Healthy Home, Healthy Kids: How to Keep Them Safe
Mar 31, 2020 08:30AM
By Ronica O’Hara
• Get rid of mold. Mold, especially if it’s black, is highly toxic to children: a Polish study found it lowered IQs in children under 6. “When the mycotoxins in mold affect children’s developing nervous systems we may see fatigue, difficulty learning, and attention issues,” says naturopath Jill Crista of Janesville, Wisconsin, author of Break The Mold: 5 Tools to Conquer Mold and Take Back Your Health. She recommends mixing in a glass (not plastic) spray bottle essential oils, such as rosemary, holy basil, tea tree or eucalyptus, spraying the mold, and using a disposable cloth to wipe it off. The essential oils “not only kill mold, but neutralize the toxins,” she says. “It won’t fix mold on porous surfaces, which require professional remediation.”
• Ban smoking. Children that breathe secondhand smoke are more prone to ear infections, coughs and colds, tooth decay and respiratory problems like asthma and pneumonia, and they miss more days of school, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even smoke residue that clings to clothes, furniture, bedding and other surfaces can harm a child when this third-hand smoke is inhaled, absorbed or ingested.
• Purify it. Several types of water purification systems, including tap-mounted, under-sink and pitchers, are effective and affordable, ranging from $20 to $300. Seek filters certified by the National Sanitation Foundation testing agency that address contaminants identified by the water test.
• Clean produce of pesticides. Simply rinsing produce under cold water for 30 seconds reduces pesticide residues for nine of 12 pesticides, a study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found. Saltwater or vinegar rinses also remove pesticides effectively, and in a recent Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study, soaking apples in one ounce of baking soda to 100 ounces of water for 15 minutes removed 80 and 96 percent of two pesticides, respectively, even under the skin of the fruit.
• Stock up on healthy snacks. After-school munchies are not only natural, but healthy. “Kids’ little tummies tend to need more frequent feedings than fully formed adults to ensure they have stable blood sugar,” says Self. Rather than highly processed crackers, pudding and most granola bars, offer combos like grapes with cheese, celery with peanut butter or hummus on whole-wheat bread. “Some parents will need to rely on some more packaged snacks to get through,” says Self, who recommends trail mix, fresh fruit or crispy chickpeas.