Wednesday, July 9, 2014

10 Best Low-Hazard Sunscreens & Smart Sun Exposure Tips

Sun phobia has been cleverly marketed over the past twenty years or so. It's unfortunate that the belief that sun causes cancer is more widespread than the fact that sunscreens are loaded with carcinogens. Yes, we absolutely must be careful with our sun exposure - sunburn is never, ever good for you and raises your risk of skin cancer. But that doesn't mean we should slather ourselves and our children with highly toxic, chemical sunscreens that only exasperate the problem. 

What do we do here at Eco-Babyz? Many of you asked, so I'm here to answer even though almost half the summer has passed! Here is how we do our best to avoid sunburn all summer long, yet get plenty of healthy sun exposure to optimize natural vitamin D levels.
  • Embrace the shade: I don't know about you, but on a hot sunny day we want to be in the shade. Maybe because we have no pool and don't live on a lake, but I digress. To avoid sunburn and overheating, staying in the shade when possible is just common sense. When out in the sun for prolonged periods, take frequent breaks to cool down and re-hydrate in the shade and apply more sunscreen. 
  • Wear sun hats: The delicate skin on your child's face tans faster than other body parts, make it a habit of wearing light colored sun hats on sunny days. If it's really hot, dunk it in the water before going outside and put it on damp! We particularly love the fast drying, always good looking, and easy laundering hats like this one and this one
  • Drink lots and lots of water: There is nothing worse than sun exposure + dehydration! All parts of our body, every cell, and your skin need water to function properly. You will never see us outdoors in the summer without plenty of water for the kiddos and I. We rely on these stainless water bottles because they are the only ones so far that I've found leave no weird taste in the water and don't accumulate mold, love them! They come in different sizes too, the kids love the 16.9 oz ones
  • Apply sunscreen when we know we will be in direct sunlight for more than half an hour: My kids and I tan easily, so I know how long we can be in the sun without damage. This timeline may differ for you and your kids, you may need to apply sunscreen if you now you'll be out in the sun longer than 15-20 minutes. Which brings us to...
Which low-hazard sunscreen do we choose? We love these carcinogen free, non-nano zinc based sunscreens and use some of them sparingly when needed, we never go through more than a tube in the summer (maybe because we don't live on the beach or vacation frequently!). Though I think that may change since we've just discovered an amazing lake near us, and it's free! Here they are in approximate order of value for the amount in package, cheapest to most expensive (prices current at time of publishing this post)...

1. Neutral Skin and Hair Mineral Sunscreen Water Resistant 80 mins | SPF 33 | 8 OZ | $11.99 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

2. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive | SPF 30+ | 5 oz | $16.39 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

3. ThinkSport Kid Safe Sunscreen Thinkbaby Livestrong | SPF 50+ | 3fl oz | $12.69 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

4. Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla | SPF 30 | 2.9 oz | $15.99 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

5. Sunology Sunscreen Kids | SPF 50 | 2.1 oz | $14.99 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

6. TruKid Sunny Days Sport Plus Water-resistant UVA/UVB Sunscreen Lotion, Unscented | SPF 30 | 2 oz | $14.99 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

7. Sweetsation Sun'n'Fun Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen for Kids with Antioxidants, Marshmallow and Chocolate | SPF 30 | 3.3oz | $17 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

8. BurnOut KIDS Broad Spectrum | SPF 35 | 3.4 oz. | $17.99 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

9. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion, Everyday/Year Round, Water Resistant | SPF30+  | 2.9 Ounce | $22.25 | EWG Hazard Score: 2

10. Badger Plus Sunscreen All Season Face Stick Unscented | SPF 35 | 0.65 oz | $8.79 | EWG Hazard Score: 1

Want to find out how your sunscreen is rated? Check out the EWG 2014 Sunscreen Guide.

What's your favorite non-toxic sunscreen?

Contains affiliate links to where we usually shop, your purchase supports Eco-Babyz at no extra cost to you and helps offset some of the cost associated with pouring our time and energy into this site. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What to Due? Preparing for Baby #2 Giveaway | $1,700+ in prizes!

Are you expecting a baby, know someone who is, or you've already met your new little bundle of joy? This prize package will blow you away! I would love for one of you to win this stroller, car seat, organic crib mattress, and a slew of useful baby goodies. 

Welcome to the "What to Due? Preparing for Baby #2" Giveaway! Hosted by Spit Up is the New Black

I've teamed up with Ashley over at Spit Up is the New Black to celebrate the welcoming of baby #2! She's hand selected products for, and in preparation of, a second child, and has partnered with over a dozen amazing companies to offer one lucky reader over $1,700 worth of baby essentials!

