Summer is full of outdoor activities and memorable adventures. However, it's not just about fun in the sun. It's also a time when our children are more exposed to various environmental toxins, like chlorine from swimming pools and chemicals in sunscreens or insect repellants.

These toxins can add a significant load to their bodies, exacerbating symptoms and contributing to inflammation, which can lead to a variety of health issues.

Today, we're shedding light on this important topic and uncovering the sneaky toxins that can dampen your kids' summer fun.

I'll share game-changing tips to help protect your children and let them fully enjoy their summer activities without the unwanted side effects. From toxin-free tips to practical advice, you won't want to miss this guide to a healthier, low-toxic summer.

Common Toxins Children are Exposed to During Summer


Chlorine is widely used in swimming pools to kill harmful bacteria, but it can also be absorbed through the skin, our largest organ, or inhaled, which can exacerbate symptoms.

This is especially problematic for children with sensitive skin, skin conditions, or respiratory problems like asthma. But don't worry, I'll provide tips on how to reduce the risk.

Sunscreen Chemicals

Many conventional sunscreens contain chemicals that can disrupt endocrine function. These chemicals can be harmful, especially to children's developing bodies. I'll share some safe alternatives to keep your kids protected without the harmful side effects.

Insect Repellents

Many conventional insect repellents contain DEET and other chemicals that can be harmful when absorbed through the skin or inhaled. These chemicals can cause skin irritation and other health issues, particularly in children.


Children often spend time in gardens and other outdoor spaces where pesticides may have been applied to plants. Pesticides have been linked to developmental delays and behavioral issues.

Air Pollution

Warmer temperatures can increase levels of air pollution, including ozone, which can trigger respiratory problems like asthma or chronic bronchitis in children.

Heavy Metals

With more time spent outdoors, there is an increased risk of coming into contact with heavy metals present in soil, especially in urban areas or around older buildings. Exposure to heavy metals can be particularly harmful to children with impaired cognitive function.

BPA in Plastics

BPA, found in plastics including toys, food packaging, and inflatable pool toys, can disrupt endocrine function and has been linked to behavioral issues and learning difficulties. Children's bodies are still developing, making them more susceptible to these toxins.

Are Kids More Vulnerable to Environmental Toxins?

Children's bodies are still developing, making them more susceptible to the adverse effects of chemical exposure.

Their smaller size, higher metabolism rates, and the fact that they are closer to the ground where many toxins accumulate increase their risk of exposure. This heightened vulnerability can trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

For children with existing health concerns, reducing exposure to environmental toxins is even more critical, as their bodies are already working hard to manage their symptoms.

Enjoy Swimming While Minimizing Chlorine Exposure

Swimming is a fun activity that many kids love, and you don't have to avoid it entirely due to concerns about chlorine exposure. Chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools to kill harmful bacteria and prevent the spread of diseases, but it can also be toxic to the body. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your child's exposure to chlorine.

Tips for Reducing Chlorine Exposure:

  1. 1
    Rinse Off Before and After Swimming:
    Make sure to rinse off before getting into the pool. This helps remove any substances on the skin that might react with chlorine. Rinsing off after swimming can wash away any chlorine that has accumulated on the skin.
  2. 2
    Use Coconut Oil:
    Applying a layer of coconut oil to the skin before swimming can act as a barrier, preventing chlorine from seeping into the skin as much. This simple step can significantly reduce chlorine absorption.
  3. 3
    Opt for Alternative Swimming Locations:
    If possible, choose swimming options that don't use chlorine. Safer alternatives include saltwater pools, ozone pools, UV-filtered pools, and natural swimming ponds. These options are less harsh on the skin and overall health.
  4. 4
    Swim in Natural Waters:
    Whenever possible, opt for swimming in natural bodies of water like oceans, lakes, or rivers. These waters are free from chlorine and can provide a refreshing experience. However, always check local advisories for water quality to ensure safety.

By taking these precautions, you can help your children enjoy swimming while minimizing their exposure to chlorine and its potential adverse effects.

Better Sunscreen Options for a Less Toxic Summer

Choosing the right sunscreen is crucial to ensure it's safe and effective for your child. The ingredients can significantly impact your child's health, so consider these key points when selecting a sunscreen:

Tips for Choosing Safe Sunscreens:

  1. 1
    Opt for Minerals Sunscreens:
    Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and titanium oxide to physically block the suns rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens which are absorbed through the skin, and can disrupt hormones, physical sunscreens provide a physical barrier that sits on top of the skin, making them much safer for children.
  2. 2
    Opt for Alternative Swimming Locations:
    If possible, choose swimming options that don't use chlorine. Safer alternatives include saltwater pools, ozone pools, UV-filtered pools, and natural swimming ponds. These options are less harsh on the skin and overall health.
  3. 3

    Choose Fragrance-Free and Paraben-Free Products:

    Fragrances and parabens in skin care products, including sunscreens, can be irritating and toxic. Opting for fragrance-free and paraben-free products can reduce the risk of skin irritation and exposure to unnecessary irritants.

  4. 4

    Select Cleaner Brands:

    Look for sunscreen brands specifically labeled as mineral-based, free of harmful chemicals, and gentle on sensitive skin. Choosing a cleaner sunscreen brand can significantly reduce your child's overall toxic load.

By following these guidelines, you can protect your child's skin from the sun's harmful rays without exposing them to additional toxins.

Safer Alternatives to Chemical Insect Repellents

Insect repellents are essential for keeping bugs at bay during summer, but many conventional products contain chemicals that can be harmful, especially for children. Here are some tips for choosing safer alternatives to protect your kids without the toxic side effects.

Tips for Choosing Safer Insect Repellants:

  1. 1

    Opt for Natural Ingredients:

    Look for insect repellents that use natural ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and lavender. These essential oils can effectively repel insects without the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals. Natural repellents are less likely to cause skin irritation and are safer for children’s sensitive skin.

  2. 2

    Avoid DEET and Other Harmful Chemicals:

    Many conventional insect repellents contain DEET, a chemical that can cause skin irritation and other health issues when absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Other chemicals to avoid include picaridin, IR3535, and permethrin. These can also be absorbed into the body and may lead to adverse effects.

  3. 3

    Choose Products Free of Synthetic Fragrances and Parabens:

    Synthetic fragrances and parabens can add to the overall toxic load and cause skin irritation.

    Opt for insect repellents that are free from these additives to ensure a safer experience for your child.

  4. 4

    Consider DIY Options:

    Making your own insect repellent can be a great way to control the ingredients and ensure they are safe. A simple recipe includes mixing essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil. This mixture can be applied to the skin to repel insects naturally.

    We might explore that topic in greater detail later this summer. 😉

By choosing safer insect repellent options, you can protect your children from bug bites without exposing them to harmful chemicals. Enjoy a fun, bug-free summer while keeping your kids' health a top priority.

Avoiding Pesticides and Heavy Metals Outdoors

Here are quick tips to minimize your child's exposure:

  1. 1

    Choose Safe Play Areas:

    Select clean outdoor areas away from busy roads and industrial sites. In parks, pesticides may be used to maintain turfgrass and control weeds in public green spaces.

  2. 2

    Wash Afterwards:

    If public parks are your only option, definitely wash with mild soap after outdoor play to remove hidden toxins especially before eating. Have children change out of outdoor clothes upon returning indoors and take them right to laundry.

By following these steps, you can minimize your child's exposure to pesticides and heavy metals while still allowing them to enjoy outdoor play safely.

How to Avoid Air Pollution from Ozone in the Summer

Ozone pollution can be harmful, especially for children with respiratory issues. Here are some tips to help reduce exposure during the summer:

  1. 1

    Monitor Air Quality:

    Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) regularly through websites like AirNow.gov or apps like AirVisual. Plan indoor activities on days with high ozone levels.

  2. 2

    Time Outdoor Activities Wisely:

    Schedule outdoor play for early morning or late evening when ozone levels are lower. Avoid strenuous activities during midday.

  3. 3

    Create a Clean Indoor Environment:

    Use air purifiers with HEPA filters and keep windows and doors closed on high ozone days.

By following these tips, you can help protect your children from the harmful effects of ozone pollution and ensure they have a safe and healthy summer.

Avoiding Increased BPA Exposure from Plastics

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in many plastics and can disrupt endocrine function, posing health risks to children. Here are some simple tips to minimize your child's exposure to BPA:

  1. 1

    Choose BPA-Free Products:

    Look for toys, bottles, and food containers labeled as BPA-free. Avoid plastics marked with recycling codes 3, 6, or 7, as they may contain BPA.

  2. 2

    Use Alternatives to Plastic:

    Opt for glass, stainless steel, or silicone containers for food and drinks. Select wooden or cloth toys over plastic ones.

  3. 3

    Avoid Heating Plastics:

    Do not microwave food or beverages in plastic containers, as heat can cause BPA to leach out. Use glass or ceramic dishes for warming food.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce your child's exposure to BPA, promoting a healthier and safer environment for their growth and development.

And finally…

What are some natural strategies to support detoxification and reduce the impact of toxins?

If this question has been burning on your mind I’ve got you covered. There actually is a lot you can do as a parent.

And guess what: I recently wrote an article specifically addressing natural strategies for detoxification. You can find the link RIGHT HERE  for more in-depth information on this topic.

As you navigate through the summer months with your children, remember that implementing these simple yet effective strategies can go a long way in safeguarding their health and well-being.

By being mindful of their exposure to toxins, supporting their natural detoxification processes, and prioritizing their overall health, you can ensure that they enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer season.

Here's to making unforgettable memories filled with fun and adventure while keeping your children's safety and health at the forefront.

xx Bettina

About the Author Bettina

Bettina Gross is a holistic pediatric health coach who empowers moms to take charge of their kids health and step into their own role as a healer, so that they can raise healthy, happy kids and live the family life of their dreams.

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