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10 ways to keep kids safe from pesticides

New study finds indoor pesticide exposure may increase risk of childhood cancer.

10 ways to keep kids safe from pesticides

Getting rid of ants and other pests around the house is hard enough, but adding tiny humans to the mix makes it even harder. As mamas, we do our best to make sure these bug and pest-killing chemicals stay locked and out of reach of our little ones. Now there’s one more reason to be extra careful when trying to rid our kitchens of those pesky invaders.


A new study out this week finds that exposure to indoor pesticides may increase the risk of childhood cancers.

The researchers behind the study, which will be published in the October edition of Pediatrics, took a look at past studies and compiled the data, analyzing the correlation between exposure to pesticides and instances of childhood cancers.

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After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that kids who had been exposed to indoor pesticides were 47 percent more likely to have leukemia and 43 percent more likely to have lymphoma. Both are among the most common types of childhood cancers, according to the CNN report on the study, but are also both rare.

One of the researchers, Chensheng Lu, who is an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CNN that the new analysis “is confirming that pesticides may play a role, possibly a significant role, in the development of childhood leukemia and lymphoma.” But Lu did note that it’s still hard to say if exposure to indoor pesticides is a definite risk factor.

While whether or not indoor pesticides are a definite risk factor for childhood cancers is being determined, there’s plenty moms can do now to limit our kid’s exposure to these potentially harmful products.

  1. Limit access. In addition to keeping unused pesticides out of reach of small hands and in locked cabinets, try limiting access to the area the pesticides are being used. In our house, that means putting up gates to prevent tiny humans (and furry friends) from entering our kitchen. These include “professional pest control services, indoor flea foggers, flea and tick pet collars, and various roach and ant sprays,” according to The New York Times.
  2. Try natural or homemade solutions first. There are quite a few ways to get rid of ants without pesticides. These methods include outsmarting pests by removing sources of food or comfort from them, or utilizing soaps or even fans to encourage them to move on out.
  3. Be strategic. When you first notice ants or other pests, try to figure out how they’re getting into the house. That will help you identify the best places to put any traps. Some solutions allow you to put the bait right into the crack or crevice that the pests are using as their door to your house, which can help limit exposure.
  4. Read labels and directions. Before buying anything to get rid of pests, be sure to check out how it’s supposed to be used. The American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends avoiding bug bombs or broad spraying pesticides.
  5. Talk to your pediatrician. Got lice? Talk to your child’s doctor about options to get rid of lice without a pesticide. Specifically, AAP says you should avoid using lindane. Also, if you’re wary of insect repellant, talk to your pediatrician about options, and be sure to avoid spraying repellant on any cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  6. Change your clothes. If you work with pesticides, either in the garden or at work, to avoid bringing your work inside your home, so to speak, change your clothes before you get home if possible. Also, consider keeping your shoes outside the house.
  7. Check your work. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests getting down to your child’s level, even crawling around on your hands and knees, to see make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  8. Don’t switch containers. Be sure to keep pesticides in the child-resistant packaging you purchased them in. This prevents any confusion down the road, ensuring that the chemicals can’t be mistaken for food or juice.
  9. Always close the container. Sometimes things happen – someone calls, the doorbell rings, naps end early – before walking away, always be sure to correctly seal the pesticide package, and be sure to put it somewhere out of reach of small hands.
  10. Have poison control’s number handy and know the signs of exposure. Symptoms of pesticide exposure or poisoning may look like the flu, according to the EPA. Those symptoms include headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, weakness and tingling. If you notice any symptoms after your child has come into contact with a pesticide, or you catch your child in the act, contact poison control: 1-888-222-1222

In This Article

    Nuna

    New mama life is often fraught with decision fatigue. From choosing a pediatrician to choosing a baby monitor, it can be difficult to know which solutions are made to last. Fortunately, Nuna just made one very important decision a lot easier. That's because their new MIXX Next Stroller has everything a new parent needs to get out, get around and get everything done.

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    Nuna Mixx Next Stroller


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    This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

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    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

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    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

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    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

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    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

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    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    So, what's new this week?

    Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

    Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

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