Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Children's Environmental Health


Prevention Tips

Many environmental hazards and contaminants can affect your child's health. The Tracking Network does not cover every possible concern, but it does provide information and data about some of the most common conditions that affect children's health. How the environment may affect your family's health is unclear, but you can do some things to protect yourself and your family. Here are a few prevention tips:

Asthma Prevention

Asthma has no cure, but it can be controlled. The majority of problems associated with asthma, such as taking your child to the hospital, can be prevented if asthma is managed properly. Here are some asthma prevention tips:

  • Control your child's exposure to known asthma triggers,
  • Make sure your child takes his or her medicine as prescribed. Continue to monitor any signs or symptoms of the disease, and
  • Educate yourself on ways you can control your child's asthma.

The most effective ways of preventing asthma at home are decreasing dust, cleaning up mold and controlling pet dander. Learn more from CDC's Asthma Control Program.

People can also take steps to help protect their health from air pollution. They should:

  • Know how sensitive your child is to air pollution,
  • Know when and where air pollution may be bad,
  • Plan activities when and where pollution levels are lower, using the Air Quality Index to guide planning,
  • Change your child's activity level,
  • Keep your child's quick-relief medicine on hand when they are active outdoors, and
  • Follow an asthma self-management plan with the help of their health care provider.

Cancer Prevention

Cancer is difficult to prevent because very little is known about what causes childhood cancers. Rare genetic conditions have been known to cause cancer to develop in children. Ask your doctor or your child's pediatrician for specific health recommendations. Learn more about preventing childhood cancer.

  Top of Page

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

It is important to prevent your child from being exposed to lead. Lead poisoning can make your child sick and even cause developmental problems. Here are some tips to keep your child safe from lead exposure:

  • Ask a doctor to test your child if you are concerned about him or her being exposed to lead.
  • Talk to your state or local health department about testing paint and dust from your home for lead if you live in a house or apartment built before 1978, especially if young children live with you or visit you.
  • Damp-mop floors, damp-wipe surfaces, and frequently wash your child's hands, pacifiers, and toys to reduce exposure to lead.
  • Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula. Hot water is more likely than cold water to contain higher levels of lead, and most of the lead in household water usually comes from plumbing in the house, not from the local water supply.
  • Avoid using home remedies (such as azarcon, greta, and pay-loo-ah) and cosmetics (such as kohl and alkohl) that contain lead.
  • Take basic steps to decrease your exposure to lead if you remodel buildings built before 1978 or if your work or hobbies involve working with lead-based products. For example, shower and change clothes after finishing the task.

Read more about preventing childhood lead poisoning.

  Top of Page

Developmental Disabilities Prevention

For many developmental disabilities, there are no actions to recommend for prevention. However, some developmental disabilities can be prevented or lessened by preventing harmful exposures and detecting and treating developmental problems early. Following are some general tips for preventing several developmental disabilities.

  • Avoid workplace hazards if you are pregnant.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol if you are pregnant.
  • Learn about safe fish eating recommendations for women who might become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children.
  • Remove or prevent contact with household sources of lead, such as lead based paint and lead contaminated dust. Make sure your child gets all the regular childhood vaccines.
  • Keep your child away from high noise levels, such as very loud toys.
  • Read more about having a healthy pregnancy. Read more about protecting children from environmental risks.
  Top of Page

Monitor Child Development

From birth throughout childhood, children are constantly learning and growing. One way to support positive development is to monitor your child's developmental milestones - how they play, learn, speak and act. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a developmental problem. Recognizing and treating a problem early can help a child reach his or her full potential. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you notice that your child is not reaching common milestones. Read more about developmental milestones and positive parenting tips.

 Top of Page