Steps to Creating Asthma Friendly Environments

Creating asthma friendly environments allows children and youth with asthma to:

  • maximize their potential for growth, development, and achievement
  • limit school absenteeism
  • participate in physical activity
  • experience positive educational, social, physical and health benefits
  • develop lifelong skills for managing their asthma3

Creating asthma friendly and supportive environments is a shared responsibility that requires a team approach. Collaborating with home, school, and community partners supports the creation of asthma friendly environments, which includes:

  • children and youth with asthma
  • parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • health care providers
  • school and child care centre staff4

To promote successful implementation, these seven steps are especially helpful to guide and assist in creating supportive environments:

  1. Establish a process to identify children and youth with asthma on an annual basis.
  2. Allow children/youth with asthma easy access to (fast-acting) inhalers.
  3. Establish a process for handling worsening asthma.
  4. Identify and reduce exposure to common asthma triggers within the environment.
  5. Encourage children/youth with asthma to participate in all activities, especially physical activities, to the best of their abilities.
  6. Provide staff, parent(s)/guardian(s), and children/youth opportunities to learn about asthma.
  7. Collaborate with families, health care professionals, and staff to create asthma friendly environments.

Sample Tools to Support Creating Asthma Friendly Environments

School Board Tools

The following Asthma Management Tools provide implementation tips for key members of the school community to support creating asthma friendly school environments:

Child Care Tools

The following Responsibility Checklists summarize the responsibilities for key members of the child care community to support creating asthma friendly child care centres:

Community Based Programs Tools

The following Management of Asthma Tools provide implementation tips for program supervisors, program leaders, instructors, coaches, and volunteers to support creating asthma friendly school environments:  


3Cicutto, L., Conti, E., Evans, H., Lewis, R., Murphy, S., Rautiainen, K. C., Sharrard, S., and Varga, J. (2006). Creating asthma friendly schools: A public health approach. Journal of School Health, 76(6), 255–258. 

4Cicutto, L., To, T., & Murphy, S. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of a public health nurse delivered asthma program to elementary schools. Journal of School Health, 83, 876–884.