Healthy Preschool Environment: Reduce your Child' Potential Exposure to Noise and Air Pollution

Boy protecting his ears from noise pollution

Sending your children to preschool is a big step. Sending them off to just any learning center can be unsettling. Children need the best environment physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Since they will spend quite a bit of time at school, it’s important for it to have a healthy preschool environment. Here are just two of the things to look for when determining a school for your child.

Noise Levels

The first thing you might think of when you picture a group of preschoolers gathered together is noise. While it’s true young children can make a good deal of noise, you want to ensure the learning center doesn’t have a noise level that’s harmful to your child.

Just what are harmful levels of noise and how does it affect your child? According to the World Health Organization, sounds and noise can be differentiated by the:

  • Vibration: The frequency and intensity of the vibrations indicate how loud the sounds are.
  • Periodicity: The pattern of the sounds.
  • Duration: How long the sound continues for a period of time.

Harmless sounds become harmful noises when the intensity or duration exceeds healthy limits. Noises from outdoor traffic, city sounds, machinery, lawn mowers, airplanes, and loud bells are all potentially harmful to a child in the following ways:

  • Damages the hearing.
  • May aggravate children with ADHD or autism.
  • Hinders learning, especially in the areas of speech and language.

Children are especially vulnerable to excessive or intense noise because they cannot protect themselves (they aren’t in control of the environment), and they don’t understand the danger of noise. So even if they felt pained or bothered by it, they wouldn’t know what was causing it. So it’s up to the preschool to take all the necessary precautions to reduce the noise level such as having sound-reducing walls.

Pollutants

Children’s little lungs are still developing and therefore, more susceptible to the dangers of air pollutants which can have long-term consequences. A study that tracked over one thousand children who grew up in polluted areas discovered they had a higher risk of underdeveloped lungs and their lung performance was similar to those who grew up with a parent who smoked in the home.

A study by the California Environmental Protection Agency states, “Children breathe more air per unit of body weight compared to adults and are also less developed immunologically, physiologically, and neurologically.” This higher concentration of toxins can have significant effects on children such as:

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  • Respiratory problems such as asthma and rhinitis.
  • Respiratory tract infections.
  • Allergies
  • Toxicity resulting in endocrine issues.

Children can also be exposed to germs from things they put in their mouth. And let’s face it; kids put things in their mouths. (That’s one reason why we love our Zono disinfecting machine!) Older buildings may contain traces of lead paint, which is dangerous to growing children. So, a healthy preschool center will be mindful of pollutants exposed through a child’s airways as well as the mouth.

As you prepare for your child’s entry into early learning centers, it’s important to find a healthy preschool environment. Protecting your child from unnecessary noise and pollution will aid in his or her development physically and cognitively.

Parent Resources

Signs that your child may be struggling with too much noise:

  • Repeatedly needs you to repeat something.
  • Covers ears when loud noises occur.
  • Holds or rubs the ear often.
  • Complains of pain in or around the ear.

Signs that your child may be suffering from air pollutants

  • Year-round allergy symptoms.
  • Has trouble breathing.
  • Has developed asthma.
  • Develops respiratory infections often.

For more on each school:

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