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How Can I Protect My Children?

Warm sunny days, school vacation and eager kids — summer means playing outside from dawn to dusk. But what about the air they breathe?

Physically, children are more vulnerable to air pollution than adults because their respiratory defenses are not fully developed. Be aware of hot sunny days because ozone air pollution can make your children sick. Here are some other tips that will help you keep your kids healthy:

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  • Don't idle your car. Vehicle emissions are a major contributor to air pollution. Studies have linked various types of vehicle emissions to asthma symptoms, cardiopulmonary disease, lung cancer and other serious health problems.
  • When the SkyCast shows elevated air pollution levels, limit the time your child spends outdoors and keep them in an area with a good air filtration system, such as a local library. Plan strenuous activities for early morning before ozone levels become dangerous. Keep outdoor activities far away from busy streets.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s health. Children with asthma are especially sensitive to air pollution. Look for warning signs of undiagnosed asthma, such as chronic coughing and shortness of breath and tell your pediatrician.
    • If your child suffers from asthma, learn to recognize what triggers his or her attacks and avoid those substances.
  • Inform caregivers. Make sure your child’s coaches and camp directors know the health risks of air pollution and take measures to protect kids when air quality is unhealthy. If your child has asthma, it is important that caregivers know he or she is especially vulnerable on high ozone days.
  • Model and encourage your child to participate in activities that reduce air pollution. Walking, biking or riding public transit help reduce regional air pollution, and therefore, contribute to lessening the effect that pollution has on your child's health. Walking and biking also encourage healthy physical activity habits for years to come.