The link between human health and the environment has been the focus of increased scientific attention in recent years. There is rising evidence of the detrimental effects of environmental factors on human health. This is especially the case with children, whose bodies undergo many stages of critical development, thereby making them more vulnerable to toxic substances present in the environment.

It is important to understand the complexity of children's environmental health and its implications for public policy using a multi-disciplinary approach to develop the capacity of individuals and non-governmental organizations to become active participants in the policy development process.

Building Capacity among Physicians to Address Children’s Environmental Health in the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

Funding: Ontario Ministry of the Environment (2007-2010)

CICH, in partnership with the Ontario College of Family Physicians will develop, deliver and evaluate workshops on children’s health and the environment as well as a training package tailored for the Great Lakes Basin region to address children’s environmental health issues. CICH will deliver one Master Trainer Session and five workshops for physicians (including paediatricians, family physicians, med students).   For more information on how to register for these workshops please click here.

A National Study that will Improve Child Passenger Safety in Automobiles

As more provinces/territories move to new legislation requiring the use of booster seats for children in automobiles the design, effectiveness and comfort of booster seats will be an issue.  To develop this legislation will require up to date national information on the age related physical measurements of children.  The last national data was collected in 1970-1978; there have been significant societal, health, environmental and economic changes in Canada indicating that the physical dimensions of children may have changed. 

CICH has been invited by Transport Canada’s Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Directorate to undertake a project to develop methods to collect measurements of Canadian children 0-12 years and to make recommendations concerning regulations for car and booster seats. 

Motor vehicle accidents are still the leading cause of injury and death in children of all ages; in 2003 approximately 10,000 children 12 years and under were injured or killed. When children out-grow their child safety seats the use of seat belts designed for adults is not an acceptable alternative for booster seats and can result in lap-belt syndrome injuries. 

This study emphasizes the need to review restraints to protect children from injury.  CICH will play a pivotal role in drafting the study that will ultimately affect how government and lawmakers will draft policy and implement legislation regarding child safety on our Canadian roads for years to come.

Child Anthropometry: A Literature Scan of National and
International Publications (PDF)

Child Anthropometry: Demonstration Study Report (PDF)

Measuring the Environmental Impact on Children's Health in the Southern Cone

The Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH) and the Asociación Argentina de Médicos por el Medio Ambiente (AAMMA), in cooperation with the Argentine Ministry of Health and Environment, Health Canada, the University of Ottawa and the Argentine Society of Paediatrics (SAP), are working together to complete a Profile that collects and compiles information on the state of Children's Environmental Health in Argentina. This project is based upon the success that CICH had in developing three editions of “The Health of Canada's Children – a CICH Profile”.

Funding provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.

The goal of the project is to assist in the protection of children's health in Argentina by decreasing environmental hazards, resulting in healthier children and healthier environments. In order to achieve this goal, the following data collection activities are taking place: a survey was distributed to over 13,000 pediatricians who are members of SAP; a literature review of Argentinean and international publications and key informant interviews; and, two field case studies that address unique environmental health issues faced in different environments. One case study will examine a rural community where children are exposed to agricultural chemicals (pesticides); the second will look at an urban setting, where children are exposed to industrial pollution (lead).

Outcomes of the project will include:

•  A better understanding by all the stakeholders, general public and academia of the links between the environment and children's health in Argentina .

•  Demonstrations of successful programs through case studies in the field and interventions that are implemented.

•  Experience in multi-sectoral processes, building cooperation between different stakeholders (governments, academia, scientific societies, NGOs and civil society) working together on children's environmental health issues.

•  A transfer of the Canadian experience to Argentinean partners, related to building a national Children's Environmental Health profile, resulting in an increased capacity to protect children from environmental hazards.

•  The development of an ongoing system(s) of data collection and communication.

•  The cooperation and development of a Profile of Children's Environmental Health in Argentina .

To view additional information about this project, and to download the profile click here.

Building Children's Environmental Health Capacity Among Health Care Professionals in Canada and the Southern Cone Countries of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay

The Canadian Institute of Child Health and the Asociación Argentina de Médicos por el Medio Ambiente, are working with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centers and the Societies of Paediatrics in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, the World Health Organization and the International Society of Doctors for the Environment to educate and train health care professionals in children's environmental health issues. The education and training of health care professionals has been identified as a major area needing to be addressed to build capacity on both a national and international basis. The project will use existing international resources to build the capacity of as many as 37,000 health care professionals in the participating countries to assess and initiate protocols to prevent environmentally related diseases in children.

Funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The project has three main goals:

•  Gather baseline data from health care professionals in the 5 countries using an electronic survey.

•  Develop a training package with an evaluation component using the information from the survey and existing sources.

•  Deliver train-the-trainer sessions in Canada , Argentina , Paraguay , Uruguay and Chile and follow-up with participants to measure the impact of the training in their practice. All materials developed for this project will be available for distribution in both English and Spanish.

To view additional information about this project, visit the project web site here.

For more information, please contact

Directory of Children and Youth Activities in Support of Clean Air

The Canadian Institute of Child Health developed a directory of children's and youth activities in support of clean air across Canada for the Air Pollution Prevention Directorate of Environment Canada. Many organizations are engaged in public outreach activities directed at encouraging Canadians to make choices and take actions that promote clean air. Until this project, however, no comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of the specific activities, locations, networks, or overall effectiveness of programs for children and youth existed. This directory will assist Environment Canada and its partners to identify and develop synergies between programs, and recognize and promote best practices. It will also allow users to proactively identify and address the areas of greatest need and to avoid the unnecessary duplication.

The inventory contained descriptive information about the project/program, networking and promotion related information, i ndicators of program/project success and transferability and assessment of needs. Funding by Environment Canada .

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