The research was commissioned by leading lung charity Asthma + Lung UK Scotland.
More than 1,000 people were interviewed for the study, 78 per cent of whom said they would like to see new laws put in place to stop people leaving their car engines running while waiting near schools.
The results were published ahead of International Clean Air Day, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, today. The date recognises the importance of improving air quality, including reducing air pollution, to protect human health.
With schools in Scotland returning last month, Asthma + Lung UK Scotland are calling on members of the public to think twice about idling their car where pupils gather, and to switch off their car engines.
The charity said it is also urging local authorities to ensure that car idling laws are enforced.
Joseph Carter, head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland said: “Exhaust emissions from cars contain dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.
“It is vitally important that we protect the lungs and health of our children – no-one should be forced to breathe in harmful pollutants.
“Most people agree, we can all do our bit by turning off our car engines especially when we are near a school.
“Many people mistakenly believe that stopping a car engine, only to restart it a minute or two later, causes more pollution than idling. It doesn’t.
“Leaving your car engine running for no reason is actually illegal, but the law is not enforced.
“We all need to drive less and walk and cycle more, but if you need to drive your car, please switch off your engine outside schools.”
Asthma + Lung UK Scotland research claims pollution near schools is particularly harmful as it can stunt the growth of children’s lungs. Given they also breathe more rapidly than adults, they take in more pollution through their lungs.
The charity warned air pollution can cause new lung conditions such as lung cancer, and worsen existing ones like asthma and COPD.
Leanne McGuire, of Glasgow City Parents Group, said: “We are encouraging all parents, carers and anyone involved in school pickups or drop-offs, to turn their car engines off when stopping near our schools.
“As parents, we understand we can have competing priorities, rushing around after our families all day.
“Turning off your engine while waiting doesn’t eat into your time but it could make a huge difference to the air quality around our schools.
“We can all play our part in making our school communities safer by not idling our car engines and reducing air pollution.
“We should all strive to reduce the harms of air pollution for our own children and for our school community.”