ENVIRONMENT & SOCIO-ECONOMIC ISSUES: Feature Articles
Tips To Protect Children From Environmental Risks
Help Children Breathe Easier
- Don't smoke and don't let others smoke in your home or car.
- Keep your home as clean as possible. Dust, mold, certain household pests, secondhand smoke, and pet dander can trigger asthma attacks and allergies.
- Limit outdoor activity on ozone alert days when air pollution is especially harmful.
- Walk, use bicycles, join or form carpools, and take public transportation.
- Limit motor vehicle idling.
- Avoid open burning.
Protect Children From Lead Poisoning
- Get kids tested for lead by their doctor or health care provider.
- Test your home for lead paint hazards if it was built before 1978.
- Wash children's hands before they eat; wash bottles, pacifiers, and toys often.
- Wash floors and window sills to protect kids from dust and peeling paint contaminated with lead - especially in older homes.
- Run the cold water for at least 30 seconds to flush lead from pipes.
Keep Pesticides And Other Toxic Chemicals Away From Children
- Store food and trash in closed containers to keep pests from coming into your home.
- Use baits and traps when you can; place baits and traps where kids can't get them.
- Read product labels and follow directions.
- Store pesticides and toxic chemicals where kids can't reach them - never put them in other containers that kids can mistake for food or drink.
- Keep children, toys, and pets away when pesticides are applied; don't let them play in fields, orchards, and gardens after pesticides have been used for at least the time recommended on the pesticide label.
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating - peel them before eating, when possible.
Protect Children From Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
- Have fuel-burning appliances, furnace flues, and chimneys checked once a year.
- Never use gas ovens or burners for heat; never use barbecues or grills indoors or in the garage.
- Never sleep in rooms with unvented gas or kerosene space heaters.
- Don't run cars or lawnmowers in the garage.
- Install in sleeping areas a CO alarm that meets UL, IAS, or Canadian standards.
Protect Children From Contaminated Fish And Polluted Water
- Be alert for local fish advisories and beach closings. Contact your local health department.
- Take used motor oil to a recycling center; properly dispose of toxic household chemicals.
- Learn what's in your drinking water - call your local public water supplier for annual drinking water quality reports; for private drinking water wells, have them tested annually by a certified laboratory. Contact www.epa.gov/safewater for help.
Safeguard Children From High Levels Of Radon
- Test your home for radon with a home test kit.
- Fix your home if your radon level is 4 pCi/L or higher.
Protect Children From Too Much Sun
- Wear hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15+ on kids over six months; keep infants out of direct sunlight.
- Limit time in the mid-day sun - the sun is most intense between 10 and 4.
Keep Children And Mercury Apart
- Eat a balanced diet but avoid fish with high levels of mercury.
- Replace mercury thermometers with digital thermometers.
- Don't let kids handle or play with mercury.
- Never heat or burn mercury.
- Contact your state or local health or environment department if mercury is spilled - never vacuum a spill.