Importance of Clean Indoor Air for Children
We can all benefit from cleaner, safer indoor air. Yet the population most at risk to the dangerous effects of chemicals and toxins are young children, especially those under a year old. With smaller airways, more breaths per minute than adults, and playing closer to the ground where particles and toxins tend to collect, infants and small children are most vulnerable. So, when it’s time to build or furnish your home, pay close attention to the products and materials you choose. Here are some tips for keeping chemical and biological pollutants out of your child’s room as well as the rest of your home.
Walls and Floors
Minimize the use of items and products that can contaminate the air like paints, finishes, and adhesives that are high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, eye irritation, breathing problems, and even cancer. Air out a room after painting it and resist the urge to immediately add carpeting, bedding, and anything else that may absorb paint’s harmful emissions.
Choose low-VOC paint and adhesive and steer clear of vinyl wall coverings and synthetic wall-to-wall carpets. If you must use wood paneling, allow it to air out before installation to release the highest concentration of VOCs. Roll out carpeting before installation as well and air out the room for several days once it’s in.
Many furniture pieces are made of pressed wood products containing formaldehyde. Choose solid wood with a low VOC finish whenever possible. If pressed wood is the only option for budgetary reasons, seal any exposed edges to contain the VOCs. Avoid blinds made with PVC and instead opt for wood, metal, or cotton. Stick with hard plastics for children’s toys – the harder the plastic, the safer it is. A good rule of thumb is, if it smells like plastic, it probably shouldn’t be around your child.
You’d be surprised at the list of chemicals that go into sheets, blankets, mattresses, pillows, and clothing. For example, formaldehyde is commonly used to keep clothing and other fabrics wrinkle-free. Flame retardants are added to bedding, children’s clothing, and pajamas. And pesticides are used to grow cotton which can remain long after the item is finished. Choose clothing, bedding, and furnishings made with organically grown cotton or linen, and look for products made with wool as a flame retardant.
After carefully researching, selecting, and purchasing the safest clothing, bedding, furniture, and toys possible, the last thing you want to do is contaminate the air while cleaning. Choose environmentally safe household cleaning products and detergents and look for ways to make your own with a few natural pantry staples like baking soda, white vinegar, and essential oils.
At Correct Temp, we have a few tips up our sleeves, too. From annual HVAC system preventive maintenance to whole-house air filtration system installation, we have just the right air quality solution for your home and budget. Speak to one of our air quality specialists today.