Here are ten things that you can do to prevent your children from being poisoned by pesticides:
- Select food for your children which is less likely to contain pesticide residues
(see also question: “What can consumers do to avoid pesticide residues?”).
- Make sure your children wash their hands before eating.
- Prevent children from playing in areas that might have recently been sprayed with pesticides such as orchards and vegetable fields. Do not let them swim in irrigation canals, because the pesticides used on the crops often end up in the canals.
- If you use an insect repellent to stop mosquitoes from biting, only use chemicals that are labelled for this purpose. Never use bug-spray (e.g. Baygon) or agricultural pesticide on the skin. Don’t use repellents near the mouth or eyes, or on the hands of children.
- Always keep dangerous chemicals such as pesticides in a locked cupboard or on a shelf out of the reach of children. Do not keep agricultural chemicals in the house; some chemicals produce a harmful gas that you cannot smell.
- Never use empty pesticide containers to store water or food. Never transfer dangerous chemicals to containers that were once used for food or drink, such as soft-drink bottles or biscuit tins. Teach your children not to play with empty containers they find outside.
- If you use pesticides in your house (for example, to control mosquitoes), do not spray any area where children are sleeping, eating or playing. Keep children out of the room for at least 20 minutes after spraying.
- Do not place poison baits (used to control cockroaches or rats) in places where young children might find them. Teach older children that these baits are poisonous and should not be touched.
- Talk to your child’s teacher, to find out if the school is taking measures to protect students against the harmful effects of pesticides.
- Take children to the doctor if they complain of headaches, dizziness or nausea after playing in an area that might have recently been sprayed with pesticides.