Integrated Pest Management

Safer Pest Control Project is an organization dedicated to protecting children and their families from the serious health risks of pesticides. We work to reduce pesticide use and promote safe, effective alternatives. Since 1994, we’ve conducted outreach, training and advocacy programs as well as developed model programs and polices for childcare stakeholders throughout the state.

Illinois law requires childcare centers to limit children’s exposure to pesticides. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, can help. IPM is a pest control method that’s affordable, effective and less toxic. A good IPM program includes: improved sanitation, clutter control and maintenance, regular pest monitoring and record-keeping of pest sightings, staff education on trash and food management, and communication and cooperation with a pest control company.

Parents and community members can protect children from pesticide exposure by contacting their center and encouraging them to implement an IPM program. Staff will be more amenable to implementing safer pest control practices if they know that parents are concerned.

All licensed childcare centers in Illinois are required by law to adopt an IPM Program. The law also requires childcare facilities to:

  • stop routine sprayings and use pesticides only as a last resort
  • notify parents before an non-bait pesticide is used
  • never use pesticides when children are present
  • remove toys prior to pesticide application
  • appoint a childcare employee to oversee pest management and record keeping.


Safer Pest Control Project can assist childcare centers in adopting IPM. We regularly conduct trainings statewide and provide resources and information to childcare centers and parents throughout the state. For more information, contact us at 773-878-PEST or visit us online at www.spcpweb.org. Don’t forget to checkout our fact sheets containing important information on the dangers of pesticides.

Remember, pesticides are substances designed to kill, control or repel pests, including insects, rodents, weeds, and molds. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. Pound for pound, they eat, drink and breathe more than an adult. Their organs and immune systems are not yet fully developed. They are more vulnerable to chemical damage and less efficient at filtering toxins. Children are more exposed to pesticide residues. They often play on the floor or ground where these residues accumulate and often put toys and objects in their mouths, leading to ingestion of residue.

Pesticides are listed by the EPA as one of four environmental pollutants that may influence the induction and exacerbation of asthma symptoms . Pesticides do this by irritating the lungs as they are breathed in. In addition children have a greater risk of developing asthma by age five after pesticide exposure within the first year of life, and can also develop other health problems such as learning disorders, neurological disabilities and even cancer.

For more information on the following topics, click on the links:
Child Care Law Fact Sheet
Kids Guide to Pesticides
Pesticides in Schools
Asthma, Pests, and Pesticides
Truth About Head Lice
Guidelines for IPM in School & Child Care Pest Management Contracts
Ten Steps to Pest Control