Most babies, when they turn one year old, enter the stage when they want to feed by themselves using spoon. However, some parents are reluctant to let their babies feed themselves since these tots often make a lot of mess, spilling food on the floor, the table, and on their clothes. However, like everyone else, babies need to learn how to feed themselves, so you, as parents, must let them.

To help your baby learn the basic skill of feeding him or herself, you must give your child the best tool. And what better tool that aid your child in learning self-feeding than a spoon?

Babies learn by copying or imitating your movements, so it’s important that you teach your children well. However, since babies’ grasps aren’t as firm as yours then it’s only fitting to find your baby the right kind of spoon.

The best and safest kind of spoon for the baby is one that the he can hold easily. It must be ergonomically designed, meaning it should be designed in a way that will best help the baby. The right kind of spoon has the right curve to help the baby put the food directly into his or her mouth. It should be small enough to fit into his or her mouth. The handle should be firm and made of slip-proof material so the baby can hold it firmly. The head must be made out of soft but durable materials so as not to injure his delicate gums. And most importantly, the spoon should have no trace of any harmful substances, such as Bisphenol A (BPA).

One recommendable product is Munchkin’s Soft-Tip Infant Spoons. If you are a big fan of sustainable and environment-friendly products, then you can check out the Bambu’s Bamboo Spoon and Fork Set.

Fire is an element that is as important as food is to man. It’s a source of both heat and light and, given that humans need to cook their food, fire has become a necessity. Due to this need, man’s ingenuity has given birth to a lot of inventions, one of which is the match.

A match is a tool usually made out of a wooden stick and a combustible head that allows people to light a fire in controlled or specific instances. The product works by friction or the application of friction to its head against a corresponding surface. Matches have 2 main types – the safety matches and strike anywhere matches.

Safety matches are those whose heads can only be struck against a specialty designed or prepared surface. Strike anywhere matches, as the name suggest, are matches that can be lit up by application of friction against any rough surface.

Safety matches were invented in 1844. They were called safety matches due to the separate and specially prepared striking surface. Since a separate and uniquely designed surface is needed to ignite the match head, accidents are less likely to occur compared to the strike anywhere matches.

Strike anywhere matches can ignite or start a fire when rubbed or stroke against any surface, which means fire can easily be created. Remember the famous Marlboro TV commercial wherein the cowboy strikes his match under his boots and then uses it to light up his cigarette? That’s how easy to use strike anywhere matches can be, which means if fallen to the hands of children, could lead to disastrous consequences.

It is therefore understandable why both types of matches are classified as dangerous goods. Although both types are considered as such, safety matches are not totally prohibited in an aircraft, unlike the strike anywhere matches. Strike anywhere matches can create fire more instantly, so they are illegal on both the cargo-only and passenger aircrafts.

Aside from going for the safety matches, parents and guardians must keep such flammable objects away from the children’s reach. It should be locked away in a safe and unreachable place. Precautions are they key towards accident prevention.

We all need to cook our meals, so we spend a huge deal of time in the kitchen. Well, that’s only for those who actually know how to cook and don’t entirely depend on Chinese, pizza, or take-out. Anyway, cooking is done either through gas stoves, or electric stoves. Although there are the greener alternatives out there such as the induction cookers, they cost quite a lot, about over $700 more than the regular gas or electric stove.

So given the cost, we are left with 2 obvious choices – electric stove and gas stove. The question is which is better in terms of performance and the environment?

Gas stoves can provide instant heat, unlike the electric stoves which take an awful time to heat up or cool down. And because it takes a lot of time for electric stoves to provide heat, it means that more power is used and wasted. With gas stoves, flames are instantly achieved, thereby using the gas more efficiently. Also, gas stoves allow us to control the temperature better than the electric stoves can. Gas stoves also allow us to do more methods of cooking, such as roasting and toasting over fire, which cannot be done when using an electric stove.

In terms of durability, electric stoves have coils that can be broken or damaged quite easily, which means more money down the drain. Whereas with gas burners, there are no coils to worry about, and they last longer, which means more value for our money.

In terms of safety though, some of us may feel more secure with electric stoves, as there’s no gas leak, carbon monoxide leak, ignition system, ventilation issues, or a burner to worry about unlike with gas stoves.  With regards to cleaning, electric stoves win hands down as they have more flat and smooth surfaces to clean compared to the gas stoves which takes more time to clean and maintain.

So to answer which is better when taking the environment and performance into consideration, the gas stoves win hands down. However, if we were to consider our individual lifestyles, our choices would really vary. Those who love to cook would be better off with gas stoves, while those who seldom or rarely cook would be better off with the electric powered ones.

You use them to clean your ears, remove excess eye makeup, apply medication to wounds, and more. They may be small, but they’re very much handy. Cotton buds, ear buds, cotton swabs, or Q-tips have become staple medical or hygiene products at home.

Cotton buds were invented back in the 1920s by Polish-born American Leo Gerstenzang. Since then, cotton buds are found in many homes, clinics, and medical institutions. Even though cotton buds’ physical makeup are quite elementary (a stick with a swab of cotton at each opposite end), their stems can either be plastic or paper. The question now is which is better – plastic or paper?

