more serious issues like ADHD, asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
Finding baby clothes that truly are gentle on your little one’s skin is not easy, but we've partnered up with our friends at TØY, who have done extensive research for their baby clothing line, to bring you a few handy tips.
Opt for natural fabrics
Natural fabrics like cotton, bamboo, linen, or wool are made of animal or plant-based fibers that already exist in nature. Synthetic fabrics, like polyester, spandex, nylon, or rayon, are produced from pure chemicals: PVC, petrochemicals or esters to name a few. So yes, you read that right, fabrics like polyester are made from petroleum - yikes!
Simply generalizing, choosing baby clothes made with natural fabrics over synthetics, or fabric containing synthetic blends, helps minimize your baby's exposure to harmful chemicals present in those plastic fabrics.
Choose organic if possible
While always gentler than man-made fabrics, still not all natural fabrics are created equally. Some natural fabrics still use heavy chemicals to grow the yarn or require more processing to turn it into a comfortable fabric to wear. Here are the three main ones:
Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world and it is often grown with GMO seeds. While it only makes up 3% of the total farmed land area, conventional cotton accounts for 25% of chemical insecticides and 10% of chemical pesticides used worldwide. About half of the pesticides used on conventional cotton crops have been named as possible or probable carcinogens by the EPA.
Bamboo is known for its softness, durability, and breathability, but the fabric itself is not as natural as it sounds. In order to process hard bamboo into a soft and baby-friendly fabric, a lot of harsh chemicals need to be used in the process of softening the fibers. It is still considered a natural fabric, which makes it better than a synthetic fabric, but keep the details in mind if you truly want to minimize your babe’s exposure to chemicals.
Certified organic cotton is, in our eyes, the safest fabric for babies to wear. It is grown from natural seeds and without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Organic cotton is also processed into a fabric using natural processes, rather than dangerous chemicals. Organic cotton is naturally breathable, allowing babies to feel comfortable while wearing it, and it is extra durable because it doesn't go through the chemical treatment that weakens the fibers.
Forget “made in” & ask about production details instead
Did you know that for a bodysuit to be “made in USA”, only the cutting and sewing has to be done on American soil, and the fabric can come from anywhere else and there are basically no restrictions on what it has been treated with?
Consumers tend to focus so much on the deceiving country on the label, that they forget what really matters - how the product was made and as a result, what is actually in it.
Even organic fabrics, regardless of the country they come from, can be treated with toxic dyes, chemical softening agents, silicone oils, bleaches, flame retardants, anti-shrinkage chemicals, and so on. Always try to find out the details about a brand’s production process to ensure that the baby clothes your child will be wearing indeed are as gentle and skin-safe as you assume.
If you don’t want to search for clothes that tick every box yourself, our friends at TØY baby clothes have done the hard work for you. TØY was founded with parents' and babies' safety and needs in mind, as well as our planet's. The company's gender-neutral clothing is made from buttery-soft 100% organic cotton, never treated with bleaches, softeners, retardants, or anti-shrinkage chemicals during the production process, and is designed to be functional, comfortable, and durable. Free from any harsh chemicals, it is perfect even for the most sensitive of babies' skins.Use code "NOLEO20" for 20% off your first TØY order. Valid until October 31st, 11:59 PM ET. Shop TØY baby clothes today!