The Idle-Free Schools Toolkit includes information needed to run an effective idle reduction campaign at a school to reduce student exposure to toxic vehicle exhaust. Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of air toxins during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children. Idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, which are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.
Polar Bears International Idle-Free Schools Toolkit
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EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit
The Toolkit provides the resources to make this a student-run science or community involvement project, providing students with the opportunity to learn how to run a public service campaign while expanding their science and math skills.
Children’s lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Limiting a vehicle’s idling time can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children’s exposure to them.
Why is Coco Orange? - Coco the chameleon can’t change colors, and his asthma is acting up. Download learning activities on how Coco and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy when the air quality is bad. The picture book was produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all children, especially those with asthma, and their caretakers.
You can control your asthma and avoid an attack by taking your medicine exactly as your doctor or other medical professional tells you to do and by avoiding things that can cause an attack. With your doctor’s help, make your own asthma management plan so that you know what to do based on your own symptoms.
Idle Free Schools
Why Not Idle?
Car exhaust contains air toxics, which are known to cause cancer, respiratory effects, reproductive effects, birth defects or other serious health effects.
Because of their developing lungs and higher breathing rates, children are more susceptible to air pollution.
If many vehicles are idling at once, for example in school pick up/drop off areas, a “hot spot” of exhaust pollution can be created.
Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of air toxics during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children.
The chemicals from exhaust are harmful and can make asthma worse.
Most people waste 1-2 entire tankful of gas every year by idling.
Ford Motor Company says: “Avoid idling more than 30 seconds because excessive idling can actually damage your engine.”
Idling more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
Manufacturers assure that frequent restarting won’t harm an engine.
What can you do?
If you are going to wait more than 10 seconds, turn your vehicle off.
It’s as simple as that.
Pledge to not idle unnecessarily
Reducing idling at schools can reduce children’s exposure to toxic vehicle exhaust.
For more information: visit
Turn the Key,
Be Idle Free!!
AirNow.gov Kid's Website
For Kids Ages 7-10
What should you do when the Air Quality Index is orange? Let the chameleons K.C., Koko, and Kool, show you how EPA measures pollution in the air.
For Kindergarten and First Grade
When is the best day to go outside and play? Buster Butterfly shows you when the air is clean and it's good to play outside and when you should stay inside to play.
The EPA Environmental Kids Club is a web site for kids. Games, pictures and stories help children explore the environment and learn how to protect it.
All items are free to view, share, and download.
Public Downloads - Español (Spanish)
When available, we provide all our content with a Spanish version in our public download section. You can find additional material from sources listed in all our articles.
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