September 21, 2017

The health benefits of organic clothing for children

By Verena Barthel
The health benefits of organic clothing for children

With so many options for children’s clothing these days, the health benefits of clothing can often be overlooked or forgotten.

When thinking of buying baby clothing, the question is more often, what is cuter, than what is best for your child’s health. We concern ourselves with the chemicals we put in our children’s mouths, but our children’s skin is just as delicate, and exposing them to the harsh chemicals found in synthetic clothing can have negative effects. While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) may regulate the importation of clothing with specific chemicals, experts at the consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, have recommended looking for organic cotton clothing.

Cotton is a 100% natural, organic fabric, meaning it is a non-allergenic material that will greatly reduce the chances of dermatitis, such as eczema or rashes, appearing on your child. Unlike synthetic-based materials, it is also suitable for babies with asthma, as the cotton does not release small particles that can cause an attack.

The nature of the organic fabric will also allow for better aeration, and will easily absorb body moisture. A soft material, cotton does not rub harshly against skin, and can be sterilised with hot water without affecting the durability or quality. Cotton easily releases dirt and grime, thus removing the necessity to remove stains with harsh chemicals. 

For a product to be certified as organic, the manufacturer must adhere to specific guidelines regarding the growing and production methods of the cotton. The cotton must not produced with pesticides, synthetic fertilisers or genetically-engineered seeds, and during the production process, the cotton must be handled with eco-friendly dyes, inks and cleaning agents. If a manufacturer meets these guidelines, they can apply for a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.

Organic cotton manufacturers use natural fertilisers, meaning organic products are rid of chemicals often used for a nice finish or flame retardant. Chemical-free organic cotton is most suitable for babies’ and children’s delicate skin, and is available as blankets, clothes and even diapers!