Buying an air purifier for nursery school or daycare

Children are one of the most at-risk groups in suffering the effects of air pollution. The World Health Organization states that ‘93% of the world’s children under 15 years old breathe air so polluted that it puts their health and development at serious risk1. Protecting our most vulnerable populations from the dangers of air pollution should be one of our top priorities as a society. This includes keeping them safe from indoor air pollution when they attend nursery school or daycare. How does air pollution affect children? How can an air purifier (also known as an air cleaner or air sanitiser) protect them in nursery schools and daycares? Read more below.

A child colouring with crayons

Why are children at such high risk of air pollution-related illness?

As children grow, their immune systems are also in development. This means that they are particularly vulnerable to airborne air pollutants, whether that be fine particle pollution (also known as ‘particulate matter’ or PM) or germs found in our breathing air. The ages of children attending nursery school or daycare can range anywhere from six weeks old to four or five years old. As a result, these children are in varying stages of development and have differing vulnerabilities.

The dangers of air pollution

Studies have shown that ambient air pollution leads to increased mortality in both children and adults. The risk is especially increased for nursery schools, daycares, or facilities located in cities that experience high levels of pollution. Nursery schools and daycares that are near motorways or other areas with traffic pollution and fine and ultrafine pollution exposure are especially at risk.

For infants and children, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is elevated due to air pollution exposure. A 2004 study analysed the link between particulate air pollution and infant mortality. It found that young children are most at risk of death due to respiratory causes upon exposure to particulate air pollution2.

Another study performed in Brazil on children under the age of 5. Concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter under 10 microns in size (PM10) were all obtained. The results demonstrated that the increased risk of respiratory death for children under 5 were as follows:

  • SO2 exposure: 13%
  • CO exposure: 15%
  • PM10 exposure: 7%3

Particulate matter like PM10 and PM2.5 are proving to be the most dangerous forms of pollution due to their small size. Once these particles are inhaled, they can efficiently enter the lungs and gain access to other organs of the body like the brain, heart, and bloodstream.

Indoor air is, on average, 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air (sometimes reaching 100 times more polluted). Sick building syndrome (SBS) can cause illness in adults working in nursery schools and children attending them. The same goes for long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants. Both can lead to nose, eye, throat, and skin irritation; allergies; reduced performance and ability to focus; and increased risk of multiple types of cancer, respiratory disease like asthma, and mental health disorders like anxiety and depression4

A doctor gives a child an inhaler

Airborne germs

Nursery schools and daycares are hotbeds for disease transmission (bacterial and viral). Disease can be spread amongst the children in attendance, adult care providers, parents, and other members of the community. Infection is typically spread when children release aerosols into the air whilst talking, shouting, or singing. It is also spread when dirty toys are transferred from child to child and inevitably placed into the mouth.

Multiple studies have shown that children who attend nursery school and daycares are much more likely to fall ill than children who do not. Children who are attending nursery school or daycare for the first time are at the highest risk of contracting an illness. Respiratory tract infections, wheezing episodes, and gastrointestinal illness are the most common illnesses spread in nursery schools5. Additionally, when children fall ill, they are typically prescribed antibiotics to encourage a speedier recovery and, thus, return to school. This can ultimately lead to higher bacterial resistance.

Attending nursery school, however, is a crucial step for the strengthening of a child’s immune system and socialisation skills. That said, it is crucial to remove airborne pathogens before they have a chance to be inhaled via a child’s respiratory system. Installing an air purifier in a nursery school or daycare is a great way to protect all children and adults from overexposure to germs (bacteria and viruses). This can help keep all community members, especially those that are most vulnerable, from disease transmission.

A child wearing glasses at school

Allergens

It is expected for dust to build up in places where groups of people spend long periods of time. Nursery schools and daycares are no exception: indoor allergens are abundant. Studies have suggested that exposure to airborne dust allergens in infancy can cause sensitivity, allergies, and may lead to the development of asthma. Starting as early as nursery school, these respiratory conditions can cause learning difficulties and delays due to extended periods of illness. These children often require extra support at school, even at an early age.

One study even declares that it is ‘imperative to design interventions’ to protect infants from excessive dust allergen exposure. Contracting allergies, hay fever, or asthma as a result of allergen exposure in nursery school or daycare can cause disruptions in a child’s development by causing disturbed sleep, days missed from school due to illness, and/or urgent care visits6.

