Are Plug-In Air Fresheners Safe For Babies? A Friendly Guide to Understanding the Risks

Plug-in air fresheners harm babies by affecting their health and being unsafe. Air fresheners of any kind include harmful chemicals that a baby shouldn’t breathe in, which may cause several respiratory issues and developmental delays. A baby’s lungs are still developing, and strong smells and chemicals can hinder respiratory development. Plug-ins are also unsafe for toddlers as they might pull them, accidentally insert their fingers in the socket out of curiosity, or even lick the freshener. Instead, you can make your own air freshener out of natural ingredients and strive to keep your house smelling fresh in various other ways.

Using air fresheners in a house with babies may seem like a good idea to keep the space smelling fresh. However, it’s important to consider the potential harm they can cause to your baby’s health.

Air fresheners, including plug-ins, contain harmful chemicals that babies shouldn’t breathe in, as they may lead to respiratory issues and developmental delays.

Additionally, the curiosity of toddlers may lead them to tamper with plug-in air fresheners, posing a safety risk.

Creating a natural air freshener and exploring alternative methods to keep your home smelling pleasant can be a safer choice for your baby’s well-being.

You want your baby to sleep peacefully in an odor-free nursery, and using natural methods can help achieve that while ensuring a safe environment for your little one.

Are air fresheners needed around babies?

As a new parent, you may wonder if air fresheners are necessary for your baby’s nursery.

While it’s true that babies can produce strong odors, it’s important to consider the safety of using air fresheners around them.

Air fresheners, such as sprays and plug-ins, can emit harmful chemicals that may irritate your baby’s respiratory system and cause other health issues.

Instead of using air fresheners, consider natural alternatives such as opening windows, using baking soda, or using essential oils.

If you must use an air freshener, opt for a natural and non-toxic option such as Air Wick Essential Mist. Always read the label and use air fresheners in moderation.

Are air fresheners safe for babies to breathe?

Your baby’s health is of utmost importance to you, and you want to make sure that they are breathing in clean and fresh air. While air fresheners may seem like a quick fix to eliminate unpleasant odors in your home, they may not be safe for your baby to inhale.

An infant boy is on his tummy playing with blocks in the living room

Air fresheners contain chemicals such as phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to your baby’s health. Phthalates, in particular, can damage the liver and lead to developmental delays in babies.

Plug-in air fresheners are one of the most common types of air fresheners used in homes. However, many of these plug-ins contain chemicals that can be toxic to both people and pets. For babies, whose lungs are still developing, these chemicals can be even more harmful.

Aerosol sprays, another type of air freshener, contain chemicals such as benzene, ethanol, diethyl phthalate, or terpene. These chemicals can cause headaches, dizziness, neurological damage, blood disorders, reproductive problems, developmental disorders, respiratory issues, and irritations.

When you use air fresheners indoors where your baby is present, the chemicals emitted can lead to potential health issues such as sensory irritation, respiratory symptoms, and dysfunction of the lungs.

It’s important to note that babies are still in the developmental stage, and their respiratory system is still developing. They need to be in a natural environment surrounded by fresh air free of pollution. This includes not using an air freshener or scented candle.

A plug-in air freshener can react with ozone to produce secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde, secondary organic aerosol (SOA), oxidative products, and ultrafine particles. All of these can lead to damaging the central nervous system and alter hormone levels.

To ensure that your baby is breathing in clean and fresh air, it’s best to avoid using air fresheners altogether. Instead, you can try natural alternatives such as opening windows, using houseplants, or using baking soda to absorb odors.

In summary, air fresheners may not be safe for your baby to breathe in. They contain chemicals that can be harmful to your baby’s health and can lead to potential health issues. It’s best to avoid using air fresheners and opt for natural alternatives to ensure that your baby is breathing in clean and fresh air.

Why are plug-in air fresheners unsafe for babies?

Using plug-in air fresheners around babies can be unsafe due to the presence of harmful chemicals such as phthalates, benzene, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are released into the air and can cause indoor air pollution, leading to headaches, dizziness, and even coughing.

Plug-in air fresheners also contain fragrances that can trigger allergies and asthma in babies and can be especially harmful to those with respiratory issues.

In addition, plug-in air fresheners can emit ozone and secondary pollutants, which can be harmful to the environment and human health.

Furthermore, plug-in air fresheners are a source of endocrine disruptors that can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones in the body.

This can be especially harmful to babies, whose bodies are still developing.

It is also worth noting that toddlers can easily reach and remove plug-in air fresheners, which can lead to accidents and harm. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid using plug-in air fresheners around babies and toddlers to ensure their safety.

How to avoid using plug-in air fresheners?

