Parents are becoming more aware of the dangers to children in today’s chemical-laden world. As a result, moms and dads are increasingly looking to treat their babies’ skin as gently and naturally as possible. One set of parents—Brent and Kristy Platt of Wilmington, North Carolina—found their child reacting badly to available products. Their solution: they developed their own line, now available under the brand name Sweet Knee.
“Sweet Knee actually started shortly after my son, Carson, was born, says Kristy Platt. “It was in response to a scary situation we had in the hospital. He, as it turns out, had a chemical sensitivity to the dispensable diapers they were using. Through a process of elimination, we finally figured out that chlorine was at the root of the problem, and it caused such a severe reaction that his skin was simply raw. Before we isolated the exact cause, he was prescribed steroid creams and other topical treatments that just didn’t work. I wasn’t happy with that approach because we try to have a very green lifestyle; so I got into the kitchen and started mixing some herbs and other things we had at home. We came up with our first product—eventually called Bun Glaze—to help that severe rash he had. Within 24 hours his skin began to heal.
“That experience prompted us to look really closely at the ingredients that were in the products we were using on Carson, since he is such a sensitive little soul. We discovered that even natural and organic products had questionable ingredients.”
After a growing number of family members and friends began inquiring about buying products from the Platts, Brent suggested to Kristy that they manufacture and sell them. Two years after their initial experience with Carson—during which they heavily researched ingredients and built their lab—the Sweet Knee line was born and launched to the public. In addition to the original Bun Glaze, their products include Oatmeal Cookie Bath, Bubbly Soap, Rubbit Oil and numerous others, all formulated to be “beyond organic.”
“Going beyond organic means looking at the ingredients for specific reasons: what is it going to do for the baby and generally for the skin?” Kristy Platt explains. “For example, a lot of skin- and diaper-care products for babies contain lavender. Lavender is a very estrogenic ingredient, so it was not something I wanted to put on my son. It is a really nurturing and healing ingredient for females, particularly women—it works very well with our hormones—and it works very well for a lot of adults. But when you put it on children, young boys especially, it can interfere with their normal hormone development; for instance, there’s a condition called gynecomastia, which causes young boys to develop female traits such as enlarged breasts. We wanted to eliminate these kinds of risks from our products. So we go beyond just looking at something and saying, ‘Okay, that’s organic—it must be safe for a baby.’ We look at the true healing benefits for using any particular ingredient.”
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Kristy Platt’s knowledge of ingredients and her general viewpoint were shaped in part by her own unique upbringing. “All the ingredients we use are things that I have used my whole life,” she relates. “With the family that I grew up in, I learned a whole lot about herbs and botanicals and their use. My mother is a very forward-thinking person—she didn’t always turn to traditional medicine for healing and nurturing. Many times she would take me to a place in our town called Paula’s Health Hut; the lady who worked there is now in her nineties and is still there. We would go in and ask her questions about whatever ailment we had, and she would teach us about the herbs and natural remedies that could help our situation. That gave me a lifelong love for going straight to nature instead of going to the medicine cabinet. I really owe a lot to my mother and to what I like to call that ‘town helper’ for teaching me that I could take charge of my own health. That was very instrumental in leading me in this direction.”
Kristy Platt says that they want to continue with the careful development they have always had. “We have people asking us for different products, and it’s very definitely appealing to us for the future—just meeting the needs of more and more people—but we don’t want to grow too quickly. We want to keep that slow, steady growth so that we can be strong and in good standing,” she concludes. “We’re pretty happy with where we’re at right now, so we’re taking it step by step.”
Find out more about Sweet Knee products at www.sweetknee.com.