10 Baby Products from the 70’s That are Now Taboo

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Both my children were born in the 70’s and amazingly enough they managed to survive to adulthood. Many of the products commonly used back then are now considered totally unsafe thanks to the establishment of the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1972. Seat belts and baby car seats were rarely used and many of the products for babies that are used today were in the infancy of their development. Here are 10 products I remember from the 70’s that are now considered taboo.

  1. Flame retardant PJ’s – Back in the 70’s it was fairly common for mothers to smoke while pregnant and around their babies so many baby products were made with flame retardants. The chemicals used for this are now suspected of causing genetic mutations or decreased IQ’s. Flame retardants were removed from baby pajamas in the 70’s, but is till found in the foam of many currently manufactured items.
  2. Diaper pins – I used cloth diapers for my kids and the only way of fastening them back then was with diaper pins. Young parents today are so used to disposable diapers, that the thought of using pins on diapers seems really dangerous. I don’t recall either of my babies being poked by a pin even though I pricked my own fingers several times. Now there are plastic fasteners for new parents who want to use cloth diapers but are afraid of pins.
  3. Drop side crib – Everyone I knew with babies back in the 70’s had a drop side crib, but now they’re considered dangerous. Because of malfunctioning hardware, assembly problems or cheaper materials, drop sided cribs have been blamed for at least 30 infant deaths and is suspected in a dozen more.
  4. Baby aspirin – Use of the small, pink, cherry flavored aspirin used for babies and small children has been ultimately discontinued since it was linked with Reye’s syndrome in 1979. Since then acetaminophen has become the analgesic drug recommended for children under the age of 12. Recently the low dose baby aspirin has made a comeback as a prevention of heart attack and strokes.
  5. Walkers – Everyone had baby walkers back in the 70’s and some still do today. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says they’re not safe. Because they make babies more mobile, walkers are blamed for thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths. Despite the warnings, millions of parents still use walkers, but they need to be diligent about blocking stairs, electrical outlets and other hazards.
  6. Crib bumpers – The decorative padding that often is included with crib bedding sets may look cute and cuddly, but is now considered taboo. Many children’s safety organizations do not recommend using crib bumper pads because of the risk of suffocation or strangulation. Parents in the 70’s considered bumper pads standard equipment with any crib, but we were smart enough to remove them once the baby got old enough to disconnect them.
  7. Sleep positioners – Another baby product not recommended these days is sleep positioners. These mats with barriers to prevent a baby from rolling over claim they can be used to prevent sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Crib death is a common term used to describe the unexpected death of an infant for reasons unknown and was big concern back in the 70’s. Federal agencies claim the slight evidence of any benefit from sleep positioners doesn’t outweigh the risks of suffocation.
  8. Baby feeders – This baby product is so obscure most people have never heard of it. Doctors now don’t recommend feeding a baby solid food until after 6 months, but back in the 70’s it wasn’t uncommon to introduce cereal and other foods much earlier than that. I remember some people used a baby feeder that was like a combination cake decorator and baby bottle. The nipple had a larger than normal hole that the plunger forced the food through and into the babies mouth. I guess it was supposed to help babies transition to food without using a spoon.
  9. Heated dish – Another baby product from the 70’s that you won’t find anymore is a heated baby dish. I had one that plugged in to warm up the baby’s food before feeding. Now that everyone owns a microwave, the electric baby food warmer is obsolete.
  10. Vicks – Parents for generations have put Vicks on their baby’s chest or feet to help them breath when they had a cold. Now this practice is considered taboo for any infants under the age of 2 so Vicks no longer fits the description of a baby product.

Parenting has certainly changed quite a bit since the 70’s and I suspect it will continue to evolve as new products and technologies are developed. One thing that hasn’t changed is that every parent wants their baby to be happy, healthy and safe.

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