Whilst out-and-about in a low-level pushchair, babies could be exposed to almost 50% more air pollutants than their parents, a University of Surrey study has found.
Published in Environment International, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) investigated the number of air pollutants babies potentially inhale while out and about in a pram with their parents or carers.
They analysed three different types – Single pushchairs that face the road, single pushchair that face the adult and double pushchairs that face the road – before comparing the concentration of air pollutants to those experienced by the person pushing.
The GCARE team also investigated whether pushchair covers altered exposure levels.
The team simulated 89 school drop off and pick up trips in Guildford, Surrey, walking just over 2km, between the times of 8am to 10am and 3pm to 5pm.
Significantly, the team found that on average, regardless of the type of pushchair, babies could be breathing 44% more harmful pollutants than their parents during both morning and afternoon school runs.
The GCARE team also found that a child at the bottom of a double pushchair faced up to 72% higher exposure to pollutants than a child on the top seat.
However, the finds suggest that pushchair covers are successful in reducing air pollution by as much as 39%.
Professor Prashant Kumar, founding director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: ‘For parents, nothing is more important than the health of our children and this is why we at the University of Surrey are continuing to build on this research to understand the impact air pollution has on babies travelling in pushchairs.
‘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. 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.’