Our environment plays a large role in children's health. In general, children are more likely to be hurt or get sick from environmental issues than adults.
Children are not small adults
Children eat more food, drink more water, and breathe more air relative to their body size than adults do. In addition, common childhood behavior, such as putting their hands in their mouths or playing on the ground, can lead children to have more contact with chemicals than adults experience.
Children are more vulnerable than adults as they are still growing and developing. For example, lead poisoning affects brain development. Lead exposure will impact children more than adults since their brains are still developing, even if the amount of lead they come in contact with is the same.
Simple actions can help keep kids safe
Children spend the majority of their day either in the home, in a child care facility or day care, or at school. Because children spend most of their time in these places, it’s important to take action to make these spaces safe from environmental issues.
In the home
Our healthy home webpage has simple steps you can take to keep your home safe, such as:
- Reducing exposure to lead.
- Addressing indoor air quality concerns like allergens and mold.
- Testing wells to ensure safe water.
- Choosing and preparing fish for good health.
- Storing and disposing of chemicals safely.
- Installing carbon monoxide and fire alarms and replacing their batteries twice per year.
Out of the home
The outdoor environment is another area where children can come in contact with things that can hurt them or make them sick. To keep your kids safe while outside, follow these steps:
- Take action to keep your yard safe.
- Stay out of blue-green algae.
- Apply bug spray and wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.
- Wear sun screen.
- Wash hands (P-01710) after playing outside, even if on recycled rubber playgrounds (P-00193), after being around animals, or working in the garden.
- Wear life jackets and follow other safe boating practices.