What to Due? Preparing for Baby #2 Prize Suite #Giveaway

#DueWithBaby2 Prize Suite:
ONE lucky winner will win ALL of the items listed above! To enter to win this suite of prizes, please use the entry form below. Open to residents of the contiguous US states, ages 18+. Giveaway closes 7/31/14 at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Twitter. Prizes to be fulfilled by Britax, Sarah Wells, Gymboree, Naturepedic, guzzie+Guss, Philips AVENT, Boppy, Tiny Love, California Baby, aden + anais, Tommee Tippee, Freshly Picked, Little Treetops, Undercover Mama, Pink Lining, NuRoo, Bebe PODPants, and I See Me. Color and/or style of prizes may vary. Prizes will be shipped separately. Neither Spit Up is the New Black nor any blog in which this giveaway is posted is held liable for lack of prize fulfillment. Open to residents of the 48 contiguous United States, ages 18+.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Baby E's New Milestone!

I thought this day would never come! You know how sometimes your kids can't do something for what seems the longest time, and then they surprise you and finally "get it"? Love those moments, they are like precious pearls from deep down in the sea. So guess what? Baby E is finally riding her big girl bike without training wheels!

I thought it would take us months. She just seemed so scared by the entire concept. 

Here is the back story. She has been riding her wooden balance bike since she was two (here is our review from eons ago). She was still riding it comfortably with the seat all the way up when she was 5. At that point we decided we should get her a 16" 'big girl bike' and we found a great one on Craigslist for a steal of $40 - it's almost identical to this one. It doesn't have the bells and whistles, but it had training wheels that we thought we needed. 

So last fall she tried the big bike and it just seemed too BIG. She barely reached the ground with her toes, though the pedals were placed just right for her height. With training wheels this bike seemed really cumbersome and not very easily maneuverable. So she kept riding her balance bike as it is so light and easy for her to handle. Spring rolled around and I was afraid she would just keep riding her wooden bike even though it's time to pass it on to Baby T. 

A few weeks ago she said she wanted to learn to ride the big bike. So I hauled it outside for her on several occasions to let her ride with training wheels. She hated it! The loud rattling of the training wheels made her nervous. So I promised her we would buy knee and elbow pads so she could try it out without the training wheels, so we essentially skipped them altogether. 

I first got her this set of knee and elbow pads, which turned out to be great quality but huge and better suited for teenagers who are into BMX (duh, the name should have rang a bell). Then I ordered this set and it turned out to be perfect for her. It will later be passed on to her brother along with her helmet

The day finally arrived! She was all decked out in her helmet and pads, ready to ride. With Baby T in the stroller, we set out down our street. She kept walking the bike down the street, afraid to get her feet on the pedals. I had to set Baby T on the lawn, buckled into his stroller so he doesn't run away while I alleviated Baby E's fears by running down the street and holding the bike in the back. This gave her a confidence boost and some security and she finally got the feet on the pedals. She insisted that I do not let go!

After three brief runs up and down the street I asked "Do you want to try it yourself?" She said no. I said that I can't keep running, I'm exhausted, and her brother can't sit there and watch all day. So I got the stroller and we started walking toward our playground. She was walking the bike. I kept nagging for her to put the feet on the pedals. She said she is scared. So I remembered a song she loves from a Russian Christian Kids CD that she loves to listen to, the chorus is along the lines of "you can do anything if you simply believe". So we started singing it with her. I stopped nagging and giving her pointers. We just walked slowly and I let her process it herself. 

A minute later, just like that, she accumulated some walking speed, picked up her feet, placed them on the pedals, and the look on her face was priceless! She was checking to see if I was watching, how could I miss it?! I immediately remembered when I first learned to ride my bike, I was about 7. Baby E is 5. She beat me. 

I firmly believe that riding the balance bike for three years was what made this transition so easy. She did not need to learn to balance, she just needed to master those pedals and that's much easier to learn than two things at once. 

The next day she learned to turn and now I look at her and it seems like she's been riding that big bike for years! So proud of my not-so-little girl! I'm learning to let go a little, watching her ride the bike reminds me that soon enough a day will come when I'll have to let her go. 

What's your experience with 'big bike' transition for your kids? Did your children ever try a balance bike before switching to one with pedals and no training wheels? 

Contains affiliate links to where we usually shop, your purchase supports Eco-Babyz at no extra cost to you and helps offset some of the cost associated with pouring our time and energy into this site. Thank you!
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