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The Air You Breathe Matters – Your Family and Nose will Thank You
author: Lauren Weigel
It’s a little after 10pm, and I head up the stairs to check on my daughter for the second time this evening. As I open her door and walk in, I am overcome by an unpleasant stench. She will be two years old next month and she is still wearing diapers.
I remember, before she was born, all of the time that we spent reading online blogs for new parents about the must-have baby products. We spent a significant amount of time selecting the perfect products, the “right products” to ensure her safety, comfort, and security during the most formative years. Two blankets - just in case the first one wasn’t doing its job; a crib that had to be economical enough because she would only use it for two years, but also safe enough because she would spend more than 50% of her time in it; a mattress that had to have enough online reviews to provide us with the peace of mind that she would sleep safely and comfortably; and a dresser that had to be securely fastened to the wall in case she gets out of her crib and tries to ascend it, topped with the changing pad that uses a seat-belt style apparatus and foam grips so she doesn’t fall off in the case of a spastic diaper changing episode – we haven’t had one of those yet, by the way.
An “essential item” that came up over and over again was the sealed diaper pail. The product promises to store dirty diapers and lock the stench in so it can’t escape into your baby’s beautiful nursery. The importance of the product was reinforced by our friends with babies who were giving us expert tips on how to survive the diaper changing years. So, we bought one – well, actually we put it on our list and it was gifted to us by a friend. And, overall, it does a pretty good job. I would recommend it; however, I don’t think there is anything that can completely contain the smell of a toddler’s diaper.
In fact, as I stand in the doorway, I notice the smell of dirty diapers. It’s there and the air freshener is NOT masking it. In addition to the smell, the air seems humid and damp. That’s not a good sign because that means mold and mildew could be growing in places I can’t see. Then I wonder what else is lurking in the air. I smell wipes, ointments, air fresheners, and “new product” smell from all her toys and furniture. The EPA says the air in your home can be up to 5 times worse than the air outside. It seems like mine might be close to that. I look at the windows and think I should open the window to get some fresh air in the room, but it’s too cold. Even if it was warm outside, I can’t leave a toddler in a room alone with an open window – not during the “climb-out-of-the crib” phase.
It’s in these moments that I realize that we overlooked a very important aspect of selecting the things that would provide our daughter with the safe and healthy environment we intended to build. In fact, it’s arguably, one of the most important things - the air she breathes matters. As adults, we take more than 25,000 breaths per day; babies take more than two times that many breaths. After all of the searching for the “right products” with the safety devices that would protect her in the unlikely case that something happened, did we do anything to address the safety of the air she breathes? OK – it is certain that she will eat every day and we do try to make good food choices as often as we can. But is there something we could be doing to make sure that every breath she takes is a breath of fresh air? Is it possible to provide continuous clean air without needing to rely on the outside temperature to be just right and for pollen counts in be within an acceptable range?
The answer is – yes. It is possible to remove dirty, polluted air and bring in fresh, filtered air. A ventilation fan (bath fan) can get the smelly, dirty air out of the room and is energy efficient enough to be run 24/7. And no, it doesn’t have to sound like a jet engine. A quiet decorative or hidden fan – such as a recessed light fan – can add light and ventilation to a nursery without anyone knowing it’s there, including the baby. Better yet, a fan with a bacteria, mold, and mildew fighting light, like Surface Shield, can provide even better protection. Couple proper ventilation with a Fresh Air System – a system that brings fresh, filtered air into the home – and you can be sure your home will have quality indoor air.
Your family, and your nose, will thank you.
Lauren Weigel is Broan-Nutone’s Senior Director of Product for North America