Hot Topics     Healthy Kids    

What parents need to know about climate change and children’s health

It’s not just speculation

What parents need to know about climate change and children’s health

Excessive heat. Emerging diseases. Severe storms and off-season illnesses. The environmental hazards associated with climate change threaten the physical and mental health of children and families — and can be a source of anxiety.

It’s not just speculation. Communities are already impacted by such climate change effects as heat illness from dangerous temperatures, asthma hospitalizations from earlier and more severe pollen seasons, and trauma from severe wildfires and storms.

“When we talk with parents about what’s good for their kids, part of our job is connecting the dots between our changing climate and their children’s health,” said Dr. Samantha Ahdoot, a pediatrician. “All children need exercise, nutritious food and stable communities to thrive. But climate change poses new challenges for our patients, from struggling to breathe due to wildfire smoke to flooded homes from extreme rainfall events to extreme heat. When we talk about the need to heal the planet, we are also talking about protecting our children’s ability to grow up in a safe, healthy world.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has long recognized the impact of climate change on children, recently announced a new strategic initiative on environmental health and disaster readiness as a priority outlined by its Board of Directors for 2024. The AAP is recommending steps not only for communities and policy makers, but for families. As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, here are a few suggestions:

  • Help your community adopt climate solutions. The AAP recommends a transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal. Join forces with a local group to help bring clean energy to your school, town, state or even country. The AAP also recommends that communities incorporate healthy transportation systems, including public transit and walkable, bikeable pathways that allow children to be outdoors and active. Families can get involved at the local level to help create safe routes to walk and bike where you live.
  • Let kids know that their voices and advocacy can be powerful. Kids may be inspired to know that some of our most effective and powerful climate advocates today are children and youth. Support their engagement in local, state and national climate solutions.
  • Reduce your own energy consumption and waste. Walking, biking, taking public transit, carpooling, and adopting a more plant-forward diet are all ways to help promote health for kids and the planet.
  • Show them you care. Let kids know that their adult caregivers—parents and pediatricians included—are committed to climate action solutions that protect their health and their world.
More information is available at

“What is healthy for the planet is also healthy for children,” Dr. Ahdoot said. “Pediatricians and parents share the same goal—to protect children’s health today, and ensure that they have a healthy future in adulthood. Protecting our planet helps preserve a healthy world that can provide all children the nutrition, play, and community stability that they need to thrive.”


PHOTO SOURCE: (c) PeopleImages / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • Safety tips to follow when using gas or charcoal grills

    Following safety procedures when grilling can reduce injury and save lives

    Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for many New Yorkers, and with it, the start of the grilling season. As New Yorkers get ready to fire up their grills this Memorial Day weekend, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds consumers to consider some important safety tips for safe summer barbecues. read more »
  • Tips to help avoid moving scams

    Be aware of deceptive business practices

    For this week’s “Tuesday’s Tips,” the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection provides consumers with important tips to avoid scams when moving. Moving your belongings can be a stressful process, and unfortunately scammers use these situations to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars by using deceptive business practices. read more »
  • 4 things parents and youth athletes should know about concussions

    Every person and every concussion is different

    Despite the attention drawn to the topic of concussions over the past decade, it can be difficult to find readily available answers about what parents and young athletes should do after sustaining a concussion. read more »
  • How to keep feet and ankles in tip top shape this summer

    Experts offer tips for you and your family

    Summer fun and chores alike come with potential hazards to feet. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here’s how to protect feet and ankles from the most common seasonal hazards. read more »
  • Confused by nutrition labels? You’re not alone

    How to read the packaging on your groceries

    Shopping for groceries can be like navigating a maze: so many choices in every aisle, food packages covered in marketing claims, and little direction on what is truly healthy and what isn’t. People want to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, but how can they when the information available to them can be so overwhelming? read more »
  • Thoughtful gift ideas for Mother's Day

    Make your mom smile on her special day

    To show your mom just how much she means to you, choose a Mother’s Day gift that reflects her interests and passions. As you’re looking for the perfect gift, consider these thoughtful ideas that will touch her heart. read more »
  • How high-speed internet can help spark community vitality

    Let's get internet everywhere

    Most Americans consider high-speed internet an essential household service. Yet in rural America, an estimated 25% of the population doesn’t have broadband access, limiting their economic growth and access to career opportunities and resources such as education and health care. read more »
  • Girls on the Run launches new curriculum

    Meeting the needs of today's girls

    Girls on the Run International (GOTRI), a nationally recognized nonprofit that empowers young girls, has launched its new research-based curriculum intentionally designed to meet the needs of today's girls. Entitled Hello, Superstar!, the innovative curriculum helps girls build the confidence to be themselves through meaningful and engaging lessons and activities that keep them moving. read more »
  • From awareness to action:'s commitment to supporting healthy relationships with technology for kids shares resources aimed at creating positive digital experiences for children

    As the world observes Mental Health Awareness Month this May,, a leading provider of digital literacy solutions, is taking proactive steps to address a pressing issue: the need for young learners to develop healthy relationships with technology. Recognizing that banning technology isn't the solution, is engaging educators and parents in the conversation and providing free tools and resources during the month of May aimed at supporting the creation of positive digital experiences for children. Through an informative webinar with experts in the field on May 21, will foster discussions that aim to help students build healthy relationships with technology. read more »
  • 4 trends showing mental health is a continued challenge for Americans

    People with outward appearances of success, productivity and happiness often still deal with internal struggles. Mental health challenges continue to affect Americans, with nearly 3 of 4 (73%) U.S. adults reporting struggles with mental health in 2023. read more »