Edit

Healthy Home Guide For
New & Expectant Families

When a new baby is about to arrive, parents get to work preparing a safe environment for their new addition. Avoiding certain chemicals, eating healthy and exercising are vital during pregnancy. We’re here to help create a healthy environment by offering parents (and soon-to-be parents) resources for a safe and healthier pregnancy, baby and home.

Green Parenting

Learn the importance of building a green nursery for baby.

  • Discover alternative building products to use during home construction and renovations
  • Find improved environmental options for pest control, outdoor lawn and garden care.

The Healthy Home Guide for
New & Expectant Families

Indoor Air Quality

Everything a pregnant mother breathes in transfers to her unborn child.

  • Avoid air fresheners
  • Seek natural scents such as cinnamon and cloves
  • Choose candles made from beeswax or soy.

Green and Natural Cleaning Products

  • Select plant-based, rather than petroleum-based products.
  • Make your own cleaning products by using household items such as vinegar and baking soda.

Mold

Very common in buildings and homes, mold grows in places with moisture, around leaks in roofs, windows or pipes, or in areas of the home exposed to flooding. Mold grows well on paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood products. It can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric and upholstery. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.

Some people exposed to damp and moldy environments can experience a stuffy nose, wheezing, red and itchy eyes or skin, while others show no symptoms at all. Individuals with mold allergies or asthma may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions can include fever and shortness of breath.

The first step to identify and prevent mold in homes is to inspect for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance. Correct the conditions causing mold  (e.g., water leaks, condensation, infiltration or flooding) to prevent its growth. Other prevention steps include controlling humidity levels, promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows and pipes, thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding and ventilating bathroom, laundry and kitchen areas.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dealing with Pests

Everyone has to deal with unwanted critters in and around the home. Avoid using lawn and garden pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Insecticides and pesticides are not only toxic to pests — they can also harm people. Choose products that limit hazards. Properly manage pests by using pest management methods that pose less of a risk, like sticky traps for insects and snap traps for rodents. 

Lead Exposure

Most homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint, which may put young children and pregnant women at heightened risk of lead poisoning. Be aware of the paint you are using and seek paints with low or no VOCs. There are paints on the market today that are water-based or milk-based and considered safer alternatives.

Toxins in Products

Many infant and child personal care product brands have natural lines, but beware, these products may still contain toxic chemicals. Choose products that are plant-based and have the fewest and safest ingredients. The crib, changing table and other furniture, as well as hardwood flooring, should be made of natural woods and have natural finishes, not chemical finishes.

Shopping Guide

When selecting feeding items such as baby bottles and sippy cups, choose products that are listed as PVC and bisphenol-A (BPA) free. Beware of toys that contain toxic plastic softeners (phthalates), PVC (#3 plastics), and fragrances. When you’re not quite sure avoid the “rubber ducky.” Also be cautious of imported or antique toys that may contain toxic lead paint. When buying a toy, look for items that are made from wood or cloth. If a toy can be reused like a dollhouse or play set, then purchase a higher quality item that can be passed onto a family member or friend. Think about where the toy is manufactured. If it can be purchased from a local retailer, then it is a great idea to support your local business.