10 Ways to Improve the Air Your Children Breathe

According to both the American Lung Association and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, childhood respiratory problems have shown an alarming rate of increase. The curtain is being raised on some of the possible triggers for childhood asthma: exposure to dust mites and cockroaches, for example, are among the latest findings. But most experts agree that a major factor in respiratory problems in general is poor air quality.

Here are 10 simple things you can do to start improving the air your children breathe right away. Better air quality can help prevent childhood respiratory problems from developing and will benefit the whole family.

1. Stop smoking and encourage your children to never start. “Secondhand smoke can cause serious harm to children. An estimated 200,000 to one million asthmatic children have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke.” – The American Lung Association.

Sign our online petition to help protect kids from starting to smoke in the first place!
anti-smoking petition

2. Avoid particle board or pressed-board building materials. The outgassing of formaldehyde is a major contributor to poor-quality indoor air.
outgassing building materials

3. Use only non-toxic cleaners. We have lots of easy-to-make formulas right here in the Care2 channels!
non-toxic cleaning formulas

4. Burn only non-petroleum candles with cloth wicks. Vegetable-oil-based or beeswax candles without metal wicks will not create the soot that has been linked to respiratory problems in children and adults.
soot and candles

4a. Maintain heating and cooking appliances and never use kerosene space heaters.

5. Grow plants indoors to help filter air. Several varieties of indoor houseplants will actually help improve the quality of the air in your home.
air-cleaning houseplants

6. Keep Them Out of the Pool. A recent European study has linked asthma and the formation of compounds associated with chlorine in public swimming pools. If your child has asthma, you may want to keep them away from the pool.
pool chlorine and asthma

7. Avoid new carpeting. Most wall-to-wall type carpeting contains PVC backing, stain repellents, mildew-cides and other substances that will outgas harmful toxins into your air.
avoiding toxic carpeting

8. Use safe paint.. Many respiratory problems in both children and adults have been associated with recent interior painting. Be sure you use brands that are safe and non-toxic.
non-toxic paints

9. Stop idling school buses. When buses leave their motors running as they wait outside your child‘s school, heavy metal emissions greatly exceed safe levels. Tell your bus drivers to turn off their motors.
school bus emissions

10. Know Your Smoke Points Avoid smoke from cooking oils.
smoke points for cooking oils

by the Care2 Staff


Eli Is Here
.7 years ago

Great article & links!! Thank you Annie!

gail d.
gail dair7 years ago


Jessica Arellano
Jessica Arellano10 years ago

I researched this for a long time as I am pregnant and have 2 small kids and needed to paint. There is no lead in paint anymore, but most paint contains VOC's that pollute the air you breathe. These compounds take months to fully go away and they are shown to cause asthma and other health problems. I found a great company that makes a ZERO VOC, no odor paint that is the safest paint you can buy. We painted our entire house while I was pregnant. The company is Baby Safe Finishes if you are interested (www.babysafefinishes.com). I did a lot of research on paint just thought I would share!