As a discerning parent, you’re always conscious about what your child watches, eats or plays with. You probably try to stay green and environmentally conscious around your home to limit your family’s exposure to harmful substances. However, one area you may have overlooked is bedding.
Sure you know that natural fibers are more breathable and comfortable. But do you consider the source of your child’s sheets and blankets? Washing in the right detergent isn’t not enough to protect delicate skin from toxins and irritants. How the materials are made can affect comfort and health as well.
A Short Cotton Tale
Extolling the virtues of cotton is probably unnecessary. It is the largest fiber crop world-wide, accounting for more than 50% of the global population’s fiber consumption. Historical context aside, there’s also a side to cotton production and processing that many people don’t realize. According to organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization, conventional cotton farming harms farm workers, consumers and the environment.
It accounts for 25% of total pesticide use while using only 2.5% of the world’s available farmland. Conventional cotton farming also uses seven different pesticides that are considered carcinogenic. You may think that most of the residue from cotton production is rinsed away during processing, but enough remains in the fiber that is can be detected through testing. This isn’t so much of an issue with cotton clothing, but the amounts are found to be much higher in crib batting and other bedding.
What Does ‘Organic’ Really Mean?
While trace amounts may be negligible, according to some opinions, when it comes to your children, it’s better to be cautious. But, what does ‘organic’ mean? Organic cotton farming is a growing practice in the US and other countries. It not only protects the environment and workers, it also produces better-quality fabric and enriches the soil through crop rotation and water conservation.
There are many reasons to feel good about choosing certified organic cotton. In order for a fabric or food to be considered ‘certified organic,’ it must meet certain standards throughout the production chain.
– No pesticides or chemicals used during farming
– The soil must be pesticide- and chemical-free for at least three years before use
– No toxic dyes or chemicals used during processing or manufacture
– Labeled certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The GOTS ha its own set of stringent standards when it comes to farm conditions for food and fiber production. Farming methods must be animal cruelty-free and involved safe working conditions for farm workers, including fair pay. In order to bear the GOTS label, any clothing or other goods must have been manufactured in a GTOS-approved factory, although the final product may still be made using GOTS-certified cotton without bearing the certification label.
You can buy muslin wraps online from several companies that stock 100% organic, natural fabrics specially made for swaddling babies or helping toddlers feel secure at nap time. You can even find them imprinted with beloved characters from stories like the KippinTales or classic stories that have been handed down from parent to child for ages. They not only make childhood feel more safe and cheerful, they also make wonderful keepsakes that can be handed down like your favorite childhood tales.