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Symptoms your child is being affected by paint fume poisoning

Symptoms your child is being affected by paint fume poisoning

Has your child started becoming sick with varying different symptoms but you are not sure why?  The cause for this may be closer to home than you realise.

Whilst the smell of paint might be deeply unpleasant to us adults, it can be hazardous to children and babies.  Conventional paints, including supposed ‘breathe easy’ and ‘low-VOC’ varieties, are full of harmful chemicals called ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’, VOCs for short.  Unless the paint is 100% VOC free (like for instance Little Knights) then these harmful emissions can start to have serious damaging side effects to you and your children’s health.


Painted recently and now people are getting sick?

Here are some common symptoms that occur due to paint fume poisoning:

  • Sore and raw eyes, nose and/or throat
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
  • Visual impairment and headaches
  • Loss of coordination and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coughing
  • A feeling of being lightheaded
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Fatigue and even some memory loss


paint fume poisoning


What can you do to help?

If somebody is showing any of these symptoms and you suspect your recent DIY might be the cause, then you need to take immediate action:

  • Don’t allow the child or person who is sick to be in the room that has been painted. If you cannot close this room off then don’t allow them in nearby rooms either.
  • Seek medical help for the relief of some of the symptoms, in particular those that cause soreness and breathing issues.
  • Ventilate the room well. Although most of the VOCs are emitted when the paint is drying it can still cause issues for weeks and sometimes months afterwards, particularly with a VOC-heavy paint.
  • If you can’t wait until the room has been ventilated for this amount of time then you could paint over the noxious paint with Little Knights (this needs to be done only once the old paint is totally dried which would take probably 4 days). Due to it’s clever paint structure, a coat of Little Knights paint will create a seal over the old paint and stop any of the VOCs coming through at the same time as not releasing any new ones (it will also stop any mould or formaldehyde but that’s a different blog).
  • If your windows have small vents in them then keep these open.


Long-term exposure issues?

Unfortunately, long-term exposure to paints containing VOCs, even in low doses, can cause more serious long-standing health issues.

Research has shown that children sleeping in bedrooms containing fumes from conventional and low-VOC water-based paints and solvents are 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer from allergies or asthma.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has even warned that extended exposure to some VOCs can result in damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

Some VOCs have even been shown to cause cancer in animals, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.


What can I do differently next time?

Next time you want to paint choose a 100% VOC-free paint.  This type of paint has been produced to make sure it contains no hazardous chemicals and so therefore does not cause any of the issues mentioned.  Try and avoid ‘low-VOC’ paints as these can still contain the most hazardous VOC, called PGEs, and therefore are still damaging to your health.



If you have any questions or concerns about paint fume poisoning then we would be happy to help talk these through with you. Please contact us on 01604 781009 or email


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