Why Are Children More Affected By Air Pollution Than Adults?

Air Pollution Risks For Newborns

Various researches have linked pollution to premature birth and birth defects. Microscopic PM2.5 particles, which are less than one ten-thousandth of an inch in diameter, penetrate deep into the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and aggravate heart and lung conditions. Moreover, they bring carcinogenic compounds into the body.

A professor at the New York University school of medicine said the findings “could lead physicians to advise women to avoid high pollution areas or use air filtration systems during the early stages of pregnancy”.

Other effects linked with exposure to pollution in the study included decreased body length, decreased placental weight, and a decreased distance from the anus to the genitalia, which can reflect abnormal hormone levels.

Why are Babies so Vulnerable to Air Pollutants?

Before we talk about how to get the best air purifier for your baby’s room, it’s important for you to understand why children are so vulnerable to air pollution.

Having this bit knowledge will not only help you better appreciate the use of an air cleaner, but it’s also good information to share with friends and family who may also be expecting a baby or have young children.

The fact is that infants, babies, and toddlers face a greater risk to their health when it comes to breathing in contaminated air. Much more than adults.

Here’s why:

  • Babies are born with an immature immune system and have underdeveloped defence mechanisms. This means that cellular damage done by air pollution is less likely to be repaired, resulting in abnormal development. (1)
  • Infants breathe at a more rapid rate than adults. They also have a smaller body mass. This means that it takes a lower concentration of airborne pollutants to affect their health. By comparison, an adult can breathe in the same amount of pollutants without any negative side effects. (2)
  • From infant to toddler age, there’s a rapid development in the respiratory, neurological, and immune systems. Therefore, early exposure to contaminated air can cause lifelong health damage or worse sudden infant death syndrome. (3)
  • Some indoor pollutants float around the air but many end up on or near the floor. These particles can get trapped in a mass of cool air that’s bracketed by a pocket of warm air. This increases the pollution levels closer to the ground where babies and young children spend most of their time. (4)

On the bright side, a mother’s immune system does help to protect an infant for a short while after it’s born.

Antibodies that were originally found in the placenta pass through to the baby during the last three months of pregnancy and stay active for the first few weeks of the child’s life. Those antibodies provide a buffer that allows the immune system to develop and fight off infections, but it doesn’t protect the baby from every environmental hazard.

It’s no wonder why air purifiers are so important to have in the home.

The Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Nursery

Did you know that there are potentially thousands of toxic pollutants lurking around your nursery even though it may be newly renovated or freshly cleaned?

In addition to airborne allergens, mold, bacteria, and viruses that are common in every home, there’s a high probability that your infant’s room is also loaded with volatile organic compounds (or VOCs).

How can that be?

Well, if you’re like the millions of other parents who paint or repaint a baby room when they find out that they’re expecting then your child’s room may be at risk. Also, if you’ve added any new furniture, rugs, carpeting, or decorations to the space then VOCs are likely in the air.

While those simple renovations sound harmless on the surface, the truth is that these items can actually make your nursery one of the most unsafe places to be in your home. And that’s bad news for your baby.

The reason baby rooms are so toxic is that a large percentage of the items that people place (or use) in them contain high levels of VOCs. Although VOCs are most widely known for being in aerosol sprays and cleaners, these invisible gases are also present in everyday home items too.

Common sources of VOCs in your child’s room include:

  • Paints and stains
  • Varnishes
  • Carpet backing
  • Foam padding
  • The pressed wood used in furniture
  • Glues and adhesives

What’s worse is that VOCs slowly leak out of these items over time (a process called “off-gassing”) and can continue polluting the indoor air for many years. In fact, there are some cases where the level of VOCs inside has been reported to be up to 10x higher than the outdoors.

That’s a scary thought when you think about how many people remodel their nurseries right before the baby arrives.

Fortunately, a nursery air purifier can help eliminate the hidden dangers that may be lurking around your child’s room before they do become a serious health issue.

The Health Effects of Bad Air Quality

Inhaling air that contains any concentration of pollutants is not good for any child.

Without using an air purifier to eliminate things such as allergens, mold, bacteria, pet dander, and VOCs from your baby’s room could lead to several health complications.

Below are some of the most common short and long-term health effects of being exposed to contaminated air:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • A sore throat
  • Uncontrollable tiredness and fatigue
  • Respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma
  • Nervous system damage
  • Organ damage
  • Cancer

Luckily, the best air purifier for a baby room can help to reduce your child’s exposure to airborne toxins. But, there are a few things your air purifier must have in order for it to be most effective at keeping your loved one safe.

Read More: Best Air Purifiers For Children