Special Issue "Impact of Climate Change on Child Health"


A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Helen Leonard

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6872, Australia
Website: http://www.childhealthresearch.org.au/our-people/staff-student-index/l/helen-leonard.aspx
Fax: +31 30 253 7417
Interests: rare diseases; epidemiology of intellectual disability; autism; Down syndrome; Rett syndrome; preterm birth; climate change; cohort studies; international registers
Guest Editor
Dr. Emma Glasson

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: +61 8 9489 7777
Interests: the epidemiology of developmental disorders; specifically including autism spectrum disorder; intellectual disability and Down syndrome; and the intergenerational patterns of health and illness
Guest Editor
Dr. Alison Anderson

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: +61 9489 7781
Interests: developmental origins of health and disease; health impacts of in utero exposure to environmental contaminants; bioinformatics approaches to investigating complex toxicity modes of action and health impacts of climate change
Guest Editor
Prof. Robyn Lucas

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia, and National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, 0200, Australia
Interests: environmental effects on immune function; epidemiology; developmental origins of health and disease; autoimmune diseases; climate change; ultraviolet radiation; vitamin D
Guest Editor
Dr. Brad Farrant

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: + 61 8 9489 7711
Interests: early childhood development; effects of broader ecological factors like climate change; biodiversity loss and population growth on children's development now and in the future

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent research suggests that climate change is a major threat to the health and wellbeing of children worldwide, now and in the future. Overwhelmingly, the health burden caused by climate change will be borne by children, who may have less capacity to adapt or to avoid these new challenges to health. Current national and international emission reduction commitments are inadequate. Even if they are honoured, the global temperature rise by the end of this century is predicted to be double the internationally agreed ‘safe’ target of 2 degrees Celsius. We must better understand the full range of the increased risks to the health and wellbeing of children in order to prepare for, or alter, the expected impact.

Climate change will have wide-ranging effects on the environment and our interaction with it. There may be some benefits to health, for example very cold climates becoming warmer. But the breadth and magnitude of adverse effects are expected to result in a net negative impact on health and well-being for individuals and populations. Increased weather-related disasters, extreme climatic conditions and sea-level rise are likely to cause large-scale population migration and changes in disease patterns. Children will be at particular increased risk for multiple health outcomes including mental health disorders, malnutrition, and infectious and allergic diseases. Developing countries in tropical areas are likely to suffer most due to poverty, lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation, inadequate health care systems and high density populations. Reducing CO2 emissions has become a major global objective, but many additional challenges remain including the development of better outcome measures to assess child health impacts.

This special issue in Children will act as a forum to expand our understanding of the specific mechanisms that lead to increased health and disability risk for children, how risk might be better estimated and measured across time and geography, and how cost-effective strategies might be applied at local levels to enhance adaptation, or to mitigate effects of, region-specific impacts.

We look forward to receiving your contributions!

Prof. Helen Leonard
Dr Emma Glasson
Dr Alison Anderson
Prof. Robyn Lucas
Dr. Brad Farrant
Guest Editors


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • climate change
  • global warming
  • child health and wellbeing
  • climate sensitive disease
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • communicable disease
  • psychological distress
  • heat waves
  • floods
  • storms
  • fires
  • droughts
  • post traumatic stress
  • forced migration
  • food security
  • malnutrition

