Reaction-Proofing Your Home Can Give You the Edge in a Custody Case.
Is your home contagious? Are there bugs, bacteria, mites, mold, dander, pollens and allergens in the air, in the cupboards, bathrooms or other nooks and crannies of your house? During the change in seasons, children are particularly susceptible to allergic reactions to these silent “infectors.” If you are a non-custodial parent, you should be especially vigilant that the children are not suffering allergic reactions at your home and returning to the custodial parents with itchy skin, watery eyes, congestion and other symptoms.
The trick is to “reaction-proof” your home. Make your home foolproof against allergic reactions that kids are particularly vulnerable to picking up during these busy times. Disregarding this advice may not only lead to unnecessary discomfort for your kids but it may provide evidence for an opportunistic parent to fight you over custody or visitation rights.
Here are ten steps to take to “reaction-proof” your home:
- Use allergen-proof pillow cases and down-free pillows. Make sure linens are properly washed in hot, soapy water.
- Maintain smart pet grooming and pet cleaning policies. Brush and bathe pets regularly, cleanup pet hairs and store or disposed of unused pet toys. Don’t let pets sleep in your children’s rooms or in their beds.
- If you’re using an artificial Christmas tree or holiday decorations which you’ve kept in storage throughout the year, clean them thorough outside before putting them up indoors. This will remove dust and mold.
- Maintain proper fireplace procedures. Minimize wood burning to avoid unnecessary smoke which can instigate or aggravate breathing problems. Follow fireplace care procedures to avoid back-blowing of dust and ashes into your home.
- Prevent young children from hugging their stuffed animals. Inspect stuffed animals that have been around too long.
- Vacuum when your children are not present, and do so regularly. Replace over-filled vacuum cleaner bags, and inspect your vacuum cleaner to make sure it’s working at its highest capacity.
- No smoking in the house or in the car when children are around. Even better don’t smoke inside or outside when the children are under your care.
- Consider installing a dehumidifier, especially in finished basements, playrooms and dens where children are likely to spend much time. Keep the humidity levels low in the home to discourage the gathering of dust mites and mold.
- Fix all leaky faucets, defective toilets, broken or leaky pipes. Water leakage and water-damaged areas are perfect gathering areas for mold and bacteria.
- Get rid of old chairs, sofas, carpets, drapes and curtains that have seen better days. If these furniture and drapery items are in bad shape and seriously worn, they may be harboring dust mites too.
While this is not a total checklist for making your home healthy and environmentally safe for children, it represents a solid foundation for preventing allergic reactions. By reaction-proofing your premises, you can ensure a healthy living and sleeping sanctuary for your children, while preventing any claims by the other parent that your home is making the kids sick.