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The 20 Best Places to Raise a Child with Asthma

Who Tops Our List?

Alen Corporation is proud to announce its first annual list of the best cities to raise a child with asthma. These cities earned their ranking through an evaluation of their air quality, crime rates, state graduation rates and proximity to top-rated hospitals and medical facilities. The first and most important ranking factor came down to city pollution index due to the variety of asthma patients and their specific needs.

How does asthma affect children in particular?

Asthma is a long-term lung disease that inflames and narrows airways, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma can be caused by a number of factors that irritate the lungs. An estimated seven million children* suffer from asthma in the U.S. That’s 28 percent of all U.S. asthma sufferers.

Asthma is especially dangerous to children because of their small lungs. This makes children more sensitive to asthma triggers, which can range from humidity, pollution, pollen, exercise or other irritating particles like mold or smoke.

How does your city affect your child's asthma?

Places such as a valley, inner-city or heavily forested areas can be asthma aggregators and not ideal places to raise a child with asthma.

Valley areas trap pollutants like smog over cities, creating a barrier that physically stops pollutants from escaping the city ( see photo below.)

Medium-to-large sized cities are most likely to be heavily polluted due to the excessive population they have and smoke released from multiple cars and trucks on their roads. Cities that have no smoking laws are even worse, as secondhand smoke is hazardous to children with asthma.

Lastly, cities with lots of trees and greenery can irritate children who are allergic to pollen and grass.

Because asthma triggers vary from person to person, Alen’s list of 20 cities ranges in terms of geographical location. The ranking was determined through a multi-step process of evaluating statistics including air quality ratings, allergy rankings, humidity levels, crime rates, and state graduation rates. A few cities on the list were chosen due to their low humidity or proximity to award-winning hospitals. We then ranked our 20 best cities by their air quality ratings as provided by Parents are encouraged to do further research on cities to suit their specific needs as a family.

#1 Waterloo, Illinois

Air quality rating: 96.4/100

Waterloo is a small town of 10,140 people.  Waterloo has all the charms of a small town but is located near major cities for fun day trips or vacations. It ranks highest in terms of air quality. Waterloo is 27 miles from one of the best children's hospitals in the nation, St. Louis Children's Hospital, but is home to multiple pediatric centers where patients are treated like family.


#2 Winona, Minnesota

Air quality rating: 96/100

Located on the Mississippi River, Winona is a beautiful town with a population of 27,546. Winona is one of the safest cities in the state of Minnesota. Despite its long and cold winters and humid summers, Winona's clean air ranking and proximity to amazing educational facilities and health care makes it a great place to live. The city also has a picturesque autumn and spring.


#3 Bellevue, Nebraska

Air quality rating: 95.1/100

Bellevue, which is French for “beautiful view,” is known as the birthplace of Nebraska. The town has a population of 53,663 people. Bellevue is a part of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The city was chosen due to its high clean air rating and proximity to Omaha, home to the Children's Hospital and Medical Center, which offers a great pediatric pulmonary program.


#4 Brentwood, Tennessee

Air quality rating: 95/100

Brentwood is located close to the capital of Nashville and is known as one of the "most desirable suburban" places in Tennessee, according to Brentwood has a population of 40,021 people and consists of beautiful scenery, restaurants, and shopping malls. The city was ranked higher due to its clean air and safety.


#5 Franklin, Tennessee

Air quality rating: 95/100

Franklin is known for its unique blend of history and modern sophistication. Like its neighboring city of Brentwood, Franklin is also located in Nashville's metropolitan area. Franklin has outstanding air quality and friendly townspeople. The city has a population of 68,886 people. Photo courtesy of Franklin city government.


#6 Winooski, Vermont

Air quality rating: 94.9/100

Winooski is a small but beautiful town located on the mouth of the Winooski river. The town has a population of 7,239 people and is known for its community involvement. The city of Winooski recently announced that their parks would be a tobacco-free zone in an effort to protect the community's health.


#7 Princeton, New Jersey

Air quality rating: 94.6/100

The Borough of Princeton, as its name reveals, is home to the famous Princeton University. It is one of the most famous college towns and New Jersey itself has one of the highest graduation rates amongst other states in the U.S. Princeton Online offers a variety of resources for parents, including information on upcoming farmer's markets, art exhibitions, and kid-friendly concerts.


#8 Bismarck, North Dakota

Air quality rating: 94.4/100

Bismarck previously made Alen's list for the top 17 cities with the cleanest air. Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota and offers a ton of fun family locations, such as The Dakota Zoo and downtown horse-drawn carriage rides. Bismarck is considered one of the best places to live in the U.S., according to Livability.comPhoto courtesy of Bismarck city government.


