Air Clean Up

  • Does Your Baby's Pushchair Protect Them from Pollution?

Does Your Baby's Pushchair Protect Them from Pollution?

May 27 2020 Read 432 Times

Babies being pushed in prams and pushchairs could be exposed to almost 50% more contaminants than their parents and carers, according to a new study. The research, conducted by the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) in Surrey and published in the journal Environmental International, featured in-the-field tests to arrive at its distressing conclusions.

While the news should certainly be troubling for young parents who have no choice but to take their babies with them when accompanying older children to school or other places of interest, there were at least some positives to take away from the study. Its authors found that covers were partially effective in shielding little ones from the dirty air, while those models of pram or pushchair at an elevated height were also witnessed to be beneficial compared to their lower-lying counterparts.

An alarming investigation

The GCARE researchers tested out just how much pollution babies are exposed to by simulating 89 school runs in Guildford, Surrey. On average, each journey took in around 2km and they were always conducted between 8am and 10am and 3pm and 5pm in order to more accurately replicate real-life conditions. They also tested out three different types of pushchairs: those which face forward, those which face backward and those which face forward in a pair.

Through the use of sophisticated air quality monitors placed in the pushchair in place of a baby, the authors of the study were able to determine that young ones could be exposed to as much as 44% more pollution than their parents during both morning and afternoon walks. What’s more, the child in the bottom half of a forward-facing double pushchair could be inhaling as much as 72% more pollution than one placed in the seat above it.

What can be done?

Cognisant that young lungs are more susceptible to the damage that pollutants can wreak on them than adult ones, the government have been gradually introducing a range of measures aimed at improving air quality and reducing transport related pollution in and around schools over the last few years. These include the prohibition of idling and the introduction of lower speed limits near centres of education.

As for the parents themselves, the research showed that pushchair covers could filter out as much as 39% of the unwanted contamination. “Our research shows that choices such as the type of pushchair you use can impact on the amount of pollution your child faces when you are running a typical errand,” explained Professor Prashant Kumar, the founder of GCARE. “But there is cause for some optimism, as our study confirms that pushchair covers and upping the buggy heights appears to have shielded children from an appreciable amount of pollution under certain conditions.”

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