It can be very bothersome to have a pest infestation in your house, especially if you have children in the family. Pesticides are the usual resort to addressing this problem. And it may affect your kids’ health in various ways. Here is what you need to know about pesticide exposure and what you can do to reduce health risks.
What Are Some Examples of Pesticides?
Pesticides include a wide range of products – many of which you may be using every day. There are quite a lot of pesticide types, but the most common, usually having the most amount of toxic chemicals, is insecticide. They are used to kill or repel insects, ticks, and mites. Examples are bug sprays, insect repellents, ant and roach baits, flea shampoos, and mothballs. Disinfectants are also a pesticide because they kill bacteria, mould, and mildew. Bleach, ammonia, and kitchen and bathroom cleaners are a few examples. All these, when ingested, could pose some risks, especially to babies and children.
How do Pesticides Affect Babies and Children?
Babies and children are more exposed to pesticides because they spend more time in contact with the ground than adults. Your baby might be touching the furniture bases where you may have sprayed a cockroach repellant. Infants are also more likely to put their fingers, toys, or other objects that may have come into contact with pesticides into their mouths. Here are a few more reasons why babies and children are not only more exposed but also more sensitive to the toxic effects of pesticides than adults.
- A baby’s brain, organs, and nervous systems are still developing after birth. They are greatly affected by what type of environment the baby is exposed to and could negatively change as they grow.
- When exposed, a baby’s liver and kidneys cannot remove pesticides from the body.
- Babies take more breaths per minute and have more skin surface relative to their body weight compared to adults.
- Children usually spend more time closer to the ground, touching skirting boards where pesticides may have been applied.
As such, it is important to minimise your child’s exposure to pesticides.
What Should I do to Minimise Health Risks?
If you choose to use pesticides, keep these pro tips in mind if you want to minimise health risks for babies and children:
- Always ensure to read the product label first. The product should be approved for the intended use and applied according to label directions.
- Keep out of children’s reach.
- Do not overly use the pesticide apart from the recommended amount on the product label.
- Keep babies and children out of treated areas while pesticides are applied and until the areas are dry. The product label may have more specific information or instructions.
- Allow ample time for the pesticide to dry and the house to ventilate before going back.
- If your carpeting or courtyard has been treated, consider using footwear, blankets, or any other barrier between the treated surface and your children’s skin.
- Make sure they wash their hands before eating, especially after being outdoors.
- Place ant, roach, and rodent baits in locked stations or anywhere out of your children’s reach.
- Never use food or beverage utensils and containers to mix or store pesticides.
- Children would mistake mothballs for food when it is stored improperly, so make sure to keep them in sealed and airtight containers.
What Natural Methods can I Use to Deter Pests?
There are natural food ingredients used to repel pests. Ingredients like garlic, vinegar, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon are spices and aromatics with a strong penetrating smell. Some pests, including ants, cockroaches, and rats, dislike them. They are forced to relocate from the spot filled with these scents to another location for nest building. Citronella, lemongrass, lavender, and other distinctive aromas help prevent bugs from finding their way and navigating. It interferes with their ability to detect chemical signals, briefly impairing their ability to move. Despite being eco-friendly and safe, these have little to no impact on pest efficacy. Instead of addressing the root source, it simply forces pests to relocate. What’s worse is that it can lead to another pest infestation.
Knowing how pesticides used at home can pose health risks to family members, especially children, is important. As such, you would know how to minimise these risks to protect them from pests and toxic chemicals. There are also natural ways to deter pests temporarily, but they only cause them to relocate. Ensure your family’s safety now by hiring the services of a professional pest control team in Singapore.