For many families, summer means a whole new routine – different schedules, carpools and activities, and kids spending more time outside.
These changes bring a whole new set of considerations about how best to take care of yourself and your family during the summer, in a way that protects their health and the environment. To help, we’ve rounded up EWG’s best advice for parents. Here’s our guide to the best of summer.
- Drink up. Warmer weather means you want to drink more water. That doesn’t mean buying bottled water. There are at least five reasons to choose filtered over bottled: Chief among them, there’s no guarantee bottled water doesn’t contain harmful contaminants. Get a filter and a good water bottle, and you’ll be all set. (Bonus points for getting a water bottle with a filter.)
- Snack time. Even the most dutiful parents often relax their nutrition standards during the summer. A snack between meals? Sure! One that’s filled with who knows what? Not a chance. We’ve got you covered with our Food Scores database, which will help you choose healthy (but fun) snacks for your entire family. You can’t go wrong with certified organic tortilla chips or an organic nut and berry mix for the fuel needed to stay an extra half-hour on the playground.
- Seasonal bounty. The best snacks, of course, are direct from nature: In-season fruit or some cut-up veggies. Here are the ones you want to make sure to buy organic.
- Make-believe that isn’t scary. Kids on vacation – and even those who aren’t – love a good dress-up session, complete with makeup and nail polish. But a lot of cosmetics are full of harmful chemicals. What to do? First, avoid powder of any kind, since it may have talc, which can be contaminated by asbestos. Nail polish is known to contain dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde, all of which have been shown to cause health issues in salon workers. You can find many safe nail polishes in Skin Deep.
- Cover up. Putting sunscreen on a squirmy kid is one of those annoying parental duties. To minimize the time you spend doing it, cover up your kids and yourself to avoid harmful sun exposure. But sunscreen is unavoidable. To make sure you pick the one that’s best for you and your family, consult our 13th Annual Guide to Sunscreens.
- Bugging out. Getting bug repellent on your kids is no picnic either, but you’ll want to choose one that’s effective and safe. We don’t recommend combining sunscreen and bug repellent in one product.
- Dive in. Fun fact: There’s a lot of pee in the typical residential pool. Want to minimize the nasty disinfection byproducts that form in even the best-chlorinated pool? You can do your part by showering off products and, uh, “human inputs” before you jump in. Get our other pool tips here.
- Hands off. Summer outings may leave kids’ hands less than squeaky clean. Many parents just love hand sanitizer. But many of those products contain harmful chemicals, like retinyl palmitate, which has been associated with reproductive toxicity; fragrance, a potential allergen and irritant; and methylparaben, a hormone disruptor. Instead, choose an EWG VERIFIED™ hand sanitizer, products made according to our highest standards of safety and transparency.
- Meaty options. Summer isn’t complete without at least one opportunity for hot dogs. Here’s why you should make sure the ones you feed your family are organic.
- Screening for screen time. Most kids will spend at least part of their vacation glued to a screen. Minimize their risk of radiation exposure by following this mini-guide to safer cellphone use.