Indoor Air Pollution: How to Protect Your Children

indoor air pollution

Indoor Air Pollution can be Worse than Outside Air

Most of us think of outside air when considering air pollution. But the EPA estimates that the level of indoor air pollution may be two to five times higher than the pollution level outdoors, and many children spend more than 90% of their time indoors. With today’s energy efficient homes, there is little ventilation to help indoor air quality.

Children breathe in and retain more air pollution per unit of body weight than adults. Polluted air has a greater impact on children because their lungs and systems of elimination are still developing. When children’s bodies become overloaded, they cannot deal with more toxins. They may begin to have adverse reactions to certain exposures such as new carpet, paint, cleaning materials, mattress and furniture off-gassing, dust, molds or pollen. Even minor exposures can make a toxic overloaded child very ill. It’s estimated that more than 40 million people now have some form of environmental illness due to allergic or toxic reactions to various substances in their environments.

Indoor air pollution can cause symptoms such as:

  • coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes
  • nasal congestion
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing

Allergens, tobacco smoke or chemical exposure can trigger asthma symptoms or make existing symptoms worse. Environmental illness may include a long list of other perplexing problems that are difficult to pinpoint.

Particles or gases are being released into the air throughout your home from many different sources. But the room in which your children sleep is probably the most important. Sleep is the time for their bodies to regenerate. When your children go to sleep at night, their bodies go into deep repair mode, and the immune system attempts to get rid of the impurities. It’s difficult to detoxify if there is the additional burden of toxins in the air in the bedroom. How much time do your children spend in the bedroom? In addition to night-time sleeping, many children are spending a lot of time playing or napping in their bedrooms during the day.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution in the Bedroom

First, it’s crucial for babies and children to sleep on an organic mattress that does not off-gas. It’s imperative to replace all mattresses that contain fire retardants, vinyl, polyurethane foam and other toxic materials.  Additionally, most bed frames, cribs, cradles, bassinets, changing tables, dressers, cabinets and bookcases are made from composite or pressed wood products that emit formaldehyde or contain varnishes or paints that also emit toxins. If possible, replace this furniture with solid wood with natural finishes. Carpet is another big toxic emitter that can release pollutants more or less continuously. Toxins from cleaning products, personal care products, building materials, and paints can all get into the air.  Any mold, dust-mites, or animal dander present in the bedroom can also be a big problem for children.

To reduce allergens and toxins in your child’s bedroom:

  • Purchase a HEPA room air purifier that reduces allergens, odors, viruses, gases and chemicals
  • Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs with non-toxic 100% organic cotton dust-mite proof covers
  • Consider buying a non-toxic organic kids mattress
  • Reduce home humidity to under 50 percent to control mold growth
  • Fix plumbing, roof and other water leaks promptly, and safely remove all mold throughout the house
  • Vacuum twice a week with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (more frequently if you have pets)
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, drapes and mattresses on a regular basis
  • Clean hard surfaces with a damp cloth and don’t use toxic cleaners
  • Keep allergy-causing pets out of the bedroom or wash pets every week to reduce exposure to dander
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water
  • Wash stuffed animals regularly
  • Remove carpet, if possible, and use natural, non-toxic rugs that you can wash regularly
  • Keep tobacco smoke out of the home
  • Avoid composite or particle board furniture and try to buy real wood whenever possible.
  • If you buy composite wood products, let them off-gas outside for several days or weeks before bringing them indoors
  • Ventilate rooms thoroughly after bringing new furniture inside. Open windows daily to improve indoor air quality.
  • Common houseplants such as bamboo palms and spider plants may help to purify the air

All these things are necessary and helpful, but to really make a big difference in indoor air pollution, a HEPA room air purifier is needed. We have done the research on home air purifiers and are now offering the best air purifiers at guaranteed lowest prices.  Best Room Air Purifier


  1. Pingback: Indoor Air Pollution: How to Protect Your Children | health and wellness
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  4. My daughter has had a lot of ear infections and I have never thought it could come from allergies. Thank you for your very good article

  5. Great tips, thank you – I try to do all of these, especially cleaning my daughter’s stuffed animals and keeping our cats out of her room. I will be sure to vacuum more often, though, since I dislike that she has a carpeted room until we can replace with hardwood.

  6. Are there better filters that can be installed at the furnace to help reduce the indoor air pollution, without drastically impacting air flow? Or are those not making a significant reduction?

    1. Patrick,

      I’ve not yet researched air filters installed at the furnace but we will check it out and let you know.

  7. We are a full house of 8 and trying to eliminate indoor air pollution. So far we have eliminated carpeting, vacuum with a HEPA filter, use non-toxic cleaners, and ventilate our rooms with open windows. I am going to try to implement some of these other tips (buy some spider plants and be more diligent with washing sheets, pillowcases, and stuffed animals in HOT water!). Thanks for the tips! I hope this will improve our current nasal stuffiness and headaches we have been experiencing lately.

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  9. Thank you for the great tips – I really appreciate how simple these ideas are that reduce indoor pollutants! Our kids health is worth the time of extra cleaning and consideration of what is brought into the home! I especially like the idea of having bamboo and spider plants inside to clean the air. 🙂

  10. This is all great but is expensive to do! I wish we were able to replace our carpet and get organic beds and all wood furniture, but it is costly. I guess one has to do it slowly, bit by bit – but by the time that’s completed what harm has already been done?

  11. My 10 month old daughter has suffered breathing issues, I am aware of many of these tips. I would follow all of your guidelines if I could afford it. I try the best I can to make a safe environment, but I simply lack the finances right now. My little girl would breather much better! 🙂

  12. I would love to replace our carpets with some non-allergenic flooring. It is so very expensive, though, to redo the entire house. I notice a difference when I am religious about vacuuming. Also, opening the windows during the winter to let out the allergens and germs has been a noticeable positive for the 2/3 of my kids who suffer.

  13. At the risk of sounding naive, why does washing sheets in HOT water make a difference? I wash pretty much everything in cold water to save energy and reduce wear on fabrics, but if you convince me, I will change.

      1. Is it necessary to also use the dryer? or is air drying ok as long as you use hot water to wash? I’ve always wondered about that since I rarely use the dryer. Thanks

  14. This is some excellent information and a reminder about how to best take care of our children’s health.

  15. I have been following your newsletter for awhile now,on how to live and I love getting tips to live better naturally. While I agree that it can be very expensive or impossible to replace carpeting (especially if you rent) I think following the advice the best as you are able would show a benefit. Thanks for the caring and sharing!

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  20. Thank you for the great tips. We always open our windows in our house during summer. We also have plants inside.

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