Tag Archives: green


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Although technically not a baby rattle, this teether which doubles as a squeeze toy is Rochel’s favorite.  It is made by Vuilli, the same company that manufactures Sophie the giraffe teether that many babies adore.  Like Sophie, this alien cousin is made of natural rubber and colored with vegetable dyes.  Unlike Sophie, it makes a delightful squeaking sound when you squeeze it.  The babies laugh and smile when they hear it!


Because the construction is so soft and filled with air, babies need to use their fingers quite precisely to squeeze it.  Up until now, babies created sound with rattles by moving their arm up and down.  As Rochel demonstrates in the above video, this baby rattle requires use of the fingers in a complex manner. She squeezes the toy by bending her fingers at many joint locations and at various speeds.  Sometimes she squeezes the toy slowly and discovers a slow “Squeeeeeeeak,” and other times she squeezes it quickly and hears an abrupt “Squeak, squeak!”  She may squeeze with just her thumbs, just her fingers, or with both thumbs and fingers.  This develops fine motor skill – specifically manual dexterity which is the skilled use of the fingers and hands.  This is an essential developmental milestone for handwriting and operating computers when she eventually starts school.

Observe Rochel play with the squeaky baby rattle for awhile and then spot a green bottle cap on the floor.  It captures her interest. She picks it up and notices that it is not nearly as interesting.  It can not be squeezed, it does not make sound, and, therefore, it is not as interesting.  So, Rochel puts it down and resumes playing with her favorite toy.

This toy is highly recommended for babies 9-12 months of age. You can find it on the “Best Baby Gear” listmania list under “TOOLS FOR PARENTS,” which is located at the top in the right-hand margin of the home page.

We love this toy because it is:

  • green
  • playful
  • doubles as a teether
  • develops manual dexterity


Most of all babies love it too!


I frequently get asked:  “Where did you get that rattle?  She LOVES it!”, or “My niece is having a baby and I would like to get two books for the new parents as a baby shower gift, which do you recommend?”, or  “I know you changed all of your cleaning products to green cleaning products, would you please give me that list?”  After recreating these lists many, many times, I have created them on amazon.com for your convenience.  Just look on the right-hand side of any stellarcaterpillar.com page under “Tools for Parents,” click on the appropriate link, and it should take you to my lists on amazon.com.  Experts from the fields of motor development, speech development, parenting programs, sustainable living, literary publishing, psychology, and nutrition contribute to these lists, along with experienced parents.

Stellar Caterpillar and/or Donna Eshelman are not affiliates of amazon.com and do not receive any profit from amazon.com.  We encourage supporting small family businesses when possible, yet also appreciate the convenience factor offered by web retailers such as amazon.


a baby crawls on a wood floor

Polyurethane foam used in car seats, high chairs, strollers, changing table pads, sleep positioners, mattresses, and nursing pillows may contain high levels of flame-retardant chemicals that could cause cancer and brain damage, according to researchers at Duke University.  A team of researchers tested baby products for the presence of the retardants, led by Heather M. Stapleton of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

In 2009 Stapleton experienced her first pregnancy and soon after this study was born.  Baby products were collected from 13 states, and the team found 80 out of 101 products tested contained retardants.  The team found babies’ level of daily exposure to toxic chemicals may exceed the acceptable limit determined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Read more about the study in Chemical and Engineering News.  Should you panic and throw out all of your baby foam products?  Not no fast…think about these options first.


  1. Opt for natural cotton padding from a “green” store for future purchases. There are many green stores online to choose from today.
  2. Limit the amount of time baby is in an object with foam padding. Some parents keep baby in the car seat just because it is a convenient way to carry him around.
  3. Clean your house frequently with a wet mop and vacuum.  The chemicals escape quickly from the foam and are found in the house dust and then picked up by humans.

This study is the first of its kind to examine baby products and their toxic chemical content.  Numerous news outlets presented this story this week, bringing the statistics directly to public attention.  Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, tells CBSnews.com that the study is “a wake-up call” and warned that infants breathing or absorbing the chemicals could be at risk.  We must hope that this will increase awareness and encourage people to purchase more green products.