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How to Protect Children from Environmental Risks

Protecting Children from Environmental RisksKeep pesticides and other toxic chemicals away from children

  • Store food and rubbish in closed containers to keep pests from coming into and around your home.
  • Use baits and traps when you can; place baits and traps where kids can’t get them – also contact pest control specialists.
  • Read product labels and follow directions.
  • Store pesticides and toxic chemicals where kids can’t reach them – never put them in other containers that kids can mistake for food or drink.
  • Keep children, toys, and pets away when pesticides are applied; don’t let them play in fields and gardens after pesticides have been used for at least the time recommended on the pesticide label.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating – peel them before eating, when possible.

Protect children from chemical poisoning

If a child has swallowed or inhaled a toxic product such as a household cleaner or pesticide, or gets it in their eyes or on their skin!

  • Call 999 if the child is unconscious, having trouble breathing, or having convulsions.
  • Check the label for directions on how to give first aid.

Help children breathe easier

  • Don’t smoke and don’t let others smoke in your home or car.
  • Keep your home as clean as possible. Dust, mould, certain household pests can trigger asthma attacks and allergies.
  • Limit outdoor activity when air pollution is especially harmful.
  • Walk, use bicycles and take public transportation when you can.
  • Avoid open burning fires.

Protect children from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning

  • Have fuel-burning appliances, furnace flues, and chimneys checked once a year.
  • Never use gas ovens or burners for heat; never use barbecues or grills indoors or in the garage.
  • Never sleep in rooms with unvented gas or space heaters.
  • Install a CO alarm that meets British Standard Regulations.

Protect children from contaminated fish and polluted water

  • Learn what’s in your drinking water – call your local public water supplier for annual drinking water quality reports.

Protect children from too much sun

  • Wear hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15+ on kids over six months; keep infants out of direct sunlight.
  • Limit time in the mid-day sun – the sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Too much heat

  • If you are pregnant try to stay cool, stretch your legs and sip water more often than usual to prevent dehydration.
  • Infants and young children overheat quickly and are less able to adapt to extreme heat.  Offer sips of water often.
  • Dress infants and children is loose, lightweight, light colour clothing.
  • Children may not ask for water and may not be aware that they need to cool down.
  • Never leave infants in a parked car.
  • Help children find places to cool off when they are overheated.
  • Ensure that children drink plenty of water before and after athletic events.
  • Monitor children, and even teenagers, for signs of heat-related illness, provide water, and have a plan to combat heat illness.
  • Seek medical care right away if your child has signs of heat-related illness.

Avoiding ticks

  • Keep the ticks away from your child to prevent Lyme disease.
  • Have children wear protective clothing, such as socks, shoes and long trousers if possible.
  • Reduce tick habitats by keeping grass short and removing brush from play areas.
  • Parents should apply insect repellent rated for ticks on children.  Always follow label instructions and avoid applying on hands or near eyes and mouth.
  • Check children for ticks after they have been outdoors, especially in wooded areas and meadows and especially from April to September.
  • Teach children how to check themselves for ticks, and what to do if they find one.
  • Have children bathe or shower after playing in woods or grassy fields.

Stopping mosquito bites

  • Use insect repellents when your children play outdoors.  Always follow the label directions.
  • Wear long sleeves and trousers from dusk through dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Install screens on windows and doors.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from containers, flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers and keep doors and windows closed if possible after dark.