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For instance, children take even more breaths each and every minute, are closer to the bottom, and have a large surface area relative to their body mass and more permeable skin than adults, the AAP said in a news release. These elements make children more vulnerable to smoke, debris and other environmental threats. Exposure to toxic substances poses a long-term threat to small children because they’re in a period of critical development. Contact with radiation and cancer-causing chemicals can damage young children’s DNA and boost their lifetime cancer risk, according to the AAP. Youngsters may not know to run away or avoid dangers, and may even approach them out of curiosity. Also, infants and younger children require sized medical apparatus and doses of medicine appropriately, which aren’t always readily available.