Children are exposed to a lot more than what they eat. They are always sticking stuff in their mouths. If 2007 lead paint scare taught us nothing, we should be at least weary that there is no legislation to regulate the manufacture of lead based toys.
The author of the book Growing up Green, recommends sticking with a few good toys rather than bombarding our children with a ton of toys that aren't good for them. She suggests wooden ones with natural lacquers. She says not to use battery-operated toys because batteries are not good for the environment. She also suggests not using teething rings because the plastic is harmful for the babies. She says metal toy trains and metal costume jewelry is bad. And she warns against using things like keys and make-up as toys. She says to look for toys that don't have PVC, phthalate, and foraldehyde. She also encourages parent to buy toys made in the US. We have stricter guidelines, we would be using less fossil fuels to ship toys, and we would be supporting jobs on our own soil.
For older children, exercise should be incorporated into their lives rather than tv and video games (my hubby is cringing I can see it now; I love you but you know you like your video games). She suggests sports or other types of organized fitness, but also for moments of free play. Unlike adults, children should have frequent and short bursts of physical activity. Simply taking a child outside to play or going for family walks is awesome.
Teens should strive to use healthy personal care products, eat a healthy diet, and incorporate exercise as well.
Conclusions: I like many of the ideas that the author proposes. Many of them I have heard in the news and in various parent magazines that I've read in the waiting room. Some of the food items are little tricky for me, but I think it will be easy to try and buy organic for my child before going nuts with myself. Plus hopefully in a year or two our income will be such that our food budget can increase. Other things like investing in good toys and staying informed about vaccines and illness prevention are no brainers. It's a lot cheaper to buy a humidifier and use home remedies than it is to make constant trips to the doctor. The only concern I may run into is trying to convince the grandparents not to go overboard with cheap plastic battery-operated toys (my mom informed me that she found a sound toy that she already likes *sigh*). I also may have to fight with the pediatrician in the hospital. But it's like Ms. Imus (the author) said, if you doctor won't bother to answer your questions or tries to convince you otherwise find another doctor. Same with nurses. If they say they don't have the insert of the vaccine, pick your stuff up and leave. All vaccines have an insert just like any other medication. Children don't need all those vaccines at once. My child is very unlikely going to be exposed in the first two months of life to HepB. It's just that simple. And chicken pox did not kill me. And measles did not kill my mom.