Keeping Your Home Healthier for Kids
Got a baby or toddler on the crawl? Discover the ABCs of keeping your little one safe and healthy in any room of your house.
Any new parent can tell you: Kids come into closer contact with their environment than adults. They put their fingers in their mouths, crawl on the floor and touch, taste and breathe things without knowing if they are harmful. Because their organs and respiratory, immune and neurological systems are still developing, children can be more sensitive to harmful substances such as certain chemicals, particles and allergens, according to the Greenguard Environmental Institute.
Dr. Alanna Levine, fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reminds parents that allergy symptoms typically begin during childhood. In fact, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America warns that allergies are the most frequently reported chronic condition in children, limiting activities for more than 40 percent of them.
Dr. Levine recommends following the ABCs – Avoid, Balance and Change – to help maintain a healthier home environment for children.
'A' is for Avoid
Whenever possible, avoid irritants that often trigger allergies, such as products made of feathers or down. Use hypoallergenic pillows on your child's bed, and limit exposure to perfume, talcum powder, hair spray, air fresheners, fabric softeners or other strong odors or sprays. Strong fragrances and odors may aggravate allergy symptoms, so be sure that kids prone to allergies aren't in the house when spraying fragrances or using strong cleaning products.
'B' is for Balance
Maintain a consistent balance in the home to help minimize allergens. Keep the windows shut and use central air conditioning during high-pollen seasons to help protect children from pollen particles that trees, grasses and weeds release into the air. These particles can harbor in the eyes, nose and airways, causing allergy symptoms to flair for those allergic to pollen. Also, give children washable, non-allergenic stuffed toys when possible, and be sure to wash the ones played with the most on a weekly basis in hot water at least 130 degrees F.
'C' is for Change
Change items that are easy to neglect but are important for maintaining a healthier home, such as leaky faucets, pipes and other high-moisture areas that are common places for mold growth. Don't neglect their air in the home, either. Change your filter every three months, and use a high performance filter, such as a Filtrete Elite Allergen Reduction Filter from 3M. For those with carpet in the home, vacuum it often and thoroughly, and change the vacuum cleaner bag on a monthly basis.