Smog and particulate matter (such as pollen, soot, and dust) are examples of air pollution. Children's
lungs are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of air pollution, because
they breathe rapidly and inhale a high concentration of pollution relative to
Use care when you take your young child outdoors, especially for
physical activities. When children exercise, they breathe more heavily than
normal. Also, they breathe more through their mouths than their noses.
This allows pollution to be inhaled more deeply into the lungs where it can
cause permanent damage.
Do not take your child out when the air quality
index is 151 or above.footnote 1 This index is often reported in the news. You can also find it at http://airnow.gov.
outside early in the morning in the summer and on days where smog may develop. On days
that air is stagnant and temperatures reach over
90°F (32°C), smog levels
usually peak in mid-to-late afternoon.
Environmental Protection Agency (2011). Air Quality Index (AQI): A guide to air quality and your health. Available online: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi.