It is nearly impossible to keep water free from all traces of contaminants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even drinking water “may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants”.
Those “small amounts of contaminants” are no issue for the most of us. Adults in particular are unlikely to be adversely affected by them.
Children are not quite as impervious to contaminants as adults however. As noted by the World Health Organization, children are more vulnerable to environmental risks because they are still developing.
8 Hacks on Safe Drinking Water For Your Kids
To ensure that children are not needlessly exposed to contaminants in the water they consume, parents and guardians can follow the tips outlined below.
1. Never Let Them Drink Directly from the Tap
Tap water may feature some chemical content if the source it originates from is not completely clean. Kids exposed to that chemically-tainted water may fall ill and thus it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid giving them water straight from the tap.
2. Boil Their Water
In situations wherein alternative sources of water are unavailable or perhaps too expensive, boiling tap water before giving it to children is an option parents can consider. Once the water has been boiled properly, the bacteria and viruses that may have been present in it previously are distroyed.
3. Don’t Re-boil Their Water
Once the previously boiled water has been left to sit for too long, there may be some temptation on your part to boil it again to be certain that it is safe to drink. You must avoid doing that though as re-boiled water may end up being worse for your children because its chemical content may be concentrated further.
4. Use Water Filters
To make obtaining clean water easier for you and your kids, you can install a water filter. Water filters can remove some of the impurities that may be floating around in regular tap water. As quoted by World Of Water Filter, “whatever is not filtered, will be filtered by you”. By using a water filter, you will effectively eliminate the need to boil water before giving it to your children.
5. Clean Their Water Bottles Every Day
Bacteria thrive in moist environments and at the end of a day of use, your kid’s water bottle turns into a hotspot for them. Though the water bottle may seem good to go after giving it a cursory sniff, it would still be best to give it a thorough cleaning before giving it to your child again.
6. Replace Their Bottle Caps or Straws Frequently
Following the same logic that applies to water bottles, bottle caps and straws can also turn into hotbeds for bacteria if they are left with traces of water inside of them. Reusable bottle caps and straws will be good to go after being cleaned, but the plastic variants need to be replaced frequently.
7. Use BPA-free or Glass Bottles
BPA, which is also known as bisphenol A, is a chemical that has long been used in the production of certain plastic items. According to the Mayo Clinic, being exposed to it is a concern “because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children”. To avoid those concerns, it is best to use BPA-free plastic bottles or just glass bottles instead.
8. Maintain a Neutral pH Level for Their Drinking Water if Possible
According to Healthline, the pH level of water refers to the amount of electrically charged particles present in it. The site also points out that pure water typically has a pH level of 7, which is considered neutral. You want to provide your children with the cleanest drinking water possible, so keeping its pH level neutral is a good way to ensure that it is safe to consume.
Common Contaminants That Should Be Avoided
Not all the contaminants that flow freely in the water that makes it into people’s homes are harmful. Many of them can be consumed by children with no problem, with no illness emerging as a result.
However, there are also certain contaminants that can pose a greater threat to children and what’s even more concerning is that they are commonly found in water. It’s important that you are aware of these potential contaminants so that you can better safeguard your children from them.
1. Bacteria and Viruses
Among the most common biological contaminants that can be found in water are bacteria and viruses. You probably don’t need me to tell you about how harmful these contaminants can be to your children, but just as a reminder, these are the organisms that are responsible for many common illnesses and they must be avoided.
Fluoride is yet another substance that is almost impossible to avoid because the government adds it to drinking water. In some areas, the fluoride concentration in the water is even greater. Per this article from Mercola, Harvard researchers have observed that children in “high-fluoride areas” had “significantly lower” IQ scores compared to children in low-fluoride areas.
Similar to fluoride, chlorine is added to the public drinking water supply by the government. Chlorine’s purpose is to remove some of the microorganisms in the water. However, as pointed out by this article from Santevia, babies are more sensitive to chlorine and several health problems may arise if they are exposed to that chemical.
Lead has long been recognized as a toxic substance that can cause harm to those who ingest it. Children who are exposed to high levels of lead may die from it, according to the World Health Organization. Even children who manage to survive severe lead poisoning may suffer from behavioral disorders. Exposure to low levels of lead can still negatively impact children by adversely affecting the development of their brain. Lead is not as abundant as many other contaminants, but it is still present in some pipes and containers.
Start Protect Your Kids Now
Ensuring that your children are only consuming safe drinking water is not always easy given how abundant potential contaminants can be. However, if you remain vigilant and follow the tips enumerated above, you can protect your children more effectively and ensure that the water they are drinking is improving their health instead of actively making it worse.