Non-toxic critter control

Household pesticides can be hazardous to your child’s health. We’ve got some tips for how to rid 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, dangerous pesticides are out there — and it’s easy for your child to be exposed. From asthma to childhood cancers, some pesticides can have serious health consequences. If you’ve got a critter problem in your home, read on to learn how to keep the most dangerous products out of your home, and 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 available. 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 wherever 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 instead. In granular form, the insecticide is contained in a carrier and spills only put exposed skin at 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

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

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