How Air Quality Affects Babies and Children

Updated , by Luciano Adair

How Air Quality Affects Babies and Children

It is pretty clear that the developments in babies and infants are different than those in older children and adults. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that babies and infants are growing at such a rapid rate. Rapid growth requires a lot of energy, and this energy often comes from the breakdown of fats and proteins. The breakdown of fatty substances produces ketones, and the breakdown of proteins creates amines and ammonia. All of these "toxins" must be eliminated from the body, and this means that the air that we breathe must be of a quality that will not further damage the lungs and create more toxins.

It is true that air pollution can affect all of us, however, it is important to realize that the young are most susceptible. This is why it is imperative that we take measures to ensure that babies and infants are not affected by air pollution. Their growth rate simply cannot handle the production of toxins that are caused by air pollution.

Air pollution can cause breathing problems, growth abnormalities, neurological damage, and skin deformities in babies and infants. Babies, in particular, are fragile. They are not able to move quickly or efficiently. This means that they are not able to escape air pollutants quickly.

Scientists are, at this moment, doing experiments to determine what degree of air pollution is harmful to babies. Most are focusing on the long term effects of pollutants on babies. The effects that happen in the short term are fairly well known. For example, fumes given off by gas stoves have been shown to drastically decrease the amount of oxygen that babies are getting. During the 1980's, the use of unleaded fuel helped to reduce the number of infant deaths by car exhausts.

Another pollutant that can negatively affect babies is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps out of the ground. It was once thought to be harmless to humans, but research has shown this to not be true. Radon has caused miscarriages, lung cancer, and other diseases in adults. It is now known that the fumes can be harmful to children as well.

The pollutants that affect babies and infants are not always chemicals. Dust and pollen are also harmful to the little ones. Dust contains many chemicals, including many that are not found in other places. These chemicals, like arsenic, seep into the body and damage lungs and other parts of the body. This can cut off oxygen supply to vital organs.

Air pollution is, thankfully, getting less each day. The countries of the world are coming together to create better regulations on industry. It is hoped that babies and infants will be able to enjoy clean air, but just in case, it is important to take steps to ensure that they are out of harm's way.

Babies form impressions of their world based on what they see, feel, hear, taste and touch. Their senses are often heightened because the world to them is so new and so different. All of these individual senses are enhanced to help them understand this new world. But, the way they take in information to their brain is not always consistent. While they can see, feel, hear, taste, or touch things the way adults do, they process this information differently. Learning development theories are based on observations of babies' reactions to stimuli and how they react to their environment. One of the most well know theories is called Piaget's theory of cognitive development .

The theory's main idea is that knowing is dependent on a child learning a new experience, a new idea. A child "learns" that these experiences or ideas happen regularly, through her or his senses. This sensory stage is one of the quickest, as it is the only stage that a baby is aware of. It's within this stage that a baby has no understanding of reality as a subjective thing. In other words, a baby has no understanding of their individual self causing certain things happen. They know that if they kick their feet, a big person will come and change their diaper. The baby does not have a notion of "self" and so is content with knowing how things work with his or her presence.

The second stage, which occurs slightly later, is the sensorimotor stage . In this stage, the child focuses on the objects around them, as well as their self. The child can now connect events with actions and understand that certain movements result in the same kinds of events happening. In this stage, a baby will see a large object moving, know it's a person and want to run and be picked up by him or her.

Touch is very important in this stage, as the baby makes the connection between what they see or touch and how their bodies react. By 9-12 months of age, a baby will start to explore and investigate things more and more. For example, a 3 month old baby might cling to mommy; a 9 month old baby will more likely be playing with mommy's hair and trying to figure out how it works. This stage helps a child build more movement and fine motor skills as it demonstrates the relationship between the idea of objects having relationships with each other as well as the child's self.

The next stage, the preoperational stage , is entered at about 12 months and lasts until around age 7. It is within this stage that a child enters the period of mental development called the preoperational stage, . At this time, a child understands and can use language, but cannot understand the idea of representing something else through words. There is a major focus on things that can be seen, such as age and size of objects. For example, the baby might know that a large object is called a "dog" and a small object is called a "cat" and that both animals are the same, sometimes it's just easier to call the big one "dog" and the small one "cat." They also know that there are things they cannot see, like the wind.

This is the stage in which children start to play games, such as peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek . During this time, it is also very important that children know that their parents are always there for them. They can run to their parents when they are scared or hurt. This allows the children to experiment more with their world and to put their experiments into words. For example, if a child tries to pull down a light shade, they will verbally say, "lights!" when they succeed in pulling the shade down. This stage is when language starts to become more advanced and when children make sense of the world in more advanced ways.

The last stage is the preoperational stage known as the concrete operational stage . It begins to affect children's minds between ages seven and eleven. It helps children understand objects in two ways: in terms of their qualities and in terms of their relations with one another. Let's use the example of water in a glass. A younger child might say that the glass holds the water. A concrete operational child might ask, "How much?" "Why?" It is in this stage that children are able to start answering what are questions. It is also during this stage that children are able to understand cause and effect. For example, the child understands that if he or she spills a glass of water, it can be placed back in the glass. The child also begins to realize that cups have a certain capacity that determines how much can be put into it. This is also when children are able to develop the skills of anticipateing the results of their actions, understanding how objects work together, numeracy, and increasing independence.

Once babies become children, and go to school, it's still really important for them to breath clean air. That is why we are happy to see a rising trend of air quality monitors for schools.

It is important for parents to remember that air quality is of vital importance for babies and chidren. And they should always make sure that their kids can grow up in spaces with clean air.