Plug-in air fresheners: Safe around babies?
© 2016 Roy Benaroch, MD
Ajay wanted to know: “What do you think about plug-in air fresheners in a house with babies/kids?”
Ah, the wonders of the modern world. In the days of yore, if the air was stinky you had but two options. You could replace the air, by flushing away the old air via an open window, or using a fan. Or you could try to cover the stench with some other kind of odorous substance, perhaps lighting a match or putting out a bouquet of roses.
Come to think of it, those are the only two options now, too. Those “plug-in air fresheners” should more-accurately be called “plug-in make a different stinkifiers”. They don’t “freshen” the air by removing magic stink particles or somehow transporting new air into your home. They just make a new scent to cover up whatever’s stinking up the place. There’s a little heating element in there, too, to warm the new odor, getting those little stink molecules to disperse faster, and some of them also have a tiny fan.
Choices I found include:
- Clean Linen (I think clean linen should have no scent at all, but who am I to say?)
- Toasted marshmallow (All of the smell without actually getting to toast or eat the marshmallow.)
- Hawaiian Breeze
- Wet Dog
Are they safe? Sure. The little smell molecules aren’t going to hurt anyone, though some people would prefer to go to Hawaii that to merely smell like it. And there’s the small chance of them catching on fire and burning your house down. (Hey! Burning House could be another scent! Glade, are you listening?) Personally, I’d just open a window, but Ajay, if you’d prefer your house to smell like toasting marshmallows in bed, go for it.