Idling cars could pose health risk to children during school pickup

A California school is prompting parents to not idle their cars while waiting to pickup students.

LEASANTON (KRON) — A group of students and health officials in San Francisco, California tried to encourage parents waiting to pick up their children Wednesday from school not to idle their engines.

They said pollution from running cars poses a danger to children with breathing problems. An idling car can emit a variety of toxins including benzene and formaldehyde, which can cause lung irritation.

Sometimes after school, there can be long lines of cars waiting to pick up kids, and that can be a problem. At Pleasanton Middle School, like many schools, parents sometimes have to wait a very long time to pickup their kids

“I sit here for about 45 minutes…,” one parent said.

And when it’s hot out, like it was Wednesday, many people keep their cars running with the air conditioning on in order to stay cool. The problem is that all those idling engines are putting out pollution, which could be breathed in by young kids with lungs that are still developing.

“The danger is right off the bat,” Economic Development Specialist Lisa Adamos said. “Kids are coming out of school and smelling the exhaust that’s coming right out of the car.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of students and local health officials went car to car to encourage parents to turn off their motors.

As an incentive, the kids handed out small fan misters. It is not exactly a substitute for air conditioning, but they hope it will help send a message.

“We just want to tell them to be conscious when your using air conditioning or idling because the pollutants that come out are harsh,” another student said. “We need to ensure that they don’t use it that often because it does affect hundreds of kids at our school alone.”

Now, school and health officials also recommend that parents idle their engines for no longer than 30 seconds.

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