Idling Education Project

Harmful Effects of Idling Your Car

Deerfield’s Sustainability Commission recently reached out to District 109 and Deerfield High School and proposed a partnership to educate parents and students about the harmful effects of idling. Both schools embraced the idea and undertook their own efforts to educate the community.

Pollution's Connection to Asthma

The Sustainability Commission provided both school districts with talking points and educational pieces on idling. An idling vehicle emits 20x more pollution than one traveling 32 mph. Idling a medium-duty gasoline vehicle for 5 minutes each day can emit as much as 30 lbs of harmful pollutants and 300 lbs of carbon dioxide in a year. These pollutants are especially harmful to children as each of us takes 20,000 breaths each day and children breathe 50% more air per pound than adults. Children’s asthma symptoms increase as a result of exposure to auto car exhaust and asthma is the most common chronic illness in children and the leading cause of school absences.*

Parents - Do Not Idle

District 109 shared this information with families on an Anti-Idling Campaign web page that was shared with all families. Each District 109 school made signs asking parents not to idle during pick up and drop off. These signs were displayed outside of the schools. In addition to making signs, the students at each Middle School, Caruso and Shepard, also counted cars before and after their idling education efforts to see what type of impact they had.

Deerfield High School Earth Works is a student club that focuses on how they can improve Sustainability in the school and in their lives. Knowing that over 100 cars come through the pick up line every day, Eath Works Club students worked with their teachers and other students on April 20th to hand out informational fliers about idling to all the parents waiting in line after school to pick up students.

Students at both schools found that parents were receptive to the information and glad that the students were working to spread the word about the harmful effects of idling.

What Can You Do to Reduce Idling?

  • Turn off your engine while waiting except for extreme temperatures.
  • Warm up your car by driving it. Idling leaves residue in your car’s engine and exhaust systems, increasing wear and tear.
  • Arrange a carpool.
  • Wait until after the “rush” is over to pick up your child.
  • Walk or ride your bike - it’s healthier!

For any questions about the Idling Education Campaign or the Sustainability Commission, please contact Assistant Village Manager Andrew Lichterman at 847-719-7403.

*Data is courtesy of Clean Air Counts and their Idling Gets You Nowhere Campaign.
Five girls holding signs outside
Two girls holding signs encouraging parents to "turn their cars off"