air pollution could be affecting your child

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Is my child at risk?

Between 7am and 10am, when morning traffic is at its peak, millions of babies and young children travel to nursery and school.

This is arguably the time of a child’s greatest exposure to high concentrations of diesel exhaust fumes.

If your child travels along a busy road or waits at a bus stop shelter, with idling vehicles a kerbs width away, they are breathing air that is harming them.

How could my child be affected?

  • Headaches, nausea, wheezing  & shortness of breath
  • Irritation to the eyes, nose and throat
  • Chest Pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory infections & disease (e.g. asthma, emphysema, bronchitis & pneumonia)
  • Loss of lung capacity and decreased lung function
  • Lung cancer & heart disease
  • Damage to the brain, nerves, liver or kidneys
  • Shortened life span

Protect children at bus stop shelters

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The main source of NO2 in UK cities is diesel traffic emissions. The highest NO2 concentrations are roadside during the morning and evening peak. Millions of babies and children travel to nursery and school during the morning peak. Many travel by bus and wait at kerbside bus stop shelters next to idling vehicles.

Babies in buggies and young children are closer to the exhaust and breathe higher concentrations. Their immune system and lungs are still developing and traffic exhaust can stunt that development. Drivers are watching the road so are often unaware that they are idling their vehicle next to children waiting for a bus. Keep clear road markings at kerbside bus stop shelters can help reduce the concentration of toxic exhaust children breathe.

Why this started

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I'm David and this is my story

When our son was two and a half years old, I broke his heart. I took away the thing that gave him the most joy – riding his little bike around Stockwell Skatepark. I did it for the right reasons, but it still hurts to this day.

To get from our home in Wandsworth to Stockwell Skatepark by 10am (an hour before the bigger kids get there), we’d travel down West Hill, wait for the 37 bus to Lambeth Town Hall, then walk along the Brixton Road. Throughout this journey we were either walking alongside, standing next to or riding in lanes of slow moving or idling traffic.

Diesel exhaust and outdoor air pollution are carcinogenic. Studies across the world (including in a London school) consistently find that regular exposure to traffic pollution effects the growth and function of children’s lungs.

The UK has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world with an estimated 1.1 million children diagnosed as suffering from asthma. A study in Bradford suggests that one in for cases of childhood asthma is caused by air pollution.

Our son is now three years old and like millions of children across the UK he unknowingly breathes harmful levels of pollution travelling to nursery/school whilst morning traffic pollution is at its highest.

We are advised to take routes away from busy roads but millions of children live on or near busy roads, attend schools near busy roads, their journeys are unavoidably along busy roads.

Read the full story here >>

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