Children are more susceptible to environmental threats than adults. With equal exposure, children's bodies become more heavily concentrated than that of adults due to higher respiratory rates and smaller body sizes. And where do young, developing people spend a large portion of their school-age years? That's right: at childcare and school. That is why Improving Kids' Environment works to make school and childcare facilities as healthy as possible. Click here for a Healthy Schools Checklist.
Get Your School Involved
Asthma Management in Schools
An increasingly common cause of children missing school is asthma. Asthma is chronic lung disease that cannot be cured, but can be controlled. For children with asthma, the influence of schools can be lifesaving! Schools can help by adopting asthma-friendly policies and procedures; coordinating communication with physicians, school personnel, patients, and families to better serve students with asthma; and providing asthma education for students and staff.
Enacting a green cleaning program involves using environmentally safe products and procedures to effectively clean in a way that protects health
without harming the environment.
Green Purchasing and Healthy Materials Selection
Many more green and healthy products are available for use in schools, whether it's instructional materials, cleaning products or building materials. Being able to identify and find these products for an affordable price becomes important when schools choose to use them.
Indoor Air Quality in Schools
According to U.S. EPA, 20 percent of the U.S. population spend their days in elementary and secondary schools. Studies show that one-half of our nation's 115,000 schools have problems linked to indoor air quality. Students are at greater risk because of the hours spent in school facilities and because children are especially susceptible to pollutants. If students and teachers aren't healthy and comfortable, learning and productivity suffers, which in turn affects performance and achievement.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, involves pest prevention and proactive pest management. By keeping pests out and removing sources of food, water and shelter, fewer pests are encountered and pesticides are used only as a last resort. IPM results in fewer complaints, saves money, empowers school staff, and creates a cleaner, healthier school environment for children and staff.
Lead in Schools
The tragedy of lead in the water in Flint Michigan was a wake-up call to leaders around the country that the problem of lead in water systems is still with us. Recent test results have shown that lead is contaminating drinking water not just in homes but also in schools and preschools — flowing from fountains and faucets where kids drink water every day. In all likelihood, the confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are just the tip of the iceberg. Many schools can have at least some lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures, creating a risk of contamination.
Pesticides in Schools
Pesticide exposures can cause problems to children’s health in schools. Both pests and pesticides have been associated with asthma symptoms in children. Schools may reduce children’s absences from school by reducing pests and pesticides. Join us to create a safe, clean and healthy learning environment for our students.
Radon is a odorless, colorless, tasteless naturally occurring gas that is found in the soil. It is also mildly radioactive making it a hazard for humans. Radon finds it way into homes and other structures through openings in the foundation or flooring. If the gas cannot exit the structure, it builds up and then the occupants of the structure are exposed. Long term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer.
Smart Schools Don’t Idle
Studies have linked high pollution levels at schools to increased absence and lower academic performance. Even with the high price of gasoline, many people do not understand that idling vehicles can create air pollution “hot spots” that can bring on an asthma attack and even make healthy children and adults feel poorly (headaches, itchy eyes, sore throats). On school grounds, idling vehicles include school buses, parents waiting to pick up or drop off children from school or other activities, and delivery vehicles. Often, the pickup/dropoff areas are located near fresh air intakes, so the vehicle exhaust is drawn right into classroom areas. Improving air quality in and around the school buildings will make students and teachers feel better.
A School Nurse’s Guide to Kids’ Health and Safety from RNtoBSN
Children spend most of their waking hours in school, which means that school nurses and teachers are on the front lines in the battle to keep kids healthy. In order to help school nurses and teachers combat misinformation about children's safety and health, the team at RNtoBSN has created an online guide that includes more than 15 pages of health and safety illustrations and interactive charts, treatment information for ailments from allergies to concussions, strategies for keeping children healthy, basic personal hygiene information.