Moving into the third decade of the 21st century and our kids live in a world that’s vastly different than the one us adults we would’ve imagined. For starters, excessive industrialization has damaged basically every aerial, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. So no, we can’t control everything, but we can insure that our kids are healthy and safe in the spaces in which they live, play and learn.
Environmental quality is a key, determining factor for the mental and physical development. Children are not little adults and along with pregnant women, nursing mothers, and senior citizens, children are the most vulnerable to environmental contaminants. What’s more, from a pediatric standpoint the term children covers the first two decades of life.
That children are the most vulnerable to environmental threats depends on three main factors:
- Biological Immaturity Children (infants to late adolescence) experience more rapid celular growth with hyperplasia and are more susceptible to celular hypertrophy. They also have less effective immunological and detoxification capabilities.
- Greater Metabolic Consumption For each kilogram of bodyweight, children eat more, drink more, and breathe more air than adults. They also absorb more substances transdermically, especially in the first ten years of life.
- Social Behaviour Kids are curious, and they end up touching and ingesting substances they shouldn’t, without being any the wiser.
Making the School Environment Safer for Kids
Despite the vulnerabilities of children in the face of environmental toxins, there are still simple steps parents and educators can make towards making the school environment far healthier.
- Healthy Snacks There is no reason why a school cafeteria needs to push sugary snacks and processed foods to young kids. All the lunch and snack options should be healthy options.
- Natural Light Aside from diet and exercise, natural light can go along way in boosting kids’ immunity. Schools in the UK have benefitted greatly from installing Parans natural lighting systems.
- Exercise Kids need to run around and be active. Reward with fun and not food, and diversify physical education options.