A new study has revealed babies and toddlers in prams are exposed to alarming levels of air pollution on the school run

Parents should use pram covers to protect babies and young children from harmful air pollution during the school run. The research by the University of Surrey found that pollution levels peak during drop-off and pick-up times, with mornings faring worse than evenings. Traffic lights and bus stops are hotspots, with children exposed to damaging substances from exhaust fumes and tyres.

Published in Environmental Pollution, researchers looked at 64 pushchair trips, covering about 50 miles in Guildford. Monitoring equipment inside the prams measured the air quality.

Dr Prashant Kumar, lead study author from the university, said; “Young children are far more susceptible to pollution than adults, due to their immature and developing systems and lower body weight. Essentially, children could be at risk of breathing in some nasty and harmful chemical species such as iron, aluminium and silica that form together the particles of various size ranges.”

A recent report by the World Health Organisation said 570,000 children under five years old died every year from illnesses that could be linked to pollution. Dr Kumar said the best way to protect babies and toddlers from toxic air was to use a barrier between the child and vehicle emissions.

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