Developing lungs. More rapid breathing. Closer to the ground. And more of their lifespan left for environmental risks to translate into chronic or life-limiting conditions. Everyone suffers when air quality is poor, but the World Health Organization is clear in its assessment that children suffer more.

What's worse, 93% of all children live in environments with air pollution levels above the WHO guidelines.

So it's no surprise that it is schools around the world who are on the cutting edge of improving air quality. In Boston, USA, parents can view the air quality in their child's classroom at the click of a link, meanwhile schoolchildren in Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe have been given personal air pollution monitoring backpacks as part of a project led by Achieving Control of Asthma in Children in Africa (Acacia).

Closer to home, 123 UK schools are already testing an air pollution sensor that brings together scientists, pupils and teachers. The SAMHE project will offers a range of activities and experiments, creating opportunities for pupils to be scientists, while the data from the monitors will help grown-up scientists to study air quality in schools.

And in April the project will be extended to 1500+ schools across the whole of the UK (psst, if you're a teacher or a pupil you can head to the SAMHE site to find out how to get your school involved).

Which is all very exciting. But lets not forget that it is not before time that we take air quality and child health seriously. Millions of children in the UK attend schools where air pollution is worse than the WHO limit and local ambient air quality measurements highlight a particular problem within Derry City & Strabane.

With that in mind, it's all the more important to act fast on air pollution, indoor air quality monitoring and personal behaviour change – our children will thank us.