Life moves fast enough that many of us forget to stop and smell the roses, or the air circulating through our homes. Many adults wheeze and sneeze their way through traces of mold or dust, but when you’ve got a baby in the house, air quality becomes an important health consideration.
After all, your baby’s developing immune system is more susceptible to germs and allergens than the average person’s. Medical studies have even suggested a direct link between asthma attacks and dirty household air, so you’ll want to take preventive action to ensure that the oxygen your baby is breathing stays easy.
Step #1: Ventilate! The best way to keep clean air flowing through your home isn’t just throwing open a window, but rather installing some window ventilators. These 10-inch filter-equipped devices are placed between a window and the sill. Together, they’ll create an in-house air current free of the dirt, mold, and car emissions from outside.
Step #2: Watch the weather Even with a working ventilation system, it’s important to keep an eye on your weather channel for air quality warnings, especially if you live in an urban area with traffic congestion and pollution-heavy industrial neighborhoods. When the forecast looks questionable, it’s best to keep the windows closed until conditions improve.
Step #3: Fight the dust mites Dusting your home may be a regular practice whether or not there’s a baby on board, but now that there is, don’t forget to keep those dust mites at bay! These tiny bugs spread allergens, and love burrowing into mattresses and pillows. Thankfully, investing in family bedding that’s certified bed bug-proof usually stops mites in their tracks too.
Step #4: Say YES to soap Household cleaning chemicals that include a fragrance are effective and smell nice, but they can also irritate your baby’s respiratory system. Try swapping them for natural cleansers like soap, water, and vinegar.
Step #5: Say NO to wood Some of us love nothing more than cozying up by a crackling fire in the middle of winter. Unfortunately, wood smoke is full of soot and carbon, neither of which is good for babies (or adults) to inhale.
Plants, however, can be a huge help in the fight for clean air. Certain indoor plants, like azaleas, peace lilies, and bamboo palms can really help purify the air, filtering out volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene.
Step #6: Beware of smokers Few things cling to clothing like tobacco smoke. The smell alone can take multiple wash cycles to completely clean any smoky garment, depending on how much time you spent in a smoky environment or near a smoker. Naturally, the most effective way to keep your house free of this irritant is to steer clear of smokers altogether. If there's a smoker in your household, making sure to keep the inside of the house smoke-free can make a major difference.
Step #7: Halt the humidity Mold and moisture go together like toddlers and tantrums, and the result can be just as startling. You can beat mold buildup before it begins by installing a dehumidifier in your house. Not only will this device keep your home nice and dry during the stickier seasons, but it can also act as a backup defense against those nefarious dust mites.
On the other hand, if you live in a really dry area, you might use a humidifier to help your baby avoid congestion. Cool-mist humidifiers don't present the same danger as warm-mist ones do. In warm-mist humidifiers, the water is heated, and can be dangerous to children. Just make sure to follow the instructions on any humidifier to avoid a build-up of mold.