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There’s nothing like a good rocking chair and footrest to sit in while feeding and soothing your little one. Any caregiver can put it to good use; mom, dad, grandparent, sibling or child care provider. Rocking your baby can soothe colic symptoms by mimicking the movement the baby felt inside the mother’s womb. There's an added bonus - you are also improving your abdominal and leg muscle tone and balance while rocking your baby.
There may be flame retardants in upholstered chairs and ottomans containing polyurethane foam, especially those made before 2014. Chairs and footrests made of pressed wood can contain toxic adhesives such as formaldehyde and the solvent methylene chloride, which come out of the wood into the air and can be breathed in by your baby and you. Imported furniture made with wood is treated for pests with applications of chemicals like methyl bromide and sulphuryl fluoride, both of which are neurotoxicants and ozone depleters. Methyl bromide is no longer allowed in agricultural uses, but is allowed for "biosecurity" - pest control at national borders.
Watch for young fingers and make sure they don’t get pinched in the sides of the glider while it’s in motion. Choose one with a stop-lock mechanism that prevents the chair from moving when you’re not using it. Avoid rocking while your baby is on the floor nearby, to make sure little hands or feet aren’t under the moving rocker. Be careful to not trip over the ottoman when getting up to put your baby back in the crib when you’re sleepy after that 3:00 a.m. feeding.
To avoid flame retardant chemicals, seek those clearly labeled as flame retardant-free. Polyester fiberfill is inherently flame-resistant, and a lot of manufacturers have avoided added flame retardants by redesigning to have inherently resistant surface materials. It’s also possible to avoid toxic chemicals by using a solid wood rocking chair with polyester fiberfill seat and back cushions. When choosing a wood rocker or ottoman, avoid ones with pressed wood, and if you do choose one with any portion of plywood, MDF or fiberboard, look for the "CARB Phase 2" certification statement to ensure low levels or no added formaldehyde.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.