Health effects of Air Pollution on Children

Posted on November 14 2019

Health effects of Air Pollution on Children

Every three minutes a child dies in India because of inhaling toxic pollutants in the air, according to an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease 2017.

Prolonged exposure to air pollution impacts everybody. At highest risk are children below 14, senior citizens and anyone taking medication.


  • Children and young adults with asthma are more at risk from the effects of pollution because they have faster breathing rates and their lungs are still developing.
  • Children living in areas with high pollution are more likely to have reduced lung function as adults.
  • Long-term exposure to high concentrations of air pollution may cause asthma in children.

Lung development

  • Children aged between 8-10 years old, who lived in highly polluted areas of cities, had up to  10% less lung capacity than normal. Some experts suggest this reduced lung function may never be reversed.

Brain development

  • Air pollution exposure in pregnant women was found to harm brain development and contribute to behavioral and cognitive problems later in childhood.

What can you do to protect yourself and your children from air pollution?

  • Leave your car at home when you can: car drivers are exposed to more than twice as much air pollution as a person walking the same route.
  • When walking, stay back from the road edge.
  • When walking, cycling or running, avoid busy roads.
  • Stop idling in your car: turn off the engine while waiting.
  • Spend as much time in the green, open spaces of your city as possible.
  • Limit the time you spend outside  on high pollution days.
  • Use a mask when outdoors.
  • Keep your car windows closed, especially if you’re stuck in slow-moving traffic.
  • When outside pollution is bad, keep windows and doors closed so fumes can’t get in. But remember to keep your home well ventilated the rest of the time.
  • Use eco-friendly air purifiers in every room at home to enhance the quality of air indoors
  • Vacuum furnishing items like sofas, chairs as they tend to be dust sinks
  • Avoid usage of carpets, rugs as they tend to hold a lot of dust and it’s difficult to clean them daily.
  • Avoid usage of chemical fragrances at home or in the car.
  • Buy only good quality toys. Ideally eco-friendly toys.
  • Ensure that the toys are kept away when the child sleeps at night.

Parents tend to focus on building financial wealth for their children. Health is the first wealth. Through daily actions, we can ensure that we give the wealth of health to our children.




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