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Displaying article 1-5
p. 412-423
by  and
Children 2015, 2(4), 412-423; doi:10.3390/children2040412
Received: 21 August 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (509 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
p. 461-473
by  and
Children 2014, 1(3), 461-473; doi:10.3390/children1030461
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (496 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
p. 457-460
by ,  and
Children 2014, 1(3), 457-460; doi:10.3390/children1030457
Received: 8 November 2014 / Accepted: 11 November 2014 / Published: 26 November 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
p. 403-423
by , ,  and
Children 2014, 1(3), 403-423; doi:10.3390/children1030403
Received: 10 August 2014 / Revised: 7 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 October 2014 / Published: 11 November 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
abstract graphic
p. 99-106
Children 2014, 1(2), 99-106; doi:10.3390/children1020099
Received: 25 June 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Children and Climate Change: Lost in Policy?
Elizabeth G  Hanna and Lyndall Strazdins
National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health, Australian National University, Australia
Children are major stakeholders in climate change policy, yet their stake and interests are rarely foregrounded.  Also invisible in health policy is climate change, as mass health impacts are only beginning to emerge, primarily from exposures to extremes of heat, fires, drought and violent weather systems.  Continued warming embedded in the system means exacerbation of these trends is inevitable, which jeopardizes children’s future health and happiness. Children and young adults currently face a social order where they are increasingly “locked out” of financial security, home ownership and job security as globalisation places downward pressures on the conditions and benefits that their parents and grandparents enjoyed. In this paper we argue this ‘double invisibility’ from the policy agenda generates a systematic exclusion of intergenerational health needs in policy formulations, which is further eroding the intergenerational contract.  Continuation of this myopia risks the development of a ‘perfect storm’ via fracturing the intergenerational pact. Through the lens of double invisibility, this paper discusses the difficulty policy makers and children’s champions have in articulating and responding to children’s stake in climate change mitigation and adaption policies. We present the case that rather than being disenfranchised, children’s interests should be central to the design and evaluation of climate change policies.
Keywords: climate change; health impacts; weather extremes; children; intergeneration

Title: Climate Change and Child Human Rights
Author: Karen M Kiang1,2
1 Centre for International Child Health, The University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, Melbourne, Australia
2 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia
Abstract: Children suffer most of the current health-related consequences of climate change. Of the estimated 160,000 yearly deaths attributable to climate change in the early 2000s, 88% were in children and 99% were amongst those living in developing countries. Climate change is expected to worsen the main causes of child mortality worldwide, and is already impeding progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The area of human rights is concerned with securing basic entitlements granted to every person by the virtue of his/her existence. These entitlements include not only freedoms of speech, thought, religion and personal security, but also include the rights that enable individuals to realize these freedoms, such as the right to health, food, shelter, education, and work. For children, climate change is clearly a human rights issue. The basic universal rights to adequate food, clean water, physical and mental health, shelter, education, security, and most fundamentally, the right to life, are already being compromised. As the discipline of human rights also concerns itself with justice and law, structuring climate action around an international human rights framework is a powerful yet under-utilized tool that can provide additional impetus for action, since it establishes the ethical and legal obligations of countries towards their own people and towards one another. The main human rights instruments that directly address the welfare of children are the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Bill of Human Rights (consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its two associated Covenants). This paper will describe in greater detail how the rights of children are being compromised by climate change and how human rights tools can (and must) be applied to address these issues.
Keywords: children; ‘climate change’; ‘global warming’; ‘human rights’; ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’

Title: Climate Change, Child Health and Wellbeing: Prevention Better than Cure
Author: Fiona J. Stanley
Affiliation: Patron, Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, The University of Melbourne
Abstract:I am not a climate science expert but I accept what the climate scientists are telling us and I am very concerned at how climate change issues have fallen off the public and political agenda. My expertise is in child health development and wellbeing where I have focussed mostly on prevention using data and research that enables the elucidation of causal pathways. The approach is to prevent problems before they become irreversible, costly to treat or impossible to mitigate. This approach is not only logical, it is cost-effective and humane. The best example of this approach in health is vaccination. In this article I bring this logical approach to one of the biggest threats to the wellbeing of the children of today and tomorrow - climate change. Causal pathways into rising rates of "ill being" in children are the very same pathways that have led to climate change. Ongoing failure to adopt preventive strategies means that there will be an ever increasing need for more end stage services with enormous costs for many services. In the West our health systems are already feeling the pressure from overconsumption, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems. If we don’t act quickly they will be even more pressured as climate change effects swamp them. We are not too late to prevent the worst effects but we are getting dangerously close to midnight.
climate change; child health and wellbeing; wicked problems; prevention

Last update: 14 April 2015

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