Archive for the "baby" category

How can I build a baby playpen reusing or recycling stuff?

Early 2009 was apparently a boring time around here: every couple we know – bar one other couple & us – had a baby last autumn/winter. (The other couple are expecting their first in just over a month; we got a dog & chickens instead.)

All the babies are starting to crawl/walk with support now so need penning in lest they get *everywhere*. At their own homes, they’ve have purpose-bought playpens but when they visit here, their parents have to hold them/leave them in their prams for the duration of the visit. I bought a handmade quilted playmat for when they were smaller and couldn’t escape so easily but mobilebaby has put an end to that. What with our dog, cats & chickens, giant cactus plants, knitting needles & other sharp/swallowable craft supplies, endless electric cables and bajillion stairs (house over four storeys, garden over another four) … well, with all that, sometimes I think *we* need to be penned in for *our* safety.

So, anyway, I’d like to make a playpen type thing – and I’d rather not buy a whole lot of expensive supplies to make it. However I do realise there are safety concerns – especially with hinged bits (it will need to be collapsible so it can be packed away when the babies go home to stop the dogs/cats/chickens getting in it).

There are surprisingly few how-tos online (or at least very few that I can find), which is odd considering how long babies existed before the invention of mass-produced nursery furniture. There seem to be two basic designs these days – wooden bars (or metal/plastic ones like in the picture) or plastic mesh sides. I presume the babies will be very keen to see out so reusing/upcycling some regular fabric – for example, old bedding – for the sides would cause upset.

Any thoughts/ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle an old pushchair/stroller?

Walking down the road the other day – on the way to lunch, I spotted the wheels of a pushchair sticking out of a skip. The next time I walked past, the skip had gone so I couldn’t grab it – but it got me thinking all the same.

I’d like to think that if it was still in a usable condition for a child, they’d have passed it onto someone else – there is an NCT nearly new sale nearby this weekend and it’s been heavily advertised around here for weeks – so I presume it’s damaged in some way.

But just because it’s unsafe for a child doesn’t mean it has no other uses. Our neighbour at the last house would have, as a minimum, reused the wheels for a go-kart or similar. I wonder what other bits could be used for…?

And if it, say, was broken — tears in the supporting fabric or wheel damage — does anyone know if there are any organisations which repair this type of thing for donation to those in need?

(CCA Photo by Chris Denbow. I was tempted to use this photo instead – such a handsome chap!)

Interesting reducing, reusing and recycling links

How can I reuse or recycle talc/talcum powder?

We’ve had an email from Anna:

Hi! I’ve just been reading how bad talc is (oh my god it’s bad!) and no longer want to use it on my body. Is there anything I can do with it instead?

I’m not an expert on talc – I’ve not used it for years anyway so not read up on it much – but from a brief Googling around now, it seems the main problems with it are an increased cancer risk (most notably ovarian cancer, often but not always related to the application of talc around the genitals) and pulmonary issues related to inhalation. The inhalation thing may limit the potential reuses – but does anyone know of any?

How can I reuse or recycle baby bottle teats/nipples?

We’ve had an email from Rebecca:

Love the website, have found it really useful but I want to know if I can recycle rubber teats? I am going to sell the bottles on e-bay for re-use but I know Mums won’t want used teats and we have about 25 of varying sizes and I cannot bear to just chuck them.

Would our local recycling centre take them, is there even a facility for recycling rubber bottle teats?

Would love any suggestions.

Apparently the clear teats are more likely to be silicone than rubber – silicone can be recycled but isn’t done so widely. If they are rubber, there may be a collection bin at your local household waste recycling centre but most recycling of rubber seems to be on a bigger scale – car tyres for example.

So what about reuses? It might be worth calling a local animal shelter to see if they could use them for bottle feeding small creatures – they might need the attached bottles too though.

Any other suggestions?