Top Tips to Stay Healthy on the School Run

1. Park it, and take the alternative!

Hoof it!

Rule number one to help reduce emissions and keep your kids healthy is to walk the distance instead of taking the car. Research carried out by Sustrans shows that by 2050 it is predicted that 70% of girls and 55% of boys will be overweight or obese, but a short walk to school each day is easy, free and could lower your child’s risk of obesity.

Plan your route together in advance, finding quieter roads wherever possible. You can also accompany your child for a few days and as they gain confidence, gradually reduce how far you go – this teaches kids the value of exercise and important road safety tips!

On your bike!

As children get a little older, and are practicing for their cycling proficiency tests in school, it’s important to get them used to road safety while on their bikes. This isn’t only good for experience near roads, it also reduces dangerous emissions from cars. With Over 72,000 children being treated for asthma in direct relation to vehicle emissions, don’t underestimate the benefits of cycling to school!

In 2010, Sustrans released a report which stated nearly half of children surveyed wanted to cycle to school, but only 4% were allowed to – this mainly came down to parent’s road safety concerns. Here are some tips to help satisfy parent’s concerns while cycling to school:

  • Practice pre-planned journeys during quieter times like weekends or evenings.
  • Make sure your child is aware of cycling safety rules, especially when passing busier junctions or roads.
  • Talk to other parents to organise a walking or cycling group so children can accompany each other on the school run.

2. Carpool school run

If you live in a catchment area too far away to walk in which there are are several families from your child’s school, organise a carpool. Not only does this teach younger children important social skills and builds confidence, it can reduce the harmful emissions from 3 cars, to 1 car. Talk to your school about pulling together groups of parents in the same area to organise school runs.

10 times more people die in the UK because of illnesses related to vehicle pollution, than are killed by road traffic accidents each year. Tackle both of these issues while protecting your child’s health by giving some little ones a lift to school!

3. Talk to Switch Off and Breathe

Does your school have a problem with idling cars and buses? If so please report it to us. We can raise awareness in many ways, such as the placement of anti-idling signage.

We also provide a range of services to discourage idling around schools and encourage parents, and schools, who believe they have a problem with car pollution to get in contact with us:

  • We can provide a service to put up ‘Switch Off’ signs where needed.
  • We can provide leaflets advising people of the reasons why they should be switching off their engines.
  • We can provide free stationary on request to raise awareness.
  • We can attend information evenings or functions to teach children, teachers and parents the importance of reducing emissions around schools.

A child’s lungs are constantly developing and working much faster than an adult’s, therefore they are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution. You would not subject a child to cigarette smoke, yet vehicle emissions are just as dangerous and most drivers will park with their engines running outside of schools. It is harmful. Switch off your engine and let the children breathe.

Reducing emissions, and improving the health of children across Scotland is our number one priority, but we can’t accomplish this without the help of parents and teachers. If you would like more information on how you can help, get in touch with Switch Off and Breathe today.

6 Ways To Save The Planet On Your Summer Road Trip

6 Ways To Save The Planet On Your Summer Road Trip

With the grace of scorching weather covering Scotland this summer, many of us will be seasonally inclined to jump in the car, toss the picnic (and maybe the kids) in the back and take off for the weekend.

The good weather can make us forget most of our problems, however there is one that can’t be forgotten: the colossal effect some driving styles can have on the earth and its population.

This blog post will take you through the top 6 ways to help reduce emissions, your carbon footprint and the lives lost to air pollution. Take note, you can help save lives this summer!


1 – Switch Off and Breathe

Not only could you save money by not vehicle idling, you could save lives. Studies show that in 2005 air pollution contributed to 650 deaths per million people in the UK.

This is possibly the number one tip for those looking to reduce their emissions this summer. When cruising the countryside and stopping to grab a quick 99p cone, switch off your car instead of leaving it running – the effect you have could be tremendous.


2 – Take the Road Less Travelled

Both petrol and diesel emissions contain chemicals which are known to cause cancer and other serious illnesses – so cut it out!

This summer, instead of running the engine, take the road less travelled and bring the bikes out of retirement. Cycling to work or getting the train or bus cuts down on major emissions caused by traffic congestion – one sure way to help your environment.


road-trip-300x300 (1)3 – Let the Wind Blow Through Your Hair

Your car’s air conditioning could be blasting more than just cold air. A/C contributes to your car’s overall emission footprint, sending harmful fumes into the air around you and increasing fuel consumption significantly.

Help both your pocket and the planet by winding down the windows, and letting the clean wind blow through your hair.


4 – Tighten the Belt

Weighing down your car can significantly increase your fuel consumption and result in a major increase in air pollution.

Just an FYI, The World Health Organisation estimates that 7 million people died worldwide due to exposure to air pollution during 2012 – so do your bit and streamline your packing!


5 – The Buddy System

The buddy system: a universal path to efficiency! The same goes for car-sharing. If you are able to give co-workers a lift to work, or jump in someone else’s car, it’s a massive saver for the environment. Double the cars = double the journeys = double the pollution!

Embrace the buddy system to help your environment and save lives!


6 – Put the brakes on

Now, we’re not asking you to go full ‘Driving Miss Daisy’, you just need to drive the speed limit in order to reduce your car’s emissions.

Air Pollution is responsible for the loss of 6 months of life expectancy – is speeding now worth the loss of 6 months in the future? We don’t think so! So, observe the speed limit and help lengthen the lives of those around you.

Air Pollution affects us all, there’s no question about it. So when you’re planning your summer road trip, keep these tips in mind – they could help save the life of someone you know, and millions that you don’t.

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