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Housing + Children’s Health

A healthy living environment is especially important for children. Environmental impacts and living conditions play a central role in their physical and mental development (WHO, 2006).
 
Children are particularly sensitive to environmental stress, for damp dwellings that may cause respiratory diseases (ENHIS, 2009):  On the one hand, they may be exposed to higher levels  of pollutants than adults. By "hand-to-mouth contact" and while playing on the floor they can ingest higher amounts of harmful substances such as plasticizers (phthalates), for example via intake of house dust (KUS, 2004). The breathing rate of children is higher than of adults, why more of the pollutants or allergens get to their lungs. On the other hand, in certain phases of development children react particularly sensitive to toxic effects of chemicals. In the development of their organs during pregnancy (?), there are certain "windows of susceptibility" (Schneider, 2002; EEA, 2002). Toddlers are particularly sensitive to lead and mercury (Wilhelm, 2010; HBM Commission, 1999). They are thus at special risk: they are a vulnerable group.
 
Smoking in the presence of children is tantamount to an assault (DKFZ, 2004). Parents should create a smoke-free environment even before the birth of their children.
 
The renovation of the house is a possible source of emissions from paints, varnishes or new furniture. Infants are not able to evade such exposure, even less to provide a remedy. Often parents do not ventilate adequately in order to avoid heat lossor air draught. Thus, it may happen that the air quality is worst in the children's room. For renovation, products which will not harm their  health should be used. The eco-label "blue angel" points out low-emission construction products, paints and varnishes.
 
Children under three years most frequently meet with an accident at home. Therefore, the furniture should be solid and steady and should not exhibit sharp corners and protruding or small removable parts (the label “GS” certifies proven safety). Especially in the kitchen, bathroom and around stairs, all safety hazards are to be recognized and minimized. Once you get yourself on all fours, crawling through the house, you will discover and eliminate hazards quickly and easily.