Am I the only mom who is shocked at how people are obsessed with PVC rain covers? Today, I saw a clearly suffocated baby trapped in his plastic rain cover that was all foggy from his breath. There was no rain, the sun was shining, and a light breeze was feeling just wonderful.
Here’s my first and foremost objection against rain covers: why would you wrap your baby in plastic and take him outside? Not only the plastic rain cover traps baby’s breath, it also raises the level of toxic CO2 inside the plastic cocoon.
Now, the plastic itself. Oh, the joys of PVC. While people strip off PVC shower curtains and remove PVC from toys and cutlery, the huge chunk of PVC remains untouched and it seems like no one sees it. The typical elephant in the room situation. When I unpacked my new Quinny Zapp, the stench of PVC plastic rain cover was so strong, I had to take it outside – and there it stayed.
Last time I checked, there was no way around PVC rain covers. Every online store offered you a cheery selection of these transparent nightmares.
So we announced a ban on vinyl in our household, which means we are not using PVC rain cover on our stroller. Yes, I am perfectly aware how quirky British climate can be. We have a shower-proof windbreaker (non-PVC) with a large hood, and we carry it everywhere. If it rains, I put it on my baby, and we unfold the stroller’s hood. We walk proudly, my baby’s face all wet and happy, and she doesn’t mind at all. She never caught cold this way. When someone starts meddling, I explain that my daughter simply cannot stand that plastic cover, “she freaks out”. When the rain is really heavy, we attach a waterproof footmuff and raise it up to cover her chest. That’s it. I’d rather let my stroller and my footmuff go soaking wet than let my baby breathe vinyl vapors.
Before you ask, yes, vinyl is deadly wrong for your baby. PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, emits formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes liver and bladder cancer in animals. PVC is also rich in phthalates, especially DEHP, which leaches into the air. Phthalates are called gender-benders; they are linked to reproductive system disorders, low sperm count, testicular damage, and worst of all, ovarian and breast cancer. There’s a suspicion that PVC is contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane, but tests are undergoing, and I will report as soon a I learn more.
California is now considering a total ban on polyvinyl chloride in all packaging and toys. Hopefully, in rain covers, too. Good job!
If you insist on having a rain cover, check out Koo-Di Universal Rain Covers. They look awkward – more like large sacks with a tiny PVC window at front that can be rolled up (and it will stay rolled up, I can assure you). But I just bought one off eBay, because it seems we are facing a rainy summer. A good mom needs to know when compromise.