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The negative effects of air pollution are particularly harmful to young children
Global air pollution threatens human health. Small children and infants in particular are particularly badly affected by the negative effects. Researchers have now advised parents to use covers on their strollers to protect their offspring from air pollution.
Scientists from the University of Surrey found in an investigation that using covers on strollers can help protect our toddlers from the harmful effects of air pollution. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Environmental Pollution".
Infants in prams are particularly at risk
For their current study, the experts examined the levels of pollution within strollers. So they wanted to try to assess how much small children are affected by the air pollution. The results showed that infants or small children in prams were more exposed to air pollution on the way to school than their siblings on foot, the experts explain.
Reasons for the increased risk of air pollution in young children?
Because of their immature and developing systems and their lower body weight, small children are far more susceptible to the dangers of air pollution than adults, for example, says Dr. Prashant Kumar from the University of Surrey
Getting to school poses risks to children's health
The results of the study should help families to gain better insight into the possible negative effects of walking to school or kindergarten, the scientists explain. This path is particularly risky for our children because the children can breathe in dangerous and particularly harmful substances.
Create a barrier between child and exhaust emissions
What can parents do about their children being exposed to air pollution? One of the easiest ways to protect children is to use a barrier between children and exhaust emissions, the doctors say. For example, parents can simply use the stroller covers.
Air pollution is particularly severe at intersections
This form of protection should be used primarily in so-called hotspots of air pollution. Such hotspots include intersections, for example. If possible, parents should use covers on their strollers at such particularly dirty spots because the risk is particularly great here, explains Dr. Kumar.
Air pollution is particularly severe in the morning
For their investigation, the scientists placed detectors in strollers. A total of 64 routes to school were analyzed using the detectors. The time of the measurements were typical drop-off or pick-up times in schools and kindergartens, the researchers explain. The values showed that the levels of pollution were particularly high during the morning rush hour.
Precautions are designed to reduce exposure along busy streets
Particulate matter leads to greater health effects in children at a young age compared to older children. Young children are simply more susceptible to the particles that occur in air pollution, the researchers explain. This effect means that there is a clear need for precautionary measures to limit exposure during carriage in strollers along busy streets.
570,000 children under the age of five die each year from the effects of air pollution
According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 570,000 children under the age of five die annually from diseases that appear to be associated with air pollution.
Bus stops and traffic lights are also particularly dirty
The scientists warned that points such as bus stops and traffic lights are particularly affected by air pollution. The tiny particles from exhaust gases and tires can quickly get into the bloodstream there. In the UK alone, pollution from such particles causes an estimated 29,000 premature deaths in adults per year, the experts explain. (as)