How to Help Your Child Combat the Haze

Haze haze go away, little children want to play! With PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) exceeding the hazardous level in the ongoing haze, we’re afraid this is absolutely not a good time for kids to be outdoors unnecessarily.

A PSI reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is moderate, 101-200 is unhealthy, 201-300 is very unhealthy and above 300 is hazardous. Besides keeping kids at home, we have to ensure that the windows and doors are tightly closed. The particles in the haze can pose a health hazard in children, especially those with nose, lung or respiratory problems.

To further protect our children’s health from the horrendous haze, we would like to share some of the following tips from mommies.

Supplements
Haze is air pollution by fine particles and when these particles enter our lungs, the children may suffer from severe health problems. In order to build up our children’s immune system against the haze, we can consider giving them supplements. Supplements such as Sambucol for kids with vitamin C is highly recommended by paediatricians to help support the immune system of the children. Scott’s Emulsion also will help support your child’s immune system, physical growth and development.

Photo: Sambucol

Besides vitamin C, the other essential supplement is probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that live in our intestines and help with our immune system. Recommended probiotic for children is BioGaia probiotic or LactoGG.

 

Photo: BioGaia

All these are safe supplements and are easily available over the counter in Watsons or Guardian Pharmacy. Join the forum discussion on “All About Supplements for Children” here.

Essential Oils 

If you are not keen in starting supplements for your children, some mommies are using essential oil to counter the haze instead. You can either apply the essential oil directly onto the children or use a diffuser to diffuse the essential oil in the bedrooms. An article in The New Paper Classified on 22nd September 2015 recommends using essential oil to beat the haze. Essential oils are made from herbs and plants which are relatively safe for children. There are quite a number of mommies using the Young Living essential oil to boost their children’s daily health. Essential oil like Lavender, Peppermint, Thieves, Purification and Raven are highly recommended to be used for the haze season.

Source: The New Paper Classified

Food
Besides relying on supplements and essential oils, we have to ensure that our children eat well to boost their immune system. Build up your child’s immunity with foods rich in vitamin C by giving them fruits like oranges, guava, strawberries. Vitamin E and Omega-3 is are also important for supporting the immune system. Food like nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and oil from fish such as cod fish and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can cook soups such as green bean soup or chrysanthemum in helping to remove heatiness and to clear the respiratory system. Alternatively, you can brew soup with chinese pear or white fungus with lean pork to nourish the lungs.

Air Purifier 

An air purifier is a must-have at home and in childcare centres when there is haze. According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the main pollutant in the haze afflicting Singapore is PM2.5 (fine particulate matter “equal or smaller than 2.5 microns”). Go for air purifiers built in with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters \capable of removing 99.7% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. Chemical filtration is another thing to look out for when buying an air purifier. There are a lot of different brands, sizes and costs of air purifiers in the market. The more popular brands that mommies are using are Coway, Honeywell, Novita, Philips and Sharp. These brands have a wide variety of air purifiers which will cater to the needs of each family. Check out the discussion on “Any good Air Purifier to recommend?” here.

Wearing Mask

Children are recommended to wear their masks at all times outside when the haze reaches the hazardous level. There are no perfect size mask for the children. The more recommended masks that some mommies are using are the new 3M AIR+ Smart Masks (similar to N95 mask with a filter) which come in small sizes and the Kimberley-Clarke Disney surgical masks that are more suitable to fit the face of the children.

Stay Indoors

The best precaution for children against the haze is to stay indoors. Staying indoors can mean having fun at indoor playgrounds or playing games and doing craft at home with mommies and daddies. You can bring the children to free indoor playgrounds in shopping malls like Changi Airport, Clementi Mall, Ikea, Marina Square, Paragon, etc. If cost is not an issue, then there will be more options of indoor playgrounds where you will need to pay admission fees such as Amazonia, Big City, Cool de Sac, Kiddy Fun, Kidstop, The Polliwogs and the new Playeum which is Singapore’s first Children’s Centre for Creativity where families and children can play, create and be inspired together. If you prefer to stay at home with your children, there are other fun activities which you can engage them in like art and craft, balloons and bubbles, baking and cooking, board games, decorating the rooms and house, planting and playing with playdough.

Photo: The Polliwogs

 

Most importantly, the children must drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Try to cut down on their physical activities too. Lastly, always stay in air-conditioned places, wherever possible. All the mommies just hope that this haze will blow over soon and the children can be back at their normal outdoor activities. Share your sentiments on the haze in the forum topic on“Hazy Situation” here.

 

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