A minimum of 9,000 deaths every year are attributed to indoor air pollution in the UK. And young children are even more sensitive to this issue in comparison to adults, as their airways are smaller and still developing. Therefore, it’s crucial that indoor environments are monitored to provide adequate ventilation.
In 2019, a study concluded that over a quarter of educational environments in the UK were in areas where toxic air pollution is over the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines. So, it is often difficult to maintain healthy air quality in nurseries. Good ventilation is the most effective way to solve this issue. Without it, poor indoor air quality can lead to health problems, and if a child already suffers from respiratory issues, they are more likely to suffer in polluted indoor environments, as their lungs are more sensitive. Considering that 3 to 4 year old children are entitled to at least 570 hours of childcare per year, nurseries must be well-ventilated.
This article will look at the importance of ventilation in nurseries and explain how facilities management companies like MSL can help maintain good indoor air quality.
The Benefits of Good Air Quality in Nurseries
- Keeps children healthy
According to researchers in Denmark, good ventilation in nurseries will mean less sickness and therefore fewer absences. This is due to multiple reasons, firstly because ventilation reduces the adverse effects of concentrated indoor air pollution which can cause health problems.
Secondly, well-ventilated air in nurseries reduces the risk of transmission of viruses like COVID-19. This is because, when a child infected with a virus sneezes or coughs, some of the virus particles stay in the air. And if good quality air is flowing through the space, instead of staying stagnant in a room for hours, the children present are less likely to catch the illness.
- Helps concentration
Research has shown that students’ performance in test conditions dip when there are high levels of pollution in the air. In a nursery setting, this means that better air quality can stimulate creativity and cognitive growth, which are essential elements of a young child’s formative education.
- Enhances comfort
Not only has research shown that children notice good air quality; it’s also common knowledge that a well-ventilated space creates the most comfortable learning environment. Stagnant air can create a negative atmosphere in a nursery, whereas fresh air can help boost energy levels amongst children.
- Minimises level of allergens
In environments with poor air quality, allergies to substances such as dust mites and mould spores can be aggravated. And when small children are around, indoor allergen symptoms can be triggered as early as one years old, so the importance of ventilation in nurseries is essential to avoid flare ups.
- Optimal level of air humidity
We often think about humidity in terms of the weather outdoors but maintaining the correct level of humidity in a nursery setting is very important. The level of humidity in the air should be between 40% and 70%, as overly dry air can increase the risk of viruses spreading, and air that’s too humid encourages dampness and mould. Proper indoor ventilation allows you to control the level of humidity, to achieve the best air quality.
How Much Fresh Air is Enough?
The fresher the air, the better it is for a nursery environment. Experts recommend that six air changes an hour is ideal for a 10 by 10-foot room. Mechanical ventilation like HVAC systems, hybrid systems and natural ventilation like open windows all help to circulate as much fresh air as possible throughout the building.
Tips to Improve Air Quality in Nurseries
1. Regular HVAC Maintenance
If HVAC systems are not regularly maintained, faults will begin to appear which could impact the air quality in nurseries and create an unpleasant environment for children. A proactive approach with a planned maintenance service is recommended so that AC units are regularly maintained to identify faults before they escalate into a bigger problem.
MSL can assist you with maintenance related to your HVAC system. Our air conditioning maintenance services include cleaning HVAC systems’ filters and coils to remove bacteria, and checking air conditioning units are operating properly to purge indoor air pollutants and deliver fresh air in nurseries.
Not only will regular HVAC maintenance improve air quality, but it will also help to conserve energy, potentially saving nurseries money on energy bills.
2. Utilise a Compliance Maintenance Service
UK Government building regulations state that buildings for educational purposes must be adequately ventilated. These ventilation requirements stipulate that ventilation systems must prevent summertime overheating and reduce pollutants as much as possible. Our compliance maintenance service can help nurseries keep on top of these regulations, ensuring that children are being provided fresh air 24/7.
3. Open Windows and Doors
According to the UK Government Education Hub, opening windows for as little as 10 minutes can reduce the transmission of infections like COVID-19. It is an easy, cost-effective way to supplement the ventilation provided by a HVAC systems, and ensure that nurseries feel open and inviting for children, especially during the summer.
4. Regular Cleaning
Research in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology has shown that regular cleaning of educational environments is proven to improve children’s health. As well as sanitising surfaces, regular vacuuming with a high efficiency air filter vacuum cleaner can help reduce exposure to allergies. MSL’s planned maintenance and hygiene services can support nurseries with all cleaning needs to ensure that they are safe and hygienic at all times.
5. Fix Leaks and Water Damage Promptly
One of the top causes of dampness, mould and other moisture problems in buildings is penetrating damp, which can be caused by leaking pipes and other water damage. If left, this can lead to respiratory problems for children – so any leaks must be fixed immediately.
With MSL’s reactive maintenance plan, you can be sure that at any time of the day or night, you can call us to fix any plumbing issues as soon as they arise, so that the air quality in your nursery isn’t affected.
Nurseries provide a creative and inspiring childcare environment for children starting out on their education journey. The importance of ventilation in nurseries cannot be understated, to ensure that every young child has access to clean, fresh air. Not only do properly maintained ventilation systems prevent sickness, aid concentration, and increase comfort; regular ventilation maintenance can also reduce energy costs too.
If you are interested in discovering how MSL’s ventilation maintenance services for nurseries can help your education facility, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0333 1234450.