Using pesticides around the home is a great way to avoid bug infestations, but these chemicals can cause harm to your young children and pets if not used properly. Even certain organic pesticides contain small amounts of toxic ingredients, which pose health risks for developing children. While adults are less susceptible to the toxicity of pesticides, infant’s and children's developing organs have more difficulty removing these chemicals, which can cause a handful of illnesses and respiratory problems.
To prevent your children from feeling the effects of pesticide poisoning, consider adopting child-friendly pest control solutions around your home. Before purchasing the first bug repellant or pesticide you find, do a quick scan of the instruction label. If a pesticide is considered toxic, the packaging will include a “Warning”, “Caution”, or “Danger” label. If the label says “Warning”, the pesticide is moderately toxic, but if it says “Danger”, the pesticide is considered extremely toxic. On the other hand, if the label just states “Caution”, the pesticide is only slightly toxic and will be the safest option to use in your home.
Another good step to take to keep your kids safe from toxic chemicals is to store them properly. A good rule of thumb is to keep any chemicals out of the reach of children and pets. This often means storing them on high shelves and in cabinets where they cannot be accessed by a wandering child.
If and when you do use the pesticides in your home, make sure all food is securely packaged and stored away. Foods that are often kept on counters, like fruits, certain grains, and cooking oils, should be wrapped up and moved to the pantry before using any chemical spray. Similarly, keep all of your kids’ and pets’ toys a safe distance away from the areas being treated. Even a slight dusting of pesticides on kids' clothing and toys can be easily transferred to their hands. Once they put their hands near their mouth or eyes, they may experience a range of irritating symptoms from the poison.
Not all pesticides and bug control treatments are safe for children, but there are some options that are safe for use around the home, including a few DIY treatments.
Diatomaceous Earth, or DE as it’s commonly known, is a non-toxic powder mined from the ancient fossils of prehistoric algae. Today, however, homeowners know this substance to be one of the most effective at-home pest killers available for purchase. To use, spread a thick layer of DE in areas of the home where pests most often hide, such as underneath kitchen appliances and in cluttered corners. How does it work? Because this absorbent powder is made of microscopic barbs, when insects walk across it, it punctures their bodies and proceeds to dry them up within several days. While it works on most bugs, it is most effective for roach, ant, silverfish, flea, and spider infestations.
EcoSMART is a favorite among parents because this pest control product is non-toxic, and therefore, safe to use around children. This brand of organic pest control has specific products to use for all kinds of indoor pests, like bed bugs, fleas, ants, and roaches. It kills bugs on contact, meaning less time is required to get a bug infestation under control.
As an all-natural insecticide and bug repellant, Orange Guard can kill a number of pests within a few minutes of contact. This store-bought spray is most effective when sprayed in cracks and around corners to kill any hiding bugs.
Another kid-safe spray, Cedarcide is an inexpensive solution for manageable indoor pest infestations. Best used for controlling mites, ants, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, Cedarcide can be used on pets, humans, and around the home to repel pesky bugs.
A trip to the hardware store isn’t always necessary to kill pests. Both neem oil and garlic oil can be used to control bug infestations. Most notably, aphids, termites, slugs, and ants can be controlled with a DIY garlic spray. To make the garlic spray, crush five cloves of garlic and soak in half a liter of water. After at least six hours, add a few drops of dishwashing soap and add the entire mixture to four liters of water. Transfer to a spray bottle and spray on infected areas.
Neem oil is both a successful bug repellant and insecticide. Ingredients in the oil affect insects’ reproduction abilities, making it much harder for an infestation to occur if used early on. To use, mix two tablespoons of neem oil with one gallon of water. Spray in areas where bugs commonly collect, including floorboards and windowsills, every 1-2 weeks to see the best results.
While these child-friendly pest control solutions are great for minimizing small populations of bugs around your home, a full infestation requires the work of a professional. Our trained team of pest control experts can help you get an indoor bug infestation at bay while keeping your children and pets safe from toxic chemicals. To learn more about our Four Seasons Protection Program, or to schedule an extermination, give your local Aptive Environmental branch a call today.