Friday, November 14, 2014

Are Household Cleaning Products Safe To Use Around Babies?

In Ask Cindy’s world of all things clean, I always err on the side of caution when cleaning around infants and toddlers. After all, if your sense of clean is tied to aromas of strong bleach, the surrounding air flow can be irritating and leave behind a harmful residue on surfaces. This cannot be good for babies to ingest, touch, and breathe in, as they explore their environments. This is easily avoidable.

As we maintain a clean house, we want to keep our children safe from harm. Well, Ask Cindy is here to solve any cleaning dilemma! Plant-based cleaning products are environmentally and biologically safer than many synthetic/chemically based products. This makes plant-based products an easy and effective alternative when considering healthy cleaning choices.
If a cleaning product has a strongly marked odor or worse, fumes or a smoke-like haze, the inhalation of these vapors can be problematic for anybody, including pets. Cleaning products with toxic warning labels require that windows be opened, allowing for cross ventilation of fresh air throughout the home. The person cleaning the home or an individual room should be wearing a protective face mask (covering mouth and nose) and have on chemically resistant rubber gloves. If this kind of deep cleaning is required, you do not want children in the home during the process. Ingesting chemical odors, fumes, or vapors that are diffused into the air, is not conducive to good health. When chemicals are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, this can never be a good thing. It took me some time to gain these insights. As Louis Hector Berlioz once said, “time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all [of] its pupils…” So, put these insights into practice before it's too late!

Let’s move forward with some safe, healthy cleaning suggestions:
• Carefully select non-toxic cleaning products in homes with babies and young children. This is a requirement.
 • Water, water, water - rinse washable surfaces with water after cleaning them. Dry the surface thoroughly. Water and a neutral dish soap mixed together creates a safe cleaning solution. In most cases, it works very effectively! This combination is preferred when removing sticky substances like food, juicy liquids, and candy smudges on highchairs and tray tables, cribs, playpens, children’s furniture, table and chair sets, kitchen counters, toys, car seats, uncarpeted floors, bathroom wall and floor tiles, and so much more.
• Ventilate a room with fresh air while cleaning, regardless of the product you are using. It is better to be safe than sorry!
• Never spray cleaning products onto surfaces directly, this uncontrolled mist is suspended in the air and will land without restraint. Spraying, or better, pouring the product directly into water or onto a cleaning cloth allows you to control your household product. It goes where you place it.
• Water soluble detergents used to wash children’s clothing, towels, toys, and bedding, need to be carefully weighed. The detergent needs to rinse cleanly without leaving residue on newly washed items. Ideally, the selected detergent is free of perfumes, dyes, and preservatives that often irritate skin.
Children are vulnerable to strong household cleaning products, for example, body soaps, detergents, and airborne cleaning product vapors. The hazards related to house cleaning products can negatively impact children’s health. Let’s make the best decisions possible by being attentive. What you use matters!

**Ask Cindy's endorsed cleaning products 
avoid harsh chemicals, toxic fumes, and caustic substances. 
While cleanliness is essential, safety is a priority!**

[1] Hector Berlioz - Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils: Letter written in November 1856, published in Pierre Citron (ed.) Correspondance générale (Paris: Flammarion, 1989) vol. 5, p. 390; Paul Davies About Time: Einsteins Unfinished Revolution (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996) p. 214.

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