How Climate Change, Heat & Air Pollution Affect Kids’ Health

Children's bodies and behaviors are different from adults. These differences mean kids are at higher risk of health problems from heat and air pollution. And they will be exposed to even more health issues unless we address climate change.

Air pollution comes from driving and transportation, industry, agriculture, wildfires and human activities that rely on burning fossil fuels for energy. These activities also create heat-trapping greenhouse gases, a main cause of climate change.

3 reasons pollution and heat cause more health problems for children

  • Children spend more time outdoors. They play, exercise and work outside, especially in the summer. Spending time outdoors is good for growing kids, but it increases their risk of heat-related illness.

  • Children are growing and developing. They breathe faster and breathe more air compared to their body weight than adults. Children breathe lower to the ground where some pollution settles.

  • Kids depend on others. Children cannot change their surroundings to get away from extreme heat and pollution. Young children cannot even change their clothes to avoid extreme heat. Infants are especially at risk. They cannot control their environment or take in fluids without help from others.

Does climate change affect some children more than others?

Yes. For decades, some children, families and communities have faced much higher health risks from climate change. This is a result of "redlining," a historically racist policy of discrimination that began in the 1930s. Families in these communities still live with the health effects of redlining.

Children of color are more likely to live in these neighborhoods. They are exposed to more pollution, heat-trapping asphalt and higher temperatures than those who live in surrounding areas. These families also are less likely to be able to access resources to cope with these climate problems.

Find out what health problems are caused by heat and air and how to protect children from heat and pollution by reading the full article.

Click here to read the full article from