Climate Change & Children's Health

Did you know?

Globally, children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease due to climate change, with the poorest disproportionately affected.

Climate Change is real. It is caused and exacerbated by human activities. It already affects many facets of life worldwide and will continue to do so to an even greater degree. Children are particularly vulnerable to these impacts now and will bear the consequences of our current actions in the future.

CEHN educates the public about the children’s environmental health consequences of climate disruption and helps change-makers with interventions and alternatives.

Direct effects of climate change on children's health:

  • Casualties and physical and emotional trauma during floods, typhoons, storms, hurricanes, and other natural disasters
  • Increased morbidity and mortality due to ischemic heart disease, respiratory disease, and disease of the nervous system, kidneys, etc. during hot weather

Indirect effects of climate change on children's health:

  • Increased incidence of infectious and parasitogenic (due to parasites) diseases due to increased rainfalls
  • Higher risk of intestinal infections due to the breakdown of water supply and sanitation networks
  • Increased morbidity and mortality from suspended particulates in the air and other air pollutants during forest fires
  • Community, essential services, and learning disruption from disease outbreaks and extreme climate events

Worldwide, other issues such as forced migration, food insecurity, and limited access to resources including arable land and water will have an impact on all members of society. All of these potential effects have enormous outcomes for children.

To learn more about the effects of climate change on children’s health, download our Climate Change & Children’s Health Infographic.

Who is affected?

All children are affected by the impacts of climate change, but children from poor and lower socio-economic families and communities of color are even more vulnerable. They are often hit first and worst due to environmental injustices.

For cross-sector recommendations to decision-makers on how to protect children's health from climate change, check out CEHN's climate change policy statement, "Protecting Children from the Harmful Impacts of Climate ".

Navigate through the tabs above to learn more about CEHN's climate change activities.

References and Resources
  • Climate Change and Global Child Health; Rebecca Pass Philipsborn and Kevin Chan; Pediatrics; June 2008