Taking care of the hygiene of a newborn is an integral part of their health and comfort, so wet wipes occupy an important place in the lives of new parents.
They might be a common sight today, but wet wipes came into existence way back in the twenty-first century. Primarily used for cleaning and disinfecting, wet wipes are disposable moistened pieces of fabric or paper. They might be individually wrapped or come in a pack.
Wet wipes for babies are available in different styles and brands- thick, extra-thick, scented and unscented. But are wet wipes safe for babies?
Many wet wipes contain chemicals that are harmful to your newborn’s delicate skin. Pictures of babies with rashes and skin allergies caused by wet wipes shook social media a couple of years back. In addition, research works have linked frequent usage of such wet wipes with the risk of severe health hazards.
However, increased awareness has given rise to the development of wet wipes that are gentle and non-toxic. Also, most doctors recommend using wet wipes after a baby is at least one month’s old to play safe. Moreover, choosing an unscented and alcohol-free brand will minimise irritations and be safe.
Read on to know more about whether wet wipes are safe for your little bundles of joys or not.
What Are Wet Wipes For Babies?
Wet wipes for babies are used for cleaning the sensitive skin of infants. Also referred to as baby wipes, these wet clothes are generally antiseptic by nature.
Are They Safe For Babies?
Today, wet wipes are used for various reasons. As a result, they have become an integral part of baby care.
But there have been instances when babies have developed rashes, showing adverse reactions from wet wipes. Pictures depicting skin irritations and rashes have rocked the internet with hashtags stating ‘baby wipes are dangerous’ and ‘stop using baby wipes.’ Media reports stated that children should never be exposed to wet wipes.
However, it needs to be stated that most of these reports that created panic among parents were over-exaggerated.
The wet wipe as a product was not responsible for the allergic reaction. Instead, a particular ingredient in the wet wipes created rashes and reactions. The name of this substance was methylisothiazolinone, a biocide commonly found in cosmetics and personal hygiene products like shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, and specific wipes.
Here’s a list of the ingredients you should absolutely avoid while choosing wet wipes for babies.
This ingredient works as a preservative and increases the shelf life of a product. However, it is harmful because it can act as a skin sensitiser and cause dermatitis.
Though companies have stopped using methylisothiazolinone, it is always a good idea to read the ingredients label thoroughly. It can come in several names, including methyl, isothiazoline and isothiazolone.
This ingredient is a synthetic preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products like wet wipes, baby shampoos, shaving creams, hair care products, moisturisers and deodorants.
Parabens increase the chances of skin irritation, cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption. Therefore, steer clear from wet wipes which have listed ingredients ending in –paraben.
A baby’s skin can quickly absorb this ingredient which researchers have linked to disabilities and the development of cancer.
While choosing wet wipes for your babies, stay away from products that have listed ingredients like polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, oxynol, ceteareth, polyethylene glycol and PEG.
Continuous or frequent contact with a wet wipe that has propylene glycol can cause organ and system toxicity, eye and lung irritation and skin irritation.
Avoid wet wipes that have listed the following ingredients – propylene glycol, dowfrost, methylethyl glycol or alpha-propyleneglycol.
This ingredient is a synthetic detergent commonly used in wet wipes, cosmetics, cleaning and personal care products. Frequent contact with a product with this ingredient can cause allergic and toxic reactions and dermatitis.
While buying baby wipes, avoid products listed Cocamidopropyl Betaine as one of its ingredients.
Research work has shown that chemicals used to prepare fragrances are linked with various health hazards. In fact, most of these chemicals are categorised as hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins, carcinogens and allergens.
As parents, the best step would be to completely avoid wet wipes that have listed ‘fragrance’ in their list of ingredients. This is because the word ‘fragrance’ can actually be a combination of multiple toxic ingredients.
This ingredient will not be listed separately. But if the wet wipe contains fragrance, you can rest assured that it contains Phthalates.
