Over 1.1 million babies are born every year in South Africa which means that expectant parents are preparing their homes for the arrival of their little ones. Organising the home and making it clean are critical before the appearance of the newest members of the family. However some parents could be guilty of over-cleaning when preparing for the arrival of a baby.
Controlling the Indoor Environment
It is normal instinct for expectant parents to shield their offsprings from possible harm including exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria that can make them sick. Ensuring that the home is a safe place for children assures a child’s health and wellbeing. This entails cleaning and scrubbing the entire home as well as childproofing vulnerable spaces for safety.
A sterile place though may not always be the best environment for growing children. While it is true that a baby needs to be protected from germs and bacteria as their immune systems are still weak, this is only possible because you control the indoor environment. Once a toddler starts walking and running, they explore many places, put everything in their mouths and start getting into trouble. And when you bring them outside of the home, they are facing a different set of risks including unfamiliar pathogens in the air.
Research Says Exposure to Bacteria May be Helpful
Studies show that priming the microbiome in a child early is critical because it gives their immune systems a chance to develop and this will not occur if they are living in a sterile environment. Without a good immune system, they are likely to catch diseases that are difficult to treat or are resistant.
Early exposure to microbes not only helps children develop an immune system, but also reduces the chances of developing autoimmune disorders such as eczema and asthma. An undeveloped immune system will also affect their endocrine system and even their neurodevelopment.
Striking the Right Balance in Cleaning
What research is saying is that a too sterile environment is not the best condition for your kids. It’s also okay for them to get in contact with some dirt and bacteria like when they are playing on the ground, but not to the point of exposing them to aggressive infections.
In addition, cleaning is not only about using disinfectants and soaps. It is also the responsible use of products because chemicals and other harmful toxins can get into the atmosphere that are harmful to the occupants of a house. Choose products that are eco-friendly to reduce the risks of releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air that can affect the quality of indoor air.
Poor indoor air can have an impact on the health of occupants both in the short and long-term. It increases the risks for allergies, respiratory diseases, and other forms of cancers. As immediate effects, exposure to toxins cause irritations to the skin and eye as well as swelling, puffiness, and redness.
Every parent wants the best for their babies and children. Drawing the line between a clean and a sterile environment is critical to ensure that kids are going to develop their immune systems normally and at the same time, prevent them from catching aggressive or hostile diseases.