Using Pesticides: How to Keep Your Kids and Pets Safe
Updated: May 25, 2022
Let’s face it: No one wants pests in their home, whether they're bed bugs, mites, fleas, ticks, mites or other unwelcome critters. The minute we see a flea bite or a tick bite, we freak out...rightfully so! That’s why we buy pesticides, rodent traps, aerosol sprays and when those fail us, we hire exterminators.
However, the biggest problem may not be the bugs, per se, but the disorganized, hit-or-miss way most of us deal with these infestation problems. In particular, how we handle the safety issues that arise when pest control products can be near our kids or pets.
Pesticides Can Be a Problem
Those of us with children know only too well how important it is to keep them safe, which is why we ‘child-proof’ our houses early in the game: Locks on the kitchen sink cabinets to keep tiny hands away from drain cleaners and other toxic materials, safety caps on drugs and medications that sit in bathroom cabinets and bedside drawers, and so on.
And we all know what can happen if we don’t take such precautions.
However ̶ and this is hard to say because we like to think of ourselves as responsible, caring parents ̶ we often don’t think twice about laying mouse traps in the kitchen or spraying pesticides around the base of the toilet.
According to David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany in Rensselaer, New York, “Most people think that pesticides sprayed under their counters or in one spot in the backyard stay where you put them." They don’t, Dr. Carpenter goes on to explain: "Even at low levels, chronic exposure can add up to adverse health effects in the long term," says Dr. Carpenter. "And the stakes are especially high for little kids."
As long ago as 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for the government to develop more explicit warning labels on pesticide products and introduce new, greatly enhanced guidelines for preventing children's exposure to them. “Beyond acute poisoning,” says the report, “the influences of low-level exposures on child health are of increasing concern.”
As a matter of fact, virtually all pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides and similar products incorporate chemicals that can pose health risks to your children ̶ and you!
That said, we should also point out the small amounts of pest control substances we usually apply shouldn’t pose a significant risk to pets and adults.
But, you should still take steps to ensure that pets and children are not unnecessarily exposed to these chemicals.
How to Protect Your Children and Pets from Chemicals
The steps you can take to protect your children and pets from the effects of harmful chemicals are really only common sense. For starters, don’t use illegal pesticides ̶ ever!
This might seem like a ‘no-brainer,’ but the fact is that there are quite a few illegal pesticides on the market and unless you’re a pest control specialist ̶ or a chemist ̶ it’s very difficult to tell the difference between legal and illegal compounds. This is particularly true of products available online. Unless they come from an established, reputable manufacturer, avoid them. Alas, some unsavory pest control companies also use these illegal compounds, so you need to do your homework when selecting a pest control product.
Here are some tips for how to choose a pesticide:
Choose the least toxic pesticide Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get confused when reading the ingredients labels on pesticides. If you go to a manufacturer’s website for information, make sure that the company in question is well-established and reputable. Alternatively, you can contact a reliable, trusted pest control company for information. Many will have this sort of data on their web sites and most are happy to tell you what you need to know.
Follow the product instructions carefully It is vital that, whatever product you ultimately select, you read the label carefully and follow application instructions exactly. Don’t deviate from the manufacturer’s directions and do not, on any account, mix the pesticide with other, similar products. Combining chemicals can result in all sorts of unfortunate and unwelcome results, including noxious or lethal fumes, even explosions!
Protect all food If you are treating areas in which food is stored or cooked ̶ kitchen, pantries, cabinets, etc ̶ make sure that all foods are removed and stored elsewhere, preferably in the refrigerator. If you happen to be using pesticides in spray form never, ever, let the spray come into contact with food items. And this includes pet food, which is often in bowls on the floor.
Take great care when storing pesticides Like other chemicals, as well as detergents and household cleaning supplies, be sure to store any pesticides in a safe place that’s inaccessible to pets or children. (Read more about disinfectants and cleaning supplies.) You should always store pesticides in their original containers ̶ never another receptacle. And never, ever, store pesticides near cooking utensils or food.
With the foregoing in mind, how does Sterifab figure into our pesticide equation?
For starters, it works. It's an exceptionally potent means of eliminating virtually any insect ̶ including the most common types of home invaders, such as bed bugs, lice, ticks, fleas and more. Can you spray it on pets or people? Definitely not! But, as one of the rare nonresidual products on the market, it's a great choice for families, making it one of the best pesticides to use. In fact, it can be used anywhere and on nearly every surface, except for cooking utensils and living creatures.
Seal of Approval from the EPA
Also keep in mind that, unlike the phony and illegals pesticides that are freely available, Sterifab is an EPA registered product. It is labeled for application on mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets and many other inanimate objects. Special note: If a product label does not specifically mention these, it is a violation of federal law to apply them.
Sterifab is a great choice of pesticide when other products are not suitable. It can be sprayed directly on furniture, lockers, cabinets, drawers, carpets, car interiors, animal bedding/cages, beds, bus seats/interiors, hospital waiting room areas, doctors' offices, police cars, prisons/holding cells, garbage bins, etc.
There are no other products registered with the U.S EPA that can make these claims.