Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe more air per pound than adults. They also tend to become more active outdoors, which increases their exposure to airborne contaminants.
Outdoor air pollutants include ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen, oxide, sulfur dioxide, and heavy metals. They are emitted by motor vehicles, coal powder plants, refineries, and incinerators. Air pollutants are associated with acute respiratory illnesses like asthma and reduced lung function.
The most common indoor air pollutant is cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoking has been found to increase the risk of sudden-infant-death syndrome and induce asthma or allergic rhinitis, according to studies. It can also bring about flu, cold, and ear infections. Passive smoking can also cause pneumonia and bronchitis.
Smoke from burning trash and old tires or fumes from motor vehicles also pose the same risk to your child’s health. So keep him away from a smoke-filled environment. His room should also be well ventilated to eliminate musty odors.
Pesticides, Lead, Mercury
Children are exposed to pesticides in homes, schools, playgrounds, even food and water. Pesticide exposure has been linked to certain cancers in children, damage to the central nervous system, and acute poisoning.
Lead is found to be of greatest harm to children ages one to six. It affects every system in the body and is particularly harmful to the developing brain and the nervous system of young children. Even low levels of lead in the blood can impair cognitive and physical development. Exposure is to lead can result in damage to the brain, kidneys, blood, nervous system, and reproductive system. Mercury, on the other hand, can slow down the child’s development.[pq]Lead is commonly found in paint, dirt, drinking water, and food. Lead, mercury, and pesticides can be ingested when children put their fingers and hands in their mouths.[/pq]
Thus, it is important to wash those little hands. Do not use pesticides at home, in the garden, and on pets.
Avoid the use of solvents and paint. Run your tap for two minutes each morning to flush lead out of pipes. Do not use water directly from the tap for drinking or preparing infant formula.
“The most common indoor air pollutant is cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoking has been found to increase the risk of sudden-infant-death syndrome and induce asthma or allergic rhinitis, according to studies. It can also bring about flu, cold, and ear infections. Passive smoking can also cause pneumonia and bronchitis”.
Cleanliness has to start from you and everyone else who handles the child. It is a must to wash your hands with soap and water before holding the child. Use a hand sanitizer or 70-percent isopropyl alcohol to avoid passing on the contaminants to your child. Disinfect the child’s room every so often.
Your child’s environment must be always clean, bedding and clothes included.
Dust, mold, and pet dander can trigger asthma and allergies. A child with allergies may react against house dust or pollens and other illness-inducing bacteria and viruses. Most allergens come from house dust mites or the invisible ones like fleas or fungus spores. The best antidote is to keep your home and pets as clean as possible.
Exposure to morning sun is good for your baby because it helps the body to produce vitamin D. through the action of sunlight on bare skin; the body is able to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are responsible for strong bones and teeth.
However, exposure to sun between 10am and 4pm may cause painful sunburn, skin cancer, cataract, and suppression of the immune system.
Your child requires special protection because his skin is thinner and more sensitive. Even a short stay outdoors can result in serious burns. To shield him from harmful rays, keep him out of the midday sun. When going out, apply sunscreen with SPF 15+ (if your child is more than six months) but consult your pediatrician first. Have him wear hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses. You ca also use an umbrella.