Encasing a mattress in plastic is an effective way to prevent dust mite sensitization in children, according to data published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (October 2002). The study involved 636 toddlers and pre-schoolers who had at least 1 parent with allergies. None of the children were sensitized to dust mite allergens at the beginning of the study. After 12 months of follow-up, sensitization to dust mite allergen was found in only 3% of children whose mattresses were encased in plastic, compared with 6.5% of children in the control group. In addition, the intervention group had a lower prevalence of allergic symptoms, physician-diagnosed asthma, eczema, and food allergy.