Babies In Low Riding Prams At Risk To Air Pollution
It has been reported that babies are at higher risk of air pollution exposure because exhaust particles are proportionally bigger for their blood vessels and lungs when compared to adults.
The research carried out at the University of Surrey was based on a review of existing evidence and tested the inside of 160 prams and pushchairs.
According to The Telegraph, a majority of standard prams and pushchairs put infants between 55cm and 85cm off ground level. Evidence suggests that because pollution levels are higher within 1m of ground level, babies in pushchairs are exposed to almost 60% more fine particle air pollution than adults.
Researchers are now warning parents that traffic pollution contains high levels of toxic metals, which has been proven to impact their cognitive abilities and affect brain development.
Speaking about the findings, Professor Prashant Kumar, who led the research 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 that 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."
The Head of Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Dr Stefan Reis said: "The paper makes a compelling case for the integrated assessment of both the sources of air pollutant emissions and local, individual and behavioural factors contributing to exposure in order to design interventions."
Following the research, there have been calls for parents to use a pram cover to protect babies from the risks of air pollution and to avoid walking near rush-hour traffic when possible.
Written by Kellie Kearney staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.mylittlebabog.com.