This month's postings, March 2008

Chemistry set

Is danger lurking in your baby’s shampoo? A new University of Washington study is whipping up worry that baby’s spa products are exposing him to potentially nasty chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates (pronounced thowl-ates) have been linked to reproductive problems in animals. There’s no solid proof yet that they are bad for babes, but they are showing up in the pee of tots exposed to some lotions, powders and diaper creams. Concerned? Look for products that are labeled phthalate-free. Avoid DEP and DEHP, two of the most common phthalates. The study appears in the February issue of Pediatrics.

Bis misery

Another month, another worry over Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in baby bottles. A new study tested six major brands of bottles and found that they all leached BPA when heated. The brands tested included Avent, Disney/The First Years, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, Playtex and Gerber. Environmental health groups say, “Stop the madness!” They want the chemical banned for use in baby bottles, sippies — actually, all food and beverage containers. BPA is what’s known as an environmental estrogen; it’s feared that early exposure may pose some risk to development and reproduction. BPA-free bottles are available from Born Free and Green To Grow, among others. Stainless-steel water bottles and sippies — such as those made by Kleen Kanteen — are another option. Read the report.

Flu flub

Nobody’s perfect, not even “experts,” so don’t be mad when I tell you that this year’s flu shot might not protect you or your kids from this year’s flu. Public health experts say they guessed wrong when they formulated the shot this time. Now, about half of the flu cases reported are from a strain not covered by the shot. It’s a good time to remind the kids: “Wash your hands!”

No mo’ joe

Jolting news about caffeine during pregnancy: Even two cups of coffee per day can double your risk of miscarriage. A new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that pregnant women need to cut waaaaay back — or skip the java completely — especially during the first three months of pregnancy.


Pssst! Dads! Hot tip for you: That exhausted goddess you live with really does want sex — you just may have to earn it. A new sex poll asked moms for their biggest turn-ons. No surprise, 45 percent of moms said “foreplay.” But 15 percent said they get most turned on by “choreplay” — dads doing laundry, dishes, etc. Dads: Power up that vac and bring the sexy back!

Oh, the books you will read!

He gave us wockets in pockets, foxes in sockses, grinches and sneeches, and hopped-upon pops. Now Dr. Seuss gives us another great reason to read to our kids: Read Across America Day, in honor of his birthday. On March 3, why not have a grinchy gathering to celebrate? Eat green eggs and ham, wear funny hats and share some of the world’s best read-aloud books. Check this site for cool ideas (including a strangely fascinating “celebrity book pick” page).

Zany brainy

Dan Zanes knows ParentMap readers are the coolest, so he’s offered to host an exclusive gathering just for us! Buy your tickets now to catch him at the 4 p.m. show on Saturday, April 26, and then enter to win the chance to meet him before the show. Just tell us in 50 words or less why you and your child must join us for this rare opportunity. Email your answer.

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