Playing It Safe – Childproofing the Environment

Every day, children are exposed to potentially hazardous substances where they live, learn and play.  There is growing concern about the effect that harmful chemicals and other hazards have on their health.

The best way to protect our children is to reduce or eliminate as many contaminants as possible from the air, water, soil, food and products.  To create a healthy environment and make an immediate impact, follow these simple childproofing tips.

  • Reduce indoor dust.  Dust is one of the main sources of exposure to toxic substances.  Clean with a good quality vacuum, a damp cloth or wet mop at least once a week.  Take shoes off at the door and use washable entrance mats.  Minimize clutter and store toys in closed containers.
  • Wash hands often.  Use non-toxic cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar.  Avoid products with fragrances.  Keep chemicals out of children’s reach.
  • Children and pregnant women should stay away from renovated areas.  Choose less toxic paints, finishes and glues, and ensure the area is well-ventilated.  Wash work clothes separately from other laundry.
  • Store and heat food in glass containers, not plastic.  Eat fresh or frozen foods whenever possible to reduce exposure to BPA, a chemical used in the lining of most cans.  Avoid teething toys and other products that contain PVC or vinyl, a type of soft plastic.
  • Choose varieties of fish that are low in mercury such as Atlantic mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, wild or canned salmon and tilapia.

To learn more about protecting our children’s environmental health, call the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519-352-7270 or visit:

Information for this blog was gathered using resources from The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health & Environment, report “Creating Healthy Environments for Kids” (2011).

Last updated: January 2017