As parents we want to do everything we can to protect our little ones and keep them safe. We buy the best car seats, we hold their hand to cross the road and teach them not to talk to strangers.
But did you know sometimes there can be hidden dangers lurking in your own home that could be potentially dangerous to their health?
Things such as mould, dust mites and humidity can be affecting your child’s health without you even realising it. Because they’re not always visible to the naked eye they can often go unnoticed.
If you or your child suffer from red itchy eyes, sniffling and sneezing, coughing, skin irritation or eczema or more serious respiratory problems such as asthma – then it might pay to have a look around your home. The answer could be right under your nose…
Mould is very common and thrives in damp and poorly ventilated surroundings. Winter is particularly bad as we tend to close all the doors, crank up the heating and bring the washing in to dry – all contributing to the perfect breeding ground for mould. Breathing in mould spores can inflame the airways, cause nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing and irritation and asthma. It can also affect the skin with rashes, irritation and eczema.
Homes in tropical climates, homes with rising damp or homes with poor ventilation are at a higher risk of developing mould.
Humidity levels in the home can have a huge impact on our family’s health, so it’s important to maintain an optimal level. Kiindred’s healthy homes expert Jo from NoToxRox recommends the optimum level being between 40-60 percent.
When the humidity levels are too low and the air is very dry, it can increase the risk of catching airborne viruses such as the flu and also causes skin irritations and eczema.
When the humidity is too high this creates a breeding ground for dust mites and mould and can trigger asthma and allergies.
3. Dust mites
Speaking of those pesky dust mites, these nasty little creatures thrive in high humidity and make themselves at home in bedding, lounges, carpets and rugs, blinds and curtains, soft toys and fabrics.
Dust mites are the most common allergen in Australia. Symptoms can be things such as itchy and red eyes, upper respiratory problems, sinus, allergic rhinitis. If you notice your little one is sneezing and blocked up just at night, it could possibly be dust mites.
Eradicating them from your home completely is near-impossible, but there are a few things you can do to reduce their presence in your home:
- Use a damp microfiber cloth to dust hard surfaces
- Vacuum (with HEPA-filter vacuum) carpets and soft furnishings weekly
- Reduce humidity levels in your house
- Reduce clutter especially under beds, behind couches and avoid overfilling cupboards and drawers.
One of the biggest breeding grounds for dust mites is clutter – and any parent knows that little ones love to create clutter! Keeping your home free of excess mess and toys (especially soft toys) is not only important for your sanity but also for your family’s health. Scheduling in a bi-annual toy clear-out or doing one before Christmas and birthdays, is a great way to stay on top of it!
Make sure you keep spaces under beds clear and avoid overfilling cupboards and drawers. Dust mites love soft toys, so wash these regularly and be sure to wipe down other toys and surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth.
5. Air quality
Air quality in the home is something we don’t often think about. If you live in a major city, a high-pollution area or near a high-traffic road it’s important to look at the quality of the air in your home.
A lot of people don’t realise that even if you live in (or near) a new building or are renovating, there can be off-gassing of chemicals from a lot of the products used.
Opening windows and doors and getting fresh air flowing is important to help with the air quality, but if those contaminants are coming in from traffic or nearby pollutants you may need to consider an air purifier to filter the air for you.
It can be scary thinking about those hidden nasties lurking in your home and potentially affecting your little one’s health. Making sure you keep your home clean and clutter-free, properly ventilated and investing in an air purifier and dehumidifier will help ensure the optimal environment for keeping your family happy and healthy.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x De’Longhi.