With colorful spring buds just starting to bloom, it’s a perfect time to start making your spring cleaning plans. As you compile your To Do lists and strategize larger projects, don’t forget these important health and safety tips:
Spring Cleaning: Health and Safety Tips
New Baby Cleaning Kits
If you and your partner are brand new parents, spring is the perfect time to update your cleaning supplies to more baby-friendly alternatives that are non-toxic, eco-friendly, free of dangerous chemicals, and totally safe to use on your baby’s own equipment and bathing areas. Look for labels that say “free and clear” on them as well as brands that highlight non-toxic, natural, and biodegradable ingredients (“not tested on animals” is good too).
While “stop, drop, and roll” may have been the house mantra when your small kids were going through fire safety week at school, it’s easy to let fire preparedness slip through your fingers as a busy parent. Take advantage of this spring cleaning time to:
Check smoke detector and CO2 detector batteries, test the alarms
Make sure your fire extinguisher is handy, charged, and not expired
Keep the area around your dryer free of things that could burn like clothes, lint, cleaning supplies, boxes, etc.
Ensure that electrical cords and extension cords are not running under carpets or across doorways
Remove fire starters from the garage like stored newspapers
Clear dead vegetation and outdoor debris away from the house
Check your barbecue grill for cracks or leaks in the propane hose (if applicable) and make sure it is outside and not sitting under an overhang or balcony
You might give the bathroom a full makeover from the corners of the bathtub to the hair bunnies on the floor, but make sure you don’t forget about the medicine cabinet. It’s critical to both organize its contents as well as safely dispose of expired medicines and those that are no longer in use. Follow these quick tips:
Check expiration dates on all your over-the-counter meds – recycle empty boxes and plastic bottles and containers. Make sure to scratch out or remove any personal information that may be listed on a prescription label.
Safely dispose of pills and liquid medicines according to the instructions on the bottle. If there are none, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has handy guidelines plus info about drug take-back programs where you can simply hand old prescriptions over to law enforcement agencies who take care of their proper disposal. If getting rid of medicine at home, remember to:
Empty the medicine into a resealable bag (add water and a little dish soap to dissolve pills)
Add absorbing materials like cat litter, grounds from that morning’s coffee, or dirt
Reseal the bag and throw out with your regular trash
Assess your first aid kit and make sure it is fully stocked with general first aid items like anti-bacterial wipes, band-aids, sterile gauze, paper tape, elastic bandages, over-the-counter pain relievers, tweezers, scissors, anti-itch and antibiotic cream, safety pins, wound solution, and an instant cold compress.
Organize a home health box with helpful equipment and health tools you have for your family, i.e. forehead and ear thermometer, Vicks BabyRub, stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, nasal aspirator, soft-tip medicine dispenser, etc.
Has your family’s “office space” or computer desk gotten out of hand? It’s difficult to cram all the equipment you need like a monitor, CPU, printer, and associated cables and cords into one small space. Technology can be a big health culprit, however, especially if your desk station isn’t set up properly. Make sure to:
Avoid neck and back strain by raising your monitor up to eye level (even simply by stacking it on top of a few books)
Adjust your computer chair so that your arms rest at a 90-degree angle with the desk when typing on the keyboard
Limit blue light exposure (which has been linked to poor sleep) by switching on your computer’s “Night shift” or “Night light” settings.
Don’t forget, spring cleaning can be a fun family affair, especially if your baby has older siblings who like to help out. Experts recommend tackling one room at a time and being mindful about what you throw away – can some of it be recycled or donated instead? And try not to overdo it. New parents, especially, are short on sleep and a sore back from a day of lifting and moving during your spring cleaning won’t help.