Health Impacts on Children
Children are vulnerable to poor air quality. They breathe 50% more air per pound than adults and are more susceptible to respiratory conditions. Health risks increase as exposure to the pollutants in vehicle exhaust increases. When multiple vehicles idle in the same location, exhaust fumes can build up in buses, vehicles, and inside nearby buildings, exposing individuals in the area to higher concentrations of pollution.
Why Focus on Schools?
- Health risks increase when vehicle exhaust is concentrated.
- Exhaust concentration increases when several idling buses and cars are lined up.
- Exhaust fumes from vehicles may build up in school buses and around and inside school buildings, exposing children and staff to toxic pollution.
- Children are more vulnerable to poor air quality.
- Children are lower to the ground and closer to exhaust pipes.
- Children breathe at a faster rate than adults, potentially inhaling a higher concentration of pollutants.
- Children have a higher rate of respiratory conditions which may be made worse by exposure to air pollution.
Asthma is the leading cause of school absences.
What can Schools and Daycares do to Reduce Idling?
- Adopt an idle-free school campus policy that includes school, caregiver, and delivery vehicles.
- Post Idle-Free Zone signs in drop-off and pick-up zones.
- Train bus drivers and school personnel on the idle reduction policy.
- Send a letter explaining the benefits of an Idle-Free Zone to parents, guardians, staff, and faculty.
- Place posters or signs internally around the school to remind visitors, staff, and students about policy.
- Invite student groups to assist with educating or enforcing the Idle-Free Zone policy.
Linn County Public Health can help by...
- Providing a free Idle-Free Zone kit, including sample template policies, letters, handouts, and metal idle-free signs.
- Provide free outdoor Idle-Free signs for drop-off and pick-up locations.
- Offer free technical support.
- Assist schools with a pre- and post-policy idling assessment.
- Environmental Protection Agency - Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)
- Iowa DOT Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Grant
- Iowa DOT Volkswagen Settlement Funding Programs
- American Lung Association - 5 Ways to Protect the Air Quality in Your Child's School
- Sample Policy - Idle-Free Fleet Policy
- Sample Policy - Idle-Free Campus Policy
- Sample Letter - Letter to Parents