If you have a little one in the house, you want to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

While using a plug-in air freshener is not a good thing to do due to safety concerns and its harmful impact on your baby’s health, you can do various things to keep your house smelling good.

1. Throw away dirty diapers immediately

A dad is changing his infant baby's diaper

Of course, you know you need to throw away dirty diapers, but sometimes what happens is that you keep the diapers collected somewhere and get busy with other things. But it would be best if you threw away the diapers immediately.

While hundreds of things are on your to-do list, one basic trick to prevent the smell from accumulating in your house is to neatly wrap up the diaper and throw it in the dustbin.

It’s better to have a different bin for all the dirty diapers and throw it out each morning.

Please don’t keep the bin full for more than one day; otherwise, it will start smelling.

2. Open the windows

Your nursery should be open and wide with windows in it. Having a sun-facing nursery is necessary because you wouldn’t want your baby to stay in a room that doesn’t get plenty of sunshine.

It would also smell moldy and affect your baby’s health. At least once a day, open the windows to allow ventilation, removing all kinds of smells while allowing fresh air.

If you think the air is too cold outside, keep your little one in another room while you ventilate their room.

3. Change the sheets

Mom is about to do laundry while holding her infant baby

Keeping the same sheet on your little one’s crib can also start smelling. Do change the sheets at regular intervals.

If your baby has spilled something, immediately change the sheets and air out the mattress in the sun if possible. Sunlight acts as a natural bacterial killer.

4. Clean out your baby’s room daily

Keeping your baby’s nursery clean is much needed to prevent diseases and bacteria from developing.

So dust around the nursery, and clean the nooks and corners as well. You can wipe the furniture clean with a fresh-smelling cloth.

Don’t let the empty baby’s bottle accumulate in the nursery. Take the bottles and wash them out or at least soak them to avoid that milk smell in the bottle.

5. Change diaper elsewhere

Sometimes when you keep changing the dirty diapers in the nursery, the smell can still remain.

One trick to avoid that is changing the rooms between changing diapers.

After a couple of weeks, you can change diapers in another room; this way, the dirty diapers smell won’t remain in the nursery.

6. Use a homemade air freshener

Even after all this, if you still want that fresh smell, why not just make your air freshener?

Instead of that fake perfumy smell, you can get the natural ingredients and make your DIY air freshener.

This would also not affect your little one’s health; you can use it as often as you want without thinking about how your baby is affected.

Mainly they include water, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils. With essential oils, you can experiment with different smells, such as lavender, lemon, grapefruit, jasmine, etc.


Are air fresheners okay around babies?

It’s best to avoid using air fresheners around babies as they contain harmful chemicals that can irritate their respiratory system and cause health issues.

A study found that babies who were frequently exposed to aerosols were one-fifth more likely to suffer from stomach disorders, diarrhea, and cramps. 

Prolonged exposure increases the risk of earaches and stomach aches in newborn babies. Therefore, it’s better to keep your baby’s environment as natural as possible and avoid using any scented material around them.

How can I make my house smell good with kids?

Keeping the house odor-free is essential, especially with kids around. Here are a few tips to make your house smell good:

– Keep your windows open to let in fresh air and sunlight. If your house is sunlight-facing, remove curtains to let in the morning sunshine.
– Change your bedsheets every 15 days or, if you wish, then 10 days.
– Don’t consume food in bedrooms and eat or drink only in the dining room.
– Dust around your room and the entire house every 3-4 days, and you’ll be surprised by how dirty things get.
– Air out your comforter every 15 days in the sun to let out any smells trapped in it.
– Try using a homemade air freshener. You can mix essential oils with water and spray it around the house.
– Get houseplants to keep the air flowing. Some plants have air-purifying properties, such as aloe vera, bamboo palm, and spider plants.
– You can also get fresh flowers every now and then if it fits your budget.

What can I use to absorb bad smells in a house?

If you’re looking for natural ways to absorb bad smells in your house, try using coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, baking soda, and oats.

Keep them in a bowl and leave them in the room. You could also try making an air freshener out of these ingredients by yourself. 

You can also use activated charcoal to absorb bad smells. Activated charcoal is a natural odor absorber that is safe to use around kids.

Are diffusers okay around newborns?

It’s not safe to use diffusers around newborns who haven’t turned six months old. Even after that, it’s best to avoid using any scented material around babies since their lungs are still developing.

A study found that babies who were frequently exposed to aerosols were one-fifth more likely to suffer from stomach disorders, diarrhea, and cramps. 

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air fresheners can cause respiratory problems in newborns.

Therefore, it’s better to keep your baby’s environment as natural as possible and avoid using any scented material around them.


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As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

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