After we discovered my toddler’s life-threatening latex allergy (in a very catastrophic manner…), our once safe, child-proofed, food-allergy-friendly home became a danger zone again.
The problem with latex is that it is a natural material (straight from the rubber tree) that is used in a plethora of products in every imaginable field. And although some people do have contact reactions to natural rubber latex, not many people have anaphylactic reactions from exposure anymore, especially not healthy children. This means that latex is not labelled as clearly as it should be, making EVERYTHING a potential hazard.
In the aftermath of the latex reaction, I went around every room in the house, through drawers and closets, under and over, round and round trying to get rid of anything obviously dangerous as well as bagging up things that were suspicious. Guilty until proven (through phone calls to manufacturers) innocent.
Below are replacements to some of the common products I banished from our home. I have included (affiliate) links where possible in case you want to buy them but in any case the list should give you an idea of the things to be aware of if you are dealing with a latex allergy or sensitivity.
Standard dishwashing gloves are made of latex. I struggled to find an alternative in Canadian stores, and for a while had the driest hands on the planet because I didn’t wear gloves, and then I found some Nyplex ones from Arm & Hammer at a random dollar store.
In the UK you can order a similar product called Leifheit Latex Free Gloves from Amazon.
Most hospitals now use latex alternatives wherever possible but just in case, I carry a pair of safe disposable gloves in my diaper bag. You can get boxes of vinyl and nitrile gloves easily and cheaply, like this one.
Bathtub drain plug
Bathing is a big part of eczema care. Some drain plugs contain latex, some don’t specify, so to be on the safe side we ordered the Umbra Buddy Drain Stop in Surf Blue, which is made of plastic and looks fun too!
Most plasters, including all Band-Aid brand ones that I found, contain latex. We went with Nexcare Active Brights bandages. Now when baby has an owwie, and even when she doesn’t, she loves putting these on. Again, I carry a bunch in my diaper bag and they come in handy often.
I have had many injuries over the years and have physiotherapy more often than I would like. A lot of my exercises involve resistance bands, which most people don’t realise are made of latex. There are latex-free alternatives.
TheraBand, who is the market leader in resistance bands, told me that all but one of their bands are made of latex. The latex free one has those two glorious words printed across the band. Mine didn’t, so into the garbage bin they went and I picked up a set of TKO bands that I quite like now.
Self explanatory. Throw. Them. Out.
You know your child has a latex allergy when you’d rather they use scissors than tape. Many common tapes contain latex, including masking tape that exists in every home. There are latex free alternatives, including 3M’s Tartan 369 line.
Whether you have them for Yoga Tune Up or physiotherapy massage (or both, like me) bear in mind these are almost all made of natural rubber. There don’t seem to be good alternatives because the grip of the material is an essential part of its function. YTU advised me to use it on top of clothing in the case of a latex sensitivity but to avoid it altogether for allergic individuals.
A lot of sports gear is made of latex. If you have the following items, make a box, full it up and then hand it over to your favourite charity. With other items, call the manufacturer to verify.
- Tennis balls
- Racquet handles
- Golf club handles
- Swimming caps
- Swimming goggles
This list is not conclusive and just includes the very common, but often overlooked, everyday products that contain latex. As with any allergy, look at ingredients carefully, look everywhere, be thorough. And if in doubt, don’t use it until you can verify that it is safe.