#9 Waukee, Iowa

Air quality rating: 94.3/100

Waukee is a part of the Des Moines - West Des Moines metropolitan area and has a population of 13,790 people. Waukee's city slogan is "the key to good living," which is evident in its close-knit community support and activities such as "Books and Babies" which encourages parents to build early literacy skills in their children.


#10 Austin, Minnesota

Air quality rating: 93.7/100

Austin is a town of 24,718 people. It is located near Rochester, Minnesota, which is home to Mayo Clinic, also known as the nation's best-ranked hospital as of 2016. Austin is home to kind-hearted people whose motto is to "grow together."  Photo courtesy of Austin city government.


#11 Ames, Iowa

Air quality rating: 93.7/100

The city of Ames has a population of 58,965 people and is located 30 miles from the city of Des Moines. Ames is known for its small town charm and its exceptional school programs for youth. Ames High School also has the highest number of National Merit Scholar Finalists in the state of Iowa.


#12 Syracuse, Utah

Air quality rating: 93/100

The state of Utah has some of the lowest levels of humidity in the nation. The city of Syracuse is home to 27,000 residents and has its own Youth City Council. The city offers a variety of recreational activities and has beautiful scenery.


#13 Carmel, Indiana

Air quality rating: 91.4/100

Carmel is listed as one of the safest cities in the U.S. to raise a child. The city has a population of 85,927 people. Carmel is home to an Arts & Design District and various other recreational places. It was named the #1 best place to live in 2012 by CNN Money Magazine.


#14 Lake in the Hills, Illinois

Air quality rating: 91.1/100

The village of Lake in the Hills is home to a population of 23,152 people. Sunset Park is the largest park in the city and it is the site of the village's annual Summer Sunset Fest. Bark Park, adorably named, is the city's only dog park and is one of many recreational places Lake in the Hills has to offer. Photo courtesy of Lake in the Hills city government.


#15 Nashua, New Hampshire

Air quality rating: 90.8/100

Nashua is the second largest city in the state of New Hampshire, with a population of 87,137 people. Nashua has numerous historic landmarks, including John F. Kennedy monument, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the Hunt Memorial Library. The city was selected due to its great air quality and because it is home to MassGeneral Hospital for Children.


#16 Bergenfield, New Jersey

Air quality rating: 89.6/100

The Borough of Bergenfield was recently ranked the #2 best place to raise children in the state of New Jersey. This is largely due to the sense of safety and family values found in the city. Bergenfield's tight-knit community and diversity make it a great place to raise a child. The city has a population of 27,191 people.


#17 Fort Lee, New Jersey

Air quality rating: 89.6/100

The Borough of Fort Lee has a population of 36,014 people. The city offers many kid-friendly activities. Fort Lee's second annual Halloween party for dogs is coming soon to its local dog park, as well as an art show, farmer's market, and the Fort Lee museum which is currently featuring an exhibit of the "The Kids of Fort Lee." Photo courtesy of Fort Lee city government.


#18 Flower Mound, Texas

Air quality rating: 80.7/100

Located near Dallas, Flower Mound is an affluent town with a population of 68,609 people. The city has predominately low levels of humidity throughout the year. Flower Mound is also listed as one of the safest cities in the U.S. and the state of Texas has one of the best graduation rates in the nation. Photo courtesy of Flower Mound city government.


#19 Allen, Texas

Air quality rating: 79.3/100

Allen is located in the major Dallas area and has a population of 87,213 people. The city ranked at #2 on NerdWallet's list of the "Best Places to Live in Texas." Allen has beautiful homes and is located close to many shopping outlets and fun activities such as TopGolf. 


#20 Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Air quality rating: 72.3/100

Eden Prairie is a small suburban town with a population of 62,603 people. The city is in close proximity to the Twin Cities and Children's Minnesota Minneapolis Hospital. It is a perfect place to live for families who want to enjoy suburban life but wish to remain close to a major city without the bad air quality or concerns for safety.


Don’t live in these cities? Don’t worry.
Here are steps you can take to ensure your child’s health is at his or her best.

Clean constantly
Constant vacuuming and dusting in the home can prevent excess dander and allergens from affecting your child’s lungs. Washing bed sheets weekly and clothes routinely can remove allergens from your child’s bed and allow them to breathe and sleep easier.

Develop a close relationship with your child’s school
If your son or daughter is not homeschooled, keep a close relationship with the nurse, teachers, and staff at their school. Your child spends the majority of their time at school and taking the time to talk to their nurse and teachers can ensure that the school knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Invest in a dehumidifier
If humidity triggers your child’s asthma, investing in a dehumidifier can help if you live in a humid climate. A dehumidifier can lower humidity levels in your child’s room and help calm their asthma.

Invest in an air purifier
We recommend buying an air purifier not only because we’re an air purifier company but because it helps a ton. Indoor air is 3-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. An air purifier can filter up to 99.97 percent of irritating particles from the air, providing you and your child with clean, fresh air.

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