Children are our greatest gift. From their first breath, parents do our best to keep them happy, healthy, safe and nourished. Many parents choose to buy organic produce to avoid exposing their children to harmful pesticides and chemical residues in their food. But what can we do to reduce children's exposure to airborne pollutants?
The air we breathe can have a major impact on our respiratory and overall health. Kids are more at risk from exposure to pollutants because their bodies are still growing, they breathe at a faster rate than adults and are often mouth breathers (http://www.halton.ca/cms/One.aspx?pageId=13720#Q2). Exposure to higher concentrations of pollutants is linked to slowed development and growth of children's lungs (http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/chs/chsfact.pdf) – and this pollution exists inside the home, as well as from outdoor sources such as car exhaust.
So what are some ways we can ensure that our children breathe the purest air possible?
1) Clean up!
Get your children involved in your household chores, and get cleaning! Use a HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaner with disposable bags, and also use microfiber cloths for surface dust removal. (Thanks to GreenGuard.com for this great advice – follow this link see their complete list of Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality).
Other must-dos around the house are:
wash bedding one time per week in a scent-free detergent to avoid exposure to dust mites and other allergens
ensure that radiators and fan vents are all kept clean and free of dust
Be sure to pick cleaners that are free of harsh chemicals or strong scents!
2) Get growing!
Houseplants do more than you think! Easy-to-grow plants such as aloe, spider plants and chrysanthemums are all noteworthy for their ability to eliminate common household toxins, including benzene and formaldehyde. (Click here for the whole list of “15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality”). So what are you waiting for? Take the kids to an evening trip to the garden store and “green” the rooms around your home.
3) Plan ahead!
A bit of planning ahead can help you choose parks, playgrounds and routes to school that are least polluted! If your family rides bikes to school in the mornings, you can use tools such as Google Maps to determine which routes are dedicated bikeways – this can reduce your exposure to air pollution during your commute.
4) Inform yourself!
Whether you are wondering about how the air quality in your play room stacks up, or about the sun exposure and air quality at your child's weekly soccer practice, Clad is here to help! Clad is developing a portable, wearable tool for tracking the quality of the air around you. Learn about the current quality of air in your home, then implement some of the advice in this article – your children's growing lungs will thank you!