More growth and development takes place in a baby’s first year than at any other time. Early childhood is also an important period of development. The early years are a critical time to provide good nutrition and a healthy environment.
• Chemicals in secondhand smoke are very damaging to a young child’s health. They have been linked to increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, middle ear infections, lower respiratory tract illness, prevalence of wheeze and cough and worsening asthma.
• Once children can crawl, they are exposed to floor dust that may contain lead, flame retardants or other substances that may harm brain development.
• When it comes to eating, children are not just little adults. Health impacts from food contaminants such as pesticides or heavy metals can be greater because children consume more food per pound of body weight than adults and because childhood is such a vulnerable time of development.
• Children may also be exposed to pesticides and harmful cleaners at school.
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Healthy Environment Healthy Child Environmental Health Reference Card
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Childhood Development factsheet