Frequent contact with this ingredient can cause developmental and reproductive toxicity and hormonal disruptions.
Reading the ingredients-label of wet wipes while you are shopping can be a tedious task. A suggestion would be to do your research on chemical-free wet wipes beforehand. This way, you can save your valuable time.
So, What Baby Wipes Should You Choose?
The main factor that needs to be considered while choosing wet wipes for your little one is that the sensitive and delicate skin of the newborn needs to be protected.
Once you know the chemicals, you need to stay away from, choosing baby wipes becomes easier. You can opt for wet wipes that are water-based, alcohol-free, paraben-free and contain plant-based materials.
Here’s a list of the baby wipes commonly preferred by consumers nowadays.
Baby Water Wipes
The ingredients are water and a mild preservative, and its most important benefit is that these wet wipes enable proper cleansing.
However, these wet wipes are very likely to contract bacteria. So, what should you do? First, store the wipes in their original container. Then, while using, pull them out carefully. Moreover, try to use the pack within one week.
Organic Baby Wipes
The combination of ingredients in organic baby wipes varies. While some are created from cotton, other organic wet wipes are made from bamboo or wood pulp.
Basically, the fibre needs to be unbleached. While most organic wet wipes for babies use few ingredients, some contain herbs and essential oils like aloe vera, lavender, and witch hazel.
An antimicrobial ingredient like grape seed extracts is essential for an organic wet wipe.
How Should You Use Baby Wipes?
Babies can get very uncomfortable during summers, and it may not always be possible to bathe them. Wet wipes are a convenient solution for parents as they are an excellent alternative to bathing your infant.
When your baby is suffering from diaper rashes, dry skin and heat rashes, you can quickly take out a wet wipe for a clean-up.
But how should you use baby wipes? Here’s a quick and brief guide for you.
Use them slowly and gently
When you change diapers, try not to rub the bottom of the baby. Wipe gently and slowly. Rubbing can cause irritation.
Use them while changing diapers
Use wet wipes while changing your baby’s diapers.
Wipe your baby’s face
Wet wipes are a convenient solution for wiping your baby’s face. You don’t have to clean and wet a napkin anymore.
Wash their hands
It is not easy to make your children visit the washroom to wash their hands. However, you can easily use wet wipes to clean your child’s hands.
Use baby cream or petroleum jelly
Applying a layer of baby cream or petroleum jelly after using wet wipes can act as a protective barrier between the delicate skin and the wipes.
What Is the Right Way to Use Wet Wipes?
Here’s a quick guide on the right way to use wet wipes on your child-
For your baby boy
When you are changing your baby boy’s diaper, make sure you clean his penis first. Use the wet wipe under the testicles and in between the thighs. Finally, wipe his bottom.
Don’t forget to use a diaper ointment or baby cream or petroleum jelly before making him wear a new diaper.
For your baby girl
Use a wet wipe to gently clean from front to back after removing the soiled diaper. Use a fresh wipe in between the thighs and the bottom.
Don’t wipe from back to front as it would result in urinary tract infections.
Should You Stop Using A Wet Wipe If Your Baby Has A Rash?
If your baby develops rashes or skin irritation, consult a doctor on the type of wet wipes that you can use.
You will mostly find that skin rashes and irritations are caused by wet wipes loaded with chemical ingredients. You can switch to a dermatologically tested water-based wet wipe for your baby.
Using a water-based baby wipe or organic wet wipe would soothe the rashes and work wonders on your baby’s delicate skin.
When you become parents, you will find that wet wipes are your go-to solution, whether it is giving your baby a quick clean up, changing diapers or cleaning his favourite toy.
If you are wondering are wet wipes safe for babies, then this blog has enumerated their importance and how you should choose them.
While making a purchase, all you need to do is steer clear of chemically-laden baby wipes. Instead, choose wet wipes that are organic and water-based and soothe your bundle of joy to a good night’s sleep.