Call it odd if you want, but you’d notice that there is quite a difference between cotton buds with plastic stems and those with paper stems. Plastic stems tend to be more flexible, allowing the stem to bend while cleaning the ear. Paper stems, on the other hand are sturdier.

However, it’s not the feel, the sturdiness, or the flexibility that spells the difference between the plastic and paper stems. It’s the chemical makeup. You may have heard about the eco-debate paper vs. plastic. You know very well that plastic products do not disintegrate. They’re non-biodegradable, so the environment and the future generations to come are the ones suffering for them. The sad thing is, some people just used cotton buds down the toilet. As a result, used cotton buds became the second most common trash washed up in a lot of beaches. That means that even though a lot of people may have clean ears, the environment may be pretty filthy because of it.

So to answer the question which one is better? Well, you already know the answer.

We put baby oil in our child’s skin in order to keep their skin hydrated and moisturized, especially after they bathe or when the weather’s too cold or dry. What we don’t know is that what we may be putting in our baby’s skin to protect it may actually be causing more harm than good.

Some commercial baby oils have mineral oil, which is also a typical ingredient in creams, lotions, and other baby products. Mineral oil is clear unscented oil that will not spoil. It is produced through the distillation of crude oil or gasoline. Since it is abundant and quite cheap, it is therefore used by many baby oil manufacturers. The problem with mineral oil is that it has many harmful effects to the body, most especially to infants.

Mineral oil is difficult to be absorbed by the skin, so it can clog the pores of the skin, which can therefore slow down the skin’s capacity to eliminate toxins. Once broken down and absorbed by the body, it will absorb most of the fat-soluble vitamins, which is kind of stealing away the important vitamins that the body won’t be able to replace. This can then lead to nutritional deficiencies. Studies show that mineral oil can cause decreased lung function which is also known as lipoid pneumonia.

Mineral oil also has hydrocarbons which may not only cause stomach and lung problems, but may also cause the organs to stop functioning. Once ingested, mineral oil can cause a child to vomit and once it gets into the lungs, it can cause lung inflammation, which may then lead to death.

For those of us who want to use safer and more natural baby oils, there are safer products out there, such as Gourmet Body Treats GBT Baby Oil, Lavera Baby Neutral Skin Oil, and Badger Baby Oil.

A lot of people, probably like you, love lip balms. Why not? Chapped, dry lips are not only bothersome, but can also be a major turnoff. However, what a lot of people do not know is that instead of moisturizing and protecting dry, chapped lips, synthetic lip balms may actually contain ingredients that may be harmful to health.

One of these harmful ingredients is petrolatum which is a petroleum derivative. It’s been linked or known to cause breast cancer. In 2004, the European Union has banned petrolatum and has included the ingredient in the list of probable carcinogens. In the US, the ingredient is not banned although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted petrolatum amount to below 10 parts per million (ppm).

Aside from petrolatum, other lip balm ingredients that may cause health problems include parabens, propylene glycol, saccharin, paraffin, mineral oil, diazolidinyl urea, butylated hydroxytoluene, and even lead. In fact, 33 of the lipsticks sold in the US have been detected to contain lead that can be neurotoxic once it accumulates in the body over a period of time.

If you want a safer yet effective product, you can opt for natural lip balms such as shea butter lip balm. The shea nut has some ingredients that can hydrate lips cells, improve the lips’ elasticity, and retain moisture. Organic lip balms are also better alternatives. Some lip balm brands that contain no harmful ingredient are Badger Lip Balm Tins, Aubrey Organics Treat’em Right Lip Balm, and Peacekeeper Eco Sensual Lip Balm.

It is important to regularly clean the baby’s mouth to keep it healthy. Even though babies drink only milk and water, oral hygiene for the baby is still as important as it is for adults. If you have a baby, you’d probably notice that your baby’s tongue is white or has these white patches on the surface. This can be either of two things – they’re either just milk residue, or thrush.

How do you know if it’s just milk residue or thrush?

Wet a clean cloth with clean warm water and then wrap it in your pointing finger. Using the cloth, gently try to remove the white coating or patches on your baby’s tongue. If they are easily removed or wiped off, then they’re only milk residue. Just clean the tongue thoroughly but gently and make sure you do this regularly to keep the baby’s mouth clean.

However, if the white patches can’t be removed, or when you are able to wipe a spot off and you see a red or bleeding surface underneath, then it might be thrush.

Baby’s thrush is caused by the fungi candida albicans. Thrush manifests as white patches or spots, like milk curds, in the baby’s mouth. It can be on the tongue, gums, inside the cheeks, and the roof of the mouth. Although it usually occurs in two month old babies, older babies can have it too.

Thrush is actually an infection which can be caused by several things:

  • Babies have immature immune systems so their bodies are unable to resist infection.
  • The mother herself has thrush so the infection is passed onto the baby through breastfeeding.
  • The infection could have happened during the baby’s normal delivery.
  • The mother is taking antibiotics even though she’s breastfeeding, which have reduced the number of healthy bacteria in the baby’s body, therefore allowing the fungi to spread.

