A chemical present in some toothpastes and soaps has been linked with brain damage to babies in the womb. Scientists fear that pregnant women who are exposed to particularly high levels of the chemical triclosan, may be putting their babies at risk.
The findings suggest triclosan could disrupt blood flow to the uterus thus starving a baby’s brain of the oxygen it needs to develop properly. Urgent investigations into the dangers to unborn babies have been called for. Triclosan is a powerful anti-bacterial chemical that was developed nearly 50 years ago. It is often used in toothpastes, deodorants and liquid soaps as well as washing-up liquid and anti-bacterial chopping boards.
Latest studies on sheep showed it interferes with an enzyme that allows the hormone oestrogen to circulate in the womb which helps keep open the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood to the foetus. If there is too little, this artery narrows and oxygen supplies are depleted. In the UK, the chemical’s use is covered by the EU Cosmetics Directive, which says it is safe to use to the maximum content of 0.3 per cent. GlaxoSmithKline has phased out triclosan in its Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpaste. It is still used in Colgate Total.
Despite assurances, it has been suggested that pregnant women avoid triclosan... just to be sure.
Research has found that people are more likely to wash their hands after going to the toilet, if they think that someone else is watching them - if no one is looking, they'll not bother! The research was carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. They set up sensors in toilets and were able to study the behaviour of 250,000 people. They found that less than one third of men washed with hands with soap but nearly two thirds of women did.
Why bother washing your hands? As you go through the day touching surfaces and objects, germs accumulate on your hands. You can infect yourself by touching your own eyes, nose or mouth. Washing your hands with soap can minimise the spread of bacteria.
When to wash your hands:
Here are the steps required to give them a thorough wash and reduce risk of infection from bacteria:-
Encourage little ones to wash frequently too. Show them what to do and lead by example by always washing your hands too! It will become second nature and you could be doing them a huge favour when it comes to avoiding contagious illnesses!
Bathtime can be a stressful time of the day, everyone's tired, the bathroom can be a hostile environment, and the children may simply detest water - what can you do?! Bathing is an important aspect of raising healthy children, so the key is to make it an enjoyable experience and a regular part of the bedime routine.
Unless your children have particularly dry skin you can bathe them every day and use bathtime as a signal to relax and wind down for the day. Even at this stage of the day you can introduce games and craft and even if your children don't take to water naurally, with a bit of distraction they'll come to enjoy bathtime and even come to love it!
Bath toys are readily available from toy stores and supermarkets. Even if toys aren't designed specifically for educational purposes, simply having toys and water will lead to natural learning. Your children will discover the properties of water, how it flows, how objects sink or swim and lots more. Simply playing with water teaches children so many lessons.
Why not make your own soaps to encourage the children to clean themselves? This is an activity before bath; soap making kits are readily available from craft and toy stores. Make sure any kits state that the soaps are suitable for children as soaps can be caustic and irritate the skin, and make them up as instructed. Add your own essential oils for a variety of scents.
Bath crayons are oil based crayons that you can use to draw and scribble on the side of the bath and also available from toy stores. They are waterproof and scrub off easily (although best to clean them straight after the bath as they can become harder to scrub off if left for days!). Young babies will enjoy scribbling, older children will love to draw pictures and practice writing their name, numbers and letters.
If you like to make your own craft materials, you can even make your own bathtime paints. Mix a mild, baby shampoo with cornstarch and a couple of drops of food colouring. Make up several colours and you'll have a fun and safe paint to paint on your bath. Make sure you wipe the paints away as soon as you finish bath because food colouring really could stain if you leave it for too long!
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