Air quality is a crucial factor for the health and well-being of children, especially those who are hospitalized with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions. Poor air quality can worsen their symptoms, increase their risk of complications, and delay their recovery. Therefore, measuring and improving air quality in children hospitals is an important and urgent task.
According to Unicef UK, around one in three children in the UK is breathing harmful levels of air pollution that could damage their health and impact their future . Air pollution has been linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, asthma and stroke . Children are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution than adults, because they breathe faster, have smaller airways, and are still developing their lungs and immune systems .
Children hospitals are places where children should receive the best possible care and treatment for their illnesses. However, many children hospitals are located in areas with high levels of outdoor air pollution, such as near busy roads or industrial sites. Moreover, indoor air quality can also be affected by various sources, such as heating and ventilation systems, cleaning products, medical equipment, and infections .
Measuring air quality in children hospitals can help identify the sources and levels of pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These pollutants can have different effects on children’s health, such as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, inflammation of the lungs, reduced lung function, increased susceptibility to infections, exacerbation of asthma and allergies, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases .
By measuring air quality in children hospitals, we can also evaluate the effectiveness of existing interventions and policies, such as filters, ventilation systems, green spaces, traffic restrictions, and emission standards. Furthermore, we can design and implement new strategies to improve air quality in children hospitals, such as using low-emission vehicles and fuels, reducing indoor sources of pollutants, increasing natural ventilation and daylighting, using plants and green walls to absorb pollutants, and educating staff, patients and visitors about the importance of air quality .
Improving air quality in children hospitals can have significant benefits for children’s health and well-being. It can reduce their exposure to harmful pollutants, improve their symptoms and outcomes, shorten their hospital stay, lower their health care costs, and enhance their quality of life. It can also benefit the health and performance of hospital staff, as well as the environment and the community .
In conclusion, measuring air quality in children hospitals is a vital step towards ensuring that children receive the best possible care and treatment for their illnesses. It can help us understand the sources and levels of pollutants that affect children’s health, evaluate the effectiveness of existing interventions and policies, and design and implement new strategies to improve air quality in children hospitals. By doing so, we can protect children’s health and well-being, as well as the health and well-being of hospital staff, the environment and the community.
 Unicef UK. Child health experts warn air pollution is damaging children’s health. https://www.unicef.org.uk/press-releases/child-health-experts-warn-air-pollution-is-damaging-childrens-health/
 CDC. Public Health Issues: Air. https://www.cdc.gov/air/air_health.htm
 RCPCH. The inside story: Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/inside-story-health-effects-indoor-air-quality-children-young-people