Aside from the white tongue patches, another symptom of thrush would be the baby crying whenever he or she breastfeeds or drinks from the bottle.

To address this properly, see a doctor right away so that the doctor can give the baby an oral antifungal medicine. This needs to be applied to infected areas using your clean hands. The mom also has to receive antifungal treatments herself so that breastfeeding the baby won’t mean passing the infection back to the child.

Remember those odd ‘80s hairstyles where the hair stands as if it has a life of its own? Well, it wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for hair sprays. Hair sprays are cosmetic products that are applied or sprayed onto hair to keep it firm and stiff, adopting a certain style. Hair spray is dispensed from either an aerosol spray nozzle or a pump.

Hair spray was first manufactured in the 1940s. Since then, it has been used by salon owners and hair stylists from all over the world. Both ordinary folks and celebrities alike use hair sprays once in a while for styling hair.

However, as with any product with chemical and flammable contents, there are some safety and health risks involved in using hair sprays. Before, they contained methylene chloride or vinyl chloride. However, hairsprays today no longer contain these as such formulations may cause bad effects to health, especially to those people who are susceptible to such chemicals. The experts do not know whether propylene glycol, which is a typical ingredient among hair sprays, can cause cancer. It hasn’t been considered or classified as a carcinogen.

The problem with hair sprays is that it contains ingredients simply labeled as fragrance, so it cannot be accurately determined whether they’re safe or not. Hair sprays also have propellant gases that are flammable. Perfumes that hair sprays have can also cause allergic reactions. Moreover, long term usage of the product can cause lung problems. Inhalation of hair spray ingredients may cause acute poisoning. Symptoms include difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, and coma. Furthermore, the eyes, skin, and lungs may suffer from irritation.

For those who prefer safer types of hair sprays, there are some alternatives that have natural solvents and polymers like vegetable gums like gum Arabic and gum tragacanth.  If you want to create your own hair spray, squeeze the juice out of 1 lemon and mix it with 2 cups of water. Let it boil in the pot until only half of the solution remains. Let it cool then strain the mixture and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. If the mixture is too sticky, add more water. If you want to add preservative to the mixture to extend its shelf life, add 1 tablespoon vodka.

Cif Cream is a known brand of household cleaner. Its lime colored bottle with green cap is ultra familiar and unmistakable for a lot of people. Once poured, it has this thick, white, and creamy consistency. If you feel it with your fingers, you’d know that it has some very fine granules. It also has this very pleasant lemony smell.

Cif is one of the biggest selling abrasive cleaners in the world. However, the brand name Cif wasn’t really the original name of the product. The product was launched in France in 1969 as Vim. It was known as Vim in many countries such as Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Great Britain, Sweden, and South Africa. However, countries in the Middle East, New Zealand, and Australia know the product as as Jif. Some say that the brand name Cif was adopted in order to streamline advertising and marketing activities. Today, Cif’s fastest growing market belongs to India and Asia.

Cif Cream is actually a multi-purpose cleaner, able to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces, windows, and more. It’s also quite effective on tough stains in kitchen counters and ovens. Greasy and oily spots are easily cleaned just by dumping a teaspoon on the dirty surface and then wiping it clean.

Although it may be tough on grease and dirt, Cif is actually mild on hands. It does not dry nor irritate the skin, so cleaning can be done without having to put any rubber gloves on. And since Cif Cream has a thick consistency, it lasts quite a long time, about 3 to 4 months or longer, depending on the frequency of cleaning.

The only problem with this product is that since it has very thick consistency, it can be difficult to rinse it off. This means more water is wasted, which doesn’t really make the product appealing for environment-conscious people. However, overall, Cif Cream is quite an effective product, which explains why it has been one of the best known all-around cleaners in the world.

Petroleum jelly is such a versatile product, that it serves not only as cream, but as moisturizer and lubricant as well. Petroleum jelly is usually an odorless mixture of hydrocarbons that is in semisolid form at room temperature. It is commonly used in a variety of industries and is sold in many drugstores and medical supply shops worldwide.

Although initially used by workers in oil rigs in the 1800s, petroleum jelly use has transformed, being used medically to seal off burn, cuts, and wounds to stop the bleeding and avoid microbes from penetrating the skin surface. And since it has become an effective skin protection cream, many people use it to avoid dry, flaky skin, especially during cold winter months.

Although the product is widely used, reports of petroleum jelly containing carcinogenic or cancer-causing contents have been surfacing. Such ingredients are infused in the product when chemicals are added during the manufacture process. And since the product is extremely cheap or affordable, manufacturers hardly bother checking if the raw materials contain harmful contents.

Petroleum jelly is likewise harmful if applied in and around the nose. People in cold regions apply the product in their nasal areas to soothe their chapped and runny noses. However, doing so can develop a condition known as lipid pneumonia, an infection of the lungs that develops due to the inhalation of fats such as those contained in petroleum jelly.

To answer whether petroleum jelly is harmful to health, the answer is yes, but only if it contains other carcinogenic chemicals and if improperly used. Generally speaking, petroleum jelly is safe to use. Consumers just need to check and recheck brand labels for presence of any harmful ingredient.