While most air fresheners are safe for regular human use, they do occasionally cause allergic reactions – especially for people with a risk of asthma. Babies are even more at risk due to their inability to get themselves away from the air freshener, or to communicate that there’s a problem. There are three important guidelines that will help you find an air freshener that is good for your baby:
First, you should avoid adding fragrances to your house if possible. Instead, focus on removing bad odors so that only clean, scentless air remains. By avoiding adding new fragrances, you can avoid allergic reactions in your baby entirely. I’ll show you some good deodorizer options down below.
Second, if you must add a new fragrance, only do so by using all-natural ingredients such as scented oils that are derived from plants. These natural ingredients have a lower risk of causing damage to your baby. I’ll recommend my favorite natural ingredients for adding scents to your home later in this article.
Third, even when using an all-natural product, you should observe your baby for allergic reactions or strange behavior that is a reaction to the new scent in the room. If your baby has a history of asthma, you should watch even more closely, as asthmatics are more at risk than the average person.
Let me explain these issues below, and then I’ll show you my recommended air fresheners for using around babies.
The Problem With Using Air Fresheners Around Babies
The biggest problem with using an air freshener near your baby is that the baby can’t communicate to you effectively if he has a problem with the new scent.
The baby also can’t get up and leave the room if he is having an allergic reaction, or even if he just doesn’t like the scent.
Although air fresheners are not very dangerous for the average person, it is somewhat common for very strong scents coming from air fresheners to cause headaches or allergies in normal human adults. Babies are even more sensitive and thus require much more caution when adding a new scent to their immediate environment.
Phthalates And Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) – Will They Hurt Your Baby?
Phthalates are a type of synthetic chemical that is added to many non-natural air fresheners in order to help their scent spread out more effectively throughout the room.
While most people are unharmed by phthalates, there have been several studies that have found that in high concentrations, they can cause headaches and allergic symptoms in human adults. Like any scented product, air fresheners that use synthetic chemicals can also trigger asthmatic reactions in some people, which is probably their most dangerous symptom.
For this reason, unnatural chemical air fresheners should probably be avoided entirely for use around babies.
About Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
The media really plays up volatile organic compounds as some sort of horrible danger. They do this because it’s very easy to exploit fear, and the word “volatile” makes it sound dangerous.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
When an organic compound is “volatile”, that just means that it disperses into the air very easily as a gas. In other words, the very air you breathe would also be called “volatile” according to this use of the word.
A “volatile organic compound” is literally just any any gaseous substance that spreads out through the air easily, and is a naturally-occurring substance. In the context of talking about air fresheners, we are specifically discussing VOC’s that have a scent.
The smell of fresh flowers or the smell of a pine tree would be example of volatile organic compounds. That doesn’t sound so dangerous now, does it?
The only concern when using VOC’s around humans or babies is that some people can still have allergic reactions to natural substances. The likelihood of this is increased when the scent is extra strong. And for people who are at risk of asthma attacks, there is real danger that an allergic reaction to VOC’s could significantly harm them.
To summarize: most VOC’s are not dangerous to most humans, but some VOC’s might be dangerous to some humans. Therefore, when using a natural air freshener around your baby, watch diligently for negative reactions in the child.
Signs Your Baby Doesn’t Like Your Air Freshener
Most of these signs are common sense. If your baby doesn’t like your air freshener, or has an allergic or asthmatic reaction to it, that is a sign you have chosen a poor fragrance for your baby’s room – or that your chosen fragrance is too strong.
First, if your baby cries more after you introduce the scent, they may dislike it.
Secondly, if your baby tries to leave the room or avoid the area with the new scent, they probably don’t like it.
Third, if your baby begins having allergy symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, wheezing, or teary eyes, he may be allergic to the fragrance you have chosen. Remove the air freshener and see if the symptoms go away.
Your 100% Safe Odor-Removal Options For Using With Babies
The safest option to use around babies is an air freshener that just sucks up odor particles, leaving clean fresh air in their place. There are a few good products made just for this.
The first product I recommend is a bag of activated carbon. These bags are porous and allow odor particles to seep into them. There, the carbon inside “grabs” the odor particle, sucking it out of the air. Leaving one of these bags in a room helps to catch odors that drift around the room, reducing the strength of the bad odors overall.
The second product I recommend is a simple air purifier fan with a carbon filter. It uses the same activated carbon as the bags do, but circulates much more air, meaning that it will remove odors from any room much more effectively.
And finally, I also recommend good old baking soda. No, not for putting all over your baby. It’s for the diaper bin. Sprinkle some of this in the diaper pail and it will absorb bad odors that linger in it, which prevents them from escaping and stinking up your home.
Check out my recommended odor-absorbing products here:
- Odor-absorbing Bag Of Activated Carbon – Makes a good decorative throw pillow – Absorbs odors that drift around the room, leaving it smelling clean – Click here to view.
- Hanging Pyramid Sack Of Activated Carbon – Same as above, but looks even more cute – Click here to view.
- Standing Air Purifier– Circulates lots of air through a filter that will remove odor particles – Must be used with activated carbon filter (listed next) – Click here to view.
- Activated Carbon Filter– This filter will absorb odor particles that are too small to be caught by a normal filter – Click here to view.
- Baking Soda – Sprinkle this in your baby’s diaper pail to absorb diaper odors, catching them before they stink up the room – Click here to view.
Your Mostly-Safe Fragrance Options For Using With Babies
If you absolutely must introduce a new fragrance into your home, then I recommend doing so with scented essential oils. These oils are created naturally from plant materials and thus do not produce phthalates, the semi-dangerous chemicals that I discussed above.
Scented oils do produce Volatile Organic Compounds but, as I explained earlier, these are only dangerous if your baby has an allergic or asthmatic reaction to a specific scent.
If your baby has no allergies, then there is a pretty good chance there will be no problem using scented oils around him. I do still recommend keeping the fragrance to a light scent instead of a strong one, since almost anyone can have allergic reactions to a very strong scent.
I recommend using an essential oil diffuser for prolonged fragrance. Or, using an essential oil spray bottle for an immediate, short-term scented boost to any room in the house.
Here’s my favorite, all-natural scented oil products for adding fragrance to your home:
- Electronic Scented Oil Diffuser – Produces an ongoing fragrance in your home – Comes with various adjustable settings – Click here to view.
- Essential Oil 6-scent Value Pack – A cheap scented oil starter kit with 6 different scents to choose from – Click here to view.
- Flower Power Scented Oil Spray Bottles – Great for giving a room a quick boost of natural scent – Comes with 3 different scents – Click here to view.