Another study found a strong correlation between indoor dust allergen exposure and the development of childhood asthma. The study goes on to state that reducing exposure to these dust allergens could provide significant benefits in preventing asthma7. An air purifier for nursery school could prevent airborne dust and dust mites from being inhaled by children, protecting them from potential sensitisation in later years.

Odours

Air purifiers that are equipped with activated carbon filters can be particularly beneficial for combatting nursery school or daycare odours. Various odours can be found in places that monitor children: dirty nappies, cooking, odours created as a result of activities with children, odours created by cleaning and sanitising products, and more. These smells can be difficult to remove and may stick around for extended periods of time. Installing an air cleaner with odour-fighting technologies is a great way to not simply mask nursery school odours but to remove them from the air completely.

Another important point to note is that odours caused by cleaning products, air fresheners, pesticides, new furniture, and products used for renovation often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs can be released for up to two years! This is particularly problematic in places like nursery schools or daycares that do not have sufficient ventilation. VOCs are known for their negative effects on our health.

How does an air purifier for nursery school work?

Air sanitisers are fairly simple. They pull polluted air into the device, treat it using one or more filtration technologies, and then recirculate the purified air back into the room. The ideal air purifier should have powerful air filtration capabilities but not make loud noises so as not to disturb the user.

The technologies used can vary significantly, meaning that the quality of the air purification you are receiving in your nursery school or daycare can vary, too. Eoleaf air purifiers use a proprietary 8-step filtration method with each stage targeting a specific type of pollutant. The steps are detailed below:

  1. Prefilter – captures all particles larger than one micron (hair, fibres, dust, etc.)
  2. Natural bamboo fibre – natural material with excellent filtration properties
  3. Lysozyme and silver ion coating – known for their antifungal and antibacterial capacities
  4. Medical-grade HEPA H13 filter – HEPA filters are guaranteed to capture 99.97% of all fine and ultrafine particles down to a size of 0.01 microns (dust and dust mites, germs, allergens, mould and mould spores, particulate matter)
  5. Activated carbon filter – effective against VOCs and unpleasant odours
  6. Photocatalysis – binds to VOCs, gases, and other types of chemical pollution
  7. UVC sterilisation – removes all airborne bacteria and viruses
  8. Ionisation (negative ions) – fights against smoke and fine particle pollution

Read more about our 8 stages of filtration.

The benefits of an air purifier for nursery school or daycare

Installing an air purifier in a nursery school or daycare can bring a host of benefits to all those associated with anyone who attends or works in such a facility.

A child running down a hallway at school

Reduces exposure to air pollutants

The main goal of installing an air purifier is, of course, to remove indoor air pollutants from your breathing air. A high-quality air cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-certified filter will effectively remove 99.95% of air pollutants that enter your space. HEPA filters are the only filters guaranteed to remove particles down to 0.01 microns in size. This may include pollutants from road traffic; germs like viruses and bacteria; mould and mould spores; and allergens like pollen, pet dander and hair, and dust and dust mites. Keep in mind that ‘HEPA-type’ filters, though cheaper, are not guaranteed the same level of filtration as HEPA-certified filters!

An air purifier in a nursery school or daycare can deliver constant, purified air throughout classrooms, play rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and more. It can promote well-being amongst children, reduce illness transmission, and encourage children’s development by improving educational performance.

As mentioned above, it is helpful to purchase an air purifier equally equipped with odour-fighting technologies. Removing odours from your breathing air can reduce distractions in a nursery school or daycare for both students and staff. Unpleasant odours have the potential to impact your daily life!

Protects teachers, staff, families, and visitors

In a nursery school, the children are not the only individuals at risk of the dangers of indoor air pollution! The nursery school or daycare staff, family, friends, caretakers, and other loved ones who are in contact with these individuals are all put at risk. An air purifier in a nursery school or daycare can keep anyone who is in contact with the children safe from bringing illnesses home to their loved ones. This, in turn, reassures parents that their children are breathing the cleanest, safest air possible that is free of invisible pathogens and indoor pollutants found in nursery schools.

Fights COVID-19 with medical-grade technology

In nursery schools, social distancing, hand disinfection, and mask-wearing are all difficult to enforce. Aerosols that transmit the coronavirus can stay in the air for an extended period of time, posing a prolonged contamination risk to anyone who comes in contact with them.

COVID-19 is often asymptomatic in young children, meaning that it is easy for a child to be a host of the virus and spread it to others. Nursery school air purification is paramount in tackling the issue whilst it is still airborne before it can turn into a bigger one.

