Children's Environmental Health Collaborative

Healthy environments foster healthy children

Children’s environmental health focuses on protecting children’s health from all environmental hazards, including climate change, from preconception to adulthood.
newborn deaths daily

The combined effects of ambient air pollution and household air pollution are associated with 7 million premature deaths annually.


children are exposed to heatwaves.

1 in 3

children globally has dangerous blood lead levels.


people visit health care facilities without reliable electricity, water, sanitation or waste disposal services.

Children today face a new set of challenges that were unimaginable just a generation ago. Across the world, climate change, environmental degradation and unsafe built environments are threatening child survival, health and well-being. Given children’s unique metabolism, physiology and developmental needs, no group is more vulnerable to environmental harm. Exposure can impact children early and have a lifelong effect. 

Disturbingly, the extent of this issue can be seen in how patterns of disease among children are changing worldwide, with a clear shift from communicable to noncommunicable diseases as a growing cause of childhood morbidity. In addition, this generation of children will be the first to grow up in a world made far more dangerous by climate change. Extreme weather events, heat waves, the spread of infectious and vector-borne diseases, as well as detrimental impacts on air, water and food quality, are direct threats to a child’s ability to survive, grow and thrive.

This course, developed by UNICEF and WHO, will help health workers to protect children’s health from pollution and climate change. It is based on internationally harmonized and peer-reviewed materials on the most relevant and pressing issues on children's environmental health.


Children are not little adults

The scale and range of environmental risks children face require holistic action across issues, borders, sectors and partners to drive lasting impact. We owe it to the world’s children to act now.

The Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative will work to prevent the impact of climate change and environmental degradation from eroding years of critical progress on children’s health. Together we can protect children’s health, development and well-being.

Every child has a right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

Spotlight risks

Facing the problem

Air pollution

Air pollution poses severe risks to children's health, causing respiratory infections, asthma, cognitive developmental and...

Lead poisoning

Lead is poisoning around one in three children globally on a massive and previously unrecognised...

Extreme heat

Extreme heat can have detrimental effects on children's health, leading to heat exhaustion, dehydration, heatstroke...

Unsafe health care facilities

Unsafe healthcare facility environments lead to poor quality of care for children. With an initial...
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