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Saturday, March 14, 2009

PVC-Free Raincoat Roundup

If there is one thing we know here in the Northwest, it's rain. For our kids to have any hope of enjoying time outdoors during the spring, a good raincoat is essential. Not that we mind. When did a little rain ever hurt anyone?

Turns out it's not the rain we should be worrying about. Rain gear often contains PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a chemical that shows up in all sorts of flexible, waterproof items (think bibs and shower curtains). Unfortunately, PVC releases some nasty toxins over its lifespan. Is a non-toxic raincoat really too much to expect? Luckily, companies are beginning to offer safer choices. Below are some of our favorite options for PVC-free children's rain gear.

LL Bean Discovery Rain JacketLightweight and mesh-lined, the nylon Discovery Rain Jacket is a good fit for a spring rain. When folded into its own pocket, it's easy to stow in the backpack for unexpected shower. Loose fitting to accommodate layers underneath, available in five bright solids and two prints. (sizes 12M-10)
$27 at L.L. Bean

Hanna Andersson Wind at Your Back AnorakThe Wind at Your Back Anorak boasts sturdy nylon oxford cloth with a soft cotton lining, drawstring hood and easily adjusted sleeves. It costs a pretty penny, but will look as good as a hand-me-down on your third kid as it does new. (Seriously.) Well worth hitting up a Hanna Andersson outlet store or hunting one down on eBay. (approx. sizes 18m-12)
$70 at Hanna Andersson

Hatley Kids RaincoatHatley Raincoats easily take the prize for best prints of the bunch. No boring polka-dots here--instead you'll find horses, pirates, apples and (our favorite) space aliens. Take your pick of unlined or lined and pair it with matching rain boots and umbrella for ultimate cuteness. (sizes 12M-7)
$34-44 at Hatley
From stand-by Land's End, the Kids' Rain Slicker is another durable workhorse. It features an adjustable hood complete with a handy visor to keep out rain. Comes in seven solid colors or ten prints. Check out the matching rain pants, too. (sizes 2T-20)
$36-40 at Land's End
iPlay raincoatIf the prices above have you reeling, take heart at the cotton-lined iPlay raincoat. The look is a tad less trendy, the construction a little less durable, but it will set you back less than $20. And it's just as PVC-free. (sizes 18M-4)
$17 at Target


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