How to choose an air purifier for a nursery school or daycare?

A few important factors should be considered before choosing an air purifier for a nursery school or daycare. With countless varieties of air cleaners on the market, it may feel overwhelming to sift through your many choices.

Consider the device’s performance and placement based on classroom size

Buying a high-efficiency air sanitiser for your nursery school or daycare is crucial. A device for a nursery school should have a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). A device’s Clean Air Delivery Rate is a metric assigned depending upon the air purifier’s airflow. In other words, CADR is how much filtered air it can deliver. The more filtered air a device can deliver, the more efficient it will be at keeping the air clear of pollutants. Refer to our Buying Guide to learn more about Clean Air Delivery Rate and other metrics to keep in mind before purchasing an air purifier.

Depending upon the size of the room in the nursery school or daycare where you aim to filter air pollutants, your air cleaner must be properly sized. A large room will require a device that is sized for larger spaces (like Eoleaf’s AEROPRO 150). For extra large rooms, you may even require multiple air purifiers. A small room, on the other hand, will require a device that is sized for small spaces (like Eoleaf’s AEROPRO 40). If you have a small amount of space available, our AEROPRO 40 is compact, ensuring that it will not take up too much space!

When placing your air purifier for your nursery school or daycare, choose a location where the device will not be blocked by obstacles: furniture, large toys, cubbies, and so on. It should also not be stored in a corner where airflow is hindered. Ideally, an air cleaner should be placed in the centre of a room where air circulation is at its highest. Read more in our list of placement recommendations to guarantee optimal air filtration. Also, keep noise levels in mind when placing your air purifier - refer to the paragraph below for more.

Consider its noise level

A quiet air purifier is essential when purchased for a nursery school or daycare. Purchasing a device with a low noise level that will not distract children whilst they are performing educational tasks or keep them from sleeping during nap time is of the utmost importance! Your air sanitiser should have multiple fan settings to allow you to set it on its quietest setting during nap time and educational activities. Even its highest fan speed should not make a lot of noise - Eoleaf’s highest fan speed emits noise equivalent to the sounds heard in your average office building.

You can set your device on higher fan speeds before children arrive for the day (to avoid too much noise whilst the children are present) or when they come back inside after recess, for example. Automatic mode is also particularly useful – take the thinking out of it and let your device detect and treat incoming pollutants for you!

Consider its autonomy and energy consumption for continuous use

The usage of an air purifier for nursery school should be able to withstand long periods of use. Ideally, it should be left running when children are present, meaning that it will be in use for many hours at a time. Eoleaf air purifiers are energy-efficient and built to last, making them ideal for continuous use in a nursery school or daycare. Additionally, Eoleaf devices only require filter replacements once per year!

If you require assistance in choosing the right device for you, do not hesitate to contact our team of air purification experts. Also feel free to refer to our thorough Buying Guide that will help you consider all of the factors involved when choosing an air purifier for your space.

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 150 air purifier


Resources

1 World Health Organization. (2018, October 29). More than 90% of the world’s children Breathe Toxic Air Every Day. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news/item/29-10-2018-more-than-90-of-the-worlds-children-breathe-toxic-air-every-day

2 Glinianaia SV, Rankin J, Bell R, Pless-Mulloli T, Howel D. Does particulate air pollution contribute to infant death? A systematic review. Environ Health Perspect. 2004 Oct;112(14):1365-71. doi: 10.1289/ehp.6857. PMID: 15471726; PMCID: PMC1247561.

3 Conceição GM, Miraglia SG, Kishi HS, Saldiva PH, Singer JM. Air pollution and child mortality: a time-series study in São Paulo, Brazil. Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jun;109 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):347-50. doi: 10.1289/ehp.109-1240551. PMID: 11427383; PMCID: PMC1240551.

4 Leung, D. Y. (2015). Outdoor-indoor air pollution in urban environment: Challenges and opportunity. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2014.00069/full

5 Collins JP, Shane AL. Infections Associated With Group Childcare. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 2018:25–32.e3. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-40181-4.00003-7. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PMCID: PMC7152033.

6 Peat, J. K., Tovey, E., Gray, E. J., Mellis, C. M., & Woolcock, A. J. (1994). Asthma severity and morbidity in a population sample of Sydney schoolchildren: Part II - importance of house dust mite allergens. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 24(3), 270–276. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1445-5994.1994.tb02171.x

Eoleaf's range of air purifiers

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