Clean air at early learning services

The dangers of air pollution to children

Air pollution can be a big threat to children’s health. Their lungs are developing and, for their size, they breathe more air than adults. And they are often outside more.

The tiny particles in air pollution can cause long-term health problems. They can cause asthma and bronchitis and can lead to problems like lung cancer and heart disease.

Air pollution and the location of services

Because vehicles cause a lot of pollution, there may be more risk from air pollution if your ECE service is located:

  • within 5 metres of a busy intersection or a busy area
  • within 20 metres of a busy road
  • within 100 metres of a motorway.

Other places with a high risk of air pollution are:

  • near a railway or industrial area
  • underneath an airport flight path
  • near land that has been contaminated, for example, by industry or horticulture
  • near petrol stations or services like spray painters.

Ways to keep children safe

There are small things you can do to keep children safe.

  • If your ECE service or kōhanga reo is near a road, have the outside play area as far away from the road as possible.
  • Ask parents to turn off their car engines when they drop off or pick up their children.
  • If the children are going on an excursion, choose times when there isn’t as much traffic.
  • If you’re worried about the air quality at your service, contact your local regional council.
  • Encourage your regional council to include provisions for ECE services in their plans and encourage your regional council to have air plans that cover your ECE service or kōhanga reo. 

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