and Managing School
Age Children with Behavioral Problems
Tips for Protecting
Children from Environmental Threats
By: EPA Newsroom
Children face potential environmental threats everyday in their
homes, schools, and playgrounds. They are particularly vulnerable
to pollutants and toxins because their patterns of behavior are different
from adults and their bodies are still developing.
Children's bodies are less able to process and eliminate environmental
pollutants than adults. Pound for pound, a child breathes more air,
drinks more water and eats more food than adults, so it is especially
important to protect the air kids breathe, the water kids drink and
the food kids eat from environmental contaminants of any kind.
EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection provides information,
technical assistance and other support to help parents and teachers
better understand the environmental threats kids face everyday.
Below are "Tips for Protecting Children from Environmental Threats"
that will give you a snapshot view of what you can to do to protect
kids from some of the major environmental threats to their physical
well-being. Knowing about the environmental threats kids face is the
first step to protecting them.
Tips for Protecting Children from Environmental Threats
Help your children breathe easier:
- Don't smoke or let others smoke near your kids.
- Keep your home and pets as clean as possible. Dust, mold, certain
insects, and pet dander can trigger asthma attacks and allergies.
- Limit outdoor activity when air pollution is bad such as ozone
Protect your children from lead poisoning:
- Wash children's hands before eating and wash bottles, pacifiers,
and toys often.
- Wash floors and windowsills to protect kids from dust and peeling
paint contaminated with lead - especially in older homes.
- Run the cold water for 30 seconds to flush lead from pipes.
- Get kids tested for lead - check with your doctor.
Protect your children from carbon monoxide
- Have fuel-burning appliances, furnace flues and chimneys checked
once a year. Never use gas ovens or burners for heat and never use
- Never sleep in rooms with unvented gas or kerosene space heaters.
- Don't idle cars or lawn mowers in the garage.
- Install a UL approved CO detector in sleeping areas.
Keep pesticides and other toxic chemicals
away from your children:
- Put food and trash away in closed containers to keep pests from
coming into your home.
- Don't use pesticides if you don't have to - look for alternatives.
- Read product labels and follow directions.
- Use bait & traps instead of bug sprays when you can and put where
kids can't get them.
- Store where kids can't reach them and never put in other containers
that kids can mistake for food or drink.
- Keep children, toys & pets away when using pesticides and don't
let them play in fields, orchards and gardens after pesticides have
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating.
How to protect your children from too
- Have them wear hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen on kids over 6 months and keep infants out of the
- Keep them out of the mid-day sun - the sun is most intense between
10 AM and 4 PM.
How to safeguard your children from high
levels of radon:
- Test your home for radon with a home test kit.
- Call your state radon office if you learn that the radon level
is 4 pCi/L or greater.
The Office of Children's Health Protection supports community
efforts to protect children from environmental health threats
through the Child Health Champion Campaign. The Child Health Champion
Resource Guide provides over 240 resources that can assist communities
in their efforts to identify and address environmental threats
to their children's health. The Children's Environmental Health
Yearbook, provides an inventory of all EPA activities related
to protecting children from environmental threats.
Teachers: Would you like to
teach about environmental health, but need more background, or
maybe some simple activities? Visit the following links from EPA's
Teacher's Page, and Children's
Health Page to get started. We put together a collection of
fact sheets, brochures and web pages that you can use to teach
about environmental health. These resources offer basic and clear
information to assist you in teaching your students about the