There’s a lot of information out there on the effects of mold and mildew on your health. If you’ve ever looked into it, you’ve probably seen a list of people who are most at risk. Normally, at the top of that list is infants and children, right above elderly or sick individuals. Everyone should know how to properly prevent mold. However, those who have children in the home should be especially cautious. This warning comes at a time when severe weather conditions have made the overall risk much higher. Due to the onset of extreme flooding, tropical storms, and hurricanes, more homes are containing more moisture. While most people should be concerned about being exposed to mold, it is our duty to protect children first. Below we examine what mold is, why kids are high risk, and how you can prevent mold in your home.
What is Mold?
Mold is a common term that is thrown around quite often. Anytime we see fuzzy build-up on a surface, we broadly define it as mold. The truth is there are thousands of different species of mold that exist both indoors and outdoors. It’s important to note that we actually need types of mold to survive. Thanks to mold, we have things like penicillin, bread, beer, and wine. But when this fungus is exposed to moisture and it begins to actively grow, then it becomes a health risk. Mold isn’t only dangerous to your health, it can also affect the structure of a home or building. When mold is found in a home or building, it’s important to act immediately.
Why Kids Should Not be Exposed to Mold
Recently, the Jersey Shore Area School District had to cancel their open house night at five different schools due to mold. Parents, teachers, and administrators are all concerned about protecting the students. Between the warm weather and heavy rains, it’s not the only school district that’s dealing with mold problems. Unfortunately, it’s a common issue that gets overlooked and puts many of our kids in danger.
When infants, toddlers, and children are exposed to mold, they can develop health problems that can last a lifetime. School-age children are in very vulnerable physical developmental stages. Their bodies are more sensitive and they can’t fight off infections like healthy adults. If they’re being exposed to mold for eight hours a day in a classroom, it can be incredibly dangerous. Children who are exposed to mold can suffer from upper respiratory tract infections, wheezing, coughing at night, and hay fever. They can develop allergies and asthma that can affect their respiratory system for years into the future. This is why it’s so important for parents and school superintendents to be cautious about mold. Homes and schools can become very harmful environments if mold is found.
Easy Ways to Protect Kids from Mold
It’s vital to remember that moisture can be anywhere in a home, building, or office. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. This is one of the biggest challenges of mold prevention. More than half of the homes in the United States have mold, and many homeowners are unaware. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect your home and your kids from the mold.
- Any play areas that have carpets should be cleaned regularly. Carpets should be lifted often to make sure that mold isn’t growing underneath. In places with high moisture, remove carpets if possible.
- Keep an eye on bath toys. There’s consistently a lot of moisture in bathrooms, so bath toys can be a breeding ground for mold. If a toy has a small hole in it, fill it with water and squeeze it out. If you see any black or mucky substances, clean the toy or throw it out. It’s recommended to soak toys in vinegar and water overnight to kill any growing bacteria.
- Remember to always clean out sip cups, teething rings, and other products that are exposed to moisture or potential mold. Before refilling or storing cups, make sure they’re completely dry.
- Avoid keeping toys in cardboard or wooden boxes. If the box is exposed to mold, it can easily grow onto the toys placed in these areas.
- Be aware of the airflow in areas where your children play. Remember to turn on air conditioners or keep windows open on hot days.
- Paint rooms with mold prevention based paints.
- Clean out humidifiers at least once a week.
These are all great practices to prevent mold in your home. However, as mentioned above, it’s important to communicate with administrators to make sure your child is safe in the classroom too. Remember to call mold prevention specialists to have your home or school tested for mold. If mold is found in buildings where children spend a lot of time, it’s pertinent to act right away. It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe.