worried parents

Dearest readers,

Occasionally a theme jumps out at me from Ye Olde Inbox. This week’s theme is: Oh dear, you parents do worry. I know there is plenty to fret about, raising children in this mixed-up, toxic world of ours. But I also believe in giving oneself a break when possible. In that spirit, I hereby present an ‘It’ll Be OK, Parents’ Edition of Ask Umbra.

Q. Dear Umbra,

We own stain-resistant, flame-resistant couches and rent an apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting. I have recently learned of the dangers of flame retardants, but am not sure what to do with this alarming new knowledge. We have an infant who crawls around on the floor, we sit on the couches all the time. I have started insisting that everyone in the house wear long pants and socks so as to minimize contact with the carpet and couches, and we vacuum both floor and furniture every day with a HEPA vacuum, but I am ready to move me and my baby out to the balcony to live and sleep. We can’t afford new couches again so soon, and the prospect of moving is similarly daunting. Short of placing my son in a glass bubble, what should I do?