One of the many things I disliked about giving birth in a hospital were the truly toxic products they had to use on my newborn - wipes, creams and the like I would never, ever have in my own home. (Looong story why I was there in the first place, and not in a birthing center.) I have yet to be able to figure out why hospitals -- and the health care industry in general -- have not jumped on the green bandwagon. You're a captive audience there -- elated, healing, exhausted, and learning how to nurse. Educate and send parents home with the basic info on how to create greener spaces at home - after birth, during pregnancies, and at pediatrician appointments -- and hospitals and health care companies alike are likely to have to take less care with the tots in the long run. Tom Daschle are you listening?
Which is why I was thrilled and delighted that an article about a new program to help makes homes toxic-free at Overlook Hospital in Summit, a regular ol' central New Jersey town (!) came over the Children's Environmental Health Network Community Listserv. The innovative program is called Go Baby Green, and will be offered in two classes, one this February, one this March. It's for anyone - new parents, parents-to-be, and/or caregivers who want to learn how to keep their homes "environmentally safe for youngsters." I've been involved in giving this kind of talk to exactly that audience but being held at a hospital will give the weight so many un-green types seem to need.
More from the article: "Many chemicals or chemical additives found in homes can also be linked to medical conditions such as allergies, asthma, respiratory illnesses and cancers, according to the hospital. Many of the chemicals can also be found in baby bottles, diapers, baby mattresses, linens, clothing, toys and more. But there are some small changes that parents and caregivers can make at home to keep it nontoxic. Participants in the hospital's upcoming classes will
learn about product choices that fit their lifestyle while enhancing one's
The class will cover breathing differences between infants, children and adults, diaper alternatives, chemicals to avoid in cleaning products (I wonder if they're one of the hospitals now switching to green products - as sure of an example of how germs can be killed without using bleach as there ever was!), natural air fresheners, and resources for alternative cleaning and baby care products.
I have only one question, one I've had for a while: how to expand this and expand this until "green class" is as ubiquitous as "birthing class" among the pregnant? Maybe even mandatory? Hey, Mr. Daschle, what about making this part of Obama's green job corps? I'm ready to teach!
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