As a parent, you want to do what’s best for your child and keep them out of harm’s way – but what if you are actually unknowingly compromising your child’s health and safety by doing certain things which seem pretty innocent?
Just by making a few changes to your daily routine or normal habits, you can improve your child’s well-being and no longer put them at risk for hidden dangers.
Food poisoning in the fridge
If you or your kids have had an upset tummy before, you might have brushed it off thinking it was caused by some bad sopas you ate for lunch at a carinderia – but did you know that it is also important for you to make sure that the food inside your fridge is safe?
Never store cans or metal in the fridge
If you’ve opened up a new can of condensed milk to add to your Milo, or perhaps a can of olives you want to include in your family’s pasta dinner, do not place the can into the fridge as the metal may actually transfer to the contents!
Keep your fridge clean
Clean your fridge every week or every two weeks and wipe up any spills immediately to prevent cross-contamination.
Throw out expired food
Always check the expiry date of your food before you consume it, especially when you know it has been sitting in storage for quite some time – and if in doubt, throw it out!
Health risks: Food poisoning.
Exposure to adult content
Besides ensuring the physical safety of our children, we should also do our best to preserve their emotional health and be aware of what your kids are exposed to online or watch on tv.
Studies have shown that exposure to age-inappropriate material may cause lasting effects on children, including triggering unnecessary fear and insecurities.
If you are concerned about what your children are exposed to in the media, you can
- Preview TV shows and movies to make sure they are appropriate
- Only allow your kids to watch TV or use the internet in the common room where you can keep an eye on them
- Turn on the child safety features on your mobile devices
- Teach your children about internet safety and cyber-wellness
- Set privacy settings for your home’s WiFi connection
Health risks: Increased aggression or destructive behavior, desensitization, stubbornness or disobedience, re-enacting of dangerous stunts.
Second-hand and third-hand smoking
Living in the city, we are constantly exposed to smoke from cars, factories and other forms of air pollution, but if you are a smoker or someone else in your house smokes, the Health Promotion Board warns that your children may be suffering.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, 400 of which are actually poisonous, and there is evidence that children and babies are particularly susceptible to the health effects of being exposed to it.
Even if you think you have tried to avoid getting your kids into contact with your cigarette smoke, third-hand smoking is another additional danger as residual particles from cigarettes remain in the environment even after your cigarette has been extinguished.
These harmful particles will linger on a smoker’s hair, skin, clothing, and in your house on the carpets, curtains, rugs, floors and windows, which your child will then come into contact with.
Health risks: Colds, eye and nose irritations, reduced lung growth and function, coughs, wheezing, asthma, ear and chest infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Drying wet laundry indoors
Most families in the Philippines live in apartments or high-rise condominiums where space constraints may make it a bit of a problem when it comes to hanging out your laundry to dry, so you may resort to draping your damp wash of the day on clothes racks indoors, perhaps in the living room or even the bedroom.
But a study has found that by hanging a fresh load of laundry in rooms with poor ventilation or closed windows can cause more moisture in the air which creates ideal breeding conditions for mold spores and dust mites.
Health risks: Asthma, hay fever and other allergies.
Exposure to harmful UV rays
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just a few serious sunburns is enough to increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later on in life and it is highly recommended that they get some protection from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun whenever they are outdoors.
Avoid the midday sun
It is best to avoid any outdoor activities during noon time, because this is when UV rays are strongest and most harmful.
Seek the shade
When you are participating in activities outdoors, try to seek for shade under a tree by using an umbrella, or a pop-up tent.
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts made from tightly woven fabrics can provide the best protection from UV rays, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.
Wear a hat
Although wearing caps is usually the more popular (and fashionable) choice, they don’t protect your kids’ ears and neck, so it is better to opt for hats with brims that can shade the head, face, ears, and neck.
This is not just a cool fashion statement, but a good pair of sunglasses can protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays, so as to prevent cataracts later in life.
Apply lots of sunscreen
Every time your little ones want to go out and play, help them to generously apply some sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection, around 30 minutes beforehand.
Health risks: Skin cancer, cataracts.
Now that you know about the hidden dangers around your house and how you are unknowingly harming your child’s health, it is not too late to make a few simple changes for his well-being.
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