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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Protecting Kids From Mold

Mar 31, 2024 06:30AM ● By Julie Hurst-Nicoll

Mold exposure can significantly threaten the health of babies and young children with developing immune systems and respiratory systems. Here is a look at some of the ways that youngsters can be affected, as well as suggested prevention and mitigation strategies.

Respiratory Issues

Because of their faster breathing rates and developing respiratory systems, babies are particularly vulnerable to the effects of mold exposure. Inhaling airborne mold spores can irritate their airways, leading to coughing, wheezing and congestion. Their proximity to the floor, where spores settle, can exacerbate the risk, potentially leading to respiratory or chronic infections.

Allergic Reactions

The Mayo Clinic reports that mold spores can trigger allergic reactions in babies, manifesting as skin rashes, itching, watery eyes, runny noses and sneezing. In addition to causing discomfort, these symptoms may also interfere with sleep and overall well-being.

Increased Risk of Infections

Mold spores contribute to indoor air pollution, increasing the risk of stressing a baby’s immune system. Spores settling on the surface of toys, bedding and furniture can lead to skin infections or other health issues if ingested or even touched.

Neurological Effects

Research suggests a potential link between mold exposure and neurological effects in infants that are exposed to mycotoxin, a byproduct of some molds. A 2011 study published in PubMed Central noted that prolonged exposure may impact cognitive development and behavior in susceptible individuals. Another PubMed Central study published in 2017 indicates a possible link between early-life mold exposure and an increased risk of respiratory conditions later in life.

Exacerbation of Existing Conditions

Babies with preexisting health conditions may be more vulnerable to mold exposure, complicating illness management, worsening symptoms, or leading to chronic infections.

Prevention and Mitigation

It is crucial for parents and caregivers to be vigilant in preventing mold growth in areas where babies spend significant time. This includes addressing moisture issues, improving ventilation, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Monitoring humidity is essential because some mold species thrive in high humidity.

If mold is suspected or detected in the home, it is advisable to consult with a professional remediation specialist to ensure thorough and safe removal, particularly as some molds produce mycotoxins which can pose more severe health risks.

By taking proactive measures to minimize mold and mycotoxin exposure, babies can be protected from potential health risks associated with mold contamination. Vigilance, regular maintenance and seeking professional assistance when needed are key to ensuring a safe and healthy environment for infants during a crucial stage of development.

Julie Hurst-Nicoll is the president of American Mold Experts SWFL, located at 999 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., Ste. 200, in Naples. For appointments and more information, call 239-766-8171 or visit