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Clean Critter Control

Household pesticides can be hazardous to your child’s health. We have some tips for ridding your home of pests while protecting your family.

Whether through little noses accidentally breathing them in, or tiny fingers picking them up and putting them in mouths, it’s easy for your child to be exposed to dangerous pesticides. From asthma to childhood cancers, some pesticides can have serious health consequences. If you have a critter problem in your home, read on to learn how steer clear of the most dangerous products and keep them out of your child’s reach.

What’s the Harm?

One of the most important things to do when choosing a pesticide is read the label. Labels typically contain signal words such as “Danger,” “Warning” or “Caution” that let you know the toxicity of the pesticide, helping you choose the least toxic option. Products that have the signal word “Danger” are the most toxic, while products whose labels say “Caution” are of lower toxicity. Depending on the severity of the damage the product can do, products that say “Danger” may also have “Poison” in red on the label. Needless to say, “Danger”-level products should be avoided if at all possible if you have small children in the house.

Find lower-toxicity options for your pest-control needs. These include plant-based oils or soaps in place of insecticides and selective pesticides that harm only closely related organisms. No matter their toxicity level, always keep pesticides in their original containers and out of reach of children — behind locked cabinet or pantry doors whenever possible.

What’s the Alternative?

Pesticides in dust or aerosol forms, such as garden dusts or sprays meant for insects, can be inhaled very easily. Instead of dusting your garden, consider a granular option. In granular form, the insecticide is contained in a carrier, and spills put exposed skin at only very minimal risk. For insects and rodents, try tamper-resistant bait boxes, and look for one that uses boric acid instead of toxic chemicals.

If you need help finding a pediatrician to help keep your child healthy, visit TexasHealth.org.

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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