Are Hair Salons Safe for Babies?

By Jonita Davis
The salon may be a relaxing place for Mom, but hazards lurk for baby.
The salon may be a relaxing place for Mom, but hazards lurk for baby.

Salons are notorious places for hazardous chemicals, chemical fumes and dangerous small tools. All of these things make a less-than-hospitable place for children, especially babies. Pregnant women are advised of danger lurking in a salon, but little is said to women seeking beauty treatments with their infants in tow. Before you carry your baby to the beauty salon, consider whether the environment is appropriate and safe for your little one.

Proper Ventilation

The biggest worry about nail and hair salons relates to the fumes given off by the chemicals used in coloring and styling hair, as well as those involved in manicures and pedicures. A salon that is improperly ventilated will give off the smell of ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene, acetone and other chemicals, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA lists the hazards for an adult who breathes in these chemicals as respiratory problems such as asthma, headaches and problems breathing, among other symptoms. The Calabasas Smoke Control Ordinance warns parents that these same chemicals are found in secondhand smoke. In babies, the chemicals can cause chronic asthma, severe inner ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory infections, as well as asthma, bronchitis and other chronic breathing ailments.

Clean Surfaces

The chemicals used in salon treatments are also caustic, meaning that they can harm the skin and are toxic to ingest. When a baby touches a table or counter that hasn't been cleaned of these chemicals, he could pick up the chemicals unknowingly, causing a reaction that leads to a hospital visit. Try to steer clear of salons with surfaces that seem unclean. The danger of a baby touching a chemical is too great in such an environment. According to Today Health, pathogens are also a concern in a dirty salon. Bacteria are introduced by leftover skin, while fungus can come from bare infected feet on dirty floors. Mites, scabies and lice are also a concern on dirty surfaces that baby can reach in and around hair and nail salons.

Tools Out of Reach of Children

Scissors, razors, files, picks and pointy combs are among a few salon tools that a baby could get his hands on if they are left out in the open. Even if Mom is vigilant over her baby's care at home, her attention is compromised at the salon. This creates an opportunity for the baby to reach sharp, dangerous tools if they are left within reach. Mom can try to clear the area of these tools before her treatment or find a salon that has better oversight in this area.

When to Avoid the Salon

Salons are home to many things that are hazardous to babies. Even if the salon is well-ventilated and clean, there are still issues lurking nearby. Accidental spills, keeping baby's car seat or carrier within breathing distance of fumes while the chemicals are being used, accidental splashing of the chemicals onto baby's skin and sharp tools falling within baby's reach can all still occur in the cleanest salons with the best ventilation systems. Considering these dangers, parents should strongly reconsider taking baby to the salon whenever possible.

About the Author

Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.