Idling Cars Threaten Schoolchildren’s Air Quality

Idling Cars Threaten Schoolchildren’s Air Quality

Have you ever thought about the idle threat moms and dads present to their children by lining up in their cars for “Pickup-N-Go” at elementary and grade schools across the country?

Exhaust from idling cars can cause a lot of health problems for kids. Fumes expose schoolchildren to densely polluted air from car exhaust and triggering coughing, asthma, and bronchitis. One idling car emits 20 times more pollution than a car traveling at 32mph! And it spews ozone, sulfur, dioxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and more. Geez, wheeze!

Related: Air Quality and Your Health

The benefits of cleaning up schoolyard air were pretty clear when Washington State retired “smoke-pot” school busses or retrofitted them with natural gas. They saw a 30% drop in children’s visits to the ER for asthma and bronchitis. Now educators and parents in some locales are realizing it’s up to them to clear the polluted air from idling cars in their school yards, too! But more parents, administrators, and kids need to tune in to turning off the idling engines.

Related: How to Manage Your Child’s Asthma

Here’s some ways your school can help:

  • Create classroom science projects on exhaust pollution’s health hazards and have kids tally the number of idling cars and the length of time they idle.
  • Create a pledge letter for parents to sign promising to turn off their car after 10 seconds in line.

Related: How Can Air Quality in Schools be Improved?

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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