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Cold homes will cost children’s lives and cause long-term damage, warn experts


Cold homes will damage children’s lungs and brain development and lead to deaths as part of a “significant humanitarian crisis” this winter, health experts have warned.

Unless the next prime minister curbs soaring fuel bills, children face a wave of respiratory illness with long-term consequences, according to a review by Sir Michael Marmot, the director of University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, and Prof Ian Sinha, a respiratory consultant at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital.

Sinha said he had “no doubt” that cold homes would cost children’s lives this winter, although they could not predict how many, with damage done to young lungs leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and bronchitis for others in adulthood.

Huge numbers of cash-strapped households are preparing to turn heating systems down or off when the energy price cap increases to £3,549 from 1 October, and the president of the British Paediatric Respiratory Society, also told the Guardian that child deaths were likely.

“There will be excess deaths among some children where families are forced into not being able to heat their homes,” said Dr Simon Langton-Hewer. “It will be dangerous, I’m afraid.”

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Source: The Guardian, 1 September 2022

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