If you're having a baby or beginning to think about starting a family, there's plenty of planning to be done. While getting the nursery in order and stocking up on all of the essential baby items you need are probably top of your list, have you stopped to think about whether your home is a healthy and safe environment in which to bring up children? Take the pressure off with our top tips for creating the perfect home environment for your kids...
1. Buy a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide can be generated not just by heating equipment, but also by things like cars and portable generators. Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms in children and adults alike - larger quantities can be fatal. The amount of CO needed to cause health issues in children, as you'd expect, is lower than that needed by adults. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed outside bedrooms to ensure that any problems are detected before it's too late.
2. Invest in a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are designed to remove excess moisture from the air - especially important if your house is prone to damp. A home that is too humid can cause breathing problems in both adults and children - and can lead to the growth of mould. In addition, dust mites thrive in moist conditions, and tend to breed in carpets, rugs and other soft furnishings. During the first few years of a child's life, they'll spend a lot of time close to the floor - and therefore close to dust mites if they are present in your home. With dust mites proven to increase the likelihood that a child can develop asthma, it's important to eliminate the problem before it begins.
3. Test your home for lead paint. Lead-based paint is now, thankfully, a thing of the past - but even if you've covered over original lead paint on your walls, it can still be toxic and a threat to the health of your family. Young children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are most at risk of lead poisoning, with the most damage being caused by ingesting dust from lead paint. Before you renovate the nursery, be sure to undertake a full lead survey to ensure that this is not a problem.
As your child grows older and more mobile, there will be plenty more dangers that you need to address, but follow these three tips and you'll have a good starting point for a healthy and safe home for your new arrival.
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