Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually need to buy a brand new diaper bag when you have a baby. Yes, the arrival of a new little baby will mean that you'll have lots of items to schlep around every time you leave the house ... diapers, snacks, wipes, toys, clothes, etc. But essentially, you can use any type of bag to haul around the items you will need to care for your baby on the go.  If this works for you, then don't give your diaper bag a second thought.

Still, many parents like the convenience of carrying a specially-designed diaper bag that has a built in changing pad, enclosed pouch for dirty diapers, and plenty of pockets for toys, pacifiers, bottles and spare clothes. Gently used diaper bags are easy to find at yard sales and thrift stores and on online auction websites such as eBay. If you decide to purchase a new bag, be wary of the materials used in its production.

A recent study from The Center for Environmental Health found excessive levels of lead in many major name-brand diaper bags. For their research, the group bought 60 diaper bags from leading retailers, tested their vinyl changing pads for lead, and found that six of the products exceeded the federal safety standard of 600 parts per million.

Steer clear of vinyl and other petroleum based products by choosing diaper bags made from recycled materials. The Re-Run bag from Fleurville (pictured) is made from recycled plastic water bottles.  Another option is the the Deluxe Urban Sling from Whole Foods that's made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials.  

Photo of the Re-Run Lark courtesy of Fleurville

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