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Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of poor indoor climate because their lungs and brains are not yet fully developed.

Kids’ rooms are often the worst places to be for air pollution. As well as toxic particles from sources around the home, the many toys and electronic appliances found in so many children’s rooms can also be responsible for potentially harmful emissions. A recent Danish survey found that around half of the participating families had higher than recommended night-time concentrations of CO2 in kids’ rooms, and that around every fourth room had three times the recommended maximum CO2 levels.  The indoor air can be up to 5 times worse than outdoor air, yet 7 out of 10 Canadians are unaware.


Air pollution and high CO2 levels can lead to problems like headaches, troubled sleep and fatigue through to difficulty concentrating. Poor indoor climate can be particularly hard on children due to the fact that they are still growing and they breathe faster than adults.  


Here are some simple ways to reduce CO2 levels and improve the indoor climate in your children’s rooms.


Air out with more than one window

The contents of indoor air include gases, particles, biological waste and water vapour, which are all potential health hazards. It is recommended that you air out your home three to four times a day for at least 10 minutes at a time. Air out your children’s bedroom in the morning, when they are playing and before they go to sleep at night.


Plastic’s not always fantastic

When plastics are warmed up they can give off toxic fumes, so make sure your children’s plastic toys are not in the way of direct sunlight. Also, don’t leave plastic objects on the floor if you have floor heating installed. Following EU regulations, you should remove any pre-2007 plastic toys as they have been found to contain banned chemicals. If room allows, you could consider encouraging your children to play in a different room to their bedroom. This will help to reduce the amount of potentially harmful pollutants in the air. The addition of certain plants in a room can also improve indoor climate, as they help to clear out excess CO2.


Limit damp, fight the mites

Some Canadians will dry their clothes indoors thinking they are saving energy, but it’s a bad habit. Drying clothes indoors gives off moisture, which can lead to harmful mould and damp in the home, so try dry your clothes outdoors if you can. For the same reasons, make sure your bathroom is properly ventilated. Also, dust mites love beds so change the sheets regularly. Consider changing mattresses and pillows, too, if you’ve had them for a long time. A typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside, and 10% of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. 


As well as new daily routines, it is also important to seize chances to make fundamental changes to your home’s indoor climate. We spend 90% of our time indoors and 2/3 of that time spent in our homes, so it is an ideal place to start improving your life indoors.


Improve your existing space

Think about how you can ‘bring the outside in.’ As most of us live in urban environments, to some extent we have alienated ourselves from nature. Even a step as small as adding some potted plants – which are known to purify air – can improve your indoor environment. In addition, think of how you could create a better view to the outside through smart use of windows and doors.

Grow your space the right way

Adding extra square metres to your home is a great way to improve your indoor life. Consider an attic renovation or extension and prioritize solutions that bring in fresh air and daylight.

Moving home

When you’re looking for a new home, bear in mind that older properties might have issues that will impact your indoor climate. For example, make sure you check that all windows can be fully opened and are functional, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Also, when you get to the redecorating stage, choose a lighter paint colour. These will create mirrored surfaces that will reflect light better in your home.


Science shows that classrooms that are well lit with daylight make for more effective learning than those that are poorly lit. There is no reason to doubt that these benefits also apply in the home and workplace.


There are many ways to get better air and daylight into your home. Some are quick and easy, others take more time but will give you solid long-term improvements.