The first 1000 days of life: Clean air is critical

By DG Staff

DUBAI 2 November 2019: There is much focus on child nutrition during the first 1,000 days and with good reason: children with good nutrition are ten times more likely to overcome life-threatening childhood diseases and complete at least four grades at school.

However, what few know is that access to clean air, or lack of it, is fundamental to a child’s development, both physical and cognitive.

The first one thousand days from conception to age two are critical to every child. In this span of time, the immune system develops, and a child’s brain connects about 1,000 neurons a second, building intricate pathways for messages to travel onward through the body. A look at a two-year-old’s brain shows that it is twice as active as an adult’s brain building bridges to connect the nerve cells in the brain for future use. The ability to process images (vision), sound (hearing) and to recognize and remember language and images like the faces, are all developed during a child’s first 1000 days.

With rising levels of air pollution indoors and outdoors, children are increasingly at risk. Miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and illnesses such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can all be linked to air pollution. Young children and pregnant women also spend increasingly more time indoors, where the air is up to five times more polluted.

“More than nine in 10 parents across the globe think that clean air plays an important role in ensuring the health of their children, and most also worry that polluted air will have an impact on their children’s learning” said Sara Alsén, Chief Purpose Officer, Blueair. “The good news is that we spend increasingly more time indoors where the air can easily be monitored and improved,” she added.

Air Purifiers

Can air purifiers help ensure a baby friendly air? More than two-thirds of parents in China, India, South Korea and the US think that an air purifier is beneficial for raising a healthy child according to recent research by independent UK based research firm YouGov.

By removing common allergens like dust, mites, bacteria and virus, and household pollutants such as chemicals from paint, furniture, clothing and cleaning detergents, in addition to car exhausts, smoke, soot entering our homes through windows and ventilation, air purifiers can ensure a healthy indoor air for pregnant women and young children.