Ventilation and circulation
A well-ventilated house inhibits the growth of mould and mildew, which can otherwise be harmful to a young baby’s health and lead to breathing difficulties.
Open windows and sunlight will help evaporate moisture from surfaces. Always use the kitchen fan when cooking and the bathroom fan when showering. Clean any mould as soon as it appears, and dry any water and other spills as soon as they occur. Dehumidifiers can also be set up to reduce the moisture in damp parts of the house.
If you use an evaporative cooler or humidifier, clean their moisture reservoirs daily with soap as these can house mould and bacteria.
Use non-toxic cleaners and household remedies
There are many cleaning products on the market with eco-friendly and non-toxic credentials that are alternatives to the old staples of kitchen sink cupboards.
However you can get some great cleaning results with common household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, salt and lemon juice. You can also mix greater quantities of these and fill up old spray bottles so that you always have them on hand.
These and other household cleaning remedies are inexpensive, don’t cost the environment and won’t leave harmful chemical residues.
Insecticides and pest killers
Remove all cockroach traps and rat poisons from your household as these can resemble food or toys. Avoids using insect sprays as these can settle into surfaces that your baby’s mouth can come into contact with (like cushions and couches). Opt for chemical-free deterrents such as bug zappers and flyscreens, and never leave uncovered food out. Cleaning your kitchen surfaces, regular rubbish removal and cleaning your pets bowls will help keep cockroaches at bay.
Especially in the nursery, don’t leave windows open if anyone in the house smokes or you can smell cigarette smoke from your neighbours. Be conscious of ambient noise too as this can disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns.
Dust can lead to breathing difficulties and exacerbate existing conditions. If your house is carpeted, ensure that you vacuum it regularly after having dusted any surfaces beforehand.
Be wary of clutter, too, which can gather and conceal large amounts of dust. Make the most of your storage space – whether that’s cupboards, chests or drawers – to reduce the surface area on which dust can gather.
Storing cleaning products
Finally, before your baby starts to crawl, you must secure with latches or keep out of reach any cleaning products that you might find in the laundry, kitchen or bathroom. These – and medicines – can be mistaken for food or toys and pose a health hazard to curious babies.