Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Non-Toxic Survival Guide for Rainy Days with (active) Kids

I know its supposed to be "April Showers bring May Flowers"  but here in Los Angeles we have been receiving  A LOT of rain this week (January!).

   As in Every. Single. Day. I personally love a good rainy day, especially when its cold too, but after about a week of non stop downpours with two very active boys I am ready for a break.

The good news?   Inspiration! Here is my  non-toxic, nature centric, survivor guide for rainy days with (active) kids.

  I had forgotten how many toxic chemicals are still found in children's rain products.    This week I went online to buy my older son new rain boots and .... it all came back to me.

There are mainly two types of chemicals you want to avoid with rain gear.

what to avoid
1.   water proofing chemicals:  PFC's are a family of chemicals used often in water proofing fabrics.   Most winter coats and rain coats are still made with these chemicals.  Even companies that have phased out the most well known PFAS's (like the Teflon chemical  PFOA ) are still using similar chemicals that are showing signs of being just as toxic and persistent as the most infamous of the bunch.    These chemicals are linked to cancer, kidney damage, and reproductive problems

2.  Polyvinyl chloride/ PVC; often found in kid's rain boots and/or umbrellas (especially those cute clear plastic umbrellas kid's and moms love)
Vinyl, or PVC as it is often known, is considered to be one of the most toxic plastics for children and the environment since it constantly releases a cocktail of chemicals including phthalates (endocrine disrupting chemical linked to birth defects, decreased sperm count and damaged sperm, increased risk of developing behavioral problems, premature birth and asthma) dioxins ( carcinogens), PCBs ( linked Long-term exposure to PCBs is associated with a panoply of ills, including cancer, endocrine disorders, and reproductive troubles. The compounds have also been linked to cognitive and behavioral problems in children) and even lead ( a proven potent neurotoxin ), among other harmful chemicals 

What to buy
1.  Rain Boots
The secret to non-toxic rain boots is seeking out natural rubber instead of PVC.  Notice I said natural.   Although I have not found a 100% natural rubber boot, the key is to find a boot that explains that it is mostly made of natural rubber -  synthetic (made from petroluem) rubber can still contain toxic additives.   

Made out of natural latex instead of PVC.  Natural rubber boots (like these) often have a jersey cotton lining, while plastic boots can often be quite cold on the feet: PLUS, for every pair of Roma rain boots you buy, the company’s nonprofit subsidiary, Roma for All, gives a pair to a child living in poverty.  Need another reason to encourage jumping into puddles this school year?

Stonz (available in the Shop Tab )


2.  Umbrellas
There are some clear plastic umbrellas that are pvc free... however since they are not considered toys they could still (probably do) contain toxic phthalates and other plasticizers.  

Your standard nylon umbrella will be safe enough.  Even better?  The newest crop of  umbrellas that are made of  recycled materials- these are widely available today in Target, Amazon and your local stores you just need to read the labels.

These two are pretty cool but more on the pricey side.

Totes Eco 'brella

Brelli (available in the Shop Tab )

3.  Raincoats
For raincoats you want to avoid both PVC and PFCs.  Some alternative materials that are still water repellent includepolyurethane  fabric (PU)  and nylon/polyester.  Normally I would avoid these synthetic fabrics but for water repellency they are they best out there without resorting to chemicals.

Another more natural option is using Otter Wax or even bees wax- this however is not easy to find in stores and requires you purchasing a bar of otter wax and rubbing it on manually.  There is a good tutorial available here

Hatley (available in the Shop Tab )


Polarn O Pyret

Rainy day activities abound but, since I know I am always looking for ideas, here are some of our personal favorites
1.  playing in the rain:  hands down there is nothing my boys like to do more than playing outside when its pouring rain.  Usually we follow this with a fun warm bubble bath. (please do not let your kids play in the rain if you hear/see thunder/lightning)
2. cooking/baking
3. Terrenium building:   buy a kit or make your own with a glass (or worse case plastic) container and then layer soil, small stones   or pebbles, chia seeds.   Its a great way to build your own little eco system.  We happened to have small glow in the dark stickers that were placed outside the jar and gave it a magical touch in the evenings.
4.  build a fairy garden
5.   art:  I sometimes cover our entire table with paper and let kids go at it.  Alternately we have small canvases they can paint on.
6.  dance party/ dance off
7.   balloon volleyball/catch/soccer

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