As parents, we’ll do just about anything for our children. We want to protect them from the terrible things that happen in the world, take care of their bruises and scrapes, and make sure that their childhood is the best time of their lives.
This is just one reason why parents should care about indoor air quality—aka, IAQ.
Health Problems Associated with IAQ
There are plenty of issues with the air that can be found in your home, and any of these indoor pollutants can cause serious health problems. Of course, different pollutants lead to different health problems. Suffice it to say that your children could suffer from chronic bouts of asthma, nausea, headaches, and dry and scratchy eyes. In some extreme cases, prolonged exposure can lead to cancer or death. Obviously, small children with less developed immune systems may be even more susceptible to health issues.
Fixing the Problem
Now, all that said, there’s no reason to freak out and put your child in a bubble. There are plenty of ways to decrease the pollutants that exist in your home without going to extremes. While we often talk about issues with outdoor pollution, the fact is that good ventilation in your home is key to circulating the poor air inside back out. Open windows and ceiling fans that can pull in fresh air from outdoors and push stale air outside are a must for good IAQ.
If you live in an older home with a basement, radon may be an issue for you. Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps up through the foundations of some homes—it’s a naturally occurring gas, but still one that causes serious health issues. A radon mitigation system, however, is affordable and can almost completely eradicate the amount of radon in your home while drastically lowering—if not wiping out completely—the health risks associated with it.
Leaving the fan of your HVAC system on can also help circulate air. And as always, make sure your furnace filter is clean and replace it every three months.
The amount of water in your air—that is, the humidity—has an effect on the amount of pollutants that are hanging in the air with it. Mold is especially fond of humid conditions. Using an affordable humidity gauge, try to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50. Anything below that will feel dry, and anything above is a breeding ground for mold.
Ultimately, IAQ is absolutely something parents should care about. Especially as more and kids stay inside more often on computers and playing video games—just remember that fresh air isn’t just good for your kids. It’s good for you, for your home, and for everyone.
You can read more about indoor air quality via the Environmental Protection Agency.