Find out how exposure to air pollution affects children’s health and why it’s worse for children than adults.

(Clue: it’s to do with our lungs).

Because children’s lungs are still developing, air pollution can have a bigger impact on children’s health than it does on adults’.

"Children's developing organs and immune systems - and smaller bodies and airways - make them especially vulnerable to dirty air," says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

Here are some of the ways air pollution affects children’s heath:

  • High air pollution is linked to low birth weight and premature births
  • Being exposed to air pollution during pregnancy and after birth affects a baby’s lung function development
  • There is a strong link between air pollution and the worsening of asthma symptoms; it may also play a part in causing asthma in some people
  • The more children with asthma are exposed to air pollution, the more they suffer with long-term respiratory symptoms
  • Higher amounts of air pollutants are associated with more asthma attacks, more hospital admissions and a higher mortality rate
  • Exposure to air pollution is also linked to more coughs and bronchitis
  • Air pollution can increase the risk of getting bacterial pneumonia

What are your plans for Clean Air Day? Why not walk or cycle to work or school - and if you already do this, organise an event? For more information on how to do this in your community, at work or in school, download one of our free toolkits.