7 Ways To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution for Baby

How to create a cleaner environment for those sweet little lungs.

7 Ways To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution for Baby
*We've partnered with Dyson to help you create a cleaner, greener home for you and your new baby. Baby emerges from the safe, controlled environment of the womb into a world that, as far as parents are concerned, seems fraught with dangers at every turn. We try to feed them organic, wholesome meals, only use non-toxic skincare, and put them to sleep on Greenguard-certified mattresses. What we often overlook is the importance of making sure that the air they breathe is safe as well. Most of us are well aware of outdoor pollutants, such as fuel exhaust and smoke. But we are less vigilant about indoor pollutants, which are the result of accumulated fumes or chemicals in unventilated environments. “According to the EPA, exposure to indoor air pollutants such as radon, environmental tobacco smoke, lead and other contaminants result in a wide array of health issues, ranging from asthma to cancer," says neuroscientist Dr. Claudia Aguirre. “Indoor air quality affects our cardiovascular system, our vision, hearing, growth, and even our intelligence and learning." Adults, older children and even pets can benefit from an in-home detox, but your baby practically requires one. And detoxifying your home isn't as challenging as it sounds. Here are 7 simple ways to cut down on indoor air pollution: 1. Switch to natural cleaners. Many household cleaners can contain dozens or even hundreds of potentially harmful chemical cleansers. Some of the more common ones to watch out for are 2-butoxyethanol (a toxic solvent notorious for damaging red blood cells and irritating eyes), DEGBE (which irritates and inflames the lungs), formaldehyde and ethanolamine (which can trigger asthma attacks). So look at ingredient lists closely. Alternatively, you can create a whole range of gentle and effective DIY cleaners using simple ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, essential oils and castile soap. No chemical smell, natural disinfectants and generally much cheaper than store-bought cleaning agents anyway. 2. Buy a HEPA vacuum. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuums are designed to retain the tiniest possible allergens with maximum efficiency, helping to keep your home free of the things you can't even see. While air purifiers tend to “draw in" the particles that are already airborne, HEPA vacuums are handy for getting rid of dust and other particulates that may have settled on furniture, carpets and clothing. Also, allergens derived from house dust mites are known triggers for allergic disease. “Keeping the air clean may help prevent asthma attacks," Dr. Claudia says. “Pets often sniff around a lot, so keeping carpets and upholstery clean may help prevent them from developing allergies and keep their airways clean." 3. Advocate for your child. Ever heard of “thirdhand smoke," that unmistakable scent that tells you right away that someone is a smoker? Even if you don't smoke yourself, visitors to your home may be bringing more than their bad habits with them. That smell is the result of toxic gases and particles clinging to their hair and clothing. Don't allow people to smoke in your home or near the entrances and windows. If they're coming inside, ask them to remove their coat or jacket and wash their hands thoroughly. 4. Invest in an air purifier. Indoor pollutants are rampant and mostly invisible, like mold, mildew, cooking fumes, chemical cleaners and pet dander. There's a reason that air purifiers have hit the top of everyone's “nursery must-haves" list. Used in conjunction with other methods, air purifiers can significantly improve in-home air quality and can promote more restful, rejuvenating sleep for the entire family. 5. Bring plants into your home. Want a pretty and inexpensive way to improve the air quality in your home? Look no further than the nursery— the plant nursery, that is. Houseplants, and the microorganisms that live in them, can remove all kinds of chemicals, like trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia. Try mums, spider plants, aloe, ficus, bamboo or anything in the dracaena family. In addition to being pretty, these plants are also pretty tough, making it okay to skip a watering or two. 6. Opt for low-VOC paint. Nesting? A fresh coat of paint and newly finished floors will give your place that “new home smell," which comes from a phenomenon known as “off-gassing." Off-gassing is when chemicals, such as paint, polyurethane, and chemical flame retardants give off an odor long after they dry. The EPA says that paints with a high-VOC content can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. If you're pregnant, paint well before your due date and give the room time to air out completely. If baby's already here, splurge on the non-toxic, low-VOC variety for peace of mind. 7. Investigate what's really coming out of your humidifier. Many humidifiers can breed mold and bacteria within just minutes of you turning them on, and then circulate that mold and bacteria around the room. Be vigilant about cleaning your humidifier regularly, and invest in one that uses ultraviolet light technology to kill bacteria before it's misted out into your air.

Shop These Solutions

Dyson Pure Hot+Cold Link Air Purifier. Buy it here.

Dyson Humidifier. Buy it here.

Dyson V8 Cord-Free Vacuums. Buy them here.

Lifestyle photography by Annie Lin.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

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