The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revealed that climate change poses a threat to human health and safety, but children are uniquely vulnerable, especially those in the poorest countries. The World Health Organization suggests that more than 88% of the existing burden of disease attributable to climate change occurs in children younger than five years old.
Lead author of the policy statement Samantha Ahdoot said, "Children are uniquely at risk to the direct impacts of climate changes like climate-related disaster, including floods and storms, where they are exposed to increased risk of injury, death, loss of or separation from caregivers and mental health consequences. They are also more vulnerable to the secondary impacts of global warming, like disease."
A technical report that accompanies the policy statement said, "Children in the world's poorest countries, where the disease burden is already disproportionately high, are most affected by climate change. In 2030, climate change is projected to cause an additional 48,000 deaths attributable to diarrheal disease in children younger than 15 years old, primarily in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa."
AAP president Sandra Hassink said, "Every child need a safe and healthy environment and climate change is a rising public health threat to all children in this country and around the world."
The report said, "Infants less than one year of age are uniquely vulnerable to heat-related mortality, with one study projecting an increase in infant heat-related deaths by 5.5% in females and 7.8% in males by the end of the 21st Century. Failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children."
The policy statement appeared online in the Pediatrics.