We're fortunate that where our business is based - in South Holland - we enjoy predominately good air quality.
However, more built-up area across the country are not so lucky.
High concentrations of pollutants can be found in most UK towns and cities, with the majority of pollution in urban areas generated by vehicles.
Worryingly more than 1,000 nurseries are located close to roads where the level of air pollution exceeds the legal limit according to research by Greenpeace’s Energydesk and The Guardian newspaper earlier this year.
Their report revealed that at least 2,092 education and childcare providers across England and Wales are within 150m of a road where the level of nitrogen dioxide from diesel traffic exceeds the legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.
Of these, 1,013 were nurseries - and many were in towns and cities outside London.
That's why new guidance warning staff and pupils about the dangers of air pollution and practical solutions to protect young children is extremely welcome.
Key guidance includes:
- Reminding parents that children in buggies are at greater risk, due to their proximity to vehicle exhaust pipes
- Encouraging the creation of action plans to protect pupils’ health, including installing air pollution monitors to show when toxic air is worst and suggesting measures to tackle the problem
- Recommending introducing travel plans and other options to reduce air pollution such as encouraging car sharing, and safe walking routes away from main roads
A recent World Health Organisation report said that 570,000 children under the age of five died every year from illnesses that could be linked to pollution.
Bus stops and traffic lights were identified as the worst places for being exposed to the tiny particles from exhaust fumes and tyres that can get into the bloodstream.
Unsurprisingly, young children are far more susceptible to pollution than adults, due to their immature and developing systems, quicker breathing and lower body weight.
Children breathing high levels of air pollution over a long period are at risk of their lungs not growing properly, repeated infections, coughs and wheezing, and developing asthma or seeing their asthma worsen.
Air pollution also increases the long-term risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and possibly even diabetes.
Again earlier this year, scientists advised parents to use covers on their prams to protect babies from the harmful chemicals emitted by vehicle exhausts.
Scientists placed pollution detectors inside prams on 64 journeys to and from schools in Guildford, at drop-off and pick-up times, to assess how youngsters are affected.
They discovered that in the mornings when infants are on the school run at rush hour with their older siblings exposure levels are higher.
The study suggested the need for 'precautionary measures' to limit little ones' exposure along busy roadsides and offered the simple solution of using a barrier between the baby and exhaust emissions.