Your buggy could be exposing your kids to dangerous levels of pollution - here’s why

Children in low-riding buggies could be being exposed to high levels of pollution, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Surrey have examined the levels of harmful pollutants babies could potentially be inhaling, while using various pushchairs.

What did the study involve?

The study, which took place at Surrey university’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research prior to the national lockdown, The variety of pushchairs they studied included both those with seats facing the parent and seats facing the road as well as double seated pushchairs.

The university researchers simulated roughly 90 trips with the buggies on both a morning and afternoon school run, to examine the differences in air pollution exposure levels between them.

The researchers also used scanning electron microscope (SEM) to analyse the microscopic particles in the air from nearby cars at low levels.

What did the study find?

Surprisingly the results found that the type of pram or pushchair used was negligible and that children could be exposed to 44 per cent more noxious pollutants than their parents, no matter which style of buggy they were in.

Additionally, when comparing the exposure levels between the two seats in double-seated, single-file pushchairs (where one seat is raised above another), it found that the seat at the bottom was exposed to 72 per cent more pollutants than the one at the top.

However, the study also found that pushchair covers helped to protect children from high concentrations of harmful microscopic particles. The covers reduced concentration levels by 39 per cent.

Addressing the findings in the study, Professor Prashant Kumar (the Founding Director of Global Centre for Clean Air Research) said, “For parents, nothing is more important than the health of our children.

“Our research shows that choices such as the type of pushchair you use, can impact on the amount of pollution your child faces when you are running a typical errand.

“But there is cause for some optimism, as our study confirms that pushchair covers and upping the buggy heights appears to have shielded children from an appreciable amount of pollution under certain conditions.”