Whenever I walk around my neighborhood, I try to see if I can find a house that has a door or window open. Now hold on a minute, before you flag me as the local cat burglar just hear me out.
It’s no secret that our kids were born into an increasingly indoor generation. Screens. Strangers. Smaller yards, or none at all. At Open Air Mom our mission is to make it easier for families to see these barriers and find ways to break through them.
Let’s get real. While the best thing is to get those kiddos into the great outdoors to run free on a regular basis, there are days when it just doesn’t happen. While I would like you to imagine me babywearing and hiking to the top of a heavenly evergreen mountain ridge – with perfectly-coifed hair blowing in the right direction, fresh lipgloss and the sun kissing my toned toddler-lifting-mom-shoulders screaming “Open Air Mom Fo’ Life!!”… it just ain’t happening today.
I mean sure it’s a beautiful day outside, but my Little Fish is napping as we speak. Indoors, not like, on a bed of grass under luscious willow trees. My hair is tumbled as high and out of the way on top of my head as possible (Mom Bun Fo’ Life!), and my slightly chubby I-do-yoga-but-not-enough-for-anyone-to-notice-shoulders are still burnt from the Fourth of July.
So I am taking advantage of said naptime, hastily tapping on the keyboard to tell you that there is one thing I make sure to do everyday even if I am too busy (or too lazy!) to do anything else. If I do this one thing I know my house is a healthier place. I don’t scrub anything, and I don’t have to spend any money, and yet my house is cleaner because of it. If you haven’t figured it out by now:
I OPEN THE WINDOWS.
Now sure, I must admit that I live in a pretty temperate climate and I am lucky. Some of you probably live in places where you open the window and the hot air reaches in and slaps you in the face. On days like that at my house, we do whatever we can to stay cool.
And yet, when I walk around my neighborhood in the middle of a sunny 70 degree day, it is pretty rare for me to see windows open. Many times I have visited homes and found it commonplace to have the AC on and windows closed. I sense that there is a general feeling that anything from outdoors is harmful or unclean and must be kept out. And folks, it is just not true. FRESH AIR IS YOUR FRIEND.
Right. Of course it is. I am sure people know fresh air is good for you, but when people ask me why, I can’t really come up with more than, “Uhhh it feels good, and it’s fresh… So duh.” I had to do some reading. Why on Earth did I decide to deem myself THE OPEN AIR MOM if I didn’t plan to take the time to learn about the true benefits of open air? Ridiculous!
And no, I’m not a scientist. Or a doctor. Or a specialist in the environment in any way, and I don’t pretend to be. I’m actually a Reading Specialist. I should be writing to you about books and how to teach your kids how to read. But, I wanted to write about what I love. I love the outdoors and my family… AND I DO love to read. EVERYTHING. If it interests me, I have read something about it. And I would love to share a couple of interesting pieces of info you may not have heard with some of you fine fellow parents that may make all of our lives better. So here is what I found:
Turns out, not only does natural ventilation keep down unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide, it helps to rid the air of germs and other air pollutants. In 2007, a study was conducted in Lima, Peru in which the researchers studied the ventilation related to infection risk of Tuberculosis in eight different hospitals.
Five of the hospitals had an “old-fashioned” pre-1950’s design with high ceilings and large windows.
The other three hospitals were considered to have a “modern” design; built between 1970 and 1990.
The study is really well documented and there are a lot of technical details as one would imagine. Little fish just woke up so you know what that means… I will paste a link to the article if you would like to read it: Read more about the Lima study Here!
LONG STUDY SHORT, the researchers actually found that the OLD-FASHIONED hospitals actually had a lower infection rate through airborne contagion because they had much higher volumes of natural ventilation. Good old-fashioned fresh air! Gotta love it!
There are many other articles I read with similar details; many of them related to getting more natural air into hospital and operating rooms to lower the spread of airborne germs. Turns out, mechanical air alone just doesn’t cut it. Like many things in life, fresh is best.
Just imagine if we used that information in our homes! How much healthier we would all be. Open up those windows and flip on those fans. Easy. Affordable. Effective… and Healthy!
Thanks for reading! Please follow me for more posts like this and inspiration, tips and tricks for getting outside with little ones in tow.
– The Open Air Mom