Babies in Strollers Exposed to 60% More Pollution
Babies in strollers can be exposed to up to 60% more air pollution than their parents, researchers have warned.
A study published by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey in the UK found that the air in the first meter above the ground is usually the most polluted due to it being level with vehicle exhaust fumes.
With babies' strollers typically sitting at a level between 0.55m and 0.85m from the ground, small children can be exposed to increased amounts of air pollution.
Fine air particles, which weigh less than 0.0025mg, are given out in vehicle exhaust fumes and, when breathed in, become deposited in the lungs where they enter the circulation. Babies are particularly vulnerable to pollution exposure because the exhaust particles are proportionally bigger for their lungs and blood vessels compared to adults.
Experts have warned that persistent exposure can potentially damage the brain’s frontal lobe, impacting on cognitive ability and neurological development.
Professor Prashant Kumar, the founding director of the Global Centre for Clean Air Research at the university, said: “We know that infants breathe in higher amounts of airborne particles relative to their lung size and body weight compared to adults. What we have proven here is the height most children travel at while in a pram doubles the likelihood of negative impacts from air pollution when compared to an adult.
“When you also consider how vulnerable they are because of their tissues, immune systems and brain development at this early stage of their life, it is extremely worrying that they are being exposed to these dangerous levels of pollution.
'With the multitude of evidence set out in this review, it is important that everyone across the country begin a full and frank conversation about pollution and the impact it has on